Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 reviewed: Can Samsung make tablets fascinating once more?

What’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6?

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is one of the best Android various to an iPad Professional. It has a big show, high-end specs, an important sketching stylus, and it prices rather a lot.

You’ll pay £619 for the wi-fi model, and £689 for the 4G one. If this seems like an excessive amount of, don’t neglect the 11-inch iPad Professional with half the quantity of storage finally ends up £269 extra while you add the Apple Pencil. After all, these days even the essential iPad helps the Pencil. A 128GB iPad plus Pencil prices £498 – that’s £120 much less.

That is one of the best Android pill round, but when the stylus isn’t a giant issue, contemplate the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. It prices rather a lot much less and nonetheless performs all the standard pill jobs completely effectively.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Design

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has an analogous model to the Galaxy Tab S5e. Its again is aluminium, like an iPad’s, not glass like final yr’s Galaxy Tab S4.

In telephones, aluminium has in some way become a mid-range design selection, however I discover it extra fascinating than glass in a pill. The anodised end has a pleasing texture and it merely feels much less fragile in your fingers.

This pill has a 10.5-inch show. Because of a trimming down of display borders the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is an analogous measurement to basic 10.1-inch tablets.

It’s large, however not a monster just like the 12.5-inch iPad Professional. A few of its stats are very iPad like, too. It’s extraordinarily skinny (5.7mm) and pretty gentle at 420g. The primary design annoyance is identical because the Galaxy Tab S5e’s – there’s no headphone jack, which appears an much more brazen method to push individuals into shopping for wi-fi headphones than jack-less telephones.

An in-screen fingerprint scanner is a neat “invisible” additional. Press the ability button and also you’ll see the scanner place on display. That is arguably much less handy than the Tab S5e’s aspect scanner, because it’s a two-step unlock, however the scanner itself is fast and dependable.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6’s stylus mechanism is the one half that makes the pill stand out visually. A shallow groove is reduce into the again and the stylus nuzzles into it, held in place calmly by magnets. There’s even a bit of wi-fi cost panel that replenishes the pen’s battery.

Why a battery? Just like the Word 10+, you should utilize the S-Pen button to fireplace off instructions remotely, like pausing your music or taking a photograph within the digital camera app.

The groove by no means stops you dropping the stylus. I’ve already spent a number of small chunks of time in search of the factor. However placing a gap for it within the case, just like the Word 10, would probably imply dropping a big chunk of battery. This isn’t a wafer-thin stylus.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Stylus and drawing

It’s a reasonably chunky plastic pen with an important nib that principally zaps the stuttery really feel of most pill styluses as they glide alongside the glass floor of a display. Drawing on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 feels pure: there’s solely minor enter lag, and doodling is enjoyable.

I spent just a few hours aimlessly drawing on the pill to see if it’s a lot better than the competitors. I do suppose Samsung will get nearer to the Apple Pencil-like high quality really feel right here than some earlier stylus tabs.

Nevertheless, Pen Up kinda sucks. That is the pre-installed Samsung drawing software program. It has loads of the proper instruments, a pleasant entrance finish and a few fluffy colouring-in workouts for teenagers, however subsequent to one thing like Autodesk Sketchbook Professional it’s trash. Sorry, Samsung.

Pen Up lacks most of that programme’s superior options. That’s wonderful for an app made to be accessible, however its efficiency can be bizarrely unhealthy, with frequent lag as Pen Up tries to work out how your brush strokes ought to react to the prevailing “digital paint”.

Sketching by way of Autodesk Sketchbook Professional

Set up Sketchbook Professional or one thing related, although, and you might be in for time. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 stylus appears made for this software program, and taking a while out to attract with it has been a few of the most enjoyable I’ve had on a pill in ages.

The stylus is strain delicate (4096 ranges), and while you add that to the stunning depth of Sketchbook Professional, you find yourself with fairly an enticing and helpful drawing software. However does it appear to be a pro-grade one? No. Identical to an iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 doesn’t have entry to the industry-standard apps within the kind professional designers truly use, and Android has fewer nice drawing apps than iOS (there are nonetheless loads, thoughts).

There are just a few points too. You’ll unintentionally press the pen’s button on a regular basis whereas drawing, which brings up the stylus nav bar. This will get annoying.

There’s additionally little purpose to make use of the stylus as the principle nav methodology in Android. Contact management feels extra pure, though the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 does have glorious handwriting recognition. You possibly can write longhand wherever you would possibly in any other case use the digital keyboard.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Display screen and audio system

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has a 10.5-inch display of 2560 x 1600 pixel decision. Identical to the Galaxy S5e’s that is an OLED show that gives very deep blacks and wealthy color.

Customisation choices are the identical as these of Samsung’s current high-end telephones. You possibly can select between Pure and Vivid color modes, neither of which provides the ultra-reserved sRGB color tuning seen in older Samsung tablets. And peak brightness is, unsurprisingly, not a match for the Galaxy Word 10+’s 1200 nits. However there’s sufficient energy to make use of the pill open air.

Samsung claims the max brightness is 500 nits. I used a colorimeter and LED gentle to trick the pill into pondering it was in a vibrant surroundings. The highest studying was 440 nits, and the final 100 solely kick in when there’s plenty of ambient gentle.

Sharpness is nice and, whereas I don’t suppose color calibration or the display structure match the Word 10+, that is nearly one of the best display you’ll discover in an Android pill.

That is additionally the primary HDR10+ pill, which ought to shock no-one given HDR10+ is a Samsung commonplace. You’ll discover some movies utilizing this commonplace on Amazon Prime Video. The Tab S6 is a wonderful method to watch motion pictures and TV, HDR or not.

The audio system assistance on this entrance, too. There are 4 drivers, positioned to supply stereo sound when the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is held panorama.

This quartet provides some actual meat to the mids, glorious coherence for pill audio system and even a suggestion of bass. That tablets underneath 6mm thick can present this sort of sound may be very spectacular. I take heed to podcasts on my cellphone on a regular basis, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6’s audio system provide an enormous step up.

It’s solely a minor enchancment on the Tab S5e’s audio system, although, that are additionally designed by AKG.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Software program

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6’s software program is rather like that of Samsung’s telephones, with one vital distinction: DeX makes far more sense right here.

DeX is Samsung’s desktop-like interface for Android. It’s an vital addition if you wish to use this pill instead of a laptop computer, because it permits extra superior windowed multi-tasking and places extra data and shortcuts at your fingertips.

You’ll want the £159 keyboard accent to make this worthwhile, although, and Samsung didn’t ship us one. In case you’re going to pay upwards of £750 and actually desire a laptop computer expertise, purchase a laptop computer. There are numerous nice choices on the value, significantly from HP and Acer.

And not using a keyboard and DeX, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 looks like some other Samsung pill. It runs Android with the Samsung’s One UI on high. This retains all the standard Android fundamentals, however the app drawer is organized in pages fairly than as a scroll. You may also add folders to those pages, to organise your assortment extra intentionally.

Newer Android options are right here, too. The Digital Wellness a part of the settings menu enables you to set utilization timers per app. That is very useful in the event you are inclined to overuse YouTube or social media apps, or wish to be sure the children don’t spend hours every day enjoying PUBG.

As is at all times the case with Android tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 just isn’t fairly as sturdy on the inventive entrance as an iPad. As famous earlier, there are some higher artwork apps, like Procreate on iPad OS. And whereas Android now has some first rate audio sequencing and composing apps, they are typically both much less pleasant or much less versatile than Garageband.

Nevertheless, for a lot of there’s simply as a lot potential right here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Efficiency

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, the identical utilized by the US model of the Galaxy Word 10+. This can be a top-end CPU made by the most well-liked producer of such chipsets.

It is extremely highly effective and scores 10885 factors (3528 per core) in Geekbench four. That rating just isn’t too far behind an eighth era Intel Core i5 laptop computer processor, though evaluating these cellular CPUs to laptop computer ones just isn’t fairly a like-for-like comparability.

The one efficiency subject I seen was in Pen Up, and that’s virtually definitely all the way down to the coding of the app, not the ability of the CPU. You additionally get 6GB RAM within the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, which ought to assist when creating giant picture information with many layers.

Qualcomm’s GPUs are about as spectacular because the CPU aspect. The Snapdragon 855 has an Adreno 640 graphics chipset, which at launch is essentially the most highly effective you’ll discover in an Android.

You possibly can play very demanding video games like Ark: Survival Advanced with the graphics maxed out. And PUBG will run utilizing its highest graphics setting. It even manages to make the normally scrappy-looking PUBG look fairly good, as you may apply anti-aliasing. This smooths out these jagged edges on polygons.

Gaming efficiency can be the important thing benefit of the Galaxy S6 over the S5e, exterior of the stylus. In 3DMark’s Sling Shot Excessive the S6 scores 5467 factors. The S5e manages simply 1596. Based on this benchmark, the disparity of GPU energy is definitely higher than the worth distinction between the 2 Samsungs.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Digicam

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is without doubt one of the few tablets with a reasonably fascinating digital camera line-up. There are two on the again: one is a standard digital camera, the opposite has a wide-angle lens. As this can be a pill, you may think it getting used to take household portraits, decreasing the quantity of instances you’ll have to inform individuals to “squeeze in”.

Don’t confuse this for a set of cameras supposed to compete with Samsung’s high or mid-range telephones, although. Samsung has saved the software program open sufficient to let me discover out the underlying hardware, and there’s nothing too thrilling right here.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6’s major digital camera has a Samsung S5K3M5 sensor, used because the OnePlus 7 Professional’s zoom (OnePlus calls it an eight-megapixel digital camera because it cheats the specs a bit to make the zoom appear higher).

Our large sensor is the S5K5E9, used within the entry-level Motorola Moto E6 as a selfie digital camera. This isn’t high-end hardware.

The expertise of utilizing it’s completely wonderful, although. There’s some shutter lag, but it surely doesn’t make the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 really feel annoyingly sluggish. The massive, vibrant display is strong for composing images open air, though additionally appears to be a part of the rationale that individuals nonetheless suppose tablets are good devices for taking images.

The outcomes are a lot better than these of most tablets, too. At their finest, Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 images look wealthy and punchy, and the HDR software program does an important job of balancing gentle stage variance in a scene. The primary digital camera’s element stage is nice too.

Each cameras even efficiently make scenes look brighter than they’re to the attention when coping with glum-looking indoors scenes with out a lot gentle.

We see some bizarre lens-related color points right here, however the software program has carried out job of minimising its impact on the dynamic vary

The unhealthy elements? One purpose the principle digital camera’s picture can look punchy is the colors are sometimes a bit of overbaked. The large digital camera additionally not as detailed, and doesn’t have autofocus.

Evaluating the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6’s pictures on to these of the S5e is fascinating too. In some areas the lower-end S5e seems extra detailed, however the Galaxy Tab S6’s dynamic vary appears a lot better. So whereas the “straightforward” elements of a picture might look higher within the cheaper tab, this pricier mannequin is best at tough scenes.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 – Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has a 7040mAh battery, identical to the Galaxy Tab S5e. This tells us pill batteries match the case, not the worth.

It’s a really excessive capability for such a slim pill. An hour of wi-fi streamed Netflix at 50% brightness takes eight% off the battery stage, suggesting it should final for round 12 hours of video.

Samsung claims 14-hour stamina, which you would possibly be capable of attain by reducing the brightness and enjoying domestically saved video fairly than streaming the stuff. The Tab S6 is in the identical league as iPads for stamina.

Ought to I purchase the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6?

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is one of the best Android pill. That sounds a grand assertion till you realise hardly anybody makes them anymore – all of Amazon’s are funds buys and its largest rival is Samsung’s personal Galaxy Tab S5e.

There are solely two main advantages over the 5e, which begins at round £250 much less. It features a stylus, and you’ll’t use the stylus with the 5e even in the event you purchase one individually. The Galaxy Tab S6 can be much more highly effective, which turns into obvious while you play demanding video games.

Is that price £250? Earlier than you say “no”, contemplate Apple prices £100-120 for its Apple Pencil, you get double the storage within the entry-level mannequin and that the Snapdragon 855 is not less than two leagues above the Galaxy Tab S5e’s Snapdragon 610.


One of the best high-end Android pill. Just about the one present high-end Android pill, too.

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