Samsung is ready to compete head to head with Apple’s iPad Pro for the best tablet on the market. There is no denying the Galaxy Tab S6 will rival the iPad Pro in the tablet-as-work-machine market niche. It also combines a clever and elegant design, a 10.5 inch display, a keyboard with a touchpad and software that gives a PC-like experience. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6 is the first tablet with an HDR10+ certified screen. It also comes at the lower price than the iPad Pro but is it worth making the switch? Here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s soon to be released slate.
The Galaxy Tab S6 looks very much like its predecessor with the same 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display (2,560 x 1600). However, the device has been trimmed down from 7.1mm thickness to 5.7mm making it slimmer than the iPad Pro 11 (5.9mm). The weight has also been cut from 480g on the Tab S4 to 420g on the tab S6, also making it lighter than the iPad Pro 11 (468g).
Sadly, I think Samsung has finally said good bye to the 3.5mm headphone jack as it did on the Galaxy Note 10. There is no jack on the Galaxy Tab S6. Samsung trimmed about 5mm from its somewhat thick bezels on the Tab S4 while keeping the screen size the same. Samsung says that this will be the first tablet to receive an HDR10+ certification which means we should see HDR movies look vivid and more color accurate.
Samsung decided to ditch the glass back and went for an aluminum body instead. On the back of the slate, there are antenna lines that enable LTE and an S-Pen sized indent that is magnetized and meant for charging the S Pen wirelessly. This is a nifty way to store the S Pen on the tablet.
A second 5MP ultrawide rear-facing camera which offers a 123-degree field of view was included in addition to the 13MP main camera. Both are located on the back of the tablet in a circular camera bump below which the S pen sits. The Tab S6 can record up to 4K at 30fps but can playback video at 8k, 30fps.
In addition to using the 8MP front facing camera for face unlock, there is an in-display optical finger print sensor. This however, won’t be as fast as that of the Samsung Galaxy S10 which uses ultrasonic technology instead.
S Pen and Keyboard cover
Unlike the iPad Pro 11, the Galaxy Tab S6’s keyboard cover comes with function keys and a trackpad. This is a major difference for some people especially if you are using the tablet to replace a laptop.
The Book Cover keyboard can be separated as a back cover, which doubles as a kickstand. The stand can be adjusted to a variety of angles as you would expect and the top of the cover has a dent which keeps the S Pen secure.
The improvements on the keyboard definitely make a lot of sense but the $179 price tag seems too much for a keyboard. It is better than that of the Tab S4 but way more expensive. One would hope it was included with the Tab S6 rather than being sold as a separate unit.
Like that of the iPad Pros, the S Pen takes about 90 minutes to completely charged when placed on the magnetic dent on the back of the device. Samsung retained the button on the S Pen which can be mapped to various shortcuts. Software developer kits are also set to be introduce so one can make use of this in third party apps.
Just like we saw on the Note 10 series, there S Pen will be able to perform air actions of the Galaxy Tab S6. The gist of it is while holding down the button on the S Pen, you can map a bunch of air gestures to perform tasks. Some are just simple directional jabs like flicking the pen up or down but some are as complicated as circular motions which may be harder to pull off. In my opinion, this feature is gimmicky and might be more stressful than simply tapping a button on the screen.
Specs, Performance and battery
Unlike the Ta S4, Samsung decided to offer the best processor available – the Snapdragon 855 which they used on all their 2019 flagship smartphones. The RAM has also been increased to 6GB or 8GB options, each with 128GB or 256GB of storage, respectively. There’s also a micro SD card slot if you need more storage. These changes should make the browsing experience smoother and also enable the tablet to run more power-intensive tasks seamlessly.
The Galaxy Tab S6 has a 7,040mAh battery which is slightly smaller than its predecessor (7,300mAh). It’s going to last 15 hours on a full charge as opposed to 16 hours on the Tab S4.
Price and availability
The Wi-Fi model of the device will go up for pre-orders from samsung.com on August 23, in 3 colors – Mountain Gray, Cloud Blue and Rose Blush. The device will be available in-stores September 6 and will set you back $649.
Also, if you pre-order or buy the Tab S6 before September 22, you will be able to get the Keyboard Cover for 50% off. The LTE model will be available in the year.
It’s clear that the Galaxy Tab S6 I an upgrade over the Tab S4 in many ways. These are not ground breaking innovations but they help improve user experience for casual and professional use – well, except for battery life.
It hard to say if it’ll unseat the iPad Pro as the best laptop replacement on the market without putting it through tests and also seeing the new tablet-tailored features coming to iPadOS. Dex may be simpler to use but to still falls short of providing the windows desktop experience. However, the Tab S6 is definitely up there with the iPad Pro, so if you’re a die hard Samsung or Android user, I don’t see why you would need to switch ecosystems.