Our phones might be approaching the screen size of mini tablets, but that doesn’t mean the tablet market is dead. The Apple iPad Pro might be the most desired premium tablet, but not everyone can afford it. In fact, as recent data from Cyber Media Research (CMR) shows, Samsung is number two in India’s tablet market, ahead of Apple.
The company’s latest offering in the premium segment of tablets is the Galaxy Tab S6, which boasts of all the features you would expect in a device priced at Rs 59,990. It also comes bundled with the S Pen. But does the Tab S6 have what it takes to compete against the premium iPad Pro series? Here’s our review of the Galaxy Tab S6.
Samsung Tab S6 specifications: 10.5-inch AMOLED display | Snapdragon 855 processor | 8GB RAM | 128GB ROM | dual back cameras | 8MP front camera | 7,040 mAh battery | Android 9 | S Pen
Samsung Tab price in India: Rs 59,900 for LTE variant
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6: Design, Display
The Galaxy Tab S6 comes with a 10.5-inch AMOLED display and this still has relatively thicker bezels on the side. The AMOLED display from Samsung is excellent, and the company is no novice when it comes to screen quality.
This is an HDR 10 certified display as well which make is a good screen to rely on for video consumption. The blacks are deep and the overall colours pack a punch. From an entertainment perspective, this is an excellent tablet. It has four speakers as well, and the overall audio quality is excellent. The Blue colour review unit we got looks minimal and classy, which is what I prefer on tablets, though Samsung is also offering a black colour option for those who prefer.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6: Performance, S Pen
The Galaxy Tab S6 also packs the best specifications that an Android tablet can offer. This is certainly more powerful than the Tab S5e, which I had reviewed earlier and came with a 670 mid-range processor.
The premium Tab S6 tablet has a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB RAM and 128GB on board storage. The top-end processor means performance on the tablet is smooth and you can easily carry out your daily tasks. My main use case for tablets range from reading PDFs to watching videos and surfing the web. Of course, gaming is not a problem given the specifications, but I find tablets a bit too bulky for playing games.
Samsung also has the DeX mode on this tablet for those who want a more desktop like experience, which works fine. My only issue with the tablet at times was that when I wanted to switch out from the physical keyboard to the on-screen touch keyboard, the experience was not smooth. I often found that I had to physically remove the keyboard cover to get the on-screen keyboard to show. In a tablet, these things need to be more intuitive. More than the general performance, I would say the software from Samsung still needs to be smoother for its tablets.
Samsung has also packed the tablet with the S Pen inside the box. The back of the tablet has a dedicated slot in the shape of the S Pen and this attaches magnetically and links with the tablet via Bluetooth. Once attached, the S Pen charges automatically. The cover that Samsung has created for the Tab S6 also keeps the S Pen in mind.
This is a useful addition. Unlike the iPad or Surface series, you will not have to shell out extra to get the S Pen. The S Pen works wonderfully on the screen, managing to capture the exact pressure that you are applying when writing with it. The Air gestures also work well, though I feel after a point the excitement around these will wane.
The S6 with the S Pen is certainly a worthy option for those who are into art, calligraphy, etc and do not wish to spend a lot of money on their tablet and stylus.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6: The accessories
My biggest problem with the Tab S6 would be the cover that Samsung has provided. Samsung recommends once this is attached you do not remove the cover — the top part is glued to the tablet. The stand is never really reliable and so many times the cover kept coming off.
If I were to compare this to the Tab S5e, which I used recently, this cover is a deal breaker. It ends up compromising the stability of the tablet, and you are never sure using this as a laptop substitute. So many times, the tablet would almost slip while using which really made me extra cautious. I would recommend getting an alternate cover if there exists one.
The keyboard cover is not bad, and typing on it will take some getting used to, though the trackpad on it is not really comfortable for navigating. I never really got comfortable typing with the keyboard on this one. Again I would blame the back cover for not providing the stability needed. Accessories can really make or break a tablet, and in this case, they don’t add much to the Tab S6.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6: Camera, battery, etc
The Tab S6 has dual cameras at the back and 8MP front camera. I’m not one of those who likes to take photos with a tablet camera. The camera results are okay, but I certainly do not the marquee feature of a tablet.
Our review unit of the Galaxy Tab S6 comes with a SIM slot and a microSD slot as well. Samsung has not listed a price for the WiFi-only variant in India. The tablet has a 7,040 mAh battery, which should easily last a whole day depending on your usage. Samsung is promising around 15 hours of battery life on the charge.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 makes a strong case for itself when it comes to performance, and as an entertainment device. It will also appeal to those who need a stylus for their tablets given Samsung has typically done well in this area. It is also more affordable than the iPad Pro series and the Surface Pro devices in the Indian market, where even the accessories cost a lot more.
But what it certainly needs is better software from Samsung, especially for switching between modes. The big folly here is in the unreliable cover, which marred my experience. The Samsung tab is no doubt the most premium Android tablet one can buy. However, standing out against the big rivals won’t be easy for this one.