The tablet market has boiled down to a two-horse race. There’s Apple with its iPad line; a versatile portfolio ranging from the 7.9-inch iPad Mini to the more formidable 12.9-inch iPad Pro, positioned as a workhorse. Samsung’s large India portfolio starts with the 8-inch Tab A 8.0 at just under Rs 10,000. The Galaxy Tab S6 is Samsung’s latest, flagship tablet and makes a serious pitch for a work + play device. This has been the toughest sell for tablets almost ever since the first iPad debuted at the beginning of this decade.
Consumers have gravitated towards large screen smartphones for Content consumption. Whether it’s videos or the occasional e-book, newer bezel-less displays have continued to consolidate the smartphone’s unrivalled position as a ‘Convergence’ device. It’s why Apple and Samsung have added more productivity features to their pricier tablets. Apple has extended keyboard and Apple Pencil support almost to its entire range of tabs, aside from rolling out the long overdue iPad OS for its iPad line. The Tab S6 is bundled with an S-Pen and also comes with an optional keyboard.
The Tab S6 is an elegantly designed tablet. At 420 gm, it’s lighter than the iPad Air (2019) and the 11-inch iPad Pro. It lands between these two iPads – its primary competitors, on the pricing front. The 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display (2560 x 1600 pixels / 287 PPI) is one of our favourite features of the Tab S6. In terms of pixel density and screen: body ratio, the Tab S6 and the iPad Pro are in the same league. Videos and gaming on this tab are truly engaging, thanks also in part to the Dolby Atmos Quad speakers. It’s also a hardware powerhouse with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM under the hood. There’s 128GB of Internal memory plus support for Micro SD cards (up to 1TB). Samsung claims 15 hours of video playback and our tests validate this claim. The (7040 mAh) battery powers up in quick time and won’t let you down.
It’s clear that the Galaxy Tab S6 is clearly sorted in the Content consumption space with a gorgeous display, lightweight form and robust battery. The bigger question is - can it replace your laptop? The answer will hinge on your use case scenarios. The S-Pen (in the box) is a great productivity tool for creative professionals and meetings. The new scribble to text tool that now converts your notes into a word document (we enjoyed using this feature on the Note 10) is a great value-add. The keyboard cover is an essential accessory (at an extra cost) and is quite comfortable to type on. Samsung has added a laptop-style trackpad that is handy. I typed this review on the Tab S6 and it didn’t take much longer than my usual laptop. But would I say the same thing if I had to craft a PPT on this? I’m not quite sure.
Samsung’s DeX feature mimics a laptop screen and is a useful touch. I found myself using this feature while working on documents and replying to emails. While DeX and Samsung’s One UI have refined Samsung’s Tab experience significantly, the device is still let down somewhat by the lack of a tablet-specific version of Android. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is a great option for binge watching on a long flight (you’ll need to pack your wireless headphones – there’s no 3.5 mm jack) or catching up on emails. It has enough productivity tools to help you get enough work done on a one-day business trip or a holiday when you don’t want to lug your laptop. It’s also the best Android tab right now; by a distance.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 costs Rs 59,999. The keyboard cover is priced at Rs 10,999 (it’s available for Rs 5,499 as part of a limited period launch offer).
Ashwin Rajagopalan writes extensively on Gadgets & Trends, Travel & Lifestyle and Food & Drink. He owns and manages Brand Stories, a creative Content outfit and www.bytesize.in, a premier lifestyle blog with a focus on short-format content. Instagram: ‘ashwinpowers’)