Welcome To The Beta Tech. No pressure or anything, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Technology carries the weight of the entire Android tablet market on its sleek metallic shoulders. Or at least, that sector of the tablet market that aspires to more than being thrown onto the back seat for the kids to chew on.
Overview to Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Technology
Even Samsung appeared to balk in the face of Apple’s onslaught when it led to the mid-range Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e earlier in 2019. But the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 gives us the Android tablet champion we’ve been craving.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 price and availability
Price Starts at $649.99 / £619 / AU$1,099. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 technology has been available since late August 2019. And with prices starting from $649.99 / £619 / AU$1,099 for the base 6GB RAM/128GB storage Wi-Fi model. Add LTE to that configuration, or up the Wi-Fi model to 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, and it will cost you $729.99 / £689 / AU$1,299.
The very top Tab S6 model is the 8GB RAM/256GB storage LTE model, which costs £759 in the UK, isn’t yet available in the US at the time of writing, and oddly is again listed as AU$1,299 in Australia. This is undoubtedly pricey by Android tablet standards.
However, these prices compare very favorably to Apple’s iPad Pro 11 (2018), which starts from $799 / £769 / AU$1,229 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model. Bump that up to the 256GB LTE specification that matches the Galaxy Tab S6’s top model, and you’ll be paying $1,099 / £1,069 / AU$1,669.
And that’s not factoring in the additional $129 / £119 / AU$199 expenditure for an Apple Pencil. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 bundles in its own stylus, the S Pen, as part of the package. You will, however, have to pay extra for Samsung’s keyboard cover, as you do with Apple’s.
You S Pen me, right round baby
- S Pen is a genuinely useful addition
- New Air Actions are not
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has a lot going for it, but its main point of differentiation next to the iPad Pro is the inclusion of the S Pen stylus. It’s even built into the design of the device this time around, slotting into a magnetized area just below the main camera module. The Tab S6 recharges its S Pen when it’s locked in place, with a complete refill from empty taking 90 minutes.
Samsung is an expert at stylus technology, having been running the Samsung Galaxy Note family of phablets for a number of years now. The 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S6 display makes for a wonderful canvas for this versatile tool. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that the S Pen makes even more sense here than in the aforementioned Note series. Advertisement
Whether you’re scribbling notes, cutting out screenshot sections for notations, or flat out drawing, the S Pen is a finely balanced all-round tool. It has just the right level of resistance and precision in its rubber nib to make any task achievable, and dependent on the skill and a steady hand rather than technical limitations.
Apple Pencil Quality Galaxy Tab S6 Technology
It’s not quite Apple Pencil quality, but then we’d darned well hope not given how much you have to pay for Apple’s own tablet stylus. The S Pen is all part of the package, and it’s very good at what it does. There are also cool software tricks here like Smart Select, which lets you cut out a portion of the screen and have the contents transcribed for you. Advertisement
But the motion-based gestures seem a little fiddly and of limited value. We can kind of see the appeal of using these gestures as a remote control when watching a film on the tablet – pressing the button and gesturing up to turn the volume up, for example. But will you ever be that far away from the Galaxy Tab S6 that this will be preferable over using the physical volume key? We have our doubts.
Rotation-based gestures, meanwhile, seem hit and miss. Even if there was the practical case for remotely zooming in the camera this way, the flaky execution ensures that you’d never think to do it after an initial try.
Design and Display
- Very slim all-metal design
- Vibrant 10.5-inch Super AMOLED
- In-display fingerprint sensor handy but not the quickest
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 won’t win any awards for originality on the design front. But that doesn’t prevent it from being a handsome bit of kit. It doesn’t quite have the angular, muscular appeal of an iPad Pro 11, but it’s in the same all-metal ballpark. If anything the Tab S6’s softer edges, thinner body (though we’re only talking 5.7mm vs 5.9mm), significantly lighter frame (420g vs 468g). And longer aspect ratio makes it feel quite a bit svelter than its Apple rival.
Flip around onto the edge nearest that slot and you’ll find the Galaxy Tab S6’s power and volume buttons, as well as the SIM tray on the LTE model. The opposite edge contains the connector for the optional keyboard cover. Samsung has installed four AKG-tuned speakers, two on both of the narrow edges, while the ‘bottom’ edge (judged from the orientation of the Samsung logo) also contains the USB-C port. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a crying shame in any pro-level tablet.
If the Galaxy Tab S6’s design is quietly impressive, then its display makes no attempt to underplay things. We’re looking at a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1600 x 2560 resolution for 287ppi. It’s the Super AMOLED bit that’s really noteworthy here. We might have seen it in both the Galaxy Tab S4 and the Galaxy Tab S5e. But it still feels like a novelty in a tablet.
Strengths and Weaknesses
All the usual strengths and weaknesses of this panel technology are present and accounted for. This is a vibrant display with excellent contrast (including HDR10+ certification) and deep, inky blacks. It really is quite beautiful, and those vibrant colors lift everything from video content to digital paintings.
Another trick of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6’s display is a fingerprint sensor stashed underneath, right near the USB-C slot. This means that you don’t need to rely on the insecure facial recognition system or the annoying passcode entry system.
This in-display sensor works reasonably well in our experience, though it still feels slower and more laborious than dedicated fingerprint sensors. That’s partly because you have to power the screen on to activate it, and partly because it just seems to be a beat slower. The failure rate also seemed higher for us.PRICES – SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB S6