Unlike the smartphone market where there are a gazillion Android models trying to beat the iPhone at its own game, the iPad is still dominating the tablet space almost singlehandedly. But by the end of 2019, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab S6, which is probably the one and only proper iPad rival in the game. With a Snapdragon 855 processor, fluid pressure-sensing stylus and aluminum built, it is very likely the best Android tablet in the world right now. But is it for you?
First Impressions Of The iPad Rival
The Galaxy Tab S6 is a 10.5-inches tablet with bezels. So in terms of screen-to-body ratio, it probably won't impress. But turn to its back and it wears a lot of aluminum, which makes it look and feel quite upscale.
On its metal rear is also a shallow groove that is meant to hold the stylus in place with a magnet, but it's not particularly strong so the stylus might fall off when the tablet is placed in a backpack or when it is flung around too roughly. The groove doubles as a wireless charging panel to juice up the stylus when not in use. On the same note, we really hoped that there would be a stylus dock of some sort but the groove seemed to be the only compartment that holds it.
Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab S6 is slimmer and taller with a screen aspect ratio of 16:10. Therefore, it technically has more widescreen.
Going through the sides, it does not have a headphone jack, which is quite a bummer. But on the positive note, it has a microSD slot and a sim card slot.
It also doesn't have a fingerprint scanner but that's because it has employed an in-screen scanner. The Galaxy Tab S6 could be the first Android tablet to do so too.
And judging by official specifications, it does not have any water resistance rating, so this tablet is essentially bound to your home or office use. Take it anywhere near waters and the onus is on you to keep it safe.
There are four speaker drivers onboard the Galaxy Tab S6, which are tuned by AKG. The third-party endorsed speakers are quite loud with a hint of bass, at least more so than the average tablet. But just be a little careful when watching Netflix or playing games as they do get easily blocked.
Drawing On the Galaxy Tab S6
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6's S-Pen is akin to a wireless controller, that is you can use it to issue commands to the tablet from a distance, such as controlling the camera and music. The closest relative would be the Note 10+'s stylus.
On paper, the stylus has a pressure sensing ability of 4096 levels, which really makes the drawing experience an intuitive and fun one. It's not quite like paper of course but it sure beats a lot of standalone drawing tablets.
Trace, color, highlight, erase, you can practically draw anything as you would on paper with a myriad of drawing and writing instruments onboard. Third-party apps such as Sketchbook Pro, Adobe Illustrator Draw or Paperdraw can be downloaded for more advanced controls and layers.
We also tried handwriting recognition in place of a keyboard and the AI is pretty good at understanding what was written - in which it will automatically convert it into text form.
For Entertainment Purposes
Sporting a Super AMOLED screen at 2560 X 1600 pixels and HDR10+ support, the Galaxy Tab S6 is a brilliant slate for Netflix, YouTube videos and games. Images are sharp, crisp and bright with good color contrast.
I personally enjoyed my time with it - binging on a few series on Netflix for hours over hours and the battery could take it all before the next charge cycle. Samsung suggests that it can last for 14 hours and while I didn't drain it to that extent, an average user could certainly achieve that battery life - if it's minimal and purely non-internet usage. If you must know, the battery is a whopping 7040mAh.
It is also worth mentioning that the Snapdragon 855 CPU with 6GB RAM is somewhat of a flagship component combo, so mobile gaming of any degree is not a problem on this tyke.
Laptop Mode Checked
As a start, the Galaxy Tab S6 behaves just like any tablet out there, evident by how its OS is akin to a supersized version of Samsung's flagship smartphones of 2019. It's not a bad thing either, because the OS is familiar and anyone could easily start using it right out of the box.
But for those who want a second experience, there is DeX, which is Samsung's secondary Android interface that can convert the OS to behave like say, Windows 10. IT has a start menu, can fit more things on screen including multiple windows and has more shortcuts to apps.
To use DeX at its fullest potential, you would need the Galaxy Tab S6's keyboard accessory - because that would really make it a great alternative to a laptop.
Are The Cameras Any Good?
Well, I personally have never heard of anyone purchasing a tablet for its camera. But having two cameras is a norm breaker for the Galaxy Tab S6, where one is a 13-megapixel shooter and the other a 5-megapixel ultrawide lens.
But the question remains, are the cameras any good? Honestly, they suffice. I mean, where on earth in 2019 (or early 2020) can you find a tablet with a dual-camera configuration?
If you're asking whether it can beat a smartphone shooter, then it's a no. So if you want a great camera, a tablet is not the answer.
The 8MP selfie camera would record your selfie moments but that's pretty much it.
All in all, the cameras are there on the Galaxy Tab S6 for your use and they are decent, that's the word. Photos and videos aren't bad at all, just don't go prodding into the realms of the quad-camera and you would be happy with it.
So should I buy it?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is the best Android Tablet in existence right now (end 2019, early 2020). It can do a great many things by the virtue of the S-Pen and makes for a great laptop replacement via DeX.
It's hard to mention any Android tablets that can rival the Galaxy Tab S6, aside from the iPads, which would cost a partial fortune.
So if you're totally not into Apple and want a tablet that won't disappoint, look no further.