Few manufacturers launch tablets regularly. Companies like Google, LG or Sony seem to have lost interest in tablets and today only a handful of manufacturers bet on these devices. Samsung is one of the few that maintains a good number of tablets in its catalog. This year, the company has launched a couple of interesting high-end Galaxy Tab S series models: the most affordable Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and, recently, the most powerful, Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. Along the way the Galaxy Tab S5 has been lost, which never saw the light.
The Galaxy Tab S6 is Samsung’s most advanced tablet. It has a 10.5 ″ Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 855 processor, 6/8 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB of storage, dual 13MP rear camera (wide angle) and 5MP (ultra-wide-angle), 8MP front camera and battery 7,040 mAh with fast charge.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - Software and Functionalities
Software and Functionalities
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 arrives with “Android 9 Pie” and, above the operating system, incorporates the Samsung One UI 1.5 customization layer. It is expected that at some time you receive Android 10 but, for the moment, there is no arrival date.
Samsung launched One UI at the end of last year with the aim of simplifying the use of the devices, grouping the options not to confuse the user and moving the controls to the bottom of the screen where it is easier to access them.
The Samsung One UI customization layer offers a colorful look, although there will be those who believe that the icons have a somewhat naive design.
The app drawer is active by default, but Samsung offers the option to disable it if we prefer to have all the icons on the desktop.
To access the drawer, simply drag the screen upwards while being on the desk. It is also possible to activate a button that gives access to the application drawer.
In the Settings, we can configure that, when dragging the screen down, the drawer is not opened but the notifications panel, something that is useful since the zone of notifications and shortcuts is somewhat far from the finger for the length of the screen.
By default, the icon grid is 5 × 5, which makes the icons look too big, so my advice is to change it to 6 × 5. In the same way, we can also change the grid size of the application drawer.
Unlike other manufacturers, Samsung has not implemented navigation by gestures as such but it is possible to replace the three buttons with three small bars that, although they occupy less, act similarly to the buttons, only by dragging up
The main screen shows a great widget with the time and temperature and the Google search bar. The icons show the number of pending notifications to be read in a small circle, which is quite useful.
If we press and hold an icon, we can access various options such as “Choose items”, “Remove from startup” and “Uninstall”, as well as options specific to that application. For example, on Twitter we can choose Search, New tweet, New message, and Scan QR code; and in the Camera app, we can choose between Photo or Video.
The notification panel is white and shows the first row of buttons that give us quick access to six settings, without any text. Some of these icons - like WiFi, Sound, Bluetooth, etc. - open various options by holding them down.
Notifications appear under this first row of buttons, although it is possible to display many more buttons and access the brightness control by dragging the first row down again or by using the dragging of the notification panel with two fingers.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 allows you to customize the grid of buttons - 4 × 3 and 5 × 3 - and, if we click on an arrow next to the brightness control, we can (un) activate the automatic brightness and place the brightness control on top of the notification panel.
In the status bar, we can choose if only the 3 notifications or all the notifications that fit should be shown. Similarly, we can enable the battery percentage to be displayed with a number.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 allows you to rotate the interface to use it in landscape mode, which is useful since tablets are often held in this way, for example, if we are watching videos.
The Settings section shows a list of groups of options - Connections, Sounds and vibration, Notifications, Display, Backgrounds, Lock Screen, Biometric data and security, Cloud and accounts, Google, Advanced Features, Digital Health, Device Maintenance, Applications, General administration, Accessibility, Software update, User manual and About the tablet - and when entering each group we access the individual settings.
From the lock screen itself, we can quickly access two configurable applications through direct access icons that are located in the corners of the bottom of the screen. By default, we have access to the phone and the camera, which is a bit strange because I don’t think many people make calls from the tablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 incorporates the Multi Window function to run applications in windows, and this functionality is especially useful in the case of a tablet with a large screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 keyboard is somewhat inconvenient to use full screen due to the large screen size, but it is possible to activate a split keyboard mode in which each half of the keyboard is attached to one edge.
The keyboard incorporates predictive text functionality, which works quite well, and the ability to type by dragging your finger on the keys, automatically punctuating, automatically capitalizing the first letter of each sentence, modifying the width and height of the keyboard, etc.
If you are one of those who do not like to have someone else use your tablet in case you are curious, you will be happy to know that Samsung includes in One UI a feature called Safe Folder that allows you to protect access to images, notes, emails, and applications simple way.
Access to the secure folder can be protected by pattern, PIN, password or fingerprint. We can configure a different fingerprint to unlock the secure folder, which can be useful if we want to give access to our tablet by a fingerprint to a nearby being, for example, a relative, but we do not want to be able to access the secure folder.
Another option available is to change the secure folder icon to something that is less recognizable.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 incorporates control through movements and gestures:
Samsung also offers an option called “Smart Pop-up” for applications you choose to send notifications that can be clicked to expand in a pop-up window.
The “Do Not Disturb Function” allows you to deactivate warnings - incoming calls, notifications or alarms - at certain times, being able to establish some contacts as allowed for your calls and messages to arrive. Unfortunately, it does not allow us to choose different schedules according to the day of the week, something that seems basic and easy to implement.
Samsung has added a feature called “Notification Reminders” to receive periodic reminders about app notifications and missed calls. We can choose the frequency of the reminders, as well as for what applications they will be produced.
Of course, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 also supports “Smart Lock“, a feature that allows you to not have to unlock the device with a fingerprint, face, PIN or password if a Bluetooth device you trust is nearby (for example, a smart bracelet, a headset Bluetooth, etc.), if you carry the device on top or if you are in a location you trust.
In the “Device Maintenance” section, we can manage various aspects of the tablet’s performance from a single point: battery, storage, RAM and security. The main functions offered are:
Samsung has added the functionality of “Google Digital Health” that shows statistics on the use of the tablet - number of notifications received, unlock number, time spent on each app, etc. - and allows setting controls.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has incorporated “Game Launcher“, which organizes all games in one place automatically, and allows you to mute the game (but not the device) and select three performance modes: high performance, energy-saving and balanced. “Game Launcher” includes “Discord”, an app that allows you to talk and chat with friends while you play, as well as see what they are playing.
During the game itself, the “Game Tools” offer interesting features such as minimizing notifications and calls, not showing notifications, blocking Bixby/automatic brightness, blocking navigation buttons or blocking the touch screen. It is also possible to capture a screen or even record a video. The source of the sound can be the microphone of the tablet or the audio of the game.
Samsung has incorporated “Samsung Pass“, which allows users to remember any passwords in applications, and protect their access through biometric authentication. It is also possible to save personal data to fill out forms automatically.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 has the “DeX” functionality that converts the tablet screen into a desktop to handle it as if it were a computer if we connect a keyboard and mouse (the BookCover case with keyboard and trackpad). Optionally, we can also connect a monitor or TV through a USB-C to an HDMI adapter.
Some apps are not yet compatible with “DeX” and open on the desktop as if they were a mobile application. This happens, for example, with the Netflix app, which shows the smartphone interface.
Samsung has included its virtual assistant “Bixby Voice” so you can give orders to the tablet by voice. You can ask it, for example, to start playing music or open an application.
Finally, if you have a Samsung smartphone, you can answer calls and answer messages from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, although the integration is not as strong as between iOS devices. For example, it is not possible to remotely activate a WiFi hotspot on the smartphone to access the Internet.
Read Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth:
- Part 01: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - Design and Screen
- Part 02: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - Hardware, Fingerprint, and Battery
- Part 03: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - Software and Functionalities
- Part 04: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - S Pen Pointer and BookCover
- Part 05: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - Applications, Multimedia and Camera
- Part 06: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review in-depth - Price and Competitors
All Image credits and Reference is Galaxy Tab S6