Samsung has officially announced the new Galaxy Tab S6, a high-end Android tablet designed for both productivity work and entertainment needs. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's the same basic pitch as Apple & # 39; s iPad Pro and Microsoft & # 39; s Surface Pro. Just like those tablets, the Tab S6 supports pen input (there is a stylus in the box) and it can be attached to an optional keyboard cover. It will be available from September 6 for $ 649, giving you 128 GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM. A version with 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM costs $ 729. Samsung says that an LTE version of the Tab S6 will be available later this year.
The Tab S6 tops the current Android tablet range from Samsung, including the low-end Galaxy Tab A and the midrange Tab S5e that were released earlier this year. (The company maintains a separate line of tablets running Windows 10 just to complicate things.) It has a 16:10 10.5-inch OLED screen (2560 x 1600 pixel resolution), similar to the outgoing Tab S4 , but Samsung has trimmed the edges a bit to make the overall footprint smaller. It has also traded in the face recognition login system for an on-screen optical fingerprint scanner.
Samsung has also trimmed the overall thickness and weight of the tablet to 5.7 mm thick and 420 grams (slightly less than 15 grams). There are four speakers along the edges, two on each side when the tablet is held in the landscape. Inside, the Tab S6 has a Snapdragon 855 processor and a battery of 7,040 mAh which, according to the company, is good for up to 15 hours of use.
Around the Tab S6 has a system with two cameras with a standard lens and a wide-angle lens of 123 degrees. The most interesting part of the tablet is also located on the back: a magnetic strip with which the included S Pen stylus can be attached to the tablet. Like the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, the S6 can charge the pen when it is connected and it even has a similar charging message on the screen when you confirm it. But placing the stylus on the back of the device is much more awkward than on the side, and in my short time using the tablet, it was very easy to hit the stylus from the back while you held it. The optional keyboard and folio cases from Samsung have a recess to cover the stylus and will probably do much better than just the magnets.
The S Pen stylus has similar functions for remote control as the S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note 9 smartphone, including the ability to move PowerPoint slides or activate the camera shutter remotely. There are also new gestures to scroll through media and other functions while holding the pen. It is likely that these gestures will also be available on the new Note 10 smartphone when it is announced next week.
Samsung has redesigned the keyboard attachment with a small trackpad. The keyboard, which can be purchased for an additional $ 179, can be connected to the tablet via a set of pogo pins on the left edge of the Tab S6. It can be detached separately from the back, which also serves as a stand to raise the tablet.
For software, the Tab S6 runs Android 9 Pie with version 1.5 of the OneUI interface from Samsung. It also supports the Samsung DeX interface, which provides a more desktop-like experience when using the tablet with a keyboard. The new keyboard attachment has a function key to quickly start DeX. DeX can also be output to an external display using the USB Type-C port of the Tab S6.
In terms of size and functions, the Tab S6 is more comparable with the latest iPad Air from Apple than with the more expensive iPad Pro. But the Air starts at a lower price and has a much more developed operating system and app ecosystem than the Tab S6. As with Samsung's most advanced tablet efforts in recent years, it's hard to understand why anyone would prefer the Tab S6 to Apple's options. We have a better idea of how well the Tab S6 is doing compared to the Apple and Microsoft tablets once we have had the opportunity to fully assess it, so keep an eye on this.
Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge
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