When it comes to competing against Apple’s iPad Pro, there’s only one true contender, and that’s the Microsoft Surface. But in recent years, Samsung has been making an effort to compete with its own line of Android-powered tablets. It’s been declared time and time again that Android on tablets sucks, but that isn’t stopping the company from releasing its new Galaxy Tab S6 with productivity and entertainment in mind.
The new Galaxy Tab S6 arrives after Samsung teased its launch yesterday. While the machine doesn’t seem like it’s up to par with what the iPad Pro packs, it’s at least trying to compete, and it may stand a chance at becoming the laptop alternative you ultimately buy.
According to Samsung, the Tab S6 comes with an aluminum body with four distinct grilles around its body. This is due to the inclusion of four AKG-tuned speakers. You’ll also find a USB-C port on the body of the tablet. Like the iPad Pro, however, there isn’t a headphone jack.
Inside, the Tab S6 includes a Snapdragon 855 processor along with either 6 or 8GB of RAM. You also get up to 256GB of storage, with a microSD card slot providing an extra solution to further expand your device’s onboard space.
On the front, you’ll find a 10.5-inch 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display. Samsung says it trimmed down the bezels around the screen when compared to the previous generation. That way, you can get a larger screen in a similar footprint. Unfortunately, it can’t exactly compete on the same level as the iPad Pro since it sticks with a 60Hz refresh rate, whereas Apple’s tablet doubles that.
For security, Samsung also includes an in-display fingerprint reader with the Tab S6. I’m not exactly sure how well it’s gonna work given my poor experience with the Galaxy S10 Plus’ sensor, but maybe this one will be better. Who knows?
Around back, the Tab S6 includes a dual-camera setup with a main 12MP sensor and a secondary, ultra-wide 5MP sensor. This is the first time I’ve ever seen dual rear cameras on a tablet, so it should be interesting to see how much use customers get out of them.
What the Tab S6 comes with the iPad Pro doesn’t, however, is a stylus. Samsung includes its S Pen right out of the box, and this year, it uses Bluetooth LE to do some new tricks reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 9. To store the pen, there’s a magnetic strip on the back of the Tab S6 which, to say the least, is pretty awkward.
As far as software’s concerned, the Tab S6 ships with Android 9 Pie with Samsung’s UI on top. It also sports Samsung DeX which gives you a desktop-like UI for productivity. You can switch between it and the default interface depending on what tasks you’re looking to perform, whether it be watching a movie or working on a spreadsheet.
Samsung is also updating its keyboard for the Galaxy Tab S6 which connects to pogo pins on the bottom of the device. This year, the keyboard comes with a trackpad for better precision along with a row of Function keys. Its sold separately, unfortunately, but you will get 50 percent off one if you preorder a Tab S6.
For power, there’s a 7,040mAh battery inside the tablet.
I really can’t tell you if this thing’s gonna be sufficient enough to serve as a laptop alternative, let alone a replacement. It’s aiming for the same market the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface currently dominate. If Samsung plays its software cards correctly, it may stand as a solid Android-powered alternative to the bigger names in its field. But if the company doesn’t provide enough utility and versatility with the S6, it’s unclear if the Galaxy maker will ever stand a chance in the 2-in-1 category.
The Galaxy Tab S6 will cost $649 when it launches. Preorders go live August 23rd on Samsung’s website, while orders will start shipping September 6th.