Premium tablets with 2-in-1 functionality aim to replace your laptop, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6, announced today, features meaningful improvements advancing that idea to make it even more of a productivity workhorse.
For those keeping track, this is the successor to the Galaxy Tab S4, and Samsung said there will be no Tab S5. This leaves the Tab S5e positioned as the midrange choice, under the new Tab S6. As for Samsung’s latest tablet, there are optimizations in its DeX desktop computer interface, an HDR10+ screen, and new features like Bluetooth remote functionality in the S-Pen and the addition of a trackpad to the keyboard case. Here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy Tab S6.
Design and display
From the front, the Tab S6 looks much like its predecessor, with the same 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen (with the same 2,560 x 1,600 resolution). The bezels around it are a bit slimmer and the corners are slightly rounded, maintaining the more minimalist, logo-less look introduced on the Tab S4. Samsung said it’s the first tablet to receive an HDR10+ certification, so you can expect HDR movies to look more color accurate to the creator’s intention in supported apps like Netflix.
Comparing the two side-by-side, you’ll see that the Tab S6 is nearly 2 millimeters thinner at 5.7mm, as opposed to the Tab S4’s 7.1mm frame.
Flipping it around, Samsung has chosen to forgo glass on the back this year, opting for an aluminum unibody instead. Interrupting the back of the device are the antenna lines that enable LTE, a set of dual cameras, and an S-Pen-sized indent that is magnetized and equipped to charge the stylus wirelessly. It means there’s finally a way to store the S Pen on the tablet.
The addition of an in-display optical fingerprint sensor is another new feature you won’t immediately see; it’s not the same as the one on the Galaxy S10, which uses ultrasonic technology and is more secure. You can also use the front-facing camera for face unlock.
The Galaxy Tab S6 has a quad-speaker with Dolby Atmos support, as well as a collaboration to add Sound by AKG. There’s no headphone jack, just a USB-C port.
Redesigned Book Cover Keyboard
Samsung’s Book Cover Keyboard has also seen some key redesigns; perhaps most notable is the addition of a trackpad for enhanced laptop functionality in DeX and the regular Android operating system. There are also now function keys, one of which will now give you quick access to DeX mode.
The keyboard cover is comprised of two pieces; the keyboard portion magnetically attaches and detaches from the tablet, while the back piece stays put on the Tab S6. This allows you to remove the keyboard and still utilize the kickstand on the back side of the case.
Specs and battery
Unlike the Tab S4, which used a Qualcomm processor from the previous year, the Tab S6 is offering the best from Qualcomm — the Snapdragon 855 — which can be found on all other Android flagship smartphones from 2019.
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- Memory: 6/8GB RAM
- Storage: 128/256GB
- Screen size: 10.5-inch Super AMOLED
- Resolution: 2560 x 1600
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
It includes 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage — a 64GB jump from the base model of the Tab S4. An 8GB RAM and 256GB storage option is also available. There’s also a MicroSD card slot if you need more space.
Samsung says the Tab S6 will last about 15 hours on one charge with a 7,040 mAh battery — a slight downgrade from 16 hours on the Tab S4’s 7,300 mAh capacity.
Software and special features
The Tab S6 comes loaded with Samsung’s One UI, based on Android 9 Pie, and it’s similar to what’s on the company’s smartphones. New to the equation is Bluetooth-enabled remote functionality via the S-Pen. The S-Pen can now take selfies and videos, as well as scroll through media — all without touching your tablet, up to a range of about 10 meters. This is called Air Actions and, for example, you can switch camera modes just by pressing and holding the S Pen button and waving your hand left or right without touching the tablet.
Samsung said DeX has also been optimized for better touch functionality and app support. Speaking of optimizations, the new Game Booster feature leverages artificial intelligence to monitor which apps and processes are taxing battery and performance the most and optimize their resource load for the best gaming experience. Samsung has also partnered with popular gamer messaging app Discord to enable in-game chat functionality.
The camera on the Tab S6 shakes things up a bit, implementing the first dual-camera setup on a Galaxy tablet. This is comprised of a 5-megapixel camera with a 123-degree wide-angle lens and a 13-megapixel main sensor. As was the case with its predecessor, the Tab S6 can record in up to 4K at 30fps but can playback video at 8K, 30fps. The front camera has 8 megapixels.
Price and availability
The Wi-Fi model of the Galaxy Tab S6 is now available for pre-order in either Mountain Gray, Cloud Blue, or Rose Blush on Samsung.com. It will be available in-stores September 6 for $649.
Those who pre-order or purchase a Tab S6 before September 22 can get the $179 Book Cover Case for 50% off. The LTE model will be available later this year.
Updated on August 23, 2019: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is now available.