Review of the flagship tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (SM-T860/SM-T865)

In 2019, Samsung changed its approach to the formation of model lines, this is clearly visible in the smartphone segment, but exactly the same thing happened for tablets. The key task was the optimal price / quality ratio in each of the segments where products are presented, from inexpensive A-series to top models with the S index. Formally, until recently, the Tab S4 was the flagship in tablets, it had a glass case, aesthetics, very strongly different from the current generation of tablets, such as the S5e.

Now all tablets lead to the same style, these are thin metal cases. I like this approach, as such tablets are less covered with handprints, and it is much more convenient to hold them in your hands. Considering that these are either bedside devices at home or they are used on trips, focusing on less weight and size (thickness) is quite justified.

What does the flagship mean for Samsung? The answer is very simple - these are the maximum possibilities out of the box. Fast charging, the best screen on the market, the longest lasting battery, the presence of an LTE version, which is the main one, normal cameras and the list goes on. That is to say, take the best you can add to a tablet and turn it into the ultimate work or entertainment tool.

Who will be interested in the Tab S6? This tablet has several target audiences, as it is diverse. Firstly, these are those who are looking for the very best device, that is, they buy a flagship, because they want to get the maximum opportunities. It is not a fact that such people will use these opportunities one hundred percent or even fifty, but their desire is this - they want all the best, and this is quite normal. Secondly, the Tab line is loved by those who use a tablet for work and play, these tablets have the best balance of the first and second. Thirdly, these are people from the corporate world (graphics, text recognition, those who are used to writing with a pen or drawing pictures and on pictures, making sketches) plus creative people. The fact that the aspirations of such different audiences are combined in one product is amazing in itself.

For the first time, Samsung seriously tried not only to promote the DeX mode, which in some ways makes the tablet similar to a computer, but to add a keyboard case, which brings the Tab S6 closer to mobile computers. Let's talk separately about how it turned out, let's leave the intrigue until the end of reading the review.

Without any discounts, we can say that the Tab S6 is the flagship not only for the Samsung line, but for the market as a whole. Today, the iPad is more popular, but it is in the Tab line that Apple developers have been copying solutions for many years, borrowing them from year to year, since they cannot come up with something of their own. They live according to the precepts of Steve Jobs, who directly said: “We were never ashamed to steal great ideas.” And those ideas that are embedded in the Tab S6 are just that.

Design, dimensions, controls

The tablet is available in three colors - gray, blue and dark pink (gold).

The back wall is made of aluminum, the metal is matte, and there are no traces of hands on it, which is very pleasing. In the hollow there is a mount for the S Pen, the pen is included. The color of the handle is made in the color of the body, there are no differences.

The disadvantage of the S Pen mount is that it is on a magnet, and if you carry the tablet in your bag, the pen will constantly fly off, it is enough to hit other objects. In your hands, the pen will fly off only if you twist the tablet. In transport, this can result in the loss of the S Pen. Therefore, for everyone who uses the S Pen, the use of a case becomes a necessity, it has a flip-down valve for the stylus, it is impossible to lose it. Also, he will not be able to fly away.

When the pen is in place, the tablet rests on a flat surface at a slightly angled angle, which is nice, making it easier to type or browse the web. But I emphasize that the cover becomes a vital necessity. Alas, any fastening without a rigid fixation for the stylus is unreliable and allows you to lose it.

On the right side there is a paired volume rocker, as well as an on/off button. In landscape orientation, this is the top edge. There are speakers on the side ends, there are four of them, and they are tuned by AKG engineers. Very loud, the volume margin is such that in most cases I turn the sound up by 50-60%, it’s simply not necessary anymore and it’s uncomfortable to listen at this level.

There is a POGO connector on the bottom wide edge, it is different from the Tab S4, so you won't be able to use the same accessories, for example, a keyboard case, they are different. There is also a magnet for attaching a keyboard or cover. Inserts of antennas for Wi-Fi and LTE are visible on the case, there are no problems with the signal quality, the antennas are not blocked in the hands, the signal level remains plus or minus the same.

The tablet only has a USB Type C connector, it is used to charge and connect a headset (it is not included). It's a pity, but the rejection of the 3.5 mm jack is perceived by me as a disadvantage, there are many good headphones that are especially convenient to use at home when the tablet is next to the bed. I don’t perceive adapters as something normal, it’s some kind of collective farm, and it’s not included in the kit. You have to use only wireless headphones, while Samsung, as always, has the richest settings for controlling sound quality with a wired connection, you can fine-tune the tablet for yourself. And this is confusing, since the rejection of 3.5 mm does not look logical. But the trend is that most companies are starting to move away from this connector. Apple started doing this in 2016, and, alas, other manufacturers have gone down this path, the motivation was AirPods sales, which are breaking records. It is the rejection of 3.5 mm that pushes up the sales of wireless headphones, and all manufacturers want to skim the cream off this segment, here Samsung is no exception, they held on for a long time, almost three years.

The tablet has a system of two microphones, this allows you to use noise reduction when talking in instant messengers or on a cell phone (in the LTE version, the tablet does not differ from a smartphone, you can use it as a phone).

The dimensions of the tablet are 244.5x159.5x5.7 mm, weight - 420 grams. Very light, it is easy to hold it in your hand even for a long time, and it does not matter, with or without a case. Also, the tablet is very thin, which does not cause any trouble. But you look at it and wonder how tiny the electronics have become, the thickness of the device is impressive.

I didn't like the lack of a fingerprint sensor on the Tab S4, only face unlock. I had to either bend over the tablet or raise it, and this was not a convenient way, I set up unlocking by pattern. The fact that the Tab S6 has an in-display fingerprint sensor is a breath of fresh air. It is exactly the same as in Note10 / 10+ or ​​S10+, that is, it has different levels of protection, it cannot be deceived by a photograph or a three-dimensional cast.

A little tip for those who are setting up such a fingerprint sensor on a tablet for the first time. Since you can hold the tablet both vertically and horizontally, wrap the fingerprint in two orientations, this will eliminate the need to twist the tablet when unlocking and make this moment painless.

Display

The technical specifications of the screen are as follows: 10.5 inches WQXGA Super AMOLED, 1600x2560 pixels, pixel density 287 ppi, aspect ratio 16:10. This is an excellent display, simply the best in its class, it has no direct competitors. Adaptive brightness control, color temperature and other settings allow you to choose how the colors on the screen look for you. Samsung doesn't call this Dynamic AMOLED screen, like on the latest generation of smartphones, but in fact it is. A separate RGB sensor adjusts the brightness of the screen to the lighting conditions, this is a Samsung proprietary feature that Apple adopted and called TrueTone, but did it much later.

Subjectively, the screen is very similar to those in S10+, Note10/10+, it belongs to the same generation. There are no alternatives for such a screen today, it behaves equally well both in the sun and indoors, you see exactly the same picture. The color gamut is maximum, the color reproduction is accurate. When shooting on camera, exactly the same approach, you see what you get, no color distortion.

For a tablet, the screen becomes a key feature, it's where you constantly look, and there are no problems with it. It's simply the best you can get on the market right now. In Apple, IPS screens are not bad, but AMOLED they will be installed much later compared to Samsung, although they realize all the advantages of the technology, but the prices for such devices will become even higher and even more inadequate.

The responsiveness of the screen, the speed of the interface - all these are the advantages of this model, and it is impossible to say that here it can lose to someone in some way. This is the flagship with the best technology you can buy. No screen manufacturer other than Samsung has similar components at the moment.

Performance

The tablet is based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 chipset (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 485 Gold & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 485 Gold & 4 x1.78 GHz Kryo 485 Silver), Adreno 640 graphics, 7 nm manufacturing process. A top-of-the-line chipset with no flaws, its performance will be more than enough in the coming years.

RAM - 6 GB, built-in - 128 GB, memory cards can be installed up to 1 TB (in some countries there is an option for 8/256 GB). Look at the results of synthetic tests below, I will note from myself that there are no slowdowns in the menu and interface, including when working with heavy applications.

DeX mode and working with a keyboard case

It doesn't matter if you have an HDMI cable or a keyboard case, you can still directly connect a wireless keyboard and mouse to your tablet and turn on DeX mode. In fact, this is the use of a tablet with a DeX interface, which is as similar as possible to a computer and allows you to comfortably work in different windows, a sort of mode for working. My phones are used in my DeX station, and this is very good, as they provide ample opportunities, in particular, I connect various peripherals in this way. And this tablet is no exception, in it you can get exactly the same features. It's a workhorse, but only for those who need it.

The Tab S6 has a new keyboard and touchpad case. See what it looks like.

The keyboard is not bad, I like the key travel, it is comfortable to work on. I analyze in great detail what the keyboard can do in the video, at the same time I compare it with the Tab S4 keyboard.

Battery

The tablet has a 7040 mAh battery that supports fast charging (no difference from the Tab S5e in terms of battery size). A full charge from zero takes about 2.5 hours (on the Tab S5e it's three hours, which is amazing for the same battery size).

In my opinion, battery life is a strong point of the gadget. If you turn on the video at maximum brightness and volume, you can get at least 15 hours of screen. It is clear that this is video playback, but how much the tablet can work in different tasks, how much it pulls the load. Look at the screenshot of the running time below.

Ten hours of screen time, of which almost six hours were spent watching videos (Wi-Fi was on all the time), and four hours was spent on toys, Chrome and other traditional tasks (screen brightness is enough for me by 40-50%, this is very comfortable, maximum brightness is not needed). Please note that it took me another 5 hours to listen to music, listened to it on connected wireless headphones, when I worked, the screen was turned off. It's amazing how economically the tablet consumes energy when connected wirelessly, the claimed operating time in this mode is up to 105 hours! Think about this figure, it's almost five days of non-stop work.

But there is one little problem with the battery that you should be aware of. If you're using the S Pen and it's off the magnetic mount, the tablet starts looking for it. The search goes on ad infinitum, and it takes a lot of energy. I was interested to see how many. Therefore, I set the movie to play in MX Player and just went for a walk, and took the S Pen with me. And here is the result.

It turns out a sad picture, if the S Pen is not disabled in the menu, but it flew off, then the energy consumption will be so merciless, autonomy has almost halved. Do not use the S Pen - turn it off in the menu, autonomy will increase dramatically. Those who use it should stop at a case with a holder, this is another argument in favor of this accessory.

In general, I like the battery life of the tablet, it is durable and provides up to nine hours of gaming (Clash of Clans as an example), while the similar iPad Pro I had was dying at about 5 hours of work in this game. On vacation, the children played non-stop throughout the day, so it was not difficult to measure the time. There are many power-saving modes in the settings, so you can squeeze more out of the tablet.

In total, at the moment this is the most enduring tablet in terms of operating time, and at the same time you do not lose the image brightness or quality at all. I also note that I often hear complaints about the operating time, but upon detailed investigation it turns out that there is always a program / service that eats up the battery, and the user does not detect this zhor in time. If your device does not work well, then look for a problem in the software. The Tab S6's battery life is a strong point, just like the Tab S5e's. In bedside device mode, the tablet lasts for a week, and charging is easy, it recharges quickly and you can both play games and just watch movies.

Cameras

The presence of cameras in a tablet does not seem to be a strong point for me, although they may be needed in a corporate device, and the front camera is quite applicable for video calls in instant messengers. The Tab S6 has an 8-megapixel front camera, Live Focus, that is, blurring the background when taking pictures of the face, plus you can use a wide angle. The quality of the pictures is lower than on smartphones, but this is understandable.

The camera interface is familiar from OneUI, there are no special features here. Dual main camera, one module for 13 megapixels, the second for five. There is also a “Live focus”, different modes of operation. In my opinion, the tablet camera is not bad, video can be recorded both in FullHD and 4K. Look at the interface.

This is how sample photos and videos look like.

The cameras are not bad for a tablet, but smartphones still outperform them, and a lot.

S Pen modes, what you can do with the “pen”

The key feature of the Tab S6 is support for the S Pen out of the box, you do not need to buy a “pen” separately, as Apple offers to do and asks for some 11 thousand rubles for it. Everything is included here, and that's exactly how it should be.

To begin with, because of the desire to magnetize the S Pen to the body, it was made relatively flat, there is no comparison with the stylus in the Tab S4, it was noticeably better there.

I had to adjust before I could use this S Pen, as I accidentally pressed a key when writing or drawing, which caused unnecessary commands. Not perfect, compromise