If the Tab S4 was a pure Android tablet and cost hundreds less it would be great. DeX mode In theory, DeX mode on a tablet is a promising idea. It was introduced alongside a dock accessory for the Galaxy S8 that turned the Android phone into a PC-like machine.
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DeX mode In theory, DeX mode on a tablet is a promising idea. It was introduced alongside a dock accessory for the Galaxy S8 that turned the Android phone into a PC-like machine. You could use the dock to hook up a keyboard, mouse and monitor, essentially using it to power a full-desktop experience.
On the Tab S4, DeX is simply a software mode that you can flip on and off through the quick-settings panel or the task bar. And it makes much more sense here, because you don't have to connect a larger screen to multitask.
DeX mode puts a desktop-like interface on the tablet, complete with a taskbar, a systems-indicator tray and a dedicated home screen you can stick shortcut icons on -- just like on Windows or Chrome OS. You can even run as many as 20 resizable windows at the same time.
Any Android app can be launched in this environment, which is nice, but not all of them are optimized for it. And, in general, the execution is severely lacking. For example, opening a blank document from Google Drive in Chrome launches the Doc app, but just displays an error message.
Samsung's own browser can handle that, but in some other instances, like trying to view your Google calendar in your browser if you don't want to go to the trouble of installing the appChrome is more suited.
Samsung's browser just showed the mobile version of your day's events instead. Also, security certificates can't be installed or verified sometimes, and occasionally my Slack notifications didn't show up. It's all very finicky and feels unfinished -- it's nearly impossible to predict what will work and how in DeX mode.
Keyboard and mouse The desktop environment works better with peripherals like a keyboard, a mouse and an external display. And I highly recommend connecting a Bluetooth mouse, because using your fingers or stylus to highlight words or make precise adjustments on the Tab S4 is a giant pain.
I typed part of this review in the back of a cab, and Samsung's cover was surprisingly sturdy, keeping the tablet propped up nicely throughout the ride. But the cramped keyboard really isn't ideal for getting any serious work done.
It's helpful for firing off quick emails, texts or tweets, but the undersized keys make typing quickly or accurately a chore. If you want to finish an essay or business proposal, you're better off on a proper laptop. The keys themselves are responsive, comfortable and feel satisfyingly clicky, but a few of them are redundant.
To the left of the spacebar is a toggle that brings up the onscreen keyboard. Why a physical keyboard needs a key dedicated to bringing up a virtual one is beyond me.
Meanwhile, on the spacebar's right sits a button for changing your keyboard language, which even a multilingual person like me finds useless. Worse, holding down shift and space does the exact same thing -- which was really annoying when I was typing in all caps in an email for emphasis and kept bringing up the language indicator instead of inserting spaces.
Why do you need two whole shortcuts devoted to the very specific task of changing keyboard language? I'd much rather a second Control button, which would make hitting shortcuts easier. It's also mind-boggling to me that Samsung has no All Apps button here.
Instead, there's a search key which sort of serves as the Apps shortcut. The good news is, you don't have to get Samsung's keyboard. Save yourself some money and frustration and get something else.
I connected an iMac keyboard, which offered much better spacing and therefore more-accurate typing. But be warned that the shortcuts are still just as quirky. Samsung generously includes the S Penwhich has a more-rounded design this year. There's also the Live Message feature, which debuted on the Galaxy Note 8 -- it's cute but not very useful.
I did enjoy the stylus, which was as responsive and fine-nibbed as I needed it to be as I uncovered my hidden artistic talent and specialty for still lifes of cleaning products. I also liked the Despite increasing the display size from last year's Tab S3Samsung managed to retain a relatively dainty footprint.
The tablet features Intelligent Scan as well, which mixes facial recognition and iris detection for faster logins. This conveniently works in landscape mode, although not very consistently, and I almost always chose to enter my PIN instead.
Performance and battery life The tablet's Snapdragon CPU held up well -- I didn't have any major hiccups switching between apps or finishing a document with a video playing in the background, although the system has crashed once so far.
I don't really know what caused it -- I was typing up a script and trying to switch apps with the Alt-Tab shortcut, which might have confused or overwhelmed the device.
I was also surprised to see that despite packing in a larger 7,mAh battery, the Tab S4 didn't last much longer than the Tab S3.In the SWOT analysis of Samsung, the strongest is its product portfolio which includes Mobile phone, Tablets, TV/Audio/Video, Camera, camcorder, appliances.
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In the SWOT analysis of Samsung, the strongest is its product portfolio which includes Mobile phone, Tablets, TV/Audio/Video, Camera, camcorder, appliances.
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