Technophile

Samsung Tab S6 Lite: A relatively affordable tablet with obvious compromises

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on June 29, 2020 Published on June 29, 2020

These days you’ll find tablets are trying to be laptops and laptops are trying to be tablets. But here we have Samsung launching a tablet which is not trying to be anything but a tablet. The idea is for it to be more affordable, compared to the costlier Tab S6 non-Lite. It’s got cutbacks that are immediately obvious to accommodate that cost, but one reason to even consider the Tab S6 Lite is because in the small world of Android tablets, the choices are limited for anyone wanting a budget tablet.

Not so easy to use

 

The Tab S6 Lite is a 10.4-inch tablet with a strange set of proportions and dimensions. It’s tall and narrow, making it an odd size to hold in portrait mode, specially for reading. This has become the fate of all of Samsung’s more recent tablets, because the user is fully expected to switch it to landscape mode to either work or watch movies. On this tablet, there are two problems with that: Samsung doesn’t make a keyboard for this tablet. There are no connectors or any other sign of it being keyboard ready. You can buy third-party keyboard cases, but Samsung obviously didn’t think work was the primary function. No cover case is included either, so you’ll need to go looking outside for that.

You do get the S-Pen bundled — and that’s a huge plus — but then you had better be speedy and productive with doing things like answering your email etc, in handwriting and converting that to text. Typing for long on the spread-out virtual keyboard on glass is a bit uncomfortable and not to be equated with the experience on a phone.

The second problem with the landscape mode and watching movies is that the screen is a TFT, not Samsung’s famous AMOLED. At ₹32,000, that’s a rather big compromise. If you’ve never used an AMOLED screen on any of your devices, you may not miss it; but most people will have and the contrast is obvious. The viewing angles are not the same, the deep colours and contrasts are missing, and there’s an overall dullness to the display which certainly isn’t bright-light-friendly. The adaptive brightness control should be turned off straight away, as it aggressively dims the screen when you least expect it, making it even more dull.

But once you begin watching something, it’s not as bad as one might think — it’s just that the experience may be nicer looking on your phone, even if it’s smaller in scale.

The Tab S6 Lite isn’t actually that light. I own a tablet from the regular S series and find the difference in slimness and weight remarkable. Holding the S6 Lite with one hand to read a book or scroll through a website is, again, not half as comfortable as with the more expensive S series tablets — especially the older ones, which were much more well proportioned.

Decent specs

 

Powered by an octa-core processor, this tablet is reasonably fast for most basic activities. Be it watching Netflix or reading news, the tablet handles these tasks quite well. A total of 4GB of RAM and 64/128 GB of storage with the ability to add upto 1TB via a micro-SD card, makes for plenty of space for most people.

In the box, you get just the Tab S6 Lite, a power supply, USB-C cable and the S-Pen. It’s actually this magical digital pen that makes the price of this device worth considering. The S-Pen is the most advanced stylus in the world, come to think of it. Writing or drawing with it is smooth and fast. You can even write on the screen when it’s in sleep mode and have the note saved. The S-Pen is a pressure sensitive stylus and works with many apps both from Samsung and some third party standard drawing and note-taking apps. You can even use it for calligraphy!

Battery-life is an impressive 12 hours of continuous usage, which means you can use it on and off for about two-three days before needing to charge it again. The battery is just a little above 7,000 mAh — so really sufficient for a couple of days. It does also support quick charge and does not take too long to come back to full charge.

Impressive sound

Sound is one of the areas that Samsung has benefitted from with the acquisition of Harman and its subsidiaries. AKG has now begun to provide Samsung with some superb sound in their devices — be it headphones or tablets. The S6 Lite is also sound-tuned by AKG. It has two speakers on either side of the device, so when used in landscape mode, you get the perfect stereo for viewing content.

While the bigger sibling — the Tab S6 — has four speakers, for the S6 Lite two are quite enough; the sound is crisp and clear and makes for a good media consumption device. The Tab S6 Lite also has a headphone jack, a feature being missed by users and increasingly missed out by companies.

Reasonable features

For connectivity, the Tab S6 Lite has the standard options of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. No NFC included in this version. But there is an LTE version so you can easily add a SIM for cellular access. The Tab S6 Lite comes with an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera, making it an ideal device for calls, of which we have many these days.

The operating system for the Tab S6 Lite is Android 10 along with Samsung’s One UI. The pre-installed software is minimal yet enough to get you started, and you can choose to use either the standard Google Play Store or the Samsung Store or both for additional apps. Unfortunately, many of the apps are not optimised for tablets as yet, but that would be true for all Android tablets not just the Tab S6 Lite.

Overall, the Tab S6 Lite is a somewhat more affordable tablet than the top-end with reasonable performance and would suffice for students, or a light user wanting to consume media. With the addition of the S-Pen it is a very good note-taking device as well. But the TFT screen and lack of keyboard case is a big disappointment.

Price: ₹28,000/- (Wi-Fi Only) ₹32,000/- (Wi-Fi + LTE)

Pros: Good build quality, good sound, S-Pen included, good battery life and charging, slim bezels, retains 3.5mm jack

Cons: Display is TFT not AMOLED, odd proportions, somewhat heavy, no keyboard or case made for it by Samsung, no fingerprint sensor

Published on June 29, 2020
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