Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review

A tablet for work and play

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

What We Like
  • S Pen included

  • Vibrant display

  • Dual rear cameras

  • Thin and durable design 

  • Atmos supported speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Keyboard cover not included

  • Less battery capacity than the previous model

  • Pricey

The Galaxy Tab S6 has a beautiful display, exceptional sound quality, and a surprisingly good camera.

4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is technically a 2-in-1, but it’s more of a productivity and drawing tablet. It includes the newest version of Samsung’s S Pen, and you can add on a keyboard case to transform the Tab S6 into a hybrid. I tested the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 for about a month, evaluating it to see how it compares to other modern tablets.

The Galaxy Tab S6 is remarkably slim, measuring only 0.22 inches in thickness, and weighs less than a pound, so it’s not too heavy to take with you on the go either. The interior bezel, which is roughly a quarter of an inch, uniformly bounds the perimeter of the screen, which is constructed of Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The back of the tablet is aluminum, which is ideal for durability and day-to-day use. You can choose between three colors: mountain grey, rose blush, or cloud blue. I tested the mountain grey version. There’s an indenture on the back where you place the included S Pen. It connects to the tablet magnetically, and the tablet also charges the S Pen, which contains an internal battery. In spite of the magnets, the S Pen does come loose from the tablet relatively easily, so I found myself holding it against the tablet when I carried it with me. If you purchase the keyboard case, it includes a cover for the S Pen for a better, more secure placement. 

The Galaxy Tab S6 has a USB-C connector, but no 3.5 mm headphone jack. There’s a microSD card slot on the side to expand your storage to 512 MB, although this is becoming increasingly unnecessary as cloud storage applications become more commonplace.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
 Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Display: 10.5-inch Super AMOLED

You can usually rely on Samsung devices to have top-notch display quality, and the Tab S6 is no different. The super AMOLED display is crisp and clear. The text is sharp, and the colors are bright and vivid. The 10.5-inch display feels large enough to watch shows and movies or to use as a hybrid when you connect the keyboard case. 

The screen displays 2560x1600 resolution, with a pixel density of 287 pixels per inch. This is pretty close to on par with the 11-inch iPad Pro, which displays 2388x1668 resolution at 264 pixels per inch, and with the Surface Pro 7, which boasts 2736x1824 resolution at 267 pixels per inch.

Some users report an issue with the screen, where it randomly goes blank in the middle of using the Tab S6. Audio will still play, but the tablet’s screen will go dark, and the user will have to re-awaken the Tab S6 to continue their tasks. I personally experienced this issue while testing a refurbished version of the Tab S6. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
 Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Performance: Qualcomm 855

The Tab S6 has the Qualcomm 855 processor, which is a pretty solid mobile CPU. It comes in two versions: one version with 128GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM, and one version with 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM. I tested the former version. On PCMark Work 2.0, the lower level Tab S6 scored a 9022. On Geekbench 5, the Tab S6 scored a single core score of 747 and a multi-core score of 2,518. It’s multi-core scores come in very close to the A12 Bionic chip in the iPad (2019).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Productivity: S Pen included, keyboard case sold separately

The newest version of the S Pen is Bluetooth enabled, so you can control the Tab S6 tablet remotely. You can snap a group pic from a distance or control a slideshow presentation by swiping to the next slide without touching your tablet. You can use gestures within compatible apps, although few apps have S Pen compatibility.

The S Pen does allow for more efficient use of the tablet, especially once you get used to it. After about a week, the S Pen became like an extra appendage for me. In addition to quicker screen navigation, the S Pen is excellent for drawing, photo editing, video editing, quick note-taking, messaging on social media, translating, and virtually signing documents. 

The Tab S6 also features Samsung DeX mode, which provides more of a desktop feel, and allows you to cast your display on a larger screen.

After about a week, the S Pen became like an extra appendage for me.

Audio: Dolby Atmos

The Galaxy Tab S6 has four speakers—two on the bottom and two on the top. The speakers are AKG tuned, and they even support Dolby Atmos. You can enable Dolby Atmos in the tablet’s sound settings. Overall, the speakers sound exceptional for a mobile device. I was impressed by the immersive sound quality when watching movies and shows. For music, the bass isn’t as punchy as it could be, but it sounds better than most tablets I’ve encountered. 

I do wish the Galaxy Tab S6 had a headphone jack. I was able to purchase a USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter on Amazon for about $10, but it would have been nice to have a 3.5 mm jack available.

Network: No Wi-Fi 6

The Tab S6 supports Bluetooth version 5.0 and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks, and you can connect it on the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. I live in a suburb outside of Raleigh, NC, and my network speeds max out at 400 Mbps. I have a Wi-Fi 6 capable router, but the Galaxy Tab S6 doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6. 

The internet connection is stable, and the Tab S6 appears to have a reliable Wi-Fi adapter. When I connected to the 5 GHz band in my home, I was able to clock 329 Mbps (download) and 39 Mbps (upload).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Camera: Dual rear cameras

The Tab S6 has dual rear cameras, and a single front-facing camera. It has a 13 MP camera and a 5 MP camera on the back, and an 8 MP camera on the front. For a tablet, the camera quality is actually pretty good. It’s not as good as your typical flagship phone, but it’s better than you’d expect on a hybrid tablet. Photos are surprisingly clean and detailed, so you could absolutely get a good group pic at the office, or snap a clear pic of a document you need to send.

The Tab S6 can take UHD video (3840x2160) at 30 FPS with the rear camera and FHD (1920x1080) at 30 FPS with the front cam, and it has a few cool software features like a food mode, pro mode, night mode, and hyperlapse. You can also create an AR emoji and take advantage of additional features like Bixby Vision.

Battery: Worse than the Tab S4

The Tab S6 has a serviceable battery capacity. The 7040 mAh battery lasts for up to 15 hours play time. The S Pen does take some of the Tab’s battery, but it doesn’t affect the battery life to a noticeable degree. I was able to use the S6 on and off for most of the day, and I still had some battery leftover for the next day. The Galaxy Tab S4 had a slightly better 7300 mAh battery that lasted for up to 16 hours of play time. I was surprised to see that the Tab S6 had less battery capacity than its predecessor. 

I was able to use the S6 on and off for most of the day, and I still had some battery leftover for the next day.

Software: Now on Android 10

Initially, the Tab S6 released with Android 9. Since its release in 2019, the Tab S6 has now upgraded to Android 10. You can learn about the different Android versions here if you want to know more about the differences between the two.

Samsung includes its own App Store, the Galaxy store, in addition to Google’s Play Store. The tablet also comes equipped with Samsung Daily, which is a rebranding of Bixby Home, and a number of other Samsung applications like Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby, SmartThings, Samsung Flow, and Samsung Kids.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
 Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Price: On the high end

The Galaxy Tab S6 sells for $649 for the 128 gig version, which is pricey for an android tablet. But, considering the S Pen is included in the package, the price is a bit more reasonable. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2020)

The Galaxy Tab S6 is designed for productivity, photo editing, drawing, and multipurpose use. It offers fast processing, an optional keyboard case, and features like Samsung DeX to promote even more efficiency. The Galaxy Tab A (view on Amazon) is a budget tablet that’s good for communication and on-the-go entertainment. The Tab A works in cellular networks, and it doesn’t provide the processing power or productivity features you get with the Tab S6. The Tab A is not compatible with the S Pen either.

Final Verdict

An attractive tablet that hits almost every mark.

The Galaxy Tab S6 is one of the better 10-inch tablets available.

Specs

  • Product Name Galaxy Tab S6
  • Product Brand Samsung
  • SKU SM-T860NZAAXAR
  • Price $649
  • Weight 0.92 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 9.63 x 6.28 x 0.22 in.
  • Screen 10.5 inches Super AMOLED Display
  • Screen Resolution 2560 x 1600 (287 ppi)
  • Compatibility S Pen
  • Processor Qualcomm 855
  • RAM 6GB
  • Storage 128 MB, expandable 512 MB
  • Camera 13 MP + 5MP (rear), 8 MP (front)
  • Battery Capacity 7.040mAh (up to 15 hours play time)
  • Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0