It seems that Samsung has the rather lonely task of keeping the space on the Android tablet alive. While everyone else who could have possibly made good tablets that run on Android and gave the Apple iPad lineup some competition, that really didn’t happen. If you follow auto racing, you would probably have noticed that only Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is bravely taking on what look like runaway leaders, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, in this year’s Formula 1 World Championship. That’s what Samsung is doing, by standing up to the dominance of the Apple iPad. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S series is crucial in that regard, as this is where power, productivity and a premium personality come into play. The latest, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, is just another capable addition to its arsenal, though you shouldn’t be prejudiced by the word “Lite” in the naming scheme.
There are currently two variants of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite on sale in India. There is the Wi-Fi only variant which costs Rs 27,999 while the Wi-Fi + Cellular variant costs Rs 31,999. You can get these in the colors Oxford Grey, Angora Blue or Chiffon Pink. Yes, really, the pink color option is also mentioned. As for the variants, we always recommend spending a little more to get the 4G connectivity option as well, as that flexibility and convenience can come in handy in the long run. And you will also save a lot of money compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 which costs around Rs 59,900 for the LTE version.
It is perhaps the strongest point of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite that no cuts have been made in terms of structure and appearance. In fact, it will be very easy to confuse it with its more expensive sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Not everyone wants a transforming tablet
Not everyone wants complications. Not everyone wants a tablet that can serve as a convertible computing device and all. Sometimes it’s all about simplicity. It might be a revolutionary idea in these complicated times, but people might just want to buy a tablet to use it as, well, a tablet. No keyboard attachments, no docking systems and the whole ecosystem screaming productivity and at the same time not very convincing. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite keeps it simple. It’s a tablet. What you see as what you get.
It is perhaps the strongest point of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite that no cuts have been made in terms of structure and appearance. In fact, it will be very easy to confuse it with its more expensive sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. The same thin bezels, the same very handy form factor and the same clean lines remain intact. The mix of metal and glass, as it lies in your hand, feels good. This really does feel like a great tablet to hold, use and even scribble on. It’s only 7mm thick and feels quite compact for a 10.4-inch screen size too.
It won’t win on the spec sheet but does the job
Speaking of which, the 10.4-inch display has a resolution of 2,000 x 1,200. This is an LCD screen rather than an AMOLED, but to be quite honest it doesn’t feel like a compromise or a step back in any way. Yes, the contrast won’t be as good and the blacks won’t be as deep, but this still does very well on vibrant color reproduction and brightness levels. This is perhaps the biggest usability difference you’ll notice between the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. That said, for most users this will work well in a variety of usage scenarios: reading, binge-watching Netflix, web browsing, and more. On that note, you’ll probably realize soon enough how loud and clear these dual speakers are. They are tuned by AKG and also support Dolby Atmos.
There are achievements, within the limits of Android
This runs the Exynos 9611 processor paired with 4GB of RAM. Right now you get the 64GB storage option with a microSD slot that allows you to add up to 1TB more storage. This will not be a powerhouse, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite does not fall short either. Apps open fast enough every time, while it can handle quite a few apps in multitasking before you notice the odd stutter on the interface, and it’s just very responsive overall. On this, One UI 2 revolves around Android, which means that if you’re a Samsung Galaxy smartphone user, everything feels all too familiar, which is good.
What the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite doesn’t have compared to the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is DeX mode, which gives Android a more desktop-oriented feel (something very similar to how Windows 10 behaves). Perhaps rightly so, as this doesn’t also pack a keyboard accessory in an effort to get you to replace your laptop. But what you get is the full S Pen capabilities that let you scribble, annotate, draw, annotate and do more on this rather large real estate of a screen.
The inevitable comparison with the Apple iPad, the 9.7-inch standard version that has long been the unshakable workhorse, will be inevitable. The iPad just feels a bit faster and more adept at multitasking, although it’s important to point out that iPadOS is very different from Android and therefore the apps have performance differences as well. Blaming the hardware for any comparative differences is unfair.
Battery life is also quite good. For most users, this will take a few days before you need to reconnect it. The massive 7,040 mAh battery certainly does well on endurance, and you really won’t have any battery anxiety while using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.
Well, you don’t get the Apple Pencil as a standard accessory with the iPad, which is a big plus for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
S-Pen is the secret ingredient
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite comes with the S-Pen as part of the box, meaning you don’t have to spend extra to get the accessory. It pretty much makes the tablet ready for scribbles from the get-go. For the record, the color of the S-Pen matches the color of the tablet, at least on the blue test unit Samsung shared with me. Built into One UI 2.1 is the detailed S-Pen suite, which gives you controls for Air Gestures, which are basically hand gestures to operate some of the tablet functionality. There’s also the transparent Notes app that can be dragged over any other app so you can quickly jot down what you need to remember later. Basically, the full range of features you get on a Samsung Galaxy Note phone or even its more expensive sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. Well, you don’t get the Apple Pencil as a standard accessory with the iPad, which is a big plus for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.
Do you really use cameras on a tablet? Yes and no
I’m not quite sure how many people would use the 8-megapixel rear camera on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite to take photos, but if you still do, the resulting photos will be about acceptable in terms of detail and colors. What does matter is the front-facing camera, because in the times we live in, we may be asking for more hours of video calls and video meetings. This 5-megapixel camera almost gets the job done, although everyone will see you in a grainy avatar if you don’t have enough ambient light around you.
The final word: the only Android option is fighting a brave fight
The point is, your choices are limited. If you need a tablet around the price of Rs 30,000 and for some reason don’t want an Apple iPad, you really don’t have the luxury of choice or options. Therefore, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite comes as a rather pleasant fresh air. It’s no compromise, and within what Android can offer in a tablet-like form factor, it delivers in terms of the experience. For what Samsung has under its control, they have ticked the boxes for performance, battery life, design and usability on the checklist. And then there’s the S-Pen, which adds versatility, broadens its uses and offers real value as a standard accessory. While the iPad still reigns supreme in the world of tablets at this price point, purely for sheer performance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is an option worth considering if Android is the direction you choose.
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