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While the rest of the industry may have given up on making premium Android tablets, Samsung isn't quitting just yet. It still believes Google's software has the potential to power superthin and light 2-in-1s, and so it recently unveiled a new version of its hybrid tablet. The Galaxy Tab S6 is a 10.5-inch device that's designed for people who need to get work done on the go. It comes with an upgraded S Pen that features so-called Air Gestures for remote control of your apps; enhanced handwriting recognition to sort out your notes; and a redesigned keyboard cover (sold separately). As with previous Samsung tablets, you can expect a beautiful display, long battery life and capable performance. What really stands out about the Tab S6, though, is the S Pen, which is included in the $649 price. The stylus makes the device a really good digital notepad, but the Tab S6 still isn't quite the "laptop with the mobility of a tablet" that Samsung claims it is.
The Galaxy Tab S6 is a powerful, long-lasting Android tablet that is excellent until you try to use it as a laptop replacement. Its Samsung-made keyboard cover and DeX desktop software need a lot of work before you can truly multitask heavily on the system. But if all you need is to edit some documents and spreadsheets and reply to emails and chats on the go, the Tab S6 is more than capable. Plus, the S Pen is a truly helpful tool for those who like jotting down their random thoughts and having a device that automatically organizes them.
I love the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 10, so it doesn't surprise me that I also dig the Tab S6's stylus. The tablet version is larger and feels more like a real pen, which makes sketching for long periods of time more comfortable. As with the Note 10, Samsung added an accelerometer and gyroscope to the Tab S6's S Pen, along with a Bluetooth radio to enable remote control with Air Gestures. So when you're using the camera, for example, you can remove the S Pen, hold down its button and swipe from side-to-side to switch modes. Flick up and down to change cameras, and make an "N" shape to zoom in on a scene.
As with the Note 10, I mostly found these gestures useful only in the camera app and in very specific instances, like trying to capture myself nailing yoga poses. For the most part, though, I enjoyed the S Pen more as a stylus than as a remote control.
Writing with the S Pen feels as smooth and natural as before -- there's just enough resistance from the screen to make it feel like I'm writing on paper. But Samsung has improved its handwriting-recognition software to the point where it's not just more accurate at identifying what you've written -- it also automatically converts your scribbles in the background. This way, you don't even have to manually hit convert on each note to be able to search for specific words you've jotted down.
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