Why I love the Galaxy Tab's one huge advantage over iPad Pro

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Why I love the Galaxy Tab's one huge advantage over iPad Pro
So Apple's iPad is an undisputed dominator in the tablet market, thanks in part to its unrivaled performance, even on the budget model. And aside from having exclusive professional apps, generally most iPadOS apps are perfectly adapted for the iPad, adding to an overall polished and pleasant tablet user experience. Plus, you get true Safari desktop browsing out the box!

If we turn to Android, it's a whole different story. Most apps haven't been tweaked to vibe well with large tablet displays, so you get plenty of wasted space, and you can't really get a consistent desktop browsing experience from the Chrome browser either, nor does it have a Bookmarks bar… Because clearly Google doesn't even care about Android tablets anymore.

However, despite Google's less-than-ideal efforts to improve Android for tablet users, we have another company doing exactly that, on its own, and it's Samsung.

Here we'll focus mostly on my experience with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, but it's worth noting that its features are available on any modern flagship Samsung tablet.

Samsung DeX is incredible and underrated

While Apple's iPad is powerful and has the aforementioned apps that are perfectly adapted for it, it's lacking good multitasking, or an interface that at least somewhat resembles what you get on a PC.

But you pick up a flagship Samsung tablet and you get not just a polished tablet experience, with the usual split-screen features that rival what Apple's iPad has, but with the tap of a button that says "DeX" you can take your tablet experience to the next level.

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Turn DeX on and suddenly your Android tablet looks and behaves like it's running something between Windows 11 and Chrome OS. Apps now open in windows, you can conveniently snap those to the edges of the display, resize them, and you have a taskbar with centered, pinned app icons… It's pretty amazing what Samsung has accomplished here.

Over the course of many years I tried to turn various iPads into a "PC replacement" for myself, and ultimately it never worked, because those are still tablets, and act only as such. Sure, you can buy a first party iPad keyboard with a trackpad now, because the iPad finally has mouse and trackpad support, and – it will look like a laptop – but it still won't behave similarly to one.

But you pick up Samsung's keyboard with a trackpad like I did for the Galaxy Tab S7+, enable DeX, and now you not only have something that looks like a laptop on the outside, but on the inside too, software-wise.

At least to the degree that Samsung was able to push Android, of course. We already mentioned that the desktop browsing experience is pretty sub par, for example, but that's on Google.

Doing "real work" on Samsung DeX is actually easier than on the iPad (for me)

Now, when it comes to doing "real work" on a tablet, this is a very subjective concept. What is "real work"? What are you trying to do, exactly?

If you're an artist who wants to sketch, perhaps even animate, you'll likely be happy with both an iPad with an Apple Pencil, and a Galaxy Tab with an S Pen. If you're a video editor, well then you may want to go with the iPad and the LumaFusion app, as there are no video editing apps on Android that are on the same level.

But if you write and research, and you need a powerful, familiar multitasking experience, as close to a PC experience as you can get from a tablet – you want a Galaxy Tab with Samsung DeX.

I can't overstate how having a normal Windows-like mouse cursor, plus windowed apps which you can resize and snap around, empowers me as a user. And hey, if you ever want to go back to the simple, classic Android interface, it's one tap away!

On iPad you only get the tablet interface and a sub-par multitasking experience, nothing extra. You're forced to adapt to what Apple gives you, and Apple is pretty stingy, playing it safe and simple.

But on a Galaxy Tab with DeX I'm comfortably doing all the things I normally do on my Windows laptop, in a similar, familiar way.

In a fair world, the Galaxy Tab S7+ would be as popular as the iPad Pro

Versatility. That's the one word I'd use to describe what Samsung has accomplished with its One UI Android overlay and Samsung DeX. Even arguably with Google and Android app developers against it, the Korean giant has managed to deliver the best tablet desktop experience it could have. And it didn't need to! Samsung could've easily played it safe and simple like Apple.

And of course, it's worth mentioning that while Android and its apps are nowhere near as good on tablets, compared to iPadOS and its apps, Android does have its benefits. Lots of iPad limitations aren't really a thing on Android. Sideloading apps on Android, as well as Google's more lenient policy on which apps are allowed on the Play Store are a considerable plus. For the right person, at least.

In any case, there we have it. Some well-deserved appreciation for Samsung DeX, and Samsung's efforts to deliver the most versatile and empowering tablet software experience, despite the less than ideal circumstances. May DeX improve even further in 2022!

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