REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite - Budget Tablet with S Pen
In the age of smartphones with screen sizes of 6 inches+, the thought of owning a tablet is something that is becoming even more niche. That said, there’s no denying, that once you actually own one, how useful it can be in day to day life – especially when using such a device to appreciate videos via a larger screen, or to do creative work such as photo editing or even drawing. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite provides the ability to achieve all those mentioned above and then some, despite being considered a “watered down” version of its non-Lite sibling that was released last year. Fortunately, the brand was also wise enough to let the Lite version to still keep the highly useful S-Pen accessory as part of its package.
So what’s different about this model? For starters, its display comes in at 10.4-inches, exactly an inch smaller than the standard Tab S6 variant. Rather than a Snapdragon 855, the Lite variant packs Samsung’s own Exynos 9611 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory. Other than that, it supports external memory of up to 1TB through MicroSD and runs on Android 10 via One UI 2.1.
As for photography, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite sports a single camera setup on its back consisting of a 8MP sensor. In front is a 5MP selfie camera located on the tablet’s upper bezel. You can see an ever greater breakdown off all the key specs here.
Design & Build Quality
Besides the smaller size and the reduced number of cameras on its back, those familiar with the standard Tab S6 will not find much of a difference in the Lite variant in terms of build and design. Like its sibling, the device offers a flat display with slim bezels and a seamless metal unibody. On its top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, while a USB-C slot is located on its bottom.
As with most tablets in the market, the Lite’s overall design is nothing to write home about. Despite the lack of aesthetic flare, the device favours more towards practicality and does work quite well with that approach.
In terms of weight, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite comes in at 467g which is not light nor too heavy. You’d definitely want to hold it with both hands rather than just one in order to enjoy it comfortably.
Like most recent Samsung mobile devices out in the market, the Tab S6 Lite runs on the brand’s own One UI 2.0 based on Android 10. That accounts for a clean and user friendly interface that is easy to navigate.
User interaction and app navigation is as smooth as you can imagine it to be, thanks to the Exynos 9611 chipset that is under its hood. Although not as zippy as the tablet’s standard variant which is powered by a Snapdragon 855 SoC, the chip does very well to run various applications with no problem. However, an apparent slowdown is noticeable if you’re running more than six apps in the background for whatever reason.
The tablet’s hardware is ideal for day-to-day usage, including video and music consumption, photo editing or other creative work, and even gaming. As for the latter, the device holds up pretty well when it comes to graphics intensive games including the likes of Call of Duty: Mobile. The game runs at 60fps almost consistently even with the graphics quality slider set to High. Of course, if high framerates is essential to your style of play then its best to leave it at Medium instead.
As for its display, the Lite features a 10.4-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 2000 x 1200px, which is 0.1 inches smaller than its non-Lite sibling. Despite not being an AMOLED display like some higher end tablets, its screen is actually pretty decent and provides crisp and punchy visuals when viewing videos or photos.
S Pen Functionality
Without a doubt, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite’s other main attraction – aside from its affordability and specifications – is the S-Pen accessory that comes along with the tablet out of the box. The stylus itself is pen-sized which is unlike the ones found on the Samsung Galaxy Note series of smartphones.
And to certain users including myself, bigger is better especially in terms of writing and drawing. The accessory is comfortable to hold thanks to its actual pen-like size, and it also features a single button which can bring up a Note-like Air Commands menu that provides shortcuts to several apps and features such as Screen Write and Memo. The S-Pen is very responsive and does simulate pressure sensitivity quite well when used with applications such as Samsung Note and Autodesk SketchBook.
Thankfully, the Tab S6 Lite also features palm-rejection which allows you to rest your hand on its screen while you doodle or write on it with the stylus. However, do keep in mind that this feature would only kick in only when the tablet detects that the S-Pen is hovering above its screen.
In terms of storage, both the Tab S6 Lite and its S-Pen include magnetic points which allows you to attach the pen onto the device itself. You can attach the stylus on two areas of the tablet; its lower right side and the lower half of its back. The magnets are very strong, so you don’t need to worry about dropping the stylus while it is connected to the Tab S6 Lite. That said, it will require a bit of force to actually knock it off completely.
I’m just going to be straightforward with this; the cameras that are available on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite are very basic. The front-facing 5MP and rear 8MP cameras are not terrible, but they’re not great either. However, they do work as intended.
The rear camera is available for the sake of convenience when the situation calls for it, and the front-facing one is useful for usage such as video conferencing. Tablets are rarely used for actual photography due to its bulking size when compared to smartphones, and Tab S6 Lite has no intention to break that mold in the first place.
In terms of battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet S6 Lite offers a capacity of 7,040mAh which is sufficient to keep it running throughout the entire day and then some. This is while doing typical everyday activities such as web browsing, social media, watching videos on YouTube, on-tablet drawing, and also gaming.
When required, you can always plug it in to charge via a USB-C cable to top-up some energy. The Tab S6 Lite supports up to 15W fast charging, which is ironically a bit on the “slow” side of the fast charging speeds currently available in the smart device market. But then again, I rarely found myself needing to charge the device more than once a day due to its massive battery capacity.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is definitely a worthy option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly tablet that can delivery on the productivity and entertainment front. Although it does have its limitations in terms of performance and display, these shortcomings are easily overlooked and will not hinder your overall experience in any major way. It packs an amazing battery life, and it comes with a much appreciated S-Pen accessory from the get go.