Bottom line Following last year's flagship Galaxy Tab S6, Samsung's aiming to offer a similar experience at a much lower price with the aptly-named Tab S6 Lite. There's a lot about the tablet that works well, namely the design, display, and included S Pen that magnetically attaches to the side of the S6 Lite. Unfortunately, slow performance from the Exynos 9610 processor puts a damper on the entire experience, as does the lack of a fingerprint sensor. This is a decent value proposition, but so is the baseline iPad with an Apple Pencil.
- Sleek aluminum design
- Comes with a free S Pen
- Bright and colorful display
- Dual AKG speakers
- Headphone jack and USB-C
- Super sluggish performance
- No fingerprint sensor
- Doesn't have a keyboard accessory
- Lots of Android apps still aren't optimized for tablets
When's the last time you thought about buying an Android tablet? If you're like me, it's probably been a hot minute. The market for Android tablets used to be ripe with competition, with plentiful choice available whether you wanted something cheap, ultra-powerful, or just plain weird (I'm looking at you, Sony Tablet P).
In 2020, Android tablets just aren't what they used to be. The market is mostly kept alive by the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, and Amazon, with most other companies abandoning the form factor to focus on other projects. Hell, even Google apparently gave up on tablets last year.
One of the newest Android tablets on the block is the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, which is a stripped-down version of the Tab S6 from last year — which we hailed as the best Android tablet ever. The Tab S6 Lite does a lot of things right, but a few notable pitfalls and a dangerously close price to the baseline iPad means it's far from the insta-buy territory Samsung was likely hoping for.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite What I like
That's a pretty gloomy intro for this review, but the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite isn't all bad. In fact, there are quite a few things I'm rather fond of.
For starters, this is a nicely-designed and well-built tablet for being as cheap as it is. It's made out of an aluminum unibody, which gives it a refined aesthetic and cool in-hand feel. The S6 Lite is also amazingly thin at just 7.0mm thick, along with a weight of 460g (enough to give it some heft without being too bulky).
You'll find two speakers on the top and bottom frame, offering stereo sound with AKG tuning and Dolby Atmos 3D support. I wasn't expecting much from the speakers, but they honestly sound really good. There's a decent amount of bass, the stereo effect works as expected, and you can crank up the volume insanely high — so much so that you could probably use this in place of a Bluetooth speaker if you're in a pinch. Audio does sound a bit muffled and the effect is worsened as you hit those high volume levels, but once again, it's better than I'd expect at this price.
Speaking of the tablet's frames, the bottom one is home to a USB-C charging port while the top has a 3.5mm headphone jack. I moved on from Jack a long time ago, but if you've yet to give up your wired headphones and earbuds, you'll be right at home.
|Category||Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite|
|Operating System||Android 10|
One UI 2.1
2000 x 1200
|Storage||64GB or 128GB|
Expandable up to 512GB
|Dimensions||244.5 x 154.3 x 7.0mm|
All of that's great, but as with any tablet, the main hardware draw is the display. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is equipped with a 10.4-inch LCD display, with the resolution coming in at 2000 x 1200 for a pixel-per-inch count of around 224. That's not the sharpest pixel density we've ever seen, and it means that app icons can look a bit fuzzy and text is on the soft side of things. For the most part, however, this is a perfectly serviceable display and one that most folks won't have any issue with. It's bright, colorful, and a generally great canvas for movies and games.
On the note of the display, I'm also quite happy with the size of the bezels. They're small enough so that they don't distract from any content you're consuming, but I appreciate having some extra space to hold on to so that games and movies aren't interrupted by my hands.
Finally, there's the Tab S6 Lite's hidden weapon, the included S Pen. Unlike a lot of other tablets that have a stylus accessory, the S Pen is included for free in the box with the S6 Lite. I don't have an artistic bone in my body, so I can't really speak to its performance for professional drawing. However, as a stylus for taking handwritten notes and making quick doodles, it feels outstanding.
There are various levels of pressure sensitivity, hardly any feedback delay, and the S Pen itself feels great in the hand. There's a physical button on the side that can be used to bring up a list of S Pen-related shortcuts, such as taking a note, writing on your screen, and making AR doodles. Samsung always does a great job of integrating the S Pen with the software of its devices, and the Tab S6 Lite is no different.
Tying all of this up in a nice bow is how you store the S Pen. Taking a note out of Apple's iPad Pro playbook, the S Pen attaches magnetically to the right frame of the tablet. It's not as discrete as a Galaxy Note where the S Pen slides inside the actual body, but having any kind of on-device storage is greatly appreciated.
A few other highlights before moving on to the not-so-good stuff:
- The 7,040 mAh battery is the exact same size as the one found in the flagship Galaxy Tab S6, and thanks to the Lite's lower-res display, battery life is excellent. If you're just using it intermittently throughout the day for some gaming, Twitter, and knocking out emails, you should be able to easily get a few days of use out of it before needing to charge up.
- 64GB is the base storage option, and thanks to a microSD card slot, you can easily expand things up to 512GB.
- The 5MP front-facing camera isn't the best you'll ever encounter, but for Google Meet and Zoom calls, it gets the job done with a decent amount of detail.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Where it falls flat
Corners obviously had to be cut for Samsung to hit the price it did for the Tab S6 Lite, and unfortunately, one of those came in the form of the processor. Powering the tablet is Samsung's own Exynos 9611 octa-core chip, which is the exact same one powering the company's new Galaxy A51 mid-range handset.
One of our biggest complaints about that phone is its sluggish day-to-day performance, and unfortunately, that sentiment carries over to the Tab S6 Lite. Simply put, this just isn't a good bit of silicon.
Doing virtually anything on the Tab S6 Lite is met with some degree of lag, whether you're opening apps, browsing emails, or just navigating through your home screens/app drawer. Even something as basic as web browsing is a difficult task for the device, and at this day in age, that's a little mind-boggling.
I feel like I'm always waiting on the Tab S6 Lite to do what I want it to, and after a few days of use, it hasn't gotten any better. I certainly wasn't expecting the tablet to be a speed demon, but there are plenty of other low-cost chips out there that deliver good performance. What's offered here just isn't acceptable.
The gaming experience isn't as dire as you'd think, but it's also far from the best. Call of Duty: Mobile is set to Medium graphics by default, and at those settings, runs fairly smoothly. I cranked things up to High graphics and gameplay was still playable, but there was a noticeable drop in the frame rate. PUBG Mobile also runs fine at HD graphics, but even with super low textures, still struggles to offer a completely smooth session.
Performance is the biggest letdown of the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, but that's not where my gripes end. The lack of a fingerprint sensor means no secure biometrics — there's camera-based face unlock, but apps like 1Password don't recognize it — forcing you to go back to the days of entering a PIN or password to access all of your secure apps. I do not miss those days, and I'm sure you don't either.
Then there's the matter of Android in general on tablets. This is a form factor a lot of companies gave up on years ago, and as such, the selection of apps that are properly optimized for larger displays leaves a lot to the imagination. Most apps rotate horizontally so that you can use them in whichever orientation you'd like, but that's only half of the equation. When it comes to rearranging UI elements so that apps take full advantage of the larger screen real-estate, this is something even Google apps don't do a good job of. Most apps just feel like they're being stretched across the screen rather than adding anything useful to the tablet form factor, and time and time again, this is one of my biggest issues with using any Android tablet. It's nothing you can blame Samsung for — it's just the harsh reality of releasing an Android tablet in 2020.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Should you buy it?
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has me conflicted.
On the one hand, there's a lot about this tablet that's done incredibly well. The design is outstanding, the display looks great, and having the S Pen included at no extra cost is an insane value. Factor all of that with the loud speakers, USB-C charging, and headphone jack, and it's hard to not like what Samsung's offering for just $350.
Unfortunately, Samsung's decision to equip the Tab S6 Lite with an underpowered processor kind of ruins the entire experience. It gets the job done for most tasks, but the sluggish feeling that's associated with everything you do just isn't a good experience. Some people might be able to overlook it, but I can't.
3 out of 5
This is made even worse when you consider that Apple's baseline iPad (opens in new tab) can be yours for just $329. Yes, the Apple Pencil is an extra $99 expense on top of that, but the iPad has outstanding performance and ships with software that feels right at home on a larger display. It's not as good of an overall value, but there's no denying it's the more enjoyable tablet to use.
Folks that really need a 10-inch tablet with a high-quality stylus for under $400 should definitely consider the Tab S6 Lite, but if all you want is a cheap and reliable tablet for apps and games, it's hard to see a scenario in which it's worth recommending over an iPad.
Great idea, mixed execution
Following last year's flagship Galaxy Tab S6, Samsung's aiming to offer a similar experience at a much lower price with the aptly-named Tab S6 Lite. There's a lot about the tablet that works incredibly well, namely the design, display, and included S Pen that magnetically attaches to the side of the S6 Lite. Unfortunately, slow performance from the Exynos 9610 processor puts a damper on the entire experience, as does the lack of a fingerprint sensor. This is a decent value proposition, but so is the baseline iPad with an Apple Pencil.
I love samsung for still being the only decent android company making tablets, but I do have to disagree with the S6 lite's processor. Samsung does amazing high end flagship products but when it comes to budget devices they compromise so much on camera or processor.
I own the S6 but I would recommend the S5e over the S6 lite.
Be nice to see more of a comparison against the S5e since that is more likely what someone is comparing it against if they are buying one. I have an S5e and don't think the pen is enough of a reason to "upgrade" for my uses.
Agree totally. The S5e is lighter and, I think, a tad speedier than the S6 Lite. As well as having a much better display. That would have been good to include in this review, i.e., if you don't care about the pen and the headphone jack, but want to stay in the $400 price range, consider the S5e (although it's still running Android 9).
Or you can just get an iPad, there's no Android tablet that comes close to the iPad. Android sucks on tablets. Period.
Not having to use iOS is enough to purchase a Samsung tablet.
Shows what you know, the software on the iPad isn't called iOS anymore, it's called iPadOS which is an evolved version of iOS which is still better than Android on a tablet with apps that are actually designed for tablets rather than just blown up Android phone apps.
iOS, iPadOS, same design, same drawbacks. Better is of course subjective. Apps are apps, whether they're blown up or not. Its really not that serious. Only people on blogs complain about that. Blame the developers for not building dedicated apps, not then platform. Its an old, tired argument. I'm typing this from a tab s6. Best tablet I've ever owned. I just wish Android blogs would stop telling readers to buy Apple products.
They have every right to suggest people buy iPads because they are better than Android tablets, end of and that's why developers don't care about Android tablets, they're just not worth the effort.
Irrelevant if you just don't want an iPad. I know Apps are better designed on iPad to Android, but there's a load not to like about iPadOS too. Without even pretending it can be used as a laptop/Android cannot either but it's not claiming it can. For me Surface Po beats both Android Tablets and iPad hands down. But it's highly subjective and depends what your requirements are.
I stopped reading at "there's loads not to like about iPadOS, not for me there isn't maybe for you but for me iPads have always been better than Android tablets not just in far superior optimisation and app quality but in software support as well and those are enough reasons to stay away from Android tablets, they suck, end of discussion.
I can't wait to see all the rational comments on this piece.
I still miss the Nexus 7. Had decent performance, good battery life, wireless charging and was dirt cheap. Haven't found a tablet that has wowed me since...
I got this tablet as a replacement for the 2013 Nexus 7. I am very happy with it and don't have any issues with lag. It isn't noticeably different in terms of performance compared to my S10+ phone. Granted, I'm not a gamer. However, I'm not experiencing lag when browsing, watching Netflix/YouTube/YouTube TV. The camera is more than adequate for Zoom and Hangouts meetings. If I'm interested in taking pictures, I'll use my S10+. I'm happy with my purchase, especially given that the S Pen is included.
Is this review sponsored by Apple? The title suggests so. Anybody who is looking to buy this tablet obviously wants an Android tablet and not an iOS one. I have the Tab S6 (not Lite) and it is perfect in every way. Yes, there are some cons like every product. But the tab is great in performance, look and feel. The lite one is a cheaper version and I guess it is more suitable for media consumption and not gaming or other tasks that requires power. The title is misleading and offensive too!
Sorry to disappoint you, but no Apple sponsorship here. Just my own personal opinion, like you'll find for every single review on AC. That's awesome you like your Tab S6. We do too! That's why we gave a 4.5-star review and called it the best Android tablet you can get right now — something you'll find linked to in this review. Every device does have pros and cons, you're right, but sometimes certain cons are worse than others. In this case, the Tab S6 Lite has an underpowered processor that I feel ruins the user experience. Cheers.
I have no problem with the evaluation of the Galaxy Tab Lite It is the "just get an iPad" thing that grates. Why? Instead of spending $400 on an iPad, spend $450 and get yourself an HP 2-in-1 Chromebook with an 8th gen Intel i3 CPU and 8 GB RAM. Which are the same internals as a $1000 MacBook Air. Except it runs ChromeOS, Android and Ubuntu apps, has a touchscreen and a 2-in-1 form factor. Bottom line: there NO REASON to recommend an iPad anymore. Why? Because the iPad is LESS CAPABLE than a Chromebook. (And a Chromebook is ALMOST as capable a MacBook.) I get why the other (so called) tech sites won't admit this. They are in love with their MacBooks, iMacs, iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches and Apple TVs. If they stop to acknowledge anything else it will be something running Windows ... while not even bothering to acknowledge that Microsoft has spent the last 5-6 years trying to catch up to Android and ChromeOS. So they make up lame excuses to justify it. Linux is hard! (No it isn't for anyone willing to spend 30 minutes to learn how to install the Debian app store.) It doesn't have all the apps that I want! (As if there aren't tons of applications that won't run on macOS or iPadOS. Yet somehow that doesn't cause any of them to go get a Surface.) But there is no reason for an ANDROID site not to acknowledge that Chromebooks have surpassed iPads in capability, versatility and performance while costing hundreds less. Not only is that $450 HP comparable to a MacBook Air, the Samsung Galaxy Book is comparable to an entry level MacBook Pro (not Air but Pro). Same Intel i5. Same 8 GB RAM (and note that the MacBook Pro uses DDR3 RAM). Same 4K screen. Built-in stylus with touchscreen (which no Mac has). And yes, the same Intel UHD discrete GPU that is in the entry level MacBook "Pro" devices. An iPad Pro with with a keyboard and stylus? $500-$600 more than the Galaxy Book and all it can run is mobile apps! If you had said "Get a Lenovo Duet which offers similar performance for less money" fine. iPad? No deal. No one who has seriously used both - and I have bought two iPads and will likely soon be in the market for my second Chromebook soon - should ever recommend an iPad unless they are a devotee of the Apple ecosystem.
Awww did the reviewer hurt you're feelings? Joe's entitled to his opinion and I fully agree, I wouldn't touch an Android tablet with a barge poll, they suck and Apple has long since won the tablet war with the same advantages as the iPhone, long software support which Android tablets are even worse than Android tablets in this category too along with poorly optimised apps got tablets because developers know that Android on tablets just isn't worth it.
We should just get the iPad AND the iPhone se too shouldn't we? ?
"Cons: Lots of Android apps still aren't optimized for tablets" shouldn't be a knock against the product. It's not Samsung's fault (or any other OEM) that apps are not optimized for tablets.
Seems like that was added as a con just for the sake of having another negative.
Poor software on a product is definitely a con.
I agree. But so are the limitations of iOS. As are the lack of USB Type C ports (on all but iPad Pro devices). Look, a lot of us do not feel that Apple devices are "perfect" and that Android devices need to be measured against them with the areas where Android devices fall short are marks against it while the areas that the Apple devices fall short - in many cases not even offering a feature in that area at all - being irrelevant. If it did, well we would buy Apple products like everybody else. Except ... that everybody else doesn't buy Apple products. Globally Apple has 15% of the phone market and 35% of the tablet market. You would never know it from reading tech sites - including sadly and increasingly this one - but it is true.
Then you could list that as a "con" on every Android tablet review ever.
Regardless, it is still not Samsung's fault that Android app developers are too lazy to optimize apps for tablets. That is like complaining to GM because your Corvette drives poorly off road.
No. You should just buy a Chromebook. Seriously, Samsung is going to keep making tablets because they still sell about 7-10 million of them a year. Thinking that Samsung, Huawei - who sells about 5 million - or Lenovo - who sells about 3 million - Android tablets a year are going to just stop because having to admit that the things still exist embarrasses people at cocktail parties (or something) ... that isn't going to happen. Especially since most of the Android tablet sales are overseas where far fewer people buy iPads and iPhones in the first place. But enough about Android tablets and iPads. I will never buy one again. Why? Because Chromebooks are better. Chromebooks are better. Better than iPads. Better than Android tablets. Period. Well, I take it back to a degree. If I am ever in need of an ultra-cheap but reliable third device I may get an Amazon tablet. A workable consumption device - video streaming, ebook reading, lightweight gaming - for $50-$75? Why not. So I will never buy an iPad again and will never buy an Android tablet again with an asterisk.
Yes there you go with your anti Apple rant as usual @centosguy well let me tell you this, I will NEVER buy a Chromebook or Android tablet because they are trash and Android apps suck on Chromebooks too, iOS apps are actually designed competently unlike Android apps on tablets. I'm only interested in iPads because iPads won the tablet wars long since. @centosguy and iOS tablet and iPhones dominate in the US and UK, I could care less about anywhere in the world.
Chromebooks are not the same form factor at all. They don't come with a great quality pencil as well. You cannot compare the two.
Android fanboys in meltdown again all because the reviewer recommended an iPad over a junk mid range Samsung Android tablet, Android fanboys on this site are hilarious 😂😂😂😂😂😂.
For someone who obviously favors Apple products, you spend a lot of time lurking Android blogs.
Seriously lol what a loser
I like both but yes I do favour Apple products slightly But I still have have an interest in Android when it comes to phones but for tablets, it's absolutely iPad, I would never touch an Android tablet which is a dumpster fire of a user experience, I love how you lose your minds for Joe merely suggesting an iPad because Samsung priced this garbage S6 lite near the far superior iPad.
Everyone has their preferences, but not all Android tablets are dumpsterfires. I have a Tab S6, and it does everything my wife's iPad does and more. I've had multiple iPhones and iPads, but iOS lack of customizablilty keeps me coming back to Android. If I wanted the exact same phone/tablet as everyone else, then I'd likely be quite happy with iPhone/iPad. But I like to personalize things, and I like having control of devices that I paid good money for, instead of blindly accepting whatever is forced upon me. To each his own.
It's nothing to do with being the same as everyone else, I just think that iPads are better than Android tablets due to Apple actually going to the trouble of designing and optimising apps for their iPads and Apple's integration between their devices are better than anything on the Android side. Ultimately I like just enjoying my phones and getting on with my life and not obsess about every aspect of my phone, I don't customise my phone after setup and most people don't, only Android nerds care about that stuff and iOS has what it needs and don't need anymore so it's enough for an average user and I prefer that.
Samsung and Google optimize their apps for tablets too.
That's fine if you don't like to customize/personalize your gadgets. But some people do. Not everyone wants the same thing as everyone else. And every iPhone is just like every other iPhone, and every iPad is just like every other iPad (aside from size and extra camera lenses). I prefer being able to change the UI to suit *my* needs, over a monolithic, static and simplistic UI that hasn't significantly changed in a decade. I prefer being able to arrange my apps in whatever order I want. I prefer having more control over the OS so I can block obtrusive ads, enhance existing features, and add features the manufacturer didn't think of, or omitted. You can call that being a nerd, but I call it taking ownership of something that I paid a lot of money for and am entitled to. I paid way too much money for someone to tell me what I can and can't do with my phone. A lot of people simply take what is forced down their throat and say thank you. I am not one of those people. But I am sincerely glad you are comfortable with your choice :)
I'm commenting on this from my Tab S6 Lite. I have to say I disagree with the conclusion of this review for people like myself (I don't game except Solitaire & Sudokus. I just browse the web, some social medias, Plex/Netflix/Spotify, photo editing in Snapseed, light non-professional Word/Excel and note taking on the fly). Oh, and I don't take pictures with my tablet. I have a phone for that and people taking pictures with their tablets in public look like fools. Camera is good for Zoom/Skype. Not good for other use. I gotta say the S Pen is fantastic. Better than the one on the Tab 6 or Apple Pencil. Slimmer and as responsive. This is where the S6 Lite really shine. Drawing and note-taking is a real pleasure. I didn't expect this from such a cheap tablet. Granted a lots of apps are just bigger size phone apps and not tablet apps. Does it bother me? Not at all. But like I said, I use just a dozen well-known apps and don't really forage outside of the beaten track. Performance speaking, the tablet didn't stutter on me in the 2 weeks I have been using it. I don't keep more than 4-5 tabs open when I browse the web, maybe that's why. For the price point, it is a really good deal. Apple entry point is 100$ more with the pencil. Chromebooks don't apply since I could just use my laptop. Surface Go are more expensive. It would be a better deal if I had a Samsung phone I guess since you can receive calls and text messages. I can recommend this tablet to anyone who plan the same usage as me. It is perfect for those lazy days in bed or a rainy day at the cabin. For gaming or professional use, look elsewhere.
100% agree with you. I upgraded from Tab S2 with a "better" AMOLED screen, don't miss it. Really liking the tablet, I knew going in it wasn't going to be the S6 original, and that's exactly why I bought it.
I agree. Your usage is basically identical to mine, and I'm very happy with this tablet.
As a Samsung Fan I own a Note 10 plus 512gb and a Tab S6 256gb which is a fantastic machine with Dex etc but I know Samsung won't support this tablet long and that really bothers me! Samsung have improved on phone updates but their tablet support is pathetic! lucky it gets two updates a year. Ps and don't get me started on the awful excuse of a tablet in the Pixel Slate! owned one of them as well I've no idea how that thing even passed certification! it's a buggy laggy mess of a thing.
And that's one of a few reasons why I will never buy an Android tablet, especially a Samsung one, iPads are the only tablets worth buying because of Apple's superior brand recognition, software support and far superior app experience on their tablets.
I will have a serious think about my next tablet that's for sure, I originally bought the pixel slate and google announced its EOL would be like 6 or 7 years so I thought it was a good buy but it's horrific!
Reviewers tend to forget price when reviewing. If better performance is important to you, get the S6 or last year's S4. I'd probably find the performance an issue to but I'd appreciate I didn't want to spend top dollar so I'd expect it too. Personally I'd pick up the similarly performed S5e over this as AMOLED is so darn good.
always forget the price,ipad with just 32GB is 329 $ plus 99 for pen but if you want the storage capacity of the S6 lite you need to buy an ipad with 128GB which cost 400$ plus 99 for the pen ,well thats 500 $ vs 350 $ of the samsung.
its a big difference in price.
The other difference is the availability of the SD card slot on this tablet, which adds more storage space for documents and music files. That's not on the iPad at all.
If it's slow now I could just imagine how slow it will be this time next year considering how android based devices tend to slow down over time. Samsung really should have put a faster processor in this tablet or at least cut the price more to justify to consumers why this is a viable alternative to an iPad.
I have been using this tablet since November, and I wholeheartedly disagree with this review. The Tab S6 Lite is a fantastic consumption tablet, but it is also a good everyday use tablet. Maybe it's b/c I am used to using Android in a certain way (I don't open apps to go back to later. I clear cached apps often). I have found NO performance issues with this tablet. Everything runs well enough. I use it for media editing often and have never hit a snag that made me say "Exynos stinks". It definitely is a slower SoC. I just don't think that it matters at this point for anyone but gamers. Even using Dex with full desktop casting to a TV, the Tab S6 Lite performs satisfactorily. I will agree that $350 is too much, but at sub $300 with that included S pen, it's an incredible value.
If you read Tom's Guide review it mirrors what you are saying and based on prior experience, I'll go with a TG review over AC any day. Mine is coming tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it since I haven't had a new tablet since my Nexus 9 which still runs, but is deathly slow.
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