The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a new addition to Samsung’s tablet lineup. As its name suggests, this is a less expensive version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 that I reviewed late last year. The Galaxy Tab S6 is pretty expensive, but has an AMOLED display, quad speakers, and a powerful processor, while the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has a TFT display, dual speakers, and a somewhat weaker processor. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is available in Wi-Fi and LTE versions, priced at Rs. 27,999 and Rs. 31,999 respectively. Samsung has clearly had to cut costs with this new ‘lite’ version, but is it still good enough to make a recommendation? Read on to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Design: Looks quite premium
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite looks a lot like the Galaxy Tab S6 (Review) from the front, but sports a slightly smaller 10.4-inch display. It has thick bezels, which is acceptable for a tablet of this size. At 7mm thick, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is actually thinner than some of the smartphones I’ve reviewed recently. The tablet weighs 467 grams which is definitely noticeable when used for long periods of time with one hand. However, I found two-handed use to be comfortable.
Samsung has opted for a metallic finish which makes the device feel premium. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is available in three colors – Angora Blue, Oxford Gray and Chiffon Pink – of which we have the latter. In my eyes, it looks more like rose gold than pink.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite sports a 3.5mm headphone socket on top along with a secondary microphone and a top-firing speaker. The power button on the right can also be used to activate Bixby. The SIM tray is a bit low and can accept a nano-SIM and a microSD card. The bottom right half of the tablet has magnets to keep the included S Pen stylus attached. This version of the S Pen doesn’t have Bluetooth, as is the case with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6.
The left side of the tablet is open, but there are magnets in case you want to use optional accessories like a book cover case. At the bottom, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has a USB Type-C port and a second speaker. Unlike the dual cameras on the Galaxy Tab S6, there is only one rear camera on this tablet. There are antenna lines running around the top and bottom. The Samsung logo is smack in the middle of the back, along with ‘Sound by AKG’ at the bottom. In addition to the S Pen, Samsung ships a 7.75W charger in the box.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite specs and software: Not very impressive
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 was a powerful device thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. However, to hit the low price, Samsung has used its Exynos 9611 SoC, which we have seen in its entry-level smartphones like the Galaxy M21 (Review). The tablet also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The storage can be expanded up to 1TB with the help of microSD card.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite sports a 10.4-inch TFT LCD screen with 2000×1200 pixels resolution. Since it’s not an AMOLED panel like you get with the Galaxy Tab S6, content doesn’t look as vivid and colors aren’t as punchy as I would have liked. Surprisingly, it does not have a fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy Tab S5e (Review) had a side-mounted one while the Galaxy Tab S6 has an in-display. However, you do get face recognition.
The LTE model, which I have for review, supports 4G data connectivity as well as calling. Other connectivity options on the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite include Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi ac and four satellite navigation systems. You also get the usual suite of sensors. The tablet packs in a 7040mAh battery and comes with a 7.75W charger in the box.
Samsung ships the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite with One UI 2.0 which runs on top of Android 10. My review unit had the March security patch. If you have used any Samsung smartphone recently, you will feel at home with this tablet. The interface is almost the same as what you’d see on Samsung smartphones, with some elements scaled up for larger displays, such as the dialer and quick toggles.
It allows you to run two apps side by side and have up to five apps in pop-up mode. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite uses the traditional Android navigation buttons at the bottom of the display, but you have the option to switch to gesture-based navigation. Samsung’s Smart Stay feature keeps the display on as long as you are looking at it.
There isn’t a lot of bloatware installed on the device, which is a good thing. You get Netflix and YouTube Music along with some Samsung, Google and Microsoft apps pre-installed. Samsung has tied up with Google to provide four months of YouTube Premium with the device.
Standard S Pen features such as Air Command and Samsung Capture are supported on the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. If you press the S Pen’s button near the display, you’ll be able to bring up a floating menu with shortcuts to Smart Select, Smart Write, Live Message, AR Doodle and Notes. You can also add shortcuts to your favorite apps here.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite performance: A ‘lite’ experience?
Let’s start with the display and stereo speakers. The panel Samsung has used for the Galaxy S6 Lite is good, but I was expecting better. Its viewing angle is good but it is not very bright. It’s quite reflective outside as well. I couldn’t find a way to tweak the color profile, which is unfortunate. The audio output is good and you get stereo sound when watching content in landscape mode. There’s also Dolby Atmos which makes a noticeable difference when enabled.
The S Pen lacks Bluetooth, so it can’t be used as a remote shutter button for the camera, which is possible on the Galaxy Tab S6. However, you can press the button and tap the display with the S Pen when the tablet is in standby to take notes quickly.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite activates quickly, and you can start writing right away. I found the palm rejection to be excellent, and you can place your palm on the larger display while using the S Pen. The Notes app has handwriting recognition that lets you convert whatever you’ve written into text.
Multitasking on the tablet was a breeze, and 4GB of RAM was enough to keep most apps in memory. The split screen worked well and the tablet was responsive even after opening five pop-up windows at the same time. One thing that didn’t work as advertised was face recognition. It failed most of the time during my review, forcing me to fall back on a pin.
With my basic usage of watching YouTube videos and playing games like Clash Royale and Idle Miner Tycoon, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite worked great. I didn’t see any sign of lag, though heavy apps and games took longer than expected to load. Asphalt 9: Legends ran on default settings and was playable but I noticed the occasional stutter in some races. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is capable of handling casual gaming, but doesn’t offer the best experience in heavy games.
I used a cellular sim to connect to the internet without Wi-Fi. I could also make calls using the tablet, and these were routed to stereo speakers by default. This is not ideal as anyone nearby can overhear the conversation very easily. You can connect a wired or Bluetooth headset for calls.
Running a few benchmarks showed where the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite stands compared to its siblings. It scored 346 and 1,186 points respectively in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests. It can hit 25fps and 12fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 scenes, respectively. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is not a powerhouse when it comes to performance.
My typical usage pattern let the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite’s battery last for two days without recharging. The 7,040mAh battery does not require frequent charging. The supplied charger is very slow. I was able to charge only 29 percent in an hour. It takes more than three hours to fully charge it. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is similar to the time we got with the Galaxy Tab S6.
Coming to the cameras, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite packs a single 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. I don’t see that many people use such a large tablet as a serious photography tool, but if you have to, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite manages to take decent photos in daylight with enough detail. The selfie camera is likely to be used a lot and I have made a few video calls on this device. The camera delivers good quality and I didn’t hear any major complaints from people I interacted with.
Since the camera is at the top of the display, it is easy to accidentally block it when the tablet is held in landscape mode. For video calls, I found the field of view narrow, which forced me to hold the tablet at a distance while chatting.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is another Android-powered tablet from Samsung, and there isn’t much competition these days. It is well built and offers solid battery life. The S Pen Stylus is a neat add-on, and thankfully it’s included in the box.
However there are some compromises that weigh down the overall experience. Considering that it is part of the Tab S series, I would have liked better features and a little more power. 27,999 for the Wi-Fi variant and Rs. 31,999 for the LTE variant, a bit pricey for what the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has to offer.
If you don’t need a lot of storage, the Apple iPad 2019 (Review) is an option. However, if you want an Android tablet and don’t mind spending a little extra, the Galaxy Tab S5e (Review) is also available, and offers a more powerful processor, an AMOLED display, and quad-speakers.
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