Hands-On with Samsung DeX for Windows

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Announced in March 2017 along with Galaxy S8 and S8 +, Samsung DeX offers an Android-based desktop experience. The initial version was accompanied by a DeX Station, which could be used to connect laptops to a display, keyboard, mouse and other peripherals. (And other USB-C hubs worked similarly.) But with the release of Note 10 and 10+ this week, Samsung is expanding its DeX ecosystem with a DeX app for Windows and Mac.

I've always been intrigued by this kind of thing and the desire to reduce complexity by bringing fewer devices with it. (And, yes, I remember the previous and similar efforts of Microsoft's Continuum on Windows Phone, which worked similarly.) It was never really solved in my case, for any reason, and I still prefer to travel with a laptop and a mini tablet in addition to my Phone. But it's pretty clear that DeX or something like that could make life easier for many.

But bringing DeX to PC and Mac may seem a bit of a paradox because you're not deleting a device: you need a PC or Mac to use it. Perhaps this is not the right way to visualize this solution. In contrast, the DeX app simply offers another way for Galaxy phone users to access their favorite apps and documents. In this case, you're not replacing so much a device, but you're better off taking advantage of a device you already own. It is not difficult to imagine that someone is doing most of the work on the phone and therefore has to switch a PC keyboard to a larger display to finish it.

This is the theory anyway. In practice, the DeX app is a little more curious than it is useful. The main problem is speed: everything happens after a slight pause, whether you're starting an app, looking at it while drawing on the screen, going from one app to another or another. I didn't use DeX Station, so I'm not sure how it compares to a hardware solution, but the speed problem makes the DeX app less compelling for productivity than it should be.

The interface is simple. DeX provides a desktop similar to Windows, with My files, Internet (Samsung web browser), Gallery and Settings icons. And there is a taskbar at the bottom, like the one in Windows and Chrome OS, with visually separated areas at the bottom.

On the left, c & # 39; is a navigation bar with the buttons DeX, App, Recent, Home and Back; the App button starts an All apps view in full screen. On the right, c & # 39; is a Notification bar that duplicates the notifications you see in the notifications area of ​​Notes 10, a Quick Settings bar with connectivity, battery life and other quick settings and a System bar with volume , research and the date and time. In the middle is an area that contains icons for blocked and running apps.

Apps run in Windows 4: 3 by default, which is quite interesting: when running phone apps on Chrome OS, the app's windows take on the same proportions as a phone by default. This mostly seems to work fine, but some apps don't work properly in DeX. For example, when I tried to test media playback in Google Play Film and TV, I was told that "you can't show protected content on your computer".

The All app view DeX also provides a "Discover the apps for Samsung DeX" link, which opens a web browser and displays the Samsung website rather than highlighting apps on my phone or Samsung's Galaxy Store that explicitly support DeX, which is a missed opportunity. Imagining that the Galaxy Store should highlight these apps, I encountered another problem: the app does not support the mouse wheel, so I had to fake a scroll gesture with the mouse. This worked badly.

Fortunately, other apps support the mouse wheel. At least the web browsers worked normally and also the Microsoft Office applications.

Never mind: until Samsung fails to overcome the performance problems I've seen, the advantages of this unique desktop environment will remain elusive, at least on a PC. Perhaps the hardware solutions are superior in this sense.

Tagged with Galaxy Note 10, Samsung, Samsung DeX

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