It’s always amazing to see how the small form-factor of mobiles can take on workloads that are more desktop-oriented. With Samsung having just released the Galaxy S8 and the S8 Plus, they are betting all their chips on the capabilities of the new flagship standard. One of the biggest features of the phone itself, does not come inside the box, but can only be tapped into by buying an accessory. We are talking about Samsung DeX.
So, what is the DeX?
It is basically a port that allows the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus to be docked, with the dock itself acting as an interface between the phone and a monitor, in order to display a complete desktop workspace that for the user. With the DeX, users will be able to use the Samsung Galaxy S8 as a proper desktop computer for computer-based activities. It’s a puck-like contraption that allows the phone to be comfortably held in place and connected to the monitor via a display port.
What’s the UX like?
We cannot really define what OS is running on the system. It sort-of runs as a separate desktop entity that has compatibility with Windows apps and modules. The interface is not just an elongated Android screen, but an actual Chromebook-like interface with all of the apps of the phone intact. The interface is made for desktop use with re-sizeable windows as well as some good support in terms of Adobe apps like Lightroom as well as with Microsoft’s Office Suite.
What does the dock feature?
The dock comes with a full-sized HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB Type-C port for charging as well as a small fan at the base meant to cool the phone in case of intensive run-times. The dock itself has been said to look like a puck and the top of the dock tilts a bit in order to accommodate the phone.
Is that all it can do?
For the more technically sound, this dock will also allow for users to run virtual desktops such as Citrix, Amazon Workspace, VMWare and so many others. Even Microsoft’s remote desktop feature works on this, so it is pretty helpful for when users are away from home and want to get some work put in. Apart from that, users who just want to edit images and do some rich text editing on the go will have a wonderful way to do it. Whether or not there will be updates or support from more apps/companies for the DeX is right now unknown.
Can it replace my PC?
No way. It is not at all practical to use the DeX as a daily driver, especially if users are dependent on typical desktop experiences like multiple browsing functionalities as well as intensive multi-tasking with powerful applications running in the background. Considering that the Dock itself costs a little less than an entry-level laptop and that in order to use the dock, one would need the super expensive Galaxy S8, it isn’t a practical purchase either. For only those who perhaps travel around where they get access to a monitor, and also a keyboard and mouse too, will this actually be useful. It definitely will, however, not be able to fulfil the role that a desktop can. It can be merely seen as a demonstration of power by Samsung and nothing else. It is still a decent feature for light computing, but that’s all.