While we are hearing about everything coming to Android 11 later this year, there are plenty of devices still waiting for Android 10 to arrive. When it comes to Android tablets, the conventional wisdom is ‘you get what you get’ – if you don’t expect any updates you will never be disappointed.
So I was pleasantly surprised when the Android 10 update arrived recently for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, starting with LTE versions and now also available for WiFi-only devices. The obvious questions are – how does Android 10 play on the Tab S6, and ultimately does it matter?
Here is all the new stuff from Samsung:
– Enhanced image, text, and color adjustments for day and night environments.
– Darkened wallpapers, widgets, and alarms while Dark mode is on.
Icons and colors
– Clearer app icons and system colors.
– Improved layouts for titles and buttons to eliminate wasted screen space.
– Enhanced animations with a playful touch.
Full screen gestures
– Added new navigation gestures.
– Navigate more comfortably on large screens with minimal finger movement.
– Easily focus on what matters with clearly highlighted buttons.
– High contrast keyboards and layouts for large text have been improved.
– Listen to live speech and display it as text.
Better text over wallpapers
– See text more clearly against wallpaper, as One UI automatically adjusts font colors based on light and dark areas and color contrast in the image below.
Media and devices
– Replaced the SmartThings panel with the Media and Devices.
– Media: Control music and videos playing on your phone as well as other devices.
– Devices: Check and control your SmartThings devices directly from the quick panel.
– The battery usage graph now provides more detailed information.
– Set goals to keep your phone usage in check.
– Use Focus mode to help avoid distractions from your phone.
– Keep an eye on your kids with new parental controls.
– Added the ability to edit the modes that appear at the bottom of the screen.
– Provided a More tab so you can quickly access hidden modes from the preview screen.
– Improved the layout so you can focus on taking pictures without the settings getting in the way.
– Customize the quick menu to get instant access to the features you use the most.
– Get more information from the app bar.
– Install add-ons from the Galaxy Store to get even more features.
– Added Trash feature for Contacts. Contacts that you delete will stay in the trash for 15 days before being deleted forever.
– Stickers can be added to a date without creating an event.
– Ringtones can be used for event alerts.
– More options are available for repeating reminders.
– Set location-based reminders for a specific period of time.
– Share reminders with your family group and other sharing groups.
– Set reminders for a specific date without an alert.
– Created a Trash feature so you can restore files if you delete something by mistake.
– Added more filters you can use while searching to help you find things quickly.
– You can now copy or move multiple files and folders to different destinations at the same time.
– Added speed and time units to the unit converter.
– A multilingual translation feature has been added.
– A text undo/redo feature has been added.
– You can now search for music in Spotify directly from the keyboard.
– An icon to open Samsung Pass has been added.
– Files can now be quickly and easily shared with nearby Samsung devices using Quick Share.
– Music Share now lets you share music with your friends using a Bluetooth audio device.
– Bixby Home has been replaced with Samsung Daily.
It is worth noting that Samsung skipped the OneUI 2.0 update in favor of the OneUI 2.1 release that came along with the Galaxy S20 release. It isn’t clear whether the Tab S6 will get the OneUI 2.5 update that’s expected to arrive with the Galaxy Note 20 later this year, or if it will ever see another major Android version update. But none of that really matters – as I noted before, Android tablet users are generally accustomed to never getting updates of any kind.
Samsung has done a lot to reward users over the last year since the tablet launched in mid-2019. Periodic updates have rolled out features more closely associated with Android 10 in a similar way to how they handled updates to the Galaxy Note 10 prior to the Android 10 update. Dark Mode, which has been available for long enough that it doesn’t feel new, just updated. And that is how most things feel; there is a huge list of updated features, but most feel evolutionary because Samsung made sure the Tab S6 was fully updated and optimized on release (unlike so many earlier tablets!).
So that brings me to the conclusion – this is a great and essential update that everyone with a Galaxy Tab S6 should apply to their device as soon as it arrives in your location (also note WiFi and LTE versions are getting updated separately). But this doesn’t make the Galaxy Tab S6 worth buying. Sadly, in 2020, Android tablets remain significantly less productive and efficient than Android phones, and if you need a productive large screen device you should look at the iPad or a Chromebook.