Samsung tried to turn a smartphone into a computer with DeX mode starting with the Galaxy S8. But then, it required a DeX station that costed about Rs 8,500. With Galaxy Note 9, Samsung reworked the idea and introduced an improved version of DeX that does away with the clutter. You just needed one USB Type-C to HDMI cable. And it costs less than Rs 700. With the new Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+, Samsung DeX has been improved further. Let’s dive a little deeper to look at what’s new.
Samsung DeX: Single cable connectivity
As mentioned, you just need USB Type-C to HDMI cable. The Type-C end connects to the phone, and the HDMI cable from TV or monitor connects to the other end. On your TV, select the HDMI mode and you should be able to see the welcome screen which looks like a desktop screen.
You can use your smartphone screen as a touchpad to navigate through the interface. This can be done by selecting an option from the drop-down menu. If you want to use the web browser or apps like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, to name a few, you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard to it.
As to what all you can do? Well, you can run it as desktop or use it in screen mirroring mode. When in desktop mode, you can open apps like YouTube, Netflix, to stream videos and play the ones saved for offline viewing. Sadly, Amazon Prime Video isn’t a supported app for Samsung DeX mode. You can even open apps like Apple Music and play music, open web browser like Chrome and surf your favorite sites. At times, I trade in stock markets, and I was able to open Zerodha Kite app to do some quick trades (buy and sell). Charting is also supported, and suddenly you have stock charts on a big screen.
Samsung DeX: Android apps on PC and macOS
The biggest improvement this year is where Samsung is offering DeX app for Windows and macOS. It functions more like a virtual environment where you can run Android apps from your phone, drag-and-drop files and more. There can be many used cases. For instance, I can open the messaging app and respond to text messages by typing on my laptop keyboard.
I clicked some photos on the phone, which can be edited on the computer using the Photoshop Express app. I can even open Google Maps and search for directions. Apps like Ola and Uber are also supported on Samsung DeX, and I was also able to open Adobe Rush and edit a video. But undoubtedly the feature I loved the most is the ability to simply drag and drop files from phone to PC and vice versa.
I tried the same by connecting the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S10+, but the new features don’t work here. Then there is another problem. The Note 10 comes with a Type-C to Type-C USB cable. And if you want to connect it to your old PC with a regular USB port, you’ll need a new cable. However, in case you have the new MacBook or Windows PCs that come with Type-C port, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Do you really need DeX?
Well, that’s one pressing question I ended up asking myself while using it. And let me put it this way, it’s commendable what Samsung has done with the DeX mode. It’s good till you have drag and drop features, and the ability to send text messages using the keyboard. But Android app support is taking it too far.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a cool thing to flaunt, but I’d rather scroll through my Instagram timeline on the phone or chat on WhatsApp using web interface. Yes, I can open apps like Google Docs and Microsoft Word using DeX and start writing on a document. But given the fact that every document is synced on cloud, the whole feature seems pointless, at least on a PC.
It’s a different thing altogether when you connect it to a TV or monitor. When I was using the Galaxy Note 9, I had gone on a vacation. I was also carrying the DeX dongle, so I simply connected my phone to the TV’s HDMI cable. Luckily, I also had a season of Stranger Things downloaded on the Netflix app and I was able to watch it on a big screen.
Executives who often go to give presentations may find it even more useful. Simply connect the monitor or projector to the phone using HDMI to Type-C dongle, and open PPT presentation. Here you can take advantage of the S Pen remote to play/pause the presentation, change slides and control media, if any. These are the only use case scenarios where you’ll find Samsung DeX helpful. We will soon be pushing out our Galaxy Note 10+ review, so stay tuned for that.