Price (RRP): $from1099-1499
As we had not formally reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (2019) and had reviewed the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2020) a reader asked us to do a shoot-out. Samsung kindly obliged with both products.
As it is likely the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 will be announced on 5 August it is time to look at all three, especially as there may be run-out pricing on the Galaxy Tab S6 soon.
Let’s get the ‘leaks’ for the Tab S7 out of the way. These are the key differences.
- Likely two sizes – Tab S7 (11″ IPS, 2560×1600) and Tab S7 Plus (12.4″ OLED 2800×1752) possibly supporting 120Hz refresh (no Lite version mentioned)
- Qualcomm SD865+ processor, 6/128GB/microSD to 1TB
- Dual rear camera 13MP primary and 5MP Ultra-wide and 8MP selfie
- Battery: 7040/10,090mAh and 45W fast charge optional charger
- Wireless DeX, Wi-Fi AX, BT 5.1
- 5G sub-6Ghz option
- Android 11 (may ship with Android 10) and quarterly security updates
These specs dictate prices from about $1500 compared to the Tab S6 from $1099/1499 and the S6 Lite from $549/799. See the table at the end for a detailed comparison of both. In other words, the Tab S7 will be an update of the Tab S6.
A reader wanted to know about the differences between the Galaxy Tab S6 and S6 Lite.
- How the extra RAM helps? I am surprised that the Lite only has 4GB. Does it affect performance?
- How the processors differ in practical performance, for average versus heavy usage levels?
Here are our findings.
Processor and RAM
|Benchmark||Tab S6||Tab S6 Lite|
|SoC||Qualcomm SD855 7nm||Exynos 9611 10nm|
|RAM GB||6/128 and 8/256||4/64 and 4/128|
|Geekbench 5 Single Core||752||347|
|Compute OpenCL Score||2496||1587|
|CPU Throttle over 15 minutes||Max: 193,449GIPS|
The Tab S6 is closer to a 2020 Galaxy S20 (SD-855 version) for performance. It is at least 50% more powerful as evidenced by GIPS and T-Rex frames.
The Tab S6 Lite is closer to a 2018 Galaxy S8 and is not for gamers.
As for RAM, it depends on what you are doing. If you plan to have lots of tabs open in a browser, multi-task or do productivity (beyond Microsoft 365), then the Tab S6 is better.
As both have micro-SD, storage expansion is easy and cheap.
The best comparison here is a 4-cylinder and a 6-cylinder car. You would not tow a caravan with a 4-cylinder, but it does pretty well everything you need around town and on the highway. If you treat the Tab S6 Lite as a content consumption, email and general browsing device it is fine.
How do the Tab S6 four speakers compare with two on the S6 Lite?
Both units are 2.0 stereo and decode Dolby Atmos.
The Tab S6 has two extra speakers that allow for better landscape and portrait mode sound. The extra speakers add a little more bass and spatial emphasis.
|Item||Tab S6||Tab S6 Lite|
|Speakers||2.0 – two each on short edge||2.0 – one each on short edge|
|Dolby Atmos decode||Yes – there is a small 3D sound stage with four speakers.||Yes, but it is only remotely effective with headphones|
|BT codecs||SBC, AAC, aptX/HD, LDAC||SBC and AAC|
|Deep Bass: 20-40Hz||Building quickly||Building slowly|
|Middle Bass: 40-100Hz||From 43Hz and solidly building||From 86kHz then flattens|
|High Bass: 100 to 200Hz||Almost flat||flat|
|High Treble: 6-10kHz||Slight decline to avoid harshness||Slight decline|
|Dog whistle: 10-20Hz||Dip but flat to 21Hz||Decline and not controlled|
|Sound stage – spatial wideness||Wide – comes from ‘outside’ the tablet||Narrower – comes from the speakers on the edge|
Both have an excellent warm and sweet sound signature. The Tab S6 is a little louder, has stronger bass and much more controlled upper treble making it more of a pleasure to listen to. The Tab S6 Lite sounds pretty good but side-by-side the Tab S6 wins.
Perhaps a little more important is that the Tab S6 has a Qualcomm processor and as such its BT supports a wider range of codecs.
OLED versus TFT LED
Its hard to show in screenshots but the difference between OLED and TFT LED is like chalk and cheese
|Benchmark||Tab S6||Tab S6 Lite|
|GPU||Adreno 640||Mali-G72 MP3|
|Res||2560×1600 AMOLED||2000×1200 TFT IPS|
|HDR||HDR10/+/HLG||No – SDR 16 million colours|
|Delta E (lower is better)||2.7||4.4|
|Daylight readable||Excellent||Avoid direct sunlight|
|Gaming||From 30-60fps and plays any modern mobile game||Up to [email protected] if you kill off all background tasks|
|WideVine (Netflix)||L1 FHD HDR||L1 HD SDR|
Subjectively the OLED has truer colour, greater contrast (the difference between pure black – off and pure white – on), and sharper text. For content viewing, it is unmatched.