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
Tab S6 Lite
Qualcomm SD855 7nm
Exynos 9611 10nm
6/128 and 8/256
4/64 and 4/128
Geekbench 5 Single Core
Compute OpenCL Score
CPU Throttle over 15 minutes
Max: 193,449GIPS Av: 182,615GIPS -8% 83° SoC
124,638 116,411 -9% 50° SoC
470 minutes 3360 frames
497 minutes 1472 frames
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.
Tab S6 Lite
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
SBC, AAC, aptX/HD, LDAC
SBC and AAC
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz
From 43Hz and solidly building
From 86kHz then flattens
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz
High Treble: 6-10kHz
Slight decline to avoid harshness
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
Tab S6 Lite
2000×1200 TFT IPS
No – SDR 16 million colours
Delta E (lower is better)
Avoid direct sunlight
From 30-60fps and plays any modern mobile game
Up to 1080p@30fps if you kill off all background tasks
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.
The S6 Lite has more saturated colour, greyer cool whites, and lower contrast. But they are both excellent screens and again, if not side-by-side, you would think the S6 Lite was pretty good.
But you need to remember that the Tab S6 is twice the price! I don’t have any real issues with the S6 Lite screen for general use or streaming.
The Tab S6 has an active S Pen with 4096 pressure levels as well as tilt to vary line thickness. The S6 lite has a passive pen which is fine for writing and doodling but is far less of an artistic tool.
The Tab S6 and S6 Lite both have a 7040mAh battery. The Tab S6 has a greater energy saving 7nm processor and AMOLED screen but as it has to provide nearly 50% more horsepower battery life is fairly equal.
GadgetGuy’s take – Galaxy Tab S6 or Galaxy Tab S6 Lite – a two-horse race but at different racecourses.
First, I get annoyed with manufacturers that use #metoo naming for what are 100% different devices. You get Lite, Standard, Plus, Ultra and every other marketing term under the sun!
The only familial relationship these share is the Samsung build quality and Android/One UI.2.1.
So, a shoot-out is grossly unfair because it comes down to how much you want to pay and what you reasonably expect it to do.
7,040mAh USB-C 5V/2A and 9V/1.67A 15W fast charge Claimed up to 15-hours video and 105 hours audio
7040mAh USB-C 5V/3A 15W Claimed life 13 hours video and 149 hours audio
Android 10 All Google services Google Lens, Google Assistant Samsung One Ui 2.1 inc Dark Mode, accessibility enhancements, Knox and Bixby
Android 10 All Google services. Google Lens, Google Assistant Samsung One Ui 2.1 inc Dark Mode, accessibility enhancements, Knox and Bixby
S Pen (included) 4096 pressure levels, magnetic inductive charging from ‘pen caddy’ area. 10 minutes charge for 10 hours use Can be used as ‘air mouse’, remote control and pen with transparent note-taking Handwritten note-to-text conversion Exporting notes to apps such as Microsoft Word
Standard passive S-Pen included for writing, PDF editing and annotation plus transparent mode for notes over images.
Android desktop built-in with both 4K USB-C/HDMI and Miracast screen support
Book cover Keyboard POGO connection with full qwerty keyboard, Function key and trackpad