We believe that Samsung DeX has a lot of potential when it comes to day-to-day usage. Ever since the Galaxy Note9, a few more Galaxy S and Note series of smartphones do not require the proprietary dock to use Samsung DeX. Since it became so easily accessible, is it any good?
Late last year, Samsung has officially announced that you can install and run full fledged Ubuntu as a VM on your Galaxy Note9 or the Galaxy Tab S4 while running on DeX. With big names now supported on DeX, we want to know what else can DeX do – and how well it actually works.
Here we have a video showing how everything is set up and works from the beginning till the end.
Testing Samsung DeX
We all have 3 of the Samsung Galaxy S10 series of smartphones with us to test DeX with – thanks to Samsung Malaysia.
As Samsung DeX no longer requires any proprietary dock ,we first took our beloved Pioneer Thunderbolt 3 dock which has all the port we need and hooked our monitor, keyboard, and mouse to it. Then, with just one cable, we connected it to the Galaxy S10 and everything works within seconds.
We have a lot of comments asking or stating that the Galaxy S10e does not work with DeX – and that is not true. All the three phones – the Galaxy S10+, the Galaxy S10, and also the Galaxy S10e has DeX and works flawlessly.
With that said, the Galaxy S10 series is great for both work and play – but the apps and games you choose to use and play are very important here.
DeX for work
It’s great that Samsung implemented keyboard shortcuts that are similar to what many of us have gotten used to on Windows. The common cut, copy, and paste shortcuts work the same. However, taking screenshots is a little different and it does not copy to the clipboard.
Officially out of the box, Samsung has already pre-installed Microsoft’s Office Mobile app. However, in you will need to subscribe to Office 365 to use it fully in DeX mode. Bummer for students, but still okay since most business users already have Office 365.
For those who want a free alternative, we also tried Google’s suite of office apps. They work pretty okay most of the times – but there are some caveats for sure. Google Docs does not work with scroll wheel and has to click and drag to scroll the document up and down. Google Sheets work flawlessly with the scroll wheel, but has no ability to zoom in. Google Slides is the one that work the best with DeX as you can also go into presentation mode and click to go next.
While it seems like Android’s very own limitation, I cannot drag and drop files between apps. Like how I cannot drag and drop images from the gallery to Google Docs. This is surely something Google themselves should pay more attention to.
DeX for play
There are many games that work out of the box, but many games either have partial support. We categorized them to a few different categories – it either works fully with DeX, works partially, does not work at all but launches in DeX, or does not launch at all.
We have to forcefully enable app scaling in DeX Labs to ensure that games are able to launch in the desktop environment and not in the Galaxy S10 phone itself. Some games like Asphalt 9 does support keyboard but requires app scaling to launch in the big screen.
We summarized them in the video and as a quick recap, there are only a handful of games that are supported by DeX natively at the time of writing this.
There are many games that have support for gamepad controllers. For example, Contra Returns and Asphalt 9 has native support for gamepads for the gameplay itself but will require a mouse for menu navigation.
DeX in general
I honestly think that since there is no requirement for any proprietary dock to use Samsung DeX, its potential is now easily accessible to many other people. Just one dongle and you can start. Having a hub does bring extra USB ports for your keyboard and mouse too.
It’s a great feature to have – especially for some party games together with your friends or kids on the big screen. Particularly, Bomb Squad.