Samsung DeX Station. Desktop Experience. Awesome or aweful?
Perhaps you’ve heard this idea before: can a single device work as both your mobile phone and your desktop or laptop computer? If you have, and you’ve used the many prior attempts at it, you’ve probably been disappointed. A lot of companies, from Palm to Motorola and even Microsoft, have tried this idea, yet none have succeeded; we’re still all carrying around phones and laptops instead of just one, do-everything device.
DeX wasn’t perfect, but Samsung mostly succeeded at its goal in building makeshift PC functionality into the company’s premium handsets.
Plug a Galaxy S8 into the DeX dock for the first time and, in about a minute, a desktop environment, complete with app tray, shortcut bar, and system tray, will pop up on the connected monitor. All of the apps that you had been using on the phone before you docked it are available as icons at the bottom of the screen, which means there will likely be dozens of icons in the task bar right away. The system tray at the lower right provides access to notifications, settings shortcuts, and the time and date, just like you might find on a Windows 10 computer.
Samsung is also focusing on expanding and enhancing compatibility for apps outside of the productivity space. In our DeX Pad demo, we saw a version of Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition that Square Enix optimized specifically for DeX. That’s not to say that Samsung is turning away from the enormous potential DeX brings to business applications, though; with the DeX Pad, Samsung is working on expanding distribution to banks, health care and other fields where the device works particularly well as a terminal.
Ultimately, the best part of the DeX Pad is that it’s backward-compatible with the Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8. That means owners of those devices who may see the Galaxy S9 as more of an incremental upgrade won’t have to shell out hundreds on a new handset to get the benefits the Pad offers.