Product Review: Samsung DeX Station

Question

Samsung released a new product called DeX Station for use with a Samsung S8 or S8+. Is it something I should consider?

Answer

This question was answered on July 20, 2017. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Samsung DeX In the last few years, the computing power of smartphones has been increasing at a steady rate, so what if you could use your smart phone as a primary desktop computing device? Samsung has attempted to do just that with their new Dex Station (DeX is short for Desktop Experience Dock). With a retail price of $149, the idea is to take your Samsung S8 or S8+ smartphone and dock it with the DeX (plus add a mouse, keyboard and monitor ) and have a fully functioning "desktop" computer. While the concept sounds good, it falls short in a few key areas.

When it comes to overall functionality, the DeX is more flash than substance. Some things seem to work well, others... not so much. Some apps (like Facebook, Instagram, etc) only open in a small phone shaped window and there's no way to expand them. Also, sometimes when clicking on links within apps, you get stuck with no way to go "back" (since the back button is a virtual button on the S8/S8+) so you have to close the app and re-open the app. (We later figured out that the Esc key will generally get you "out" in these cases. YMMV).

While the device does do what's advertised overall, we were left trying to figure out who the DeX would be targeted toward? Since you have to carry a mouse, keyboard and monitor (or at least HDMI cable if
you know there will be something to plug in to for viewing) it doesn't seem all that "portable"? So the setup doesn't really function as a good portable solution. How about an inexpensive PC replacement? By the time you buy the DeX, Mouse, Keyboard and HDMI Monitor + cable, you're at or past the price of an inexpensive
PC that won't have any of the restrictions mentioned previously. 

A few other items that seem to have been missed: The headphone jack is covered by the DeX when plugged in, so you're stuck with built in sound only (no headphones or speakers) unless you utilize bluetooth (yet another device to cary). Also, if your Samsung S8 or S8+ is in a protective case, you'll need to remove it in order to plug in to the DeX (Our test unit had a Tech 21 protective phone case which is really slim, so we were kind of surprised at this).

Overall, it's cool that Samsung got things to work at all, however, we tried (unsuccessfully) several times to use the DeX as the primary method of getting stuff done at work for a day. It just become frustrating at times and so we ended up jumping back to a real PC. We were just left wondering if Samsung put out this device simply because they could, or if they really think there's a market for it?

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Author

Posted by Brandon of Data Doctors on July 20, 2017