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Saturday, March 21, 2020

My Samsung DEX setup




It’s now day six of the government-sanctioned quarantine due to COVID-19. I figured what better time to update Techamuna? I decided to write about my Samsung DEX setup. For those unfamiliar, DEX is Samsung’s desktop extension on top of Android. It is an interphase that looks very similar to Windows on a PC. It’s been available on their top-end smartphones and tablets for a few years now. All you need is a Samsung device that supports it, a USB C to HDMI cable, a monitor, Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse.

My setup consists of a Samsung Galaxy TAB S6, A ZSCMALL 15.6” USB C Monitor, a Rapoo Bluetooth keyboard, and a mouse. To sweeten my setup, I also added a Bose Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker, USB C Hub with HDMI, Ipega Game pad, Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick and a monitor stand.



Why DEX? 

You might ask why someone would need a setup like this, especially if you already have a PC or laptop. And you might be correct. But to make my point, when I decided to write this post, I thought of using my computer which I haven’t used in weeks. After turning it on, I took me more than 15 minutes just to get started because of all the Windows updates that needed to be installed. If I had used my Galaxy Tab, it would have taken just a few seconds, which brings me to my second point, updates. You usually keep your laptop or PC for 3-5 years before upgrading it, sometimes more. But you typically upgrade your phone every 1 to 2 years. That means your setup will be more updated. Not only that, using your phone as your computer also means you’ll always have access to all your files and apps anytime. You can even use the same device at home and work. All you need is another monitor and keyboard. I also need to mention that Samsung is not the only one implementing this desktop mode. Huawei, LG and even Google (although still in development) have something very similar. But in my opinion, DEX is the most polished. There are also other companies like Nexdock that make laptop-like shell to plug in your compatible phone.

From Samsung.com


What works with DEX? 

Once you connect your phone to your monitor, you’ll have an option to either just mirror your phone screen or launch DEX. Most apps will work with DEX, but there are still quite a few that are not compatible. Popular apps like Microsoft Office Mobile, most web browsers, YouTube and Play Store all work fine. Other apps will work but in a phone size window. The usual problems are with games. Most of the games I play don’t work correctly with DEX. The solution is to exit the DEX mode and just use the screen mirror function of your phone.

Logitech joystick works with Infinite flight


Verdict

The way Smartphones have been evolving, it’s not uncommon to see phones that have more memory than most PCs. My Tab S6 even has more RAM than my laptop. There is also the convenience of having all your apps and data wherever you go. I’ve been using DEX so much in the past few months that I rarely need to use my laptop. Most of the stuff I need to do is usually an app on my phone or tablet anyway. Having a bigger screen and external keyboard only makes things easier. It’s not hard to imagine that very soon it will be widespread to have your phone as your all-around personal computer. The technology is already here. We just need more companies to make it more accessible to everyone.

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