The smartphone as a take-along computer is a dream that has burst already in so many manufacturers and users. Samsung ventures with DeX it to have even a reality him in the end. But the power of the Galaxy S8 is sufficient to provide a worry free experience? We tried it.
use the smart phone easily on the big screen as a full-fledged computer – for many art lovers this is a hint of the future. And so some companies this is a dream, in which they have already had their teeth. With this premise Canonical presented us with more than four years have now re-adjusted mobile operating system Ubuntu Phone and Microsoft’s Continuum is after the failure of Windows 10 Mobile a failed experiment. Now Samsung dares mind into reality with DeX the dream.
So geht Plug and Play
DeX stands for “Desktop Experience” and refers to a disc-shaped docking station that receives one of Samsung’s current top smartphones Galaxy Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus and can thus be transformed into a desktop workstation. The station has an HDMI port for monitor or TV, as well as two USB inputs to the mouse and keyboard – or, if necessary, a USB flash drive – are clamped. There is also a LAN port and a USB-C port for the power supply. Corresponding cable or power supply are not part of the delivery of the 150-euro DeX station and must be purchased separately, or be used by the Galaxy S8. Other power supplies than the Samsung flagship we have not got it to work during our tests, so it must be that of the Galaxy S8 are connected to DeX.
Once the top of the DeX station is pushed with a handle and so transformed into an elegant stand for the smartphone, the Galaxy can be placed on the intended USB C-terminal S8. The plug of the station is mounted on a small rocker, which is to protect it against accidental Cancel – too much should the semi-mounted smartphone but do not move it. If the Galaxy S8 once DeX station, everything happens very quickly: On the home button on your smartphone a short animation plays, five to ten seconds later, shows the big screen – a maximum of in Full-HD resolution – already an introduction for at DeX. So is plug and play.
Not all apps are suitable for desktop view
Just as quickly, the concept behind DeX is then clear: Rather than simply reflect only the screen display of the smartphone on the big screen – which is incidentally also possible – a customized user interface is displayed. That seems very familiar, on the one hand here cavort icons and buttons in the familiar from the Galaxy S8 style. On the other hand, as with Windows, we have a desktop program shortcuts, a start menu and taskbar in which the open apps, time, and a fold-out notification bar will be displayed. But the similarities with the Microsoft operating system go on, sometimes work the same keyboard shortcuts (Alt + Tab, Ctrl + C / Ctrl + V) and right-click on an icon, a context menu opens.
Samsung has well optimized its own app pool of the presentation on the big screen and even easily adapted the interface in some cases. For example, the file manager like Windows Explorer is divided into two areas, in the gallery, a filmstrip with other stored images is displayed in the bottom of the screen. But this is the exception and see the bigger picture of Samsung demonstrates that there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially in the programs of others, even large companies. For example, the Facebook app is started only in the familiar smartphone from portrait to understand not all mouse input while some Google programs.
In Google Maps, for example, there is at first sight no ability to zoom into the picture – there is no zoom bar, the mouse wheel does not work and the pinch-to-zoom gesture is difficult without touchscreen. Instead, a touch input on the mouse button must be transferred: Once a short click, and then pressing and holding the button move the mouse forward or backward. Although the Google Search responds to the mouse wheel – and even voice commands – but not on clicks on the search results. Thus continues the, without limitations, even the pre-installed on the Galaxy S8 software on DeX does not work.
A little disappointed we are also pleased that Samsung indeed forcibly placed the Office programs from Microsoft on its flagship smartphone, but they rely on the paid Office 365 subscription with DeX. This makes sense as directed by Microsoft, Word, Excel and PowerPoint are in fact free only up to a screen size of 10 inches. However, it would just have to start with the DeX station a fine thing if Samsung would have a simple usable, free trial period jump.
Samsung warns of data loss
During DeX operation, the display of the Galaxy S8 is off, conveniently but also the battery while charging. To lock the desktop station, but the power button of the smartphone must then be pressed but, as can be regulated by the unit volume. Bixby does not with DeX – measured by the current state of the wizard, but that’s not a big loss. The sound output in DeX mode is done via the speaker of the smartphone. A treat is the video playback on the big screen by truly not, especially since the speaker down – and thus into the base station – shines. Wired headphones or speakers can not join because the jack is covered below. Pairing with Bluetooth speakers, however, works quite easily via the desktop view.
For applications that require a less powerful sound that smartphone speakers ranging from course, for example, when the Galaxy S8 is to be used in the DeX station for telephoning. Practical: When a call comes in a time-critical situation, then it can be assumed in the desktop view and continued without interruption when the Galaxy S8 is fetched from the station. The switch from mobile to stationary phone works just as smoothly, depending on the scenario even the unit automatically switches between internal speakers and speakerphone.
More problematic, it turns out, when the smartphone is taken or while viewing any other app from the DeX station put into it – at least Samsung wants us to make believe with a warning. For indeed the currently open app is closed, changes made previously in text documents or for editing images but were always taken in our test after re-access the app from the task manager. Otherwise behaves with games, where progress needs to be backed up manually.
The peformance convinced games are still taboo
But games are already not just the hobby of DeX. Anyone who thinks that he can turn his Galaxy S8 with the least indeed very powerful Exynos 8895 by the dock at a small gaming console is very much mistaken. On the one hand some games “Clash of Clans” or “Asphalt 8” are only compatible with the touch-screen controls, for example, refuse with an appropriate error message to start. On the other hand, there is no full-screen mode for games, instead they are displayed in a small, non-extensible window. Although a “Fallout Shelter” works, but is preparing on the monitor but little joy.
but the performance of DeX is basically satisfactory, and also the active fan we did not notice during the test. Apps do not respond quite as snappy as on the smartphone display and then afford and when a Bedenksekunde or something clunky animations. Navigation through multiple browser tabs and the multitasking masters the Galaxy S8 in DeX station very well, nor bring the playback of full HD videos on YouTube, recorded with the smartphone 4K movies or photo editing using Photoshop Express the system a sweat. Clear, to the power of a modern PC or laptop, it does not approach, but for routine tasks in the office or on a business trip she likes enough. A full working day, we did not stop for the test but by at DeX.
Not a replacement for a laptop
There are some points that DeX disqualified itself as a serious alternative for a weaker computer. For although the station appears pleasantly light and handy to be so, it is not as flexible as a Windows laptop. In addition to the phone and the dock mouse, keyboard and the cable position eventually have to be worn with still around, also out must be kept always to an HDMI-enabled screen. In addition, the DeX surface can easily miss certain functions that are likely to be passed on many Windows users in the flesh, despite their similarities to the Microsoft operating system. Some examples.
There are – unlike on the smartphone display – no split-screen mode. Although two windows can be displayed side by side, but they must be laboriously to arrange themselves and resized. stop some apps as soon as they run in the background, including – as with Android but unlike Windows – YouTube. Highlight text or multiple files and drag and drop long does not work everywhere, as are the context menus. Flash content can not be displayed due to lack of support of the Android operating system, Web pages sometimes shown only in the mobile view on the large monitor.
DeX is not entirely new experiment, but Samsung shall perhaps most convincing implementation of a convergence system before. And that for several reasons: The performance of the Galaxy S8 is enough to do everyday tasks without much stuttering. The app offer for use with DeX is theoretically gigantic. DeX plug and play – without compromise, with access to all areas and functions of the smartphone.
That DeX still can not hold a candle in the end weaker Windows laptops or -Rechnern, is mainly due to the lack of flexibility and the fact that some experienced attendance patterns were not transferred to the user interface. In addition, some apps do not work or only in windowed mode. So without any restrictions, it is not even in DeX.