Phones

Samsung DeX Pad: A PC replacement for straightforward tasks

The Samsung DeX Pad is a dock that connects selected Samsung Galaxy smartphones to a monitor for a desktop computing and entertainment experience.

The Galaxy smartphones supported are the S8, S8+, S8 Active, Note8, S9 and S9+. These smartphones must also be updated to the latest Android 8.0 Oreo to work. For this review, I used a Note8 and S9+.

The DeX Pad is not much of a looker - a piece of plain black plastic slab that sits flat on a desk. But it is lightweight and easy to carry around.

When docked, your smartphone lies flat on the DeX Pad. This is unlike its predecessor, the DeX Station, which tilts the phone up at an angle like a smartphone stand.

Thus, it is a tad inconvenient if you want to unlock your smartphone. You will have to move your head above your smartphone to unlock it if you are using iris-recognition. And you have to lift the smartphone up to reach the rear fingerprint sensor to unlock it. Using PIN code is probably the easiest.

On DeX Pad's top are a USB-C connector to dock your smartphone, and a row of ventilations vents for cooling your smartphone. At its back is an HDMI port for connecting to an external display. Here, you will also find a USB-C port for charging and two USB 2.0 ports for connecting to peripherals.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $148

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x USB-C

    WEIGHT: 134g

  • RATINGS

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

It comes with an HDMI cable, a USB-C cable and a wall charger. You will need to use your own mouse and keyboard.

Your smartphone's display becomes a trackpad for the DeX desktop once it is docked. It even allows you to use a virtual keyboard on it. However, the virtual trackpad lacks precision and the virtual keyboard is too small to type on.

For the best experience, I recommend using a mouse and keyboard with the DeX Pad. I plugged in the USB receiver of my wireless Razer Turrent keyboard and mouse, and they both worked perfectly. But the connection became really spotty when I switched them to Bluetooth.

For the most part, the DeX Pad is a seamless plug-and-play experience. Just connect it to a monitor, and you get a Windows-like desktop.

It supports multitasking and lets you display multiple apps on the same screen. I wrote this review using Google Docs with the DeX Pad, while having Chrome, Google Store, E-mail and several other apps running at the same time. I did not experience any crashes.

But websites will treat your Web browser as a mobile browser and you will not get the full desktop experience. Plus, the smartphone can get quite hot during use. No wonder it comes with a fan.

I also experience some intermittent lags, particularly when playing graphics-intensive games or when many apps are running at the same time.

In addition, some apps and games do not support full-screen on the DeX Pad. As such, you might be playing on a small window, which defeats the purpose of using the DeX Pad in the first place.

• Verdict: The Samsung DeX Pad can be a PC replacement, if all you do is word-processing, spreadsheet editing and Web browsing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'A PC replacement for straightforward tasks '. Print Edition | Subscribe