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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is without doubt the finest Android tablet that money can buy. It’s a media-playing powerhouse, courtesy of its beautiful display, powerful innards and excellent sound output.
This is also the best Android device for productivity, thanks to those aforementioned specs in conjunction with the provisions of Samsung’s brilliant S Pen and its DeX desktop software.
Look outside the Android ecosystem, however, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 finds itself flanked by superior options. The iPad Pro 11 (2018) remains the best pro tablet, while the Surface Pro 6 and its Windows 10 ilk are better for pure productivity.
Who's this for?
If you’ve been waiting patiently for someone to release a top-notch Android tablet with up to date components, there’s really no choice to make. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is the only game in town.
Similarly, if you’d like a pro-level tablet with all the bells and whistles - including a stylus and ample storage - but don’t fancy paying Apple close to four figures for the privilege, the Galaxy Tab S6 could actually turn out to be good value.
Should you buy it?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is that rarest of things - a top-end Android tablet with the kind of power, design and feature set to rival a 2019 flagship phone.
It’s well-built, extremely powerful, has a vibrant Super AMOLED display and excellent battery life. It also bundles in an S Pen stylus that can be put to all manner of artistic and productivity uses, and DeX has real multitasking potential.
When it comes to tablet ecosystems and sharp tablet-focused software, however, Apple’s iPad Pro range continues to reign supreme. Anyone looking for a portable productivity powerhouse, meanwhile, might be better served with a Windows 2-in–1.
First reviewed: September 2019
Check out these alternatives:
iPad Pro 11 (2018)
As good as the Galaxy Tab S6 is in its field, the iPad Pro 11 (2018) is better. It’s considerably more powerful and more desirable, while its display is brighter and more responsive, and at a more flexible 4:3 aspect ratio.
Meanwhile, the iPad’s software is about to get a lot more powerful and productivity friendly with iPadOS. It doesn’t quite match DeX for raw multitasking potential, but it’s generally slicker and more intuitive.
Of course, you’ll have to pay a premium for the iPad Pro’s superior package. Its base model comes with half the storage of the Samsung, and you’ll have to pay a lot for the Apple Pencil. As improbable as it sounds for such a pricey tablet, the Galaxy Tab S6 is a fine budget alternative.
Read our full iPad Pro 11 (2018) review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
Samsung’s only real competition from within the Android ecosystem comes from itself. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e sports a similarly sharp design and offers a similarly slick tablet experience, but for significantly less money.
The Galaxy Tab S6 is much more powerful, however, and it benefits from the inclusion of the S Pen. For power users, the S6 is the clear winner.
If you’re simply after a classy Android tablet experience for web browsing and media consumption, however, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e might be a better bet.
Read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review
Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro is getting on a bit now, but it still provides a roughly comparable pro tablet experience to the Galaxy Tab S6 for a lot less money.
It’s powerful enough to do pretty much everything you’d need of it, it has a huge 7,500mAh battery, a smart all-metal design, and a larger 10.8-inch display. It also packs a very accomplished pressure-sensitive stylus, and as with the Tab S6 there’s the potential to add a smart keyboard cover.
On the down side, it’s a fair bit less powerful than the Samsung, and it lacks that beautiful Super AMOLED display. It’s also pretty tricky to find in the UK these days. And then there’s that EMUI interface…
Read our full Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro review