Samsung DeX Pad is the name of the accessory that Samsung has created to turn your mobile into a desktop PC . It works with both the Samsung Galaxy S9 + and the Galaxy S9, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 + and the Galaxy Note 8. Simply connect your mobile to the base, plug in a monitor via HDMI and connect the accessories you want (keyboard and mouse) via USB or via Bluetooth. In a matter of seconds, the desktop version will start with an interface that is somewhat reminiscent of Windows and Mac environments .
From here you can use all kinds of apps installed on your mobile, although the key is in the applications that have been optimized for DeX Pad. We talk about a good handful of names such as the Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Google apps like YouTube or Gmail and a few more names. We can even work with other applications such as Citrix Receiver, VMware Horizon and Amazon WorkSpaces to be able to manage a virtual desktop.
I have had the opportunity to test this accessory with the Galaxy S9 +, available for a price of 100 euros. I will tell you my experience.
The DeX Pad has a base and a small “island” that protrudes where the USB type C connector is to plug in the mobile
Samsung DeX datasheet
|Connections||HDMI, 2 x USB 2.0|
|Compatibility||Samsung Galaxy S9 +, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 +|
|Features||Multitasking, Quick launches to applications, Move and copy files, Full screen of optimized apps|
|Remote access||With VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solutions: Citrix Receiver, VMware Horizon and Amazon WorkSpaces.|
|Additional features||Serves as a phone charger|
|Compatible apps||Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power Point, OneNote, Microsoft OneDrive, Skype, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop Express, Adobe Photoshop Mix, Behance, Hancom Office, Amazon WorkSpaces, Citrix Receiver, VMware Horizon Client, YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive, Chrome, Google Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, Google Photos, Play Store, AutoCAD Mobile, LINE, Naver, KakaoTalk, Lineage 2 Revolution or The Tribez.|
Mounting the Dex Pad is as simple as connecting the mobile to the charging base and the HDMI to the monitor
Putting the Samsung DeX Pad into operation is simple, but it has a trick. You have to connect the elements in a certain order for it to work smoothly. First, we plug the equipment into the current (it has a mobile charger, so in case of need you can use one that you have at home). Here we find the first aspect that can be improved, since the charging cable is somewhat short and leaves little freedom when plugging the Pad into the power.
Once plugged in, you have to connect the peripherals that we are going to use. That is, both the keyboard and the mouse if they go by cable. In case we want to configure them by Bluetooth, this step can be done once we connect the phone. Only in this way will they work, since if we do it afterwards (after having connected the mobile) it will not recognize them. The mobile enters the base through its USB type C port. The advantage is that while Samsung DeX Pad works, it also charges the smartphone .
Finally, we connect the HDMI to the monitor that we are going to use as a screen. In a matter of seconds we will see the Samsung DeX screen appear and then an interface that simulates the mobile lock screen.
Close up view of the Samsung DeX Pad port
An interface halfway between Android, Windows and Mac
You have to admit it. The interface that Samsung DeX has is well recognizable. In many ways it follows the path of Android, but it also has details of Windows or Mac. It does not take much to become familiar with it. The back and home buttons are at the bottom left. Then we will have icons of the apps that we have set or that we have open, and moving between them is as easy as clicking each icon. The truth is that this is one of the sections that I liked the most when trying the DeX Pad.
I am not so happy with another element that seems key to me, that of file management. For this, Samsung's own My Files app is used. At the top we have a shortcut to different categories such as images, documents, etc . And you have a simple system through the right mouse button to delete, copy or move files.
Samsung DeX Pad screenshot gallery
However, the problem is that you cannot paste them into the categories menu itself, you have to go down and search within the system folders to carry out this action. Until I realized this limitation, I wasted quite a few minutes. And it seems to me that all the good that this category system brings is lost a bit when having to deal with Android folders. If you have used them, you will probably agree with me that they are anything but intuitive.
What I did like is the DeX search function . It is very visual and it is really easy and fast to find the different elements. There are also other features that are well achieved, such as the process to uninstall the apps that we are not going to use. Just click on them with the right mouse button and then on the delete option.
Some pending accounts
There is no doubt that being able to use your mobile as a computer is a plus. We have already said that the models compatible with Samsung DeX Pad are the Samsung Galaxy S9 + and Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 . You have probably noticed an important absence. What about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9? In this case, you no longer need a Pad to be able to use it as a PC, you just have to have a USB C to HDMI adapter.
The key point of this experience is optimization. The Samsung DeX Pad is compatible with a good number of apps , and in these cases the experience is quite good, similar to what you can get with a desktop application. For example, we have tested it to manage email with Gmail or to write texts with Word (and create spreadsheets with Excel). It is also compatible with YouTube , although there are some details to be polished such as that when you have a large video you have another one related to the same screen length and cut. This is easily fixed by going full screen, but it does not leave the feeling of being well thought out.
The real problem comes when you have to deal with other apps that are not optimized, such as Netflix. The popular streaming platform opens on a small screen, and I haven't had the option to put it on full screen (even though I tried to enable it through settings). This clouds the final experience a bit.
As for the screen resolution, we can work with both Full HD resolution and QHD resolution. I had problems on my monitor getting the resolution up to 2K, but I tried it on other monitors and it worked without a problem.
Operation via keyboard and mouse or with the mobile itself
As I said at the beginning, you can connect both a mouse and a keyboard to this base through its two USB 2.0 ports. We can also make use of the mobile's Bluetooth 5.0 technology (all compatible models already have this version). Why is Bluetooth 5.0 important? Because this version allows you to have two devices connected at the same time.
The fact is that the user experience is similar to what you can usually have working on a Windows PC. From the settings you can vary the sensitivity of the mouse so that it does not vary with respect to what you are used to. On some occasion I have detected some lag, but it has been very occasional. What I have found repeatedly with my keyboard is that it was often misconfigured losing the Spanish language. Even though it was selected from the settings menu. It is quite heavy, although it may be the product of some incompatibility with the keyboard and not something general.
On the other hand, if the traditional use of keyboard and mouse does not convince you, you can also convert the screen of your Samsung mobile into a mouse, just like you would use a laptop trackpad . When writing, just open the on-screen keyboard and you can write from your mobile. A good alternative although I personally prefer the comfort of the traditional keyboard and mouse.
Price and reviews
The Samsung DeX Pad can be found in stores for an official price of 100 euros. In short, we are facing a very interesting accessory, which seeks to take the idea that our mobile is a miniature computer to a new level . The desktop experience is varied, very good if we leave the applications that have already been optimized but quite limited as soon as we leave the fold (for example, with an app as popular as Netflix).
On the other hand, we have some well-carried out ideas such as shortcuts to applications, the ease of uninstalling apps or the search box, which is very helpful. If you already have a Samsung Galaxy S9 (or another of the compatible models) it is an option to consider to expand the functionality of your mobile.