The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a host of improvements and new feats, but one of the most interesting is brought about by an accessory called the DeX dock. Much like Microsoft’s Continuum, the dock allows owners of the Galaxy S8 to hook up their Android smartphone to an external monitor in order to get a fully-fledged desktop experience.
But to access all the DeX goodness, you’ll need the dock. The bad news is that it’s sold separately for an additional $150. Given that the Galaxy S8 is already super expensive, some customers might be skittish to pick up the DeX. But those who do decide to invest, will find the accessory can be quite useful.
The DeX comes equipped HDMI port, two USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity. It also keeps the Galaxy S8 all juiced up while in-use, so users won’t have to worry about the battery running out. All you need to get started is to plug in the phone into the station – which connects the phone to a HDMI compatible monitor – connect any type of Bluetooth, USB or RF-type keyboard and a mouse and voila you get DeX UI.
Samsung says it has completely redesigned and optimized Android UI to offer a complete experience when in use with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Users will find there’s a button that gives quick access to compatible apps; they will also be able to minimize or maximize individual apps or multi-task.
Speaking of compatible apps, Samsung has partnered up with Microsoft and Adobe to bring Microsoft Office and Adobe mobile apps to the DeX experience. On top of that DeX is also compatible with virtual desktop apps like Citrix, Amazon, Workspace and VMWare, so can get productive. Your usual Android apps also work. However, it’s a bit unclear about how apps that aren’t optimized for a larger display, will work with the DeX. Samsung so far, has detailed only its own host of apps.
Phone functionality continues to work in the background and you can even take hands-free phone calls over the PC or answer texts from the desktop interface.
Samsung also offers contextual menus and a desktop version Web browser. Notifications and the status bar haven’t been removed from the desktop version, as they continue to live at the bottom. There’s also a lock screen and you can even secure your DeX interface with a passcode or facial recognition, to keep prying eyes out.
With all the convenience it brings, DeX is not actually meant to replace your laptop (actually for $150 you could buy a Chromebook). But if you’re a regularly going on a business trips, this accessory might prove quite valuable to you, as it allows you to plug your phone into any office.
The Samsung DeX dock become available sometimes in late April.