Artist Review: Samsung Tab S6 for digital drawing

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 was released in August 2019 and is still to date probably the best Android tablet in the market.

I actually bought the Tab S6 to replace the Tab S4 that I was using previously. Drawing performance for Tab S4 was quite good and is similar on the Tab S6 despite the better specfications.

The model that I bought is the wifi model with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage. it's also available with LTE, 6GB RAM and 256GB storage.

There's a micro SD card slot for expandable storage. Unfortunately, there no headphone jack, and the under-screen fingerprint sensor and face unlock don't work flawlessly.

The design looks good with thin profile and bezels. It's relatively lightweight at just 420g without any case. It's a tablet you can hold with one hand, draw with the other without feeling tired.

Thickness is 5.7mm.

The chip on Tab S6 is Snapdragon 855 which has pretty good performance. I've not noticed lag when drawing, playing videos or browsing the web with multiple browser tabs opened.

Battery capacity is 7040mAh which can last for 6-8 hours depending on your usage and the display brightness.

The 10.5-inch OLED display supports a resolution of 2560 x 1600. The resolution supports 1440P Youtube videos, something even the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2732 x 2048 pixels) can't do because of lack of support within the video playing apps.

Colours on the display are vibrant. Contrast levels are fantastic.

The display is also laminated which means there's no gap between the drawing surface and the OLED beneath. When drawing, it will seem like the lines are appearing directly beneath the pen.

There's still slight input lag. Basically, there's still a gap as the line tries to catch up with the cursor while drawing. It's not a big deal. Even the iPad Pro has input lag if you look for it. Note that input lag is different from normal lag which there is none. Overall tablet performance is snappy.

Official retail price for the Samsung Tab S6 base model is US $649 or around 600 Euro. I bought mine here in Singapore at S$998.

The S Pen is included. This is an active stylus that supports pressure and tilt sensitivity.

The S Pen does not require battery power to write or draw with. However, this particular S Pen does have a small battery in it for additional wireless features which do not work well so I won't mention them.

Behind the Tab S6 there is a small concave slot that the S Pen can attach magnetically to, and for charging.

Two replacement tips are provided, a black one with more friction and a white hard tip that's smooth. The black tip feels like a felt-tip and provides more control when drawing on glass since it has that extra bit of friction. The white hard tip is smooth and is good for drawing.

Unlike the Apple Pencil which has a hard tip, the S Pen tip is software by comparison and the tapping sound is less audible.

The black soft-medium tip can wear down fast if you draw regularly but replacement tips are inexpensive and easy to find. You can find them on Amazon. Last time I check you can get five tips for less than US $10.

Android drawing apps are getting better each year.

Some drawing apps I recommend at Infinite Painter, Ibis Paint, Sketchbook, Artflow, Medibang and Concepts.

My favourite drawing app on Android currently is Concepts. It's a beautifully designed vector drawing app that even has textures you can choose to apply onto strokes. Concepts is available on iPad, Android and Windows. Downside is the Android version does not support all the features and functionality of the iPad version, but it still has all the core drawing features, and the same files can be worked on with Windows (the iPad files can't work on other devices at time of this review.)

A few years ago, I may say drawing apps on iPad have better quality. Procreate is fantastic on iPad and the Android equivalent Infinite Painter isn't as fully featured. However, there are still many good drawing apps on Android and I don't think you'll miss out if you choose Android over iPad. And there are pros and cons to Android and iPadOS, so I can only say they are different but not which is better.

The overall Tab S6 drawing performance definitely meets my expectations. This is the best Android tablet for creating digital art. The price is high but for the specifications and quality of display, it's still kinda worth the money. If you have lower budget you can consider the Samsung Tab S6 Lite which still supports the S Pen.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Beautiful design
+ Thin and lightweight (420g)
+ Solid build quality
+ High resolution OLED display with vibrant colours
+ Good battery life but could be better
+ 4-way speakers with good audio quality
+ S Pen included
+ S Pen support tilt and pressure sensitivity
+ S Pen is not powered by battery
+ S Pen is accurate
+ S Pen replacement nibs are cheap
+ Palm rejection works well
+ Snappy performance
+ Good drawing performance
+ No jitter when drawing diagonal lines slowly
+ Micro SD card slot
+ Base model with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage
+ Android 10
+ Samsung DeX available
- No headphone jack
- Face unlock and under-screen fingerprint sensor not flawless
- Pricey
- Earbuds not included in some countries
- Camera quality is so-so


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