WE’VE READ A FEW DeX reviews online and have been overwhelmed by the disparity between those in favour and those against. The arguments against DeX generally focus on price. You’re paying £700+ for a phone and £129 for the DeX docking station – add it all up and you’re talking about roughly £800 for a sub-optimal desktop experience! Don’t do it.
On the flipside, other reviewers acknowledge – you’re probably getting a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ anyway – why wouldn’t you? It’s a great phone. Spend a fifth of the money you spent on the phone to pick up DeX dock. This delivers a more than basic desktop replacement. It’s the epitome of an excellent accessory – spend a bit, get a lot more out of your device.
As someone who’s been optimistically following the smartphone dock convergence category since we started in tech – Motorola Atrix, I looking at you – on paper, DeX tickles all of our hotspots in all the right ways. That said, we’ve also grown accustomed to disappointment, most recently at the hand of Microsoft’s tragically flawed Continuum, packing all the promise of Windows 10 but the follow through of a its ill-fated mobile OS.
Can DeX pull through where so many before it crumbled?
What is DeX?
In a nutshell, DeX is a dock for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ that outputs a desktop experience from your phone to a big screen. It acts as little more than a portal, relying entirely on your phone’s processing power to generate the experience, doing so via HDMI, making it compatible with most TVs and monitors. Thanks to two USB ports around the back, it’s easy to hook up a keyboard and a mouse to DeX, and there’s even an ethernet port for anyone who wants a high-speed connection without consuming all your mobile data.
DeX is a plastic puck that looks much better than it feels. It’s lightweight, hollow and is a bit flimsy, not helped by the fact it has moving parts. There’s a central sliding component that glides back to expose a USB-C port for your Samsung Galaxy S8 to mount. Once docked, lifting up your Galaxy S8 results in lifting up the whole unit, making undocking fiddly and ensuring this isn’t an ergonomic docking dream.
Fortunately, like we said, it looks much better than it feels and once your S8 is docked, the whole set-up looks great. DeX angles your S8 so it’s easy for you to see your phone’s screen, while the black body will likely go with most desktop decors. The round, inoffensive, organic shape makes DeX looks more like a paperweight than a smart gadget, and even the name, DeX, sounds more like a person than a smartphone accessory.
Unlike with a smartphone, design is only marginally important for DeX as you’re not handling it excessively or pocketing it. We also love the fact DeX is a dock. The Lumia 950 Continuum ‘dock’ wasn’t a dock, it was an octopus box that sprawled wires across a work surface. DeX, by contrast is a neat package that gets away with being not quite perfect from a design point of view thanks to a great overall aesthetic and, as we’ll come onto, some excellent utility.
Before jumping into the nuts and bolts of the user experience, let’s deep dive a little bit into the connections, and as mentioned, everything of note is around the back – one USB-C port, one HDMI port, capable of 4K output, two USB 2.0 ports and one Ethernet port that supports speeds of up to 100MB.
The DeX Station also has a built-in cooling fan and charges your phone while it’s docked, which, practically, really helps your Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ last more than a day.
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