What is Samsung DeX? How the Galaxy S8 is trying to kill your laptop

What is Samsung DeX? An explainer on Samsung’s new docking system for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

If you’ve ever tried to get some proper work done on an Android device, you’ll know it’s difficult. In fact, failure to accommodate for work is one of the biggest complaints levelled at Google’s Android mobile operating system.

But Samsung is hoping to soothe these productivity woes with a brand new system called Samsung DeX, available on the new Galaxy S8 smartphone. Here’s all you need to know.

What is DeX?

Samsung describes DeX as a “solution” to improve your productivity, with the aim of “reducing the need to carry multiple computing devices”.

The idea is that your Samsung Galaxy S8 becomes your computer, connecting to your monitor via the DeX docking station and offering a full desktop experience powered by your phone.

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You’ll be able to run proper desktop software like Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader, all accessible through a custom-built UI that should make working a breeze.

Speaking about DeX, Injong Rhee, Samsung’s CTO of Mobile Comms, said:

“The smartphone has become the central point for the modern mobile professional, and when giving a presentation or editing documents remotely, it means they can work effectively using just their smartphone.”

He added: “We developed Samsung DeX with the highly mobile worker in mind, giving them a convenient and flexible desktop experience.”

How does DeX work?

First off, you’ll need a DeX station, which is basically a small dock that sits on your desk and plugs into a monitor. It costs €150, and will go on sale alongside the Galaxy S8 on April 28, 2017.

The DeX Station has a bunch of connection ports on the back, including two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a USB Type C power-in, and a cooling fan to boot. You’ll dock your Galaxy S8 in the DeX Station, charging the handset at the same time.

Once you’re plugged in, you’ll be granted access to a “completely redesigned” Android UI that’s optimised for use with a mouse and keyboard. You’ll be able to make use of multiple resizeable windows, contextual menus, and even a desktop-grade web browser.

Samsung has also teamed up with the likes of Microsoft and Adobe to enable Samsung DeX compatibility with third-party software like Microsoft Office and Adobe apps. You’ll also be able to remotely access virtual desktops through partner services like Citrix, VMware, and Amazon Web Services.

There’s also a pledge that all your data will be protected, courtesy of the Samsung Knox security platform. According to Samsung, “your mobile data won’t be transferred from the device to the desktop”, which seems to imply the data on the ‘phone’ portion of your S8 is kept separate to the DeX portion.

The DeX Station can connect to an HDMI compatible monitor, and can also connect to any Bluetooth-enabled USB or RF-type keyboard and mouse.

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