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What is Samsung DeX and how does it work?

Samsung’s DeX (short for Desktop Experience) allows you to use your Samsung phone or tablet as a desktop interface, often eliminating the need for a standalone laptop or computer. It’s easy to use, requiring only an HDMI connection to a monitor, and an external mouse and keyboard.


By connecting your smartphone to a display, you can instantly convert it into something that’s akin to a full-fledged computer experience.

By connecting your smartphone to a display, you can instantly convert it into something that’s akin to a full-fledged computer experience. Below I’ll walk you through exactly what DeX, what it does, along with how and why you should use it.

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Z Fold 4 Dex

Samsung



What is Samsung DeX?

Software interface takes your phone’s desktop and icons and displays them

Instead of showing you smaller windows, like you’d see on a phone, some apps, such as Chrome, will look and work more like the laptop version of the app. You can connect to show Samsung DeX on a monitor, tablet, TV, or laptop display. In addition to using the apps already installed on your phone and showing them on a bigger screen, you can also answer and make calls while using DeX, and if you don’t have an external keyboard connected to your phone, there is a virtual keyboard for typing messages.

DeX was launched in 2017 as a puck-like hub with USB, Ethernet, and HDMI ports to connect to the Samsung Galaxy S8 series. Now, DeX comes standard on most subsequent Samsung phones and tablets (there’s a full list of compatible devices at the bottom of this story), although the hub has been dropped in favor of standardized USB and HDMI cables, while some devices also work wirelessly.


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Galaxy S24 and @3 together 4

How do you connect to Samsung DeX?

Simple plug-and-play system with standard USB and HDMI cables

One of the best things about DeX is how easy it is to connect. I use a USB-C to USB-C cable when connecting to my Asus Zenscreen Pro portable monitor and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable to connect to PCs or laptops. Alternatively, you can also connect most standard USB-C hubs to your Galaxy device, and then use the hubs HDMI port to use DeX on an external monitor or display.

Many TVs, tablets, and laptops support wireless DeX connections, making it even easier to connect and eliminating the need for pesky cables. You can use DeX wirelessly with any MiraCast compatible TV or monitor. DeX is baked into Samsung phones and can be used on a Windows computer, giving you access to both operating systems at the same time. There was a version for Apple’s macOS, but it was discontinued in January 2022.


However, it’s not all doom and gloom for Mac owners because third-party apps like Airdroid and Vysor are easily available and have similar functionality.

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Samsung wireless DeX-2

Samsung

What are the benefits of Samsung DeX?

Increasing your phone’s functions without buying more tech

Using your phone as a computer makes life easier if you’re on the go because you always have it with you and get the functionality of a laptop in the palm of your hand. Your phone converts into a computer to access multiple browser tabs, play games, and use bigger versions of your apps on a large display. There’s no need to sacrifice your phone’s functionality, and you can still make and receive calls and use your phone while it’s connected. You can also use DeX to cast on TVs if you want to watch content on a big screen or need more workspace.

I use DeX daily on my laptop while I’m working because I can place a window that represents my phone in the corner of my laptop’s screen and access all its functions, next to my Windows apps.


Simplicity and greater functionality, all in one device

When doing light work on the go, I can leave my bulky gaming laptop at home and use DeX to access Google Docs and emails on a portable monitor in coffee shops without sacrificing much functionality. Sometimes, I also use DeX to stream content from my phone to my TV and find that adding a wireless keyboard and mouse works best to make navigation easier.

It can also save money for people who do light daily tasks like emails and browsing and don’t need a powerhouse computer to handle complex programs or graphics.

Samsung DeX simplifies my life and improves efficiency because I don’t need to interrupt my work by constantly picking up my phone to view notifications. It can also save money for people who do light daily tasks like emails and browsing and don’t need a powerhouse computer to handle complex programs or graphics.


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Dex logos

Pocket-lint

What’s Dex like to use?

Near 100% success with my testing

Simplicity makes DeX a practical tool because it instantly connects to my laptop and TV wirelessly and works on portable monitors and other devices with a plug-and-play cable. The DeX interface offers a clean desktop. Most apps work seamlessly, although games and some programs require a restart to work in full screen mode instead of a window. On the other hand, not every website or app works due to compatibility issues, so I need to use my laptop instead.

I’d say DeX offers a smooth user experience about 95% of the time, and you can experience some sluggishness and occasional disconnects in the remaining 5%, which isn’t bad at all. Scrolling and viewing large images and videos on my TV is one of the main culprits for slowing down the experience.


After a few minutes, I usually get a message saying, “Gallery was closed automatically because it was causing your phone to overheat. You can open it again later after your phone cools down.”

I also wouldn’t recommend using DeX when your phone’s running low on battery, unless you’re using some sort of hub to power it.

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Samsung DeX graphic

Is Samsung Dex worth using?

DeX can be a formidable tool if you know its limitations. Instead of competing with high-end laptops that can handle anything you throw at them, it’s more of a lightweight alternative to enhance your phone’s abilities and provide additional functionality. I use it daily and think it’s worth it for the time-saving and convenience it offers, although it won’t replace my laptop for serious work anytime soon.


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FAQ

Q: Which Samsung devices support DeX?

Here’s the current lift of Samsung Galaxy devices that have DeX built in:

Phones

Tablets

Galaxy S9

Galaxy Tab S4

S10

Galaxy Tab S5e

Galaxy S20

Galaxy Tab S6

Galaxy S21

Galaxy Tab S7

Galaxy S22

Galaxy Tab S8

Galaxy S23

Galaxy Tab S9

Galaxy S24

Galaxy Tab Active3

Galaxy Note8

Galaxy Tab Active Pro series

Galaxy Note9

Galaxy Note10

Galaxy Note20

Galaxy Z Fold3

Galaxy Z Fold4

Galaxy Z Fold5


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