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My take on Samsung DeX, A future of computing.

Let me clear up a misconception already, I believe this is A future of computing, not the future of computing.

 

With that out of the way, Samsung DeX. If you've never heard of it, it's a way to turn your Samsung phone or tablet into a fully functioning desktop, Huawei has EMUI desktop and LG has Desktop mode on their V70. Over the last few weeks I've been trying out Samsung DeX, and at first i didn't think i would like it, but as i used it more, it grew on me.

Now i still have access to my desktop, it's literally right next to my desk and even connected to the same monitor, so it wasn't out of necessity, it was out of curiosity and boredom .

 

This is what i have been using for my testing

image.thumb.png.5ac1a4e88aa2f0246cf3d71377f9243a.png

 

So how has it been? Surprisingly better than i was expecting. Of course there is always going to be limitations, but since it's still evolving it's things that could be fixed in the future.

 

What i didn't like

  • Middle click doesn't open new tabs in browsers
  • Can't disable mouse/cursor acceleration
  • Limited to only 1 display (minus the phone/tablet running it)
  • A few apps cannot be run in DeX mode (but can still be opened on the phone while connected, LastPass being the one i've had issues with)

 

I've been using it in place of my desktop where i can. The only times i need to switch back to my desktop is to either play a game or if i need to use photoshop. But pretty much everything else I do can be done in DeX. I've set up a network share for the main files on my PC so i can access them from any android device, so i don't feel "locked out" of anything. Even using something like Moonlight or Parsec to remote into my desktop if i really need to is 100% hassle free (i could technically even game through them, turning my Desktop into my own cloud game server).

You can play android games in a window while watching youtube/netflix/whatever in another window, I've never run into and weird lag or hangs during multi tasking on either of my devices. Or shitpost on the LTT forums while shitposting on Reddit

 

image.thumb.png.4dc05241e31caf3cd49237cf38283072.png

 

I find that i do more multitasking like this while using DeX than I ever do on my desktop. I've even been using it as my HTPC, just hook the phone up to my TV, jump onto the network share and sit back on the couch.

 

Is this A future of computing? I personally think it is. I know so many people who don't have a desktop or even a laptop, they just use their phone because they have gotten so powerful that they are sufficient for 99% of general purpose uses. And even with services like Geforce Now, Xcloud and stadia, if you live somewhere that gets a good connection, you wouldn't even need your own gaming PC (i'm not one of them). It's absolutely not for everyone and by no means a replacement for a High End Gaming or Workstation PC. I think all it would take is for this feature to be implemented into base Android and maybe even iPhones for it to take off.

 

For people that need the portability but dont want to work directly on their phone, there's already "Lapdocks" like the nexdock that was reviewed by LTT a while ago that turns your phone into a laptop, instead of a desktop. There's a few trying to get funding on kickstarter as well.

 

NexDock 2 by Nex Computer — Kickstarter

 

And like Linus said in the review of the Nexdock, you only need to upgrade 1 device which is the core of everything.

 

The problem with Apple doing this would be cannibalizing their own product, but they have already blurred the lines with their iPads having traditionally "laptop" features and now their M1 machines also have the ability to just iOS apps. But if they could put something like the M1 in their tablets or phones and then sell a Macbook or iMac "shell" with that signature build quality i think popularity would skyrocket and we'd see more things like the Nexdock, or even the return of something like the old AIO PCs. Large monitor (most has touch functionality) every single port you can think of and a fairly non intrusive design, just hook your phone up and do what ever, then disconnect and sit on the couch then go out shopping, come back and hook up again.

 

I know it's not really going to appeal to, or be relevant to most of the people on this forum, you know, because we're tech enthusiasts, but i'm personally very interested to see where this goes because it's absolutely fascinating.

 

I'm interested to know if anyone else has used DeX or similar and what your thoughts on this are?

 

 

TL;DR: DeX is cool and i hope to see more support for similar throughout the industry.

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

Don't dilute <good thing> by always trying to focus on, and drag conversation back to, <bad thing>.

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I don't personally like DeX as most apps are shitty for that mode (specially Netflix........) but I see where it's going and I'd like to see Linux based OS have this feature as more and more open source phones are available. With the Apple M1 chip I can only assume it will be a matter of time before OS for ARM become stronger for desktop use

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I'm totally up for unified phone / laptop experience. In 2019 I had to get a Celeron laptop just because it was cheap and I needed something to get work processing done. Device is an absolute piece of shit, I'm CPU bottlenecked everywhere (N3060). If I had an option to slap my phone into a "lapdock" I honestly would have preferred that. Arm is now getting mainstream support and I really hope a company like OnePlus (or any company that doesn't bloat the living shit out of their phones with shitty software) comes up with a solution for it. I would be thrilled to have Ubuntu running on my phone while docked and also run Android while using it as a phone. Dex had that feature in beta but Samsung killed that off.

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5 minutes ago, Levent said:

I'm totally up for unified phone / laptop experience. In 2019 I had to get a Celeron laptop just because it was cheap and I needed something to get work processing done. Device is an absolute piece of shit, I'm CPU bottlenecked everywhere (N3060). If I had an option to slap my phone into a "lapdock" I honestly would have preferred that. Arm is now getting mainstream support and I really hope a company like OnePlus (or any company that doesn't bloat the living shit out of their phones with shitty software) comes up with a solution for it. I would be thrilled to have Ubuntu running on my phone while docked and also run Android while using it as a phone. Dex had that feature in beta but Samsung killed that off.

lol the school gave me an acer spin 11 with a n3360 and a google meet for e-learning it takes 90 percent usage. Can't wait for my own pc

"I know a lot about a little, but a little about a lot"

Note that I am a student so what I say is based on what I read, and may not be the case for everyone.

I am not the best technician, so don't make fun

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What's the dock?

 

I've got a monitor with a built-in dock - it takes DP over type-c video input, + a couple of type-a ports downstream + provides power to whatever is connected. I thought I'd try it out, connected to my S20, Dex came up with an error message, something along the lines of not finding anything compatible and referencing Samsung's own proprietary dock. At which point I firmly decided they can go f themselves

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41 minutes ago, Arika S said:
  • Can't disable mouse/cursor acceleration

This particular point annoys me a LOT. It seems no OS other than Windows can do this easily. How can UI designers fail on such a simple feature? Various Linux distros have various settings that sometimes kinda works but not well. I've never managed a good solution on MacOS.

 

Anyway, onto the topic at hand, I find this curious although I'm not sure I'll ever be the target market for something like this. Phones have continued to get more powerful, and have been at basic desktop levels for some time. I just don't see one replacing a desktop for my home use, and I don't travel in a way where this makes sense.

 

BTW what server are you on in Azur Lane?

Desktop Gaming system: Asrock Z370 Pro4, i7-8086k, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200 4x16GB, Gigabyte 2070, NZXT E850 PSU, Cooler Master MasterBox 5, Optane 900p 280GB, Crucial MX200 1TB, Sandisk 960GB, Acer Predator XB241YU 1440p144 G-sync
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Gaming laptop: Asus FX503VD, i5-7300HQ, DDR4 2133 2x8GB, GTX 1050, Sandisk 256GB + 480GB SSD [link]


 

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I've played with it a bit on my Huawei phone (EMUI desktop is a really good implementation IMO) but while the system itself, multitasking etc is great I really can't see myself using it regularly for the simple reason that mobile apps are just too clunky for keyboard/mouse use, they're often too big even when they have a tablet layout meaning the screen feels really cramped, can't easily change resolution etc... Yes it works and is usable, but just too uncomfortable to my liking.

Also annoying things like the onscreen keyboard popping up all the time even when you've got a physical one connected etc...

 

One thing I used it a couple of days ago was to wirelessly connect to the TV in the hotel I was at, switch to desktop mode, and then I can play a Youtube video on the TV while still using the phone, really cool.

 

One interesting workaround is to use something like Andronix to run a linux distro in chroot, run the vnc client in desktop mode and with a bit of configuration you get basically a full fledged standard desktop that will run any linux software you can compile for arm.

F@H
Desktop: i7-5960X 4.4GHz, Noctua NH-D14, ASUS Rampage V, 32GB, RTX3080, 2TB NVMe SSD, 2x16TB HDD RAID0, Corsair HX1200, Thermaltake Overseer RX1, Samsung 4K curved 49" TV, 23" secondary

Mobile SFF rig: i9-9900K, Noctua NH-L9i, Asrock Z390 Phantom ITX-AC, 32GB, GTX1070, 2x1TB NVMe SSD RAID0, 2x5TB 2.5" HDD RAID0, Athena 500W Flex (Noctua fan), Custom 4.7l 3D printed case

 

Dell XPS 2 in 1 2019, 32GB, 1TB, 4K

 

GPD Win 2

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26 minutes ago, Yebi said:

What's the dock?

 

I've got a monitor with a built-in dock - it takes DP over type-c video input, + a couple of type-a ports downstream + provides power to whatever is connected. I thought I'd try it out, connected to my S20, Dex came up with an error message, something along the lines of not finding anything compatible and referencing Samsung's own proprietary dock. At which point I firmly decided they can go f themselves

It's from BluPEAK an Australian company, but it's probably just a generic hub that they change the branding on. I get a notification saying for a better experience use an officeal dock, but it does everything i need

 

https://www.blupeak.com.au/products/blupeak-usb-c-multi-port-adapter-hdmi4k-2xusb3-0-pd

 

26 minutes ago, porina said:

This particular point annoys me a LOT. It seems no OS other than Windows can do this easily. How can UI designers fail on such a simple feature? Various Linux distros have various settings that sometimes kinda works but not well. I've never managed a good solution on MacOS.

 

Agreed, i was able to adjust the speed on both the DeX settings and the DPI on my mouse to make it less obvious and eventually got used to it, but i wish there was an option to disable it.

 

26 minutes ago, porina said:

BTW what server are you on in Azur Lane?

I'm on the Washington Server

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

Don't dilute <good thing> by always trying to focus on, and drag conversation back to, <bad thing>.

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2 minutes ago, Kilrah said:

I've played with it a bit on my Huawei phone (EMUI desktop is a really good implementation IMO) but while the system itself, multitasking etc is great I really can't see myself using it regularly for the simple reason that mobile apps are just too clunky for keyboard/mouse use, they're often too big even when they have a tablet layout meaning the screen feels really cramped, can't easily change resolution etc... Yes it works and is usable, but just too uncomfortable to my liking.

Also annoying things like the onscreen keyboard popping up all the time even when you've got a physical one connected etc..

I also tried it on my Huawei P30, i think it's their implementation of it, that or it doesn't like my hub because the UI scale is enormous that i'm not 100% convinced it's even running in 1080p.

 

Huawei

image.thumb.png.fd194496fe088e29368e67959a26f218.png

 

 

Samsung

image.thumb.png.d4d274281d7c424f1dbb236a811c8604.png

 

 

Here's the size of the tabs overlayed.

Red=samsung

Blue = huawei

image.png.db6b883185dfb887d138f14e8bb93a54.png

Judge the product by its own merits, not by the Company that created it.

 

Don't dilute <good thing> by always trying to focus on, and drag conversation back to, <bad thing>.

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Yeah that's what I don't like, everything is kind of based on the wrong dpi and comes out huge. And it doesn't put out >1080p so when connected to my 1440p monitor it's even worse as it's blurry.

 

The linux solution works pretty well though.

F@H
Desktop: i7-5960X 4.4GHz, Noctua NH-D14, ASUS Rampage V, 32GB, RTX3080, 2TB NVMe SSD, 2x16TB HDD RAID0, Corsair HX1200, Thermaltake Overseer RX1, Samsung 4K curved 49" TV, 23" secondary

Mobile SFF rig: i9-9900K, Noctua NH-L9i, Asrock Z390 Phantom ITX-AC, 32GB, GTX1070, 2x1TB NVMe SSD RAID0, 2x5TB 2.5" HDD RAID0, Athena 500W Flex (Noctua fan), Custom 4.7l 3D printed case

 

Dell XPS 2 in 1 2019, 32GB, 1TB, 4K

 

GPD Win 2

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I agree, dockable phones should be standard. I think it's fucking ridiculous we're cramming 12GB of RAM and fast CPUs and GPUs into something that is handicapped with a shitty little touchscreen.

Quote me to see my reply!

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i use arch btw

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I'm using a Smartisan Nut Pro 3 and the Smartisan phones also have desktop mode called TNT. Among all desktop experiences from Android phones I personally think the TNT has the best aesthetics. However it doesn't support Linux environment so that's a bummer. 

 

One thing I very much hate on desktop OS is the Electron apps, especially Teams. It consumes all 45 watts of my i7-9750H when joining a classroom session. Due to the web technology under the hood the responsiveness cannot match native apps. But on Android it's a native app, it also supports multiple windows (especially useful under EMUI, DeX and TNT), it is SUPER responsive on Snapdragon 855+ and my phone is just barely warm to touch when connected to a 4K60 display. 

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