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Is Samsung DeX Worth It?

Dex is a software feature that only flagship Samsung phones have. Samsung says the DeX is here to usher in a new mobile computing era to replace our desktop computers. DeX can transform our phone into a killer PC.[1]

So, is Samsung Dex worth it? Should we buy a Samsung phone for only this feature? Can it replace our desktops?

The short answer to all these questions is, No. It’s because DeX is not portable, not compact, not powerful. The cost of DeX related hardware is expensive. We can’t edit videos, play games, run productivity software or develop software on DeX. Above all, the lack of available software choice makes DeX the worst laptop alternatives. Therefore, DeX is not worth it. 

Let’s explain.

We always say that if a product’s benefits do not exceed the benefit of our current product, it’s not worth it. 

Samsung promises that DeX can replace desktop computers. We can do a lot of work with DeX without the desktop. But does the claim hold water in the real world? 

Let’s look into some drawbacks of DeX.

DeX is Not Portable:

One of the main selling points of DeX is that it is a portable alternative to a Laptop or PC. Unfortunately, we disagree with the statement. 

If we have a laptop, we can carry it everywhere. It has a built-in keyboard, trackpad, and a display. Our laptop fits in our backpack. 

On the contrary, DeX needs a separate monitor, keyboard, and a USB C HUB. However, we don’t need a mouse with DeX because the phone can work as a trackpad. Who carries a monitor and keyboard in his backpack? The monitor and keyboard are not portable. It makes the DeX similar to a desktop PC. Considering all of these, a laptop is more portable than Samsung DeX. 

DeX is Not Compact:

Samsung says that DeX is compact because it is powered by a Galaxy phone. And we can carry our phone anywhere we like. But we differ. 

Yes, a stand-alone phone is compact. But DeX needs a big monitor and a big Keyboard to operate to its full potential. When we consider this full DeX setup, it’s easy to understand that DeX is not a compact solution. It’s basically worse than a laptop. 

Can businesses save money by using DeX?

Samsung extensively advertises that DeX is very beneficial for businesses, especially those with lots of employees. They argue that instead of buying PCs for each employee, a company can provide DeX supported phones or tablets to every employee. This way, a business can save a lot of money. But it’s not entirely accurate. 

DeX is not available on all Samsung Galaxy phones. Only high-end Galaxies such as S20, S20+, Note 20, S21, S21+, S21 Ultra, Note 20 Ultra, etc., have DeX, and these devices are not cheap. 

The price of these phones ranges from $800 to $1400. On the contrary, we can purchase a laptop with excellent specs for $400 in the US. Therefore, Samsungs claim that a business can save a lot of investment money by providing employees with a DeX supported phone instead of a laptop or pc is not valid. 

Moreover, as we previously stated, businesses also need to buy USB C Hub, monitor, keyboard, and mouse for each DeX station. These added expenses sure will raise the cost over a typical laptop solution. 

No Video Editing:

A few days ago, we were looking for an android video editing app. Unfortunately, all the apps on the app store are basic. None of them can replace Adobe premiere pro. Dex does not even have a native video editor. Therefore, DeX can’t replace your PC for this task. 

No Video Games:

Though the DeX can give us a Desktop feeling, it’s not a Desktop operating system. There are thousands of immersive PC games available. For those games, we need a gaming computer with a powerful processor and GPU. DeX does not have any good games. It is nothing but a glorified Android OS with some added functionality. The mobile processor, mobile GPU is incapable of running powerful games. 

If you have a Galaxy S21 Ultra, download a video game named “Monument Valley.” During your gameplay, your phone will become very hot and will consume a lot of battery power. A Galaxy phone can’t handle a simple android game, let alone a full-fledged PC game. 

No gaming company will make games for DeX. On the contrary, if you have a decent laptop, you can play all the PC games without any issues. Therefore DeX can’t replace our gaming PCs. 

Browser is Not Powerful:

On our phone, we can use the chrome browser. The critical difference between a mobile and desktop chrome browser is that the mobile version is stripped down and not as powerful as its desktop counterparts. There are many features that mobile browsers do not have, for example, the website inspect feature. 

Dex has Limited Software Options:

The available software options for DeX are low. Except for Microsoft Word, Excel, and a few other apps, our choice is limited. We can’t use most of our productivity software on the phone, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

Samsung advises us that we should use the DeX browser and use cloud apps. For example, according to Samsung, we should use Citrix to run our desktop applications. So our question is, how DeX is better than Google Chromebook? The Chromebook is even far cheaper than the DeX supported phones. 

Weak Processor:

Mobile processors are comparatively weak in performance compared to a full-fledged desktop processor. Even a few years ago, we saw many netbooks. The main difference between a laptop and a netbook was the processor and design. 

Netbooks were compact but had weak processors. The main selling point of the device was that not everyone needs a powerful PC. According to those Netbooks manufacturers, a decent laptop is okay to check email, browse websites, watch movies, and listen to music. However, these Netbooks were a failure. It’s because people want a good experience from a device that Netbooks failed to provide.

The DeX is nothing but a phone with a desktop interface. A mobile processor is running everything. This processor is not powerful enough for many things.

From our experience, we have seen that a Samsung phone becomes slow and laggy after several years, and after 4 years, a Samsung galaxy phone becomes unusable. Therefore, if we purchase a Samsung Galaxy only to use the DeX, it’s not worth it because, after several years, the phone will fail to deliver the required performance necessary for our work. 

No Software Development:

The DeX can’t replace a PC for a software developer because DeX does not have any software developer support from anyone, not even from Samsung. Even if we want to create an Android phone app, we can’t do it without a PC. We also can’t develop games on the DeX. 

Long Term Support:

DeX is now more than four years old. Over the years, it changed a little bit. For example, initially, the DeX only worked with a Samsung DeX station. The DeX station was a small phone size device with which a Galaxy phone would connect. Then we could connect our monitor, keyboard, mouse, headphones, etc., with it. It was nothing but a glorified USB C hub. But due to the unpopularity of that station, Samsung opened the DeX to all USB C hubs. 

We have seen that over the years, the DeX has not improved a lot. There are no software developer communities surrounding it. The number of DeX apps are still limited after four years. Therefore, we don’t support anyone who intends to invest in Galaxy phones only because of DeX. 

Many companies tried to capture the mobile phone market with their mobile OS. Except for Android, all of them failed. It’s because there was no mass adoption from consumers, and there were no developer communities. Yes, DeX can be useful for a few people, but it can’t meet everyone’s needs in any way. Without mass adoption, this feature will remain a niche in the Samsung ecosystem. 

Our Verdict:

The bottom line is if you want to buy a Samsung phone because you need a phone, then it’s okay. But if you want a Samsung flagship phone because of the DeX feature, our advice is, please take your time to make your final purchasing decisions. DeX is an expensive but worse replacement for your laptop, and it’s not worth your hard-earned money.