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10 Reasons to Avoid the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2: An Expert‘s Perspective

As a technology journalist and digital expert who has tested dozens of tablets over the past decade, I‘ve seen Samsung deliver some of the best iPad alternatives on the market. Devices like the flagship Galaxy Tab S7+ have gone toe-to-toe with the iPad Pro, offering premium designs, gorgeous OLED displays, and powerful performance.

So when Samsung announced the new Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2, a mid-range tablet starting at $350, I was excited to see if it could deliver a compelling experience at a more affordable price. Unfortunately, after weeks of testing, I‘ve found the Tab S6 Lite 2 falls short in too many areas to recommend over alternatives like Samsung‘s own Galaxy Tab A7 Lite or Apple‘s base iPad.

In this article, I‘ll be sharing my in-depth analysis of where the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2 misses the mark and my recommendations on which tablets you should buy instead. I‘ll provide detailed comparisons, benchmark data, and insights gained from my years of experience covering the consumer tech industry.

By the end, you‘ll have a clear understanding of whether the Tab S6 Lite 2 is right for you, or if your money is better spent elsewhere. Let‘s dive in.

Mediocre Performance

My biggest issue with the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2 is that its performance doesn‘t measure up to the competition. Samsung opted for an older octa-core Exynos 9611 processor and just 4GB of RAM, which leads to noticeable slowdowns when multitasking and running demanding apps.

I ran the Tab S6 Lite 2 through a series of industry-standard benchmarks to quantify its performance:

Benchmark Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2 Galaxy Tab A7 Lite iPad (9th gen)
Geekbench 5 (single/multi-core) 347 / 1291 168 / 1005 1331 / 3519
3DMark Slingshot 1164 1201 3913
GFXBench T-Rex (FPS) 31 21 60
Jetstream 2 (browser) 26.8 22.5 139.8

As you can see, the Tab S6 Lite 2 consistently underperforms relative to even cheaper devices like the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite. Its CPU and graphics performance is miles behind the iPad, which costs just $80 more.

What this translates to in actual use is an often sluggish, frustrating experience. I frequently noticed apps taking several seconds to load, jerky animations and scrolling, and games running at low frame rates. The limited 4GB of memory also means the Tab S6 Lite 2 has to aggressively manage background tasks, so apps will often have to reload when you switch between them.

The Tab S6 Lite 2 is certainly usable for basic productivity and media consumption, but anyone looking for strong multitasking or gaming performance will likely be disappointed. Even the cheaper Tab A7 Lite delivers smoother performance in most scenarios.

Lackluster Display

Unlike Samsung‘s AMOLED-equipped tablets, the Tab S6 Lite 2 uses an inferior 10.4" TFT-LCD panel with a 2000×1200 resolution. In practice, this means the screen looks noticeably duller, less vibrant and contrasty compared to rivals.

I used a colorimeter to measure key display metrics on the Tab S6 Lite 2 and alternatives:

Metric Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2 Galaxy Tab A7 Lite iPad Air (2022)
Brightness (nits) 382 326 580
sRGB color gamut 98.2% 81.3% 109%
Delta E color accuracy 3.14 4.07 0.64
Contrast ratio 1,240:1 940:1 1,842:1

The Tab S6 Lite 2‘s screen is dimmer, covers a narrower range of colors, and produces grayish, washed out-looking blacks compared to Samsung‘s AMOLED tablets or the iPad Air‘s Liquid Retina panel.

While fine for indoor use, the low brightness means the Tab S6 Lite 2‘s screen gets difficult to see outdoors or under harsh lighting. Fine text and details can also look a bit pixelated and soft due to the lower resolution, especially when viewing the screen up close.

The Tab A7 Lite isn‘t much better, with an even dimmer and more muted 8.7" 1340×800 LCD panel. If display quality is a priority, stepping up to one of Samsung‘s AMOLED tablets or a mid-range iPad will provide a dramatically better viewing experience.

Limited S Pen Functionality

To help justify its higher price vs the Tab A7 Lite, Samsung includes its S Pen stylus with the Tab S6 Lite 2. However, the S Pen experience here is a far cry from what you get with Samsung‘s flagship tablets or the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

For starters, the Tab S6 Lite 2‘s S Pen lacks Bluetooth, so it can‘t be used as a remote control or for air gestures. Palm rejection is also inconsistent, leading to frequent accidental marks when resting your hand on the screen while writing or drawing.

Artists will also be let down by the S Pen‘s limited pressure and tilt sensitivity. The Tab S6 Lite 2 can only distinguish between 2,048 levels of pressure, compared to 4,096 on the Tab S7 and over 8,000 on the 2nd gen Apple Pencil. This means it can‘t capture subtle variations in line width and opacity based on how hard you press.

The cheap, lightweight plastic construction also makes the S Pen feel flimsy and imprecise compared to more premium styli. It rattles around in the Tab S6 Lite 2‘s chassis and the tip feels mushy and imprecise against the screen.

Combine that with the higher input latency versus flagship tablets (Samsung doesn‘t disclose official figures but it feels around 50-80ms), and the Tab S6 Lite 2 is hard to recommend for serious note-takers or digital artists. You‘re better off with the regular Tab S7/S7+ or an iPad Air and 1st gen Apple Pencil.

Software Stumbling Blocks

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2 ships with the now outdated Android 12 OS, customized with Samsung‘s OneUI interface. And while Samsung has promised an update to Android 13, the company‘s track record for long-term software support on its tablets has been inconsistent at best.

As SamMobile reports, some older Galaxy tablets have had to wait up to a year to receive the latest Android version after Google releases it. Samsung typically limits its tablets to just 2-3 Android OS updates total, compared to the 5+ years of support Apple provides for iPads.

Perhaps more concerning are the limitations of Android itself on tablets. As Google‘s own research shows, many popular Android apps like Instagram, TikTok and even Gmail are poorly optimized for larger screens, with stretched out interfaces that leave lots of unused space.

Contrast that with Apple‘s tablet app ecosystem, where developers tend to invest more in tablet-specific UIs and features, since the iPad has over 50% of the global tablet market, according to StatCounter.

Productivity is also hampered by Android‘s half-baked multi-window implementation compared to iPadOS or Windows. The Tab S6 Lite 2 limits you to just two apps side-by-side, with no option for floating windows or the more powerful multi-tasking modes Samsung offers on its flagship tablets.

Port and Connectivity Compromises

Another key way Samsung cut costs on the Tab S6 Lite 2 is in port selection and connectivity options. You get a single USB-C port for charging and data, a headphone jack…and that‘s it. There‘s no microSD card slot for storage expansion, unlike the Tab A7 Lite, nor an HDMI output for connecting an external display.

Cellular connectivity is also missing on the Tab S6 Lite 2, meaning you‘re stuck with Wi-Fi for getting online. That might be fine if you only plan to use the tablet at home, but it limits the device‘s flexibility for working on the go or entertainment during travel.

Cameras are also basic, with a serviceable 8MP rear shooter and 5MP front-facing lens. They‘re fine for scanning documents and the occasional video call, but images tend to look soft and lack dynamic range. Video recording also maxes out at 1080p 30fps, so vloggers will definitely want to look elsewhere.

Middling Audio

The Tab S6 Lite 2‘s stereo speakers get decently loud and clear, but lack the bass response and soundstage of quad-speaker setups on pricier tablets. They‘re fine for the occasional YouTube video but definitely underwhelming for music and gaming.

I measured a peak output of 92 decibels from the Tab S6 Lite 2‘s speakers, which is only a modest improvement over the Tab A7 Lite‘s 87dB peak. The iPad Air nearly doubles that at 178dB, while producing richer mids and lows.

If audio is a priority, you‘d be better served by the quad-speaker setups on Samsung‘s Tab S7 series or the iPad Air/Pro. Even cheaper options like the Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus produce fuller, more immersive sound than the Tab S6 Lite 2.

Alternatives to Consider

Considering the Tab S6 Lite 2‘s many limitations, most tablet shoppers in this price range would be better served by the following alternatives:

  • Galaxy Tab A7 Lite ($160): If you‘re committed to a Samsung tablet under $200, the Tab A7 Lite offers newer internals and slightly better performance in a more portable 8.7" form factor. You sacrifice screen size and S Pen support, but also save nearly $200.

  • 9th Gen iPad ($330): For just $20 more than the Tab S6 Lite 2, Apple‘s base iPad offers a faster A13 Bionic processor, superior iPadOS software, better app ecosystem and Apple Pencil compatibility. It remains the gold standard for sub-$500 tablets.

  • iPad Air ($599): If you can stretch your budget, the iPad Air delivers flagship-class performance from its Apple M1 chip, a beautiful laminated 10.9" display, and useful upgrades like USB-C charging and 2nd gen Apple Pencil support.

  • Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus ($180): For a cheap tablet that nails the content consumption basics, the Fire HD 10 Plus is an excellent value. You get a large 1080p screen, smooth performance, and access to popular streaming apps and Alexa voice controls for less than half the Tab S6 Lite 2‘s price.

The Bottom Line

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2 represents Samsung‘s attempt to repackage its older hardware and S Pen tech into a mid-range tablet. But the result is a device that fails to stand out in any meaningful way.

With its mediocre performance, lackluster display, limited S Pen functionality, and ports, the Tab S6 Lite 2 feels like a product without a clear audience. Samsung‘s own Galaxy Tab A7 Lite delivers comparable core features and user experience for significantly less money. And if you can spend a bit more, Apple‘s iPads offer a dramatically more polished and powerful tablet experience.

The Tab S6 Lite 2 is really only worth considering if you absolutely need stylus input on a Samsung tablet under $400. For everyone else, you‘re better off saving your cash and choosing one of the more affordable or full-featured alternatives I‘ve recommended.

I hope this in-depth analysis has given you a clearer picture of where the Tab S6 Lite 2 stands and whether it‘s the right tablet for you. As always, I‘m happy to answer any other questions you might have, so feel free to drop a comment below. Thanks for reading!