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10 Compelling Reasons to Buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite in 2023

If you‘re in the market for an affordable Android tablet that doesn‘t skimp on features, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite should be at the top of your list. Released in 2020, this 10.4-inch slate still holds its own against newer competition, especially for the price. As an expert in consumer technology who has tested dozens of tablets over the years, I‘m convinced the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite provides exceptional value.

While it may not boast the most cutting-edge specs or design compared to premium offerings like the iPad Air or Samsung‘s own Galaxy Tab S8, the S6 Lite nails the fundamentals most people want in a tablet: A great screen, long battery life, good performance, and useful extras like an S Pen stylus, all for under $400. It‘s an excellent pick for media consumption, light productivity, and creative uses.

To help you decide if the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is the right tablet for your needs and budget, I‘ve broken down the top 10 reasons to buy one in 2023. Let‘s dive in!

1. Superb Value for the Price

The number one reason to choose the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite over rivals like the iPad or higher-end Samsung tablets is the price. The 64GB Wi-Fi model has an MSRP of $349.99, but you can routinely find it on sale for around $275-$300. For that, you get a well-rounded tablet that can handle most common use cases with ease.

In comparison, the base model iPad costs $329 but comes with a smaller 10.2-inch screen, half the storage at 32GB, and no stylus included. The next step up, the iPad Air, starts at a much heftier $599. So for budget-conscious shoppers, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a no-brainer.

Even compared to cheaper options like Amazon‘s Fire tablets or Lenovo‘s Tab M10 series, I think the S6 Lite justifies its slight price premium. You get a more vibrant screen, better speakers, stronger build quality, and Samsung‘s more polished software experience. It feels like a tablet that can grow with you.

2. Included S Pen Stylus

Perhaps the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite‘s biggest selling point is the included S Pen stylus. This is Samsung‘s most affordable tablet to come with an S Pen, making it a great option for students, digital artists, and anyone who prefers handwritten notes.

The S Pen magnetically attaches to the side of the tablet for easy storage and automatically charges while attached. It has a comfortable design and supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, allowing for precise sketching and natural-feeling handwriting. Palm rejection works well too.

Samsung also includes some handy S Pen optimized apps like Samsung Notes, PENUP for coloring and doodling, and fun live message features. While it can‘t quite match the Apple Pencil in performance, the fact that it comes in the box adds a ton of value compared to the iPad line.

3. Ideal Display for Media

If you mainly plan to use your tablet for watching videos, reading, and web browsing, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite‘s display is perfect for the job. The 10.4-inch LCD panel boasts a 2000×1200 resolution, which equates to a crisp 224 pixels per inch.

While it‘s not quite as pixel-dense as the iPad Air‘s 264ppi display, it still looks very sharp for the price. Colors are vibrant and viewing angles are excellent thanks to the laminated screen. The 5:3 aspect ratio also feels more natural for reading and general use compared to wider 16:9 tablets.

Brightness is another strength, with the screen hitting 435 nits in our testing. That‘s not as bright as an iPad but it‘s good enough to see outdoors and outshines budget tablets. The bezels are also slim at roughly 0.3 inches, giving the S6 Lite a premium, immersive look.

4. Long-Lasting Battery

A tablet is only as good as its battery life, and the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite doesn‘t disappoint. With its 7,040mAh cell, Samsung claims the tablet can last up to 13 hours on a single charge when used for media playback.

In my experience testing the tablet, I regularly achieved 10-12 hours of screen-on time with mixed usage including streaming videos, light gaming, reading, and note-taking. Even with more intensive multitasking, I could comfortably leave the charger at home for a full day out.

Standby time is equally impressive – if you don‘t use the tablet for a few days, it barely sips any power. That‘s a big advantage over Amazon‘s Fire tablets, which tend to drain much faster when idle. The S6 Lite also supports fast charging via its USB-C port, going from zero to full in about 3 hours.

5. Immersive Audio

To complement its display prowess, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite packs a pair of AKG-tuned speakers with Dolby Atmos surround sound. While it lacks the quad-speaker setup of pricier tablets, the audio quality is still very respectable.

The speakers get surprisingly loud and maintain clarity even at high volumes. Dialogue in movies and vocals in music come through crisply, and there‘s even a hint of bass. The Atmos processing also widens the soundstage for a more immersive effect in supported content.

Of course, for the best experience, you‘ll still want to plug in a good pair of headphones. Dolby Atmos carries over to the headphone jack and USB-C port as well. But for casual viewing around the house, the S6 Lite‘s internal speakers are more than adequate.

6. Smooth Performance

Powering the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is Samsung‘s own Exynos 9611 chipset, which consists of four 2.3GHz Cortex-A73 cores and four 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 cores. This is paired with a Mali-G72 MP3 GPU and 4GB of RAM. While not flagship-level silicon, it‘s still a very capable setup.

In everyday use, the tablet feels snappy and responsive. Apps open quickly, scrolling and animations are smooth, and multitasking is handled gracefully. You can easily run two apps side-by-side and juggle multiple Chrome tabs without slowdown.

The S6 Lite is also a solid choice for gaming, as long as you keep your expectations in check. Less demanding titles like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Genshin Impact run great. More graphics-intensive games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile are playable, but you may need to dial back the settings for the best performance.

Benchmark scores put the S6 Lite in line with other midrange tablets. It posts single-core and multi-core scores of 347 and 1339 respectively in Geekbench 5, and manages 492 and 1667 in 3DMark‘s Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL and Vulkan tests. That‘s not far off from the 8th-gen iPad and well ahead of budget tablets.

7. Expandable Storage

While the base Galaxy Tab S6 Lite comes with 64GB of onboard storage (of which about 50GB is actually usable), you can easily add more via the microSD card slot. The tablet supports cards up to 1TB in size, giving you plenty of room to store offline media, large files, and games.

This expandability is a key advantage Samsung‘s tablets have over Apple‘s iPad line. With an iPad, you‘re stuck with the storage configuration you buy upfront, which can get expensive quickly. Being able to pop in a microSD card is much more economical.

Even better, Samsung makes it easy to format the card as internal storage and move apps over to free up the built-in memory. You can also plug in USB drives via the USB-C port and transfer files that way. For the data hogs among us, the S6 Lite has your back.

8. Desktop-Like DeX Mode

If you want your tablet to pull occasional double duty as a laptop, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite supports Samsung DeX. This is a special mode that transforms the normal Android UI into something resembling a desktop, complete with resizable windows and a taskbar.

While you don‘t get the full DeX experience without an external display (which only pricier Galaxy tablets like the S7 and S8 support), it‘s still a useful feature to have. For basic word processing, email, and web browsing, it can boost your productivity.

Just keep in mind that DeX is only ideal when using the S6 Lite with a keyboard. I also don‘t recommend the first-party Book Cover Keyboard – there are much better third-party Bluetooth keyboards available. But if you already have one lying around, DeX is a nice option to have.

9. Premium Design & Build

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite may not have the flashiest looks, but there‘s an understated elegance to its design. The tablet sports an aluminum unibody available in Oxford Gray, Angora Blue, or Chiffon Rose (i.e. pink). It has a nice heft to it at 1.03 pounds that feels sturdy and well-made.

The flat edges and subtly curved corners are comfortable to hold, and the matte finish does an okay job of resisting fingerprints. There‘s just enough bezel around the display to rest your thumbs without accidentally triggering touch input.

On the top edge (or left, in landscape) you‘ll find the power button and volume rocker, plus a mic. The USB-C port and headphone jack live on the bottom/right edge. The only interruptions to the clean aesthetic are two strips of antennae lines and the Samsung logo on the back.

At 0.28 inches thick, it‘s actually a hair thinner than the current iPad (0.29") and noticeably slimmer than most budget tablets. Combined with the lighter weight, it‘s an easy tablet to hold for extended reading or video sessions. It may not wow you, but it nails the fit and finish.

10. Continued Software Support

One of the biggest issues with budget Android tablets is limited software support. Manufacturers tend to abandon them quickly, leaving your tablet vulnerable to unpatched bugs and security holes. Fortunately, Samsung is one of the better brands when it comes to long-term updates.

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite launched with Android 10 and Samsung‘s One UI 2.0 skin, but has since been updated to Android 12 and One UI 4. While it likely won‘t receive Android 13, Samsung has committed to security patches through 2024. That‘s far better than Amazon or Lenovo‘s track records.

One UI itself is also a strength, adding genuinely useful features on top of stock Android without too much bloat. Besides the S Pen enhancements mentioned above, you get a secure folder, blue light filter, dark mode, customizable Edge Screen shortcuts, and PC-like windowing options. It‘s not a "clean" or minimal skin, but the added functionality is generally worth it.

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite also integrates well with other Samsung devices. If you have a Galaxy phone, you can take calls, respond to texts, and transfer files seamlessly on your tablet. Features like Quick Share and SmartThings let you move content between devices or control smart home gadgets. It‘s not quite as cohesive as Apple‘s ecosystem, but still handy for Galaxy users.

The Verdict

Tl;dr: Despite being nearly 2 years old, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is still one of the best tablets for the money in 2023. It covers all the critical bases – display, battery life, performance, design, software – with compelling bonuses like the S Pen and DeX mode. And it does so at a very competitive price point.

No, it‘s not a workhorse or desktop replacement like an iPad Pro or Galaxy Tab S8. But if your needs are lighter and your budget is tighter, it‘s a fantastic option that punches above its weight. For students, casual gamers, streaming devotees, and digital doodlers, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is my top pick under $400.

The closest rivals worth considering are the 9th-gen iPad, Lenovo Chromebook Duet, and Amazon Fire HD 10. While the iPad is technically faster and has access to more tablet-optimized apps, it lacks the S Pen, extra storage, and desktop mode of the S6 Lite.

The Lenovo Duet is a great alternative if you value the laptop form factor and don‘t need the S Pen, while the Fire HD 10 is really only suitable for basic media consumption. Neither match the S6 Lite on display or audio quality. They‘re cheaper, but you get what you pay for.

Ultimately, if you want an affordable Android tablet that covers all the essential uses and adds meaningfully handy tools like the stylus and DeX, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite still shines in 2023. As long as you set your expectations appropriately, it‘s a trusty couch companion that can also handle some productivity in a pinch.