samsung dex logo

The world of gadgets has seen many attempts to bridge the gap between computers and smartphones. Samsung DeX is one such solution. It’s a clever experience, and you may already have the tools to use it.

What Is Samsung DeX?

First of all, the name “DeX” comes from “Desktop Experience,” which perfectly describes what it does. DeX transforms the interface on your Samsung phone or tablet into something that looks closer to a Windows PC or Mac desktop.

dex mode UI
DeX Mode Interface

The DeX software is built in to many high-end Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets. The idea is that you connect your device to a larger display, keyboard, and mouse, and then DeX Mode kicks in. The interface changes to better match your needs.

The DeX Mode interface is familiar to anyone who has ever used a desktop operating system. There’s a “desktop” for folders and apps, a taskbar across the bottom, and windows that can float and be resized. All of this runs from your connected Galaxy device. It’s Android with a special layer on top.

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In the beginning, DeX required Samsung’s proprietary docking station. The keyboard, mouse, and monitor plugged into the dock, and then the phone was placed in to bring the system to life. (In DeX Mode, the phone can also be used as a trackpad.)

tablet in Dex Mode
Tablet in DeX Mode Samsung

Later, Samsung introduced cables that made the docking station unnecessary. Now, DeX can be launched by directly connecting the phone or tablet to a computer with its charging cable, and some Galaxy tablets can run DeX Mode right on the tablet without connecting anything.

Why Use DeX Mode?

samsung dex mode

To a lesser extent, smartphones and tablets aren’t as good for multitasking as desktop computers. It’s hard to beat a keyboard and mouse with a generously sized monitor. But what you gain in productivity, you lose in portability.

We tend to keep a lot of our personal lives on our phones and tablets. The idea behind DeX is that you always have that stuff immediately accessible, whether you’re on your “computer” or mobile device. The software conforms to your environment.

If you don’t need a full desktop PC, a Samsung phone with DeX Mode can allow you to consolidate devices. You could have a docking station at home for doing homework and pop out the phone when you leave. All of your stuff will always be with you.

In the case of tablets that can use DeX Mode on the device itself, it’s simply an alternative user interface. The typical Android UI may be better suited for media consumption, but DeX Mode makes it feel more like a convertible PC.

Which Samsung Devices Support DeX Mode?

DeX is available on most modern Samsung Galaxy smartphones, along with a few Galaxy Tab tablets. Samsung launched DeX on the Galaxy S8 series for phones and the Galaxy Tab S4 for tablets. Any high-end Samsung Galaxy device newer than that will have DeX.

Samsung DeX might not have universal appeal, but for those who want more from their smartphone or tablet, it’s a game-changer. You don’t have to choose between using a computer or a mobile device. People envisioned a future of devices that can change to match many different needs, and DeX is a part of that future.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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