The Samsung DeX software is still based on Android, so you’re not suddenly gaining access to Windows or macOS, or anything like that, but you are getting an Android overlay designed to make interacting with it with keyboard and mouse easier, and to put a focus on productivity features on-the-go.
When you’ve connected the DeX dock to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and plug in your Samsung handset, the desktop experience will fire up on the monitor, you’re able to navigate using the mouse (including right-click and drag-n-drop), and input text, numbers, and commands using the keyboard (including shortcuts).
You can run multiple applications at once, and use windowed mode to have them sharing the screen. The interface has more than a passing resemblance to the Chromebook OS and somewhat similar functionality, though here the apps are Android ones – there’s even an imitation Start bar in the bottom left and the option to add app shortcuts to the desktop.
Being Android, you can use the Google app suite (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Keep etc.) for productivity tasks, or alternatively you could use Microsoft’s Android versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote and Outlook, as well as many third-party options.
The phone doesn’t stop being a phone when you’re in DeX mode, as calls, texts, and the like will appear as notification drop-downs on the screen’s right-hand side, allowing you to dismiss or interact with them as you wish. You can take the calls in this mode, you don’t have to undock the phone.
Not all apps are supported just yet, but Google’s, Microsoft’s, and Adobe’s are all covered, which accounts for a good chunk of the kind of on-the-go productivity DeX is aiming for.
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