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Microsoft Announces New OneDrive Features: 100GB File Upload Limit, Dark Mode and More

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

Microsoft is also rolling out in public preview a new feature called ‘Add to OneDrive’ for business users that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to OneDrive.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 2, 2020, 12:24 PM IST

Microsoft has announced new OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 for a more connected and flexible files experience to business users, more control to admins, and a more personal touch to users at home. The tech giant has increased upload file size limit from 15GB to 100GB for all OneDrive and SharePoint users that will help business users with large file types like 3D, CAD and media files.

“Previously released differential sync will help expedite the upload process for large files by only syncing the parts that changed instead of the entire file,” Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365, said in a statement on Wednesday. OneDrive for Business users will also get better Teams sharing integration for remote work.

Microsoft is rolling out the same file sharing and access control experience in Teams that business users have access to in other Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, Outlook or Office. Users, when going to share a file from within Teams, would have the option to create sharing links that provide access to anyone – people within an organization, people with existing access or specific people, including those in a private or group chat.

Later this month, the company is rolling out in public preview a new feature called ‘Add to OneDrive’ for business users that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to OneDrive. Shared folders include content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.

Microsoft said for consumers, it is introducing family and group sharing later this month. “This new consumer feature, available on OneDrive for the web, will let people predefine a group of people from your personal life and then easily share files, photos, videos, and albums with that group,” said Patton.

Family and group sharing is included in all free and paid OneDrive consumer plans and will begin rolling out soon on OneDrive for the web, with general availability expected by the end of July. It will become available on the mobile app, sync client, Mac, and directly from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint by the end of this year. Following its releases for iOS and Android, Microsoft said it will soon bring Dark Mode to OneDrive for the web across commercial and personal accounts.


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Microsoft Office & Windows Apps Landing on Chrome OS; Google Chromebooks Just Became Very Cool

Google Chromebooks have always remained on the periphery of the computing ecosystem, looking in at all the fun that Microsoft Windows 10 and Apple macOS were having. It has always had potential, particularly with the productivity focus, and were quite affordable computing devices as well, but there weren’t many takers. Unless your workflow is deeply integrated within Google’s ecosystem of apps and web services. That is set to change now with Microsoft Office and other Windows apps arriving on Chrome OS. This is great news at a time when the COVID-pandemic has forced millions around the world to work from home, thereby increasing the reliance on laptops, PCs and pretty much any and every computing device, to get work done.

The way the Microsoft Office and other Windows apps arrive on Chrome OS is with Parallels, which will see their Parallels Desktop software integrated within Chrome OS. That will allow users to run the Microsoft apps such as Office offline as well and get much better performance as compared with streaming them through the cloud as the Parallels Remote Application Server does at this time. Google says this will first be rolled out for Chrome enterprise customers this fall.

This could just entice a lot of enterprise users towards the incredibly affordable Chromebooks, for their office and productivity requirements. This will also give Google a level playing field to push its own services at the same time—such as video meeting app Google Meet, cloud storage Google Drive and more.

“Our new partnership with Parallels brings legacy application support—which includes Microsoft Office desktop apps—to Chromebooks. More to come on this over the coming months,” is all Google is saying right now. But most certainly, this is a big development for Chrome OS which could give Google Chromebooks a real push at a time when the focus on computing devices is greater, than ever in the past decade.


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Don't Want Windows 10 May 2020 Update For Your PC Just Yet? Here is How to Pause Windows Updates

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

That trepidation may be for good reason. The recent history of Windows 10 updates doesn’t exactly infuse a lot of confidence, considering its broken critical functionality, including internet connectivity for a lot of users.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 28, 2020, 9:58 AM IST

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update is now finally rolling out for PCs. This is the major update in the Windows 10 update cycle, with significant changes under-the-hood as well as in terms of adding new functionality and performance fixes for apps and in general across the board. The Windows 10 May 2020 update will bump up the Windows 10 version on your PC to 2004. The new Edge browser, which is well placed to compete with Google Chrome, is now being rolled out for all users as part of this update. There are performance improvements across the board, updates to Your Phone and Cortana apps as well as more powerful virtual desktops. The Task Manager gets new features as well, with the GPU Temperature data now available for compatible hardware. The Swift Pair for bluetooth accessories has been further simplified. The Settings app gets some design changes, while Windows Hello biometric authentication for compatible PCs adds a new layer of security for your data.

If however, you are working from home because of the Coronavirus pandemic and don’t want to take any risks with any possible broken functionality on your PC because of a Windows update, there is a way to pause the download and install of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update for a while. And that trepidation may be with good reason. The recent history of Windows 10 updates doesn’t exactly infuse a lot of confidence, considering its broken critical functionality, including internet connectivity for a lot of users. With the new update on the horizon, you might want to hang on for a while and not update—just to see what feedback the new update gets from other users who do. You can pause updates from downloading and installing on your Windows 10 PC for up to 7 days at a time or select a time frame up to 35 days to stay update-free. Here is how to do it.

Click on the Windows 10 icon on the bottom left of the screen to open the start menu. Here, select the Settings menu, which opens a new app window. Here, either scroll down to find Windows Update or search for it. This opens the update page, which shows the list of pending updates if any, and the download as well as install status for each of these. Look a bit further down on this page, and you will see the “Pause Updates for 7 days” option. This is the ticket. You can select this option to pause the automatic download and install of the Windows 10 updates for up to a week at a time, and you need to keep repeating it for the paused situation to continue.

Have you also read?

Windows 10 Updates Are a Mess, Again: You Might Want to Pause These Updates Right Now

Work From Home Buying Guide: Best Laptops Under Rs 40,000 With Windows 10 & Chrome OS

If you want a bit more freedom in terms of selecting the window in which you don’t want Windows 10 to update, you must scroll a bit further down on the Windows Update page and select the Advanced option. This takes you to a further set of options, and here you can select a date up to 35 days from that time, to keep Windows Update from doing any automatic installations.

Recently, Windows 10 users have had bad luck with the updates rolled out for their PCs. Over the past couple of months, we have had the KB4554364 update and the KB4549951 update for instance, which saw users reporting on Microsoft’s own community forums about errors with the installation, some report serious performance hit, some say critical apps are no longer working while some report the updates broke Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality. This can be a big problem for people working from home right now and have a PC or laptop they rely on extensively right now to get work done.




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Subscribed to Too Many Streaming Services to Stay Sane These Days? Try The Bobby App, Right Now

It is quite easy to overcompensate these days. Subscribe to more services, apps and platforms than you may otherwise, purely for the work and play requirements. This isn’t just restricted to streaming platforms that include Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video. You may now need a subscription for virtual gym classes to stay healthy. Subscriptions to kids’ education apps. Video calling apps have premium plans too, such as Zoom and Google Meet. Maybe a faster home broadband plan that costs more than before. Maybe even subscriptions to productivity software such as Microsoft 365. More cloud storage perhaps for work. Pressreader app to keep up with the global newspapers and magazines? Need some music on Apple Music or Spotify? The possibilities are endless, and the drain on the pocket is quicker than a pristine stream in the Scottish Highlands.

It may be hard to keep tabs on the subscriptions and before you know it, everything just goes out of hands. That is where an app like Bobby, which is available for the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad, really helps. For starters, what you get is a beautiful layout. And it’s even more beautiful in the Dark Mode—in fact you can choose the slightly lighter Dark More or the darker native Dark Mode of iOS. Some of the features in the app, such as the ability to choose a different icon for the iPhone’s apps list, are part of an optional in-app purchase which is priced at Rs 237. You may choose to not buy this, and Bobby still remains extremely useful because the core functionality works seamlessly.

There are some prelisted subscription platforms and apps on the list, making it easy to choose. These include Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, Google Apps for Work, Audible, LinkedIn, Slack, Playstation Plus, Adobe Creative Cloud, iTunes Store, National Geographic, Microsoft Xbox Live, Microsoft Office, Twitch, Google Drive, WWE Network and more. The list isn’t alphabetically sorted, but you can simply search for what you need.

With Bobby, you can also create new subscriptions for services that may not be available in the listing—complete with colour coding, an icon for easy reference and description, among other details. For each subscription that you save, whether from the pre-defined list or customized, you must feed in the billing amount you pay for that subscription—it can be per month, quarterly or yearly. Whether you choose to enter this pre-taxes or including taxes, is up to you. Then you set the currency for your region, and also set reminders for when the payment may be due. This is a great way to keep tabs on everything you spend on, be it postpaid mobile connections, prepaid mobile recharges, subscriptions, utility bills and more.

Once all this is done, Bobby lists out all your subscriptions and gives you a total monthly bill that you pay for everything you have subscribed to, depending on the amounts you have entered.

Everything was moving online even before the Coronavirus pandemic arrived, and that has further increased the reliance on web-based services. We are spending a lot more time in front of one screen or the other—the PC, the tablet, the smartphone and the TV. And chances are, what we see or consume on that screen, is costing us some money either way. And Bobby is a great way to keep track of how much you spend, and perhaps take a stock of the priorities once you’ve listed everything you pay for.



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Tech

Windows 10 May Get a Big Update Soon: Here is How to Pause if You Don’t Want Anything to Break

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

The recent history of Windows 10 updates doesn’t exactly infuse a lot of confidence, considering its broken critical functionality, including internet connectivity for a lot of users.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 25, 2020, 10:39 AM IST

This week could be an important one for Windows 10 users. Microsoft is set to release the biggest update for Windows 10 PCs for far this year, and it is expected to be rolled out this week. It is expected that the Windows 10 May 2020 update, as it is known, will bring the new Chromium-based Edge web browser, end of support for 32-bit versions, new icons for system apps such as Explorer, improvements for graphics performance and the ability to reinstall Windows 10 from the cloud, among other things. That’s all fantastic news but hang on for a moment.

The recent history of Windows 10 updates doesn’t exactly infuse a lot of confidence, considering its broken critical functionality, including internet connectivity for a lot of users. With the new update on the horizon, you might want to hang on for a while and not update—just to see what feedback the new update gets from other users who do. You can pause updates from downloading and installing on your Windows 10 PC for up to 7 days at a time or select a time frame up to 35 days to stay update-free. Here is how to do it.

Click on the Windows 10 icon on the bottom left of the screen to open the start menu. Here, select the Settings menu, which opens a new app window. Here, either scroll down to find Windows Update or search for it. This opens the update page, which shows the list of pending updates if any, and the download as well as install status for each of these. Look a bit further down on this page, and you will see the “Pause Updates for 7 days” option. This is the ticket. You can select this option to pause the automatic download and install of the Windows 10 updates for up to a week at a time, and you need to keep repeating it for the paused situation to continue.

Have you also read?

Windows 10 Updates Are a Mess, Again: You Might Want to Pause These Updates Right Now

Work From Home Buying Guide: Best Laptops Under Rs 40,000 With Windows 10 & Chrome OS

If you want a bit more freedom in terms of selecting the window in which you don’t want Windows 10 to update, you must scroll a bit further down on the Windows Update page and select the Advanced option. This takes you to a further set of options, and here you can select a date up to 35 days from that time, to keep Windows Update from doing any automatic installations.

Just recently, Windows 10 users have had bad luck with the updates rolled out for their PCs. Over the past couple of months, we have had the KB4554364 update and the KB4549951 update for instance, which saw users reporting on Microsoft’s own community forums about errors with the installation, some report serious performance hit, some say critical apps are no longer working while some report the updates broke Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality. This can be a big problem for people working from home right now and have a PC or laptop they rely on extensively right now to get work done.




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Microsoft Will Not Force Bing Search for Office 365 ProPlus Users, For Now

Days after Microsoft announced that Bing would be its default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser on PCs of subscribers of the Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus software, the company has retracted on its proposed plan. In a statement, Microsoft said, “We’ve heard concerns about the way we were planning to roll this value out. Most importantly, we heard that customers don’t want Office 365 ProPlus to change search defaults without an opt-in, and they need a way to govern these changes on unmanaged devices”.

Elaborating on the changes introduced to the initial plan, the company said, “Microsoft search in Bing browser will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus”, bringing much needed relief for users who are used to using Google as the primary search engine, and do not want to implement Microsoft Search as an organisation-wide default. To do so, enterprise managers can use the Office Deployment Tool to manage the default search platform within Office 365 ProPlus, and choose according to preference.

Even with Microsoft Search enabled, the company states that users can choose to revert back to having Google search on their Chrome browser as default by going through the attached settings. However, Microsoft has also added that the Microsoft Search for Bing rollout has been postponed for now, and the original rollout plan will be decided upon at a later point in time.

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Microsoft is Bringing its AI Tools to Workplaces, But They Aren’t For Everyone Yet

Microsoft is one of the world’s largest technology firms, so naturally, it invests a fair amount of time, energy and resources on artificial intelligence. Beyond the industrial applications, mainstream tools have been getting a steady entry of predictive tools into their services. Take predictive typing for instance, which is now present in everyday applications such as Microsoft’s Outlook and Google’s Gmail. That, however, only scratches the surface.

The technology, as we know it today, has far greater application in business and industries, but its consumer-end applications have been largely keyword-centric, or behind the scenes, to say the least. With its new AI tools as part of the Microsoft 365 suite, the company wants to make them visible as they operate. In other words, they want to make these tools more relevant to your everyday work. But, while their benefits are apparent, they might not be the best fit for just about anyone.

What they do

Microsoft’s AI tools have a wide range of applications. Aneesh Dhawan, director of solution sales at Microsoft India, gave a smooth demonstration of Microsoft’s AI work tools. While some range from segregating pools of data into neatly charted spreadsheets, others include ways to export a printed sheet straight to digital form without needing to type, and live captioning tools that transcribe and keep both audio-visual and textual records through video conferences. Computer vision, machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) are at the heart of these technologies, and that’s hardly surprising — if you’ve heard of AI, you’ve likely heard of all three of these as well.

In many ways, Microsoft’s AI tools for workplaces are quite good — impressive, even. For instance, if you have a video call scheduled with a new business partner that natively speaks another language, Microsoft’s new live captioning and transcription tool embedded in Teams will live caption the call right in front of you, easing communication barriers. I saw a glimpse of this during the roundtable arranged by Microsoft, and it did not seem to have any problem in picking up the average Indian English accent. Additionally, the live text transcription of conferences are crucial for someone like me, for whom manually transcribing an interview is excruciatingly painful.

Other tools include Cortana-powered automatic meeting scheduling and handsfree email writing, a visual app that can scan a sheet of paper to automatically export spreadsheets on it, and a corresponding data tool that can further segregate the data from garbled spreadsheets to generate graphs, tabulated sub-sections and more. Further NLP and visual data processing tools in Microsoft PowerPoint can transform scribbled notes into digitised forms. Essentially, from what I gathered from the brief demonstration, Microsoft’s new AI tools are robust and accurate enough to replace big data processing employees, and even EAs at work.

Who they are for

Here, however, is the catch. While everything Microsoft showed seem to work quite well, and I don’t have reason to think they won’t — Big Tech firms do make technologies that are to the point, I’m not entirely sure whether they are quite the right fit for everyone. A majority of Indian workplaces and businesses are small or medium-volume, and many offices primarily work with a limited workforce. For such companies, using a free to use service such as Google Drive, or even Microsoft’s own OneDrive, often suffice. In contrast, Microsoft’s present pricing pegs the Microsoft 365 suite at a basic price of Rs 125 per user per month, with the full productivity suite priced at Rs 1,320 per user per month.

Then comes the need for a uniform ecosystem — for all of Microsoft’s tools to work, it is important that everyone in your organisation uses a Microsoft system, and is subscribed to the Microsoft 365 suite. While this is something that a service provider should not be penalised for, it’s important to note that most workplaces that operate on a smaller scale in India mostly stick to WhatsApp or Slack for communication, and the aforementioned services for the rest. The question hence remains is whether these tools are attractive enough to warrant even those working on freeware to switch to paid services.

From the preview roundtable, Microsoft’s AI tools seem great, but tailored for larger organisations churning heavy data and hosting cross-language conferences on an everyday basis. While collaborative and digital workspaces are on the rise, Microsoft’s AI tools alone may not be the unique selling proposition to urge a business to join the company’s ecosystem.

What this means

To sum up, Microsoft may have a winner in its hands if one considers the rising need to digitise years of paperwork. Questions of privacy will be answered at a later stage, but for now, Microsoft vouches to its cybersecurity credentials. It also states that any data snippets collected from its services are done anonymously, and kept within the confines of a “select” few nations. It also states that any data collected and operated in India, stays within Microsoft’s India data servers.

However, for the time being, Microsoft’s AI tools and services in the Microsoft 365 suite are better suited, by design, to large businesses. They are great at what they do, but they may not be the ones that definitively alter the definition of human effort at the average everyday workplace.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Review: Valiant Battle to Keep Android Relevant in The Workplace

Think about it. When you consider slim and light yet equally capable alternatives for your chunky laptop or PC, you would probably think of the Apple iPad or the iPad Pro, or something from the Microsoft Surface series or even something slightly larger but equally versatile in the form of the HP Spectre x360 convertible. However, conspicuous by their absence in such considerations are Android tablets. Or Android convertibles. Not to blame anyone else, but the way Google has remained completely nonchalant about developing Android for the typical work scenarios, is perhaps the primary reason. All that changes however, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. Trust Samsung to do what Google should have done with Android in the first place, and then develop a mighty capable product around that.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is available in two variants in India. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (W-Fi) is priced around Rs 54,900 while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (LTE) will cost around Rs 59,900. We would strongly recommend spending that little extra on the LTE version, since you get the priceless convenience of staying connected while on the move and not have to search for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The rest of the specifications remain consistent all through—under the hood is the very powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage and a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display.

For what is a fairly large 10.5-inch tablet that measures 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7mm, the Galaxy Tab S6 is incredibly compact and light (tips the scales at around 420 grams). This can be slipped into almost any bag with absolute ease. The metal chassis is at par with what you’d expect at this price, and while the Wi-Fi version is available in just the Cloud Blue option, the LTE spec version can be had in either Cloud Blue or Mountain Gray. The bezels around the screen are quite thin, yet thick enough to let you hold this up as a tablet and not intrude on the screen space to elicit ghost touch.

The Galaxy Tab S6 has a rather unconventional keyboard docking mechanism (Image: Vishal Mathur/News18)

The party piece still remains the ability to attach a keyboard and get this going as a more rounded computing device. However, unlike the Galaxy Tab S5e which had a more conventional magnetic docking mechanism, the Galaxy Tab S6 does things rather differently. Instead of the simple snap on, the Galaxy Tab S6 has what is called a BookCover keyboard. This is a two-part attachment, so to say. The first part is the layer that sticks to the back of the Galaxy Tab S6 and has a hinge mechanism that converts it into a kickstand to prop up the tablet. Within it, the S-Pen stylus can be cradled safely, using its magnetic docking system to attach with the tablet and then the BookCover protect it further. The second part of this is the keyboard itself, which then attaches to give you the whole productivity feeling. While such an elaborate method to use the keyboard with a tablet is never really ideal, there are certain specific issues with this particular implementation. First, we noticed that the adhesive for the back cover doesn’t stick on very well the first time around. You have to be a bit forceful while applying it (be careful about it being in a straight line too) and then leave some weight on this for about 10 minutes to ensure it is properly stuck on. Secondly, ideally you shouldn’t be taking this off, else the adhesive will not retain its primary abilities after a while. This means you are saddled with a back cover on the tablet at all times, even if you may not be using the keyboard. Perhaps, conventionality might have been a simpler option.

That being said, the keyboard itself is great to use. It has a nicely spread out layout with adequate key spacing which is easy to get used to. In fact, there is a touchpad as well, which is the closest an Android tablet has come to a full-fledged computing device experience thus far. The touchpad also takes care of perhaps the biggest flaws with the hybrid computing devices—you do not need to switch from a physical keyboard while typing to a touchscreen to navigate the same piece of software. The touchpad takes care of that, which means you are interfacing with the keyboard and the touchpad for most things.

This isn't just any keyboard dock, but also has a touchpad which simply adds to the versatility (Image: Vishal Mathur/News18)

And that neatly leads us to Samsung’s party piece, which greatly improves Android as it us. It is called the DeX Mode, and you can configure the Galaxy Tab S6 to switch to this mode as soon as the keyboard is attached. It is designed to replicate the desktop-like experience that you may be familiar with on your Windows PC. I’ve tried this on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and now the Galaxy Tab S6, and DeX works like a charm. It has a very Windows-esque interface, complete with a ‘desktop’ where you can keep app shortcuts and files, a separate menu for apps and even a taskbar at the bottom where you can minimize the open apps. If the idea was to make the transition from a computer to a tablet smooth, Samsung has succeeded to the fullest.

A lot of the popular productivity apps are compatible with DeX—the list is growing, and the highlights include the Microsoft Office apps, Microsoft Outlook, OneDrive, Skype, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Gmail, Google Drive, Chrome, Secure Mail and VMware Boxer. And not to forget Spotify and Alto’s Adventure game too, for instance. Yes, the apps that you run in the DeX Mode are still Android apps as we know them, but the new packaging they get when you are using the keyboard simply makes the experience more fluid than you’d imagine. To be honest, if Samsung were to replicate this on an even larger screen size (the way Apple has done with the iPad and the iPad Pro lines), the DeX experience as well as the push for productivity will an even bigger push.

The display is extremely impressive too. The 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display has the 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. The deep blacks help the colours pop out just enough, and the viewing angles are great too. This screen also ticks off the checklist for contrast, brightness and sharpness as well. Whether you may be working on documents, or spend a lot of time reading something on the Kindle app or the web, or even the binge watching session on Netflix and Amazon, the Galaxy Tab S6 does all of this with not even a hint of a compromise. For any video content that may support it, the HDR10+ support will make the experience richer still.

Performance is an aspect that doesn’t require you to ponder, at all. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor under the hood, power will not fall short. Even with 6GB of RAM, the performance is quite smooth and a fairly heavy app load is handled with absolute ease. No complaints, whatsoever.

That being said, the Samsung One UI and DeX might still require a bit more work to come at par with the iPadOS that runs on the Apple iPad and the iPad Pro. Yes, the Galaxy Tab S6 has the Split View mode which allows you to open multiple windows and let them share the screen space or even the detailed S-Pen suite which gives you controls for Air Gestures which are basically hand gestures to control some of the tablet functionality and even the transparent Notes app that can be dragged on top of any other app so you can quickly jot down whatever needs remembering later. But, all this doesn’t feel as smooth as the multi-tasking on the iPad, for instance. This is not a criticism, but more a hope for better things from Samsung’s development of the Android experience.

Samsung claims about 15 hours of battery life, and for us, the Galaxy Tab S6 got close—regularly touched between 12 to 13 hours on a single charge, with brightness at 50% and a bunch of apps always open in the background. This should be enough for a typical day at work, without having to plug in, and yet retain enough charge to let you catch up on an episode of something you are watching on Netflix, on the commute back home.

Samsung has done for Android what Google hasn’t, in all this while. And that is make it more than capable as a work machine platform. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 won’t feel out of place on your workstation on a busy work day, purely because DeX is a timely reminder about the tasks at hand. The Galaxy Tab S6 is all work and no fun when you want it to be, and that is what should have the likes of the Microsoft Surface Go quite worried.