Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) review: Should you buy it?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) review: Should you buy it?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024)

The 2024 Galaxy Tab S6 Lite has a lot of features that catch the eye, but it is oppressively slow, and this is the third refresh without meaningful improvements. Samsung has much better tablets already available (like the Galaxy Tab A9 Plus or Galaxy Tab S9 FE) that you should buy instead.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) is a mid-range Samsung tablet, but unlike the budget A series tablets, this one comes with an S Pen stylus. You also get a 10.4-inch LCD screen and an aluminum chassis, but RAM is limited to just 4GB, and the Exynos 1280 processor isn’t very fast.
  • What is the price? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) retails for $329.99 with 64GB of storage. Upgrading to 128GB pushes the price to $399.99.
  • Where can you buy it? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) is available from Amazon and Samsung.com, as well as other retailers.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) for two weeks. The review unit was purchased by Android Authority.
  • Is it worth it? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) might be the cheapest way to get Samsung’s S Pen, but it’s worth spending a little more to get a faster, more capable tablet.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024)?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) S Pen in use

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Samsung just can’t quit the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. This marks the third time Samsung has released a tablet by that name, with the first iteration arriving in 2020 and a refresh coming in 2022. Now, the third generation S6 Lite has arrived looking identical to the last version, and there’s good reason for that — it’s the same tablet with a slightly upgraded processor. The battery, the display, and even the measurements of the body are identical this time around. Despite that, Samsung does not offer an official keyboard case for this device.

Samsung didn’t include a fingerprint sensor on this tablet; not even a cheap one in the power button. So, the only biometric option is software-based face unlock (read: not very secure) with the front-facing camera, but it works poorly. When it works, it’s so slow you could have typed in a password already, but more often than not, it fails to recognize me at all. It’s only reliable in extremely bright settings.

The 10.4-inch LCD has a respectable 2,000 x 1,200 resolution. This is a good size, and the tablet is very comfortable to hold — it’s got nice, rounded edges that have somewhat fallen out of favor in newer Samsung designs. However, the display colors look somewhat flat and dingy, and there’s slight backlight bleed along the top and bottom edges. It looks like the same middling LCD that Samsung used in 2020, but it does have a digitizer inside that allows you to use the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) S Pen edge

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

The S Pen that comes bundled with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) isn’t the fancy battery-powered version you get with more expensive Samsung devices. It still offers pressure-sensitive input, but you won’t be able to use gestures or button shortcuts, not that those features are of much use. If your main use case for a tablet is to take notes or draw, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is the cheapest way to get the S Pen.

The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is the cheapest way to get the S Pen, but far from the best.

The pen attaches magnetically to the side of the tablet. It’s not powered, so the device doesn’t know when it’s removed. Once you start using the stylus, you’ll have most of the same options as Samsung’s more expensive tablets. You can jot down notes, draw, color, and crop screenshots with the S Pen. However, the 60Hz screen means the latency is noticeably worse than it is on the Galaxy Tab S9 family, with their 120Hz screens. Even the sub-flagship level Tab S9 FE has a more responsive S Pen with its 90Hz screen.

A slower display isn’t the only problem. The Exynos 1280 chip is newer than the Snapdragon 720G/732G in the 2022 refresh. Both have the same eight-core CPU configuration, but the Exynos 1280 has newer performance cores. Unfortunately, that speed boost wasn’t enough — the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) is a painfully slow device. The middling Arm chip, combined with meager RAM and the bulk of Samsung’s One UI software adds up to a disappointing experience.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) multitasking

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

There’s hardly anything on the tablet that doesn’t become sluggish at times. Apps generally take too long to open, and multitasking of any sort causes the system to lag and hang often. It’s actually faster to just use apps one at a time. Simple games run fine, but the Exynos chip’s GPU becomes bogged down fast with 3D games. For instance, Fortnite can usually maintain 30 fps if you lower the settings, but even then, you’ll see occasional framerate drops that can make the game hard to play. As we see from the GPU benchmarks, this isn’t a stability issue; it’s a peak output issue. Likewise, 4GB of RAM is simply not enough in 2024. Even apps that you’ve allowed to run in the background will regularly exit due to a lack of memory, forcing you to wait through another prolonged app startup.

Samsung galaxy tab s6 lite 2024 Wild Life Stress Test

The upshot of the underpowered hardware is that the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) has excellent battery life. You should have no trouble using it on and off for the better part of a week. The 7,040mAh cell does take a long time to charge, though. The Tab S6 Lite still only supports 15W wired charging. There’s also no wall adapter in the box, only a USB-C cable, so you’ll need to grab a decent charger.

Despite the innate advantages of the S Pen, the poor system performance makes this tool less useful. For example, handwriting input with the S Pen is inconsistent, working fine one minute and freezing for multiple seconds the next. Other times, the system just seems to lose track of the tip while it is moving across the screen.

The middling Arm chip, combined with meager RAM and the bulk of Samsung’s One UI software adds up to a disappointing experience.

As mentioned above, One UI feels a little too chunky for the modest hardware powering the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024). The tablet comes with One UI 6.1 based on Android 14, but unlike even some of its devices that go for less money than the Tab S6 Lite, Samsung hasn’t yet confirmed how many updates it will get. We usually like to see long update support on budget devices, but the 2024 Tab S6 Lite handles Android 14 so poorly that it might be totally unusable for future versions of Android that require more power.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) back

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

The new Tab S6 Lite has the same camera setup as the last version: a 5MP selfie camera, and an 8MP shooter on the rear. They are both predictably poor quality, producing grainy, dim photos that get blurry when there’s even a little movement. That’s not surprising, as these same imaging modules were bottom-of-the-barrel when they appeared in the 2020 version of the Tab S6 Lite. If you need to do a video call, the selfie camera will be passable for that — just make sure there’s ample light. We wouldn’t recommend photographing anything you care about with the rear camera.

If you are dead set on having an S Pen and refuse to spend more than $329.99, then by all means, buy the 2024 Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. However, if you don’t need the S Pen or are willing to spend a bit more, there are better options, like the Galaxy Tab S9 FE, which is often on sale for under $400. If you just want a cheap Samsung tablet and don’t care about the stylus, there’s the ever-reliable Galaxy Tab A9 Plus, which has similar specs and a lower $220 MSRP (and often goes for below $200). And there’s always Apple, which will sell you an iPad and Apple Pencil for around $400. Any of those options will be worlds better than the Tab S6 Lite.

What are the best Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) alternatives?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) and Pixel tablet

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

Left: Google Pixel Tablet, Right: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE ($449 at Amazon): Samsung’s step-up tablet offers a much better screen, a faster processor, more RAM, has an optional keyboard cover accessory, and it still includes an S Pen. It’s a little more expensive at $449.99, but you’ll like using this device much more.
  • Apple iPad ($413 at Amazon): If you’re not married to the Android ecosystem, Apple’s cheapest iPad could be an option at $349. This tablet is much faster than the 2024 Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, has a better screen, and offers many more tablet-optimized apps. However, it doesn’t come with a stylus. Apple’s basic Pencil add-on costs another $79, but it has more capabilities than the S Pen.
  • Pixel Tablet ($499 at Amazon): Google’s $399 Pixel Tablet has solid build quality and performance, and the software is much more refined and responsive than One UI on the Tab S6 Lite. The Pixel Tablet doesn’t have a stylus, but it’s compatible with USI 2.0 pointers, and there’s a neat optional speaker dock that turns your tablet into a smart display.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A9 Plus ($219.99 at Amazon): This tablet doesn’t have an S Pen, but the performance is similar, and you get the same Samsung One UI software. While it costs $110 less than the Tab S6 Lite, it’s often on sale for even cheaper. The 11-inch 1920 x 1200 LCD also supports a faster 90Hz refresh, and the design looks more modern than the rereleased Tab S6 Lite.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) specs

Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024)

Display

10.4-inch
2000 x 1200
60Hz
LCD

Processor

Exynos 1280

RAM

4GB

Storage

64/128GB
microSD

Audio

Stereo speakers
Headphone jack

Cameras

Rear:
8MP

Front:
5MP

Power

Li-ion 7,040mAh

Authentication

No fingerprint sensor

Software

Android 14

Dimensions / weight

244.5 x 154.3 x 7mm
465g

Colors

Gray, Mint, Rose Gold

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) review: FAQ

Yes, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) has a bundled S Pen.

Yes, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024)’s S Pen supports pressure-sensitive input, and there are included apps for notes and doodling.

Yes, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) supports Samsung DeX, but it’s quite sluggish.

Nope, you can only charge the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024) with a cable.

There is a microSD card slot, but there is no 4G or 5G version of the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024).

Fortnite runs on the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2024), but it doesn’t perform particularly well.

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