Samsung DeX station hands on

We tested out the Samsung DeX station, and wrote this article using the system to show how easy it is to use…
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Samsung DeX station hands on

Samsung’s answer to the Microsoft Display Dock

If you’ve recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, then you should definitely check out some of the amazing accessories that push the mobile experience further than ever before. One of our favourites is called the DeX Station, which stands for ‘Desktop Experience’.

Just like Microsoft’s Display Dock, it lets you boost the mobile experience to the big screen, scaling up all your apps at the same time. We’re pretty impressed, and if you’re thinking about getting one, this is what you need to know...

How to set up Samsung DeX station

To get started with DeX Station, you need to plug it into a power source. You can’t use any old USB Type-C plug, unfortunately - it has to be an official Samsung charger - so the one that came bundled with your Galaxy S8 or S8+ will do nicely.

If you want to use a wireless keyboard or mouse, you need to connect them to the phone first. Open up the Bluetooth settings and scan for devices. You should find your keyboard and mouse in that list, but if you’re having trouble, make sure they’re disconnected from anything else you’ve used them for previously, like your desktop, for example.

If you’re not going wireless, there are two USB A ports on the station itself, so just plug them in and you’ll be connected straight away.

Use a HDMI cable to connect the dock to your monitor of choice. There’s only one HDMI port on the station, but that’s all you’ll need to get up and running.

The desktop experience

Once you’re connected, you’ll find yourself faced with a full-scale desktop. Just as you would expect on a Windows computer monitor, there are apps on the left hand side, and a button in the bottom left which will lead to all your apps.

You can drag apps from the menu to the homescreen for quick access, and if you’ve got anything open you don’t want right now, they can be minimised with one click for quick access later.

We found the mouse and keyboard worked very well – with little to no difference to using a normal laptop of desktop. Even when typing quickly, the system managed to pick up every letter and space in the correct order.

Playing audio through the monitor

If you’re looking to watch things on the big screen, the DeX station won’t automatically play audio through the screen, but instead plays it from the S8’s downward facing speakers, right into the base of the dock. Which sounds kind of tinny and isn’t really what you want.

Thankfully, it’s easy enough make sure your audio flows through the HDMI cable, and out of the TV or monitor’s bigger speakers. This is how you do it:

  • When you’re connected the to monitor, navigate to the Applications symbol in the bottom left corner of the screen we mentioned before, and look for Samsung Connect

  • Once you’re in the app, find the three dots on the top right, and click them to go through to the settings menu

  • Make sure the Samsung Connect panel is enabled and then click the text underneath the title to find more options

  • Check the toggle next to Audio Output is turned on (it might already be)

  • Go back to the home page, and go to the Quick Settings option in the bottom right of the screen – it looks like an upward facing arrow

  • Select Audio Output under Samsung Connect and change it from ‘My phone’ to ‘Display device’

Verdict

The DeX station is perfect if you’re always on the go and need a lightweight system that lets you show off your work on the big screen. On the other hand, it’s also a great way of watching films with your mates – just plug in and sit back, instead of crowding round a small screen.

To buy the Samsung DeX station follow this link, or if you're ready to upgrade to the amazing Samsung Galaxy S8, check it out on Carphone Warehouse's website.

Got any questions about using the DeX station? Drop us a comment below.

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