Samsung’s DEX platform lets you use your mobile phone as a computer by connecting it to a PC monitor. But which Samsung phones support DEX? Let’s find out…
If you have the following Samsung phones, you can use DEX. As of right now, the following Samsung phones and tablets support DEX:
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Galaxy S10 (All Models)
- Samsung Galaxy S20 (All Models)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 (All Models)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 (All Models)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
What is DEX?
Samsung’s DEX platform is a way of taking your phone or tablet’s software and porting it onto a desktop PC display or monitor. This means you can work, using a mouse and keyboard, on a larger display using just your phone and its apps.
Samsung initially required a proprietary dock to access DEX, but since the launch of the Galaxy Note 9, DEX can be accessed using an HDMI cable (a USB Type C to HDMI one). This means you no longer need to buy an additional piece of hardware to use DEX.
It is also worth noting that DEX itself is NOT hardware; it is software through and through that allows the user to port their phone’s software onto a larger display, like a PC monitor or compatible HDTV. You can use DEX with a mouse and keyboard too, so it is very close to a PC-style experience when it is up and running.
If you’re on a tight budget and have to choose between a smartphone or a laptop, DEX is a great go-between solution, as it effectively gives you two devices in one, a PC-style computing experience via DEX and a phone for when you’re out and about.
You can run Google Drive on DEX, so you get access to a word processor, spreadsheets, and presentations, as well as things like IM and storage for your files and media. Samsung also has a suite of apps you can use on DEX as well but I tend to prefer Drive; it’s just the way I do things.
How Much Does Samsung DEX Cost?
DEX is completely free, providing you have a phone that supports it, DEX is bundled in as part of the Galaxy experience. This is one of its biggest draws; being free means it offers a ton of utility, especially when used with other free apps like Google Drive.
You will, of course, need to buy peripherals for DEX, a keyboard, and a mouse. But most people tend to have these lying around the home. You’ll also need some sort of monitor or a compatible HDTV. If you’re in Canada, you could even check out Samsung’s Smart Monitor – it’s super cool.
Samsung DEX Update History: From 2017 to 2020
- 2017: The original Samsung DEX required that users have a physical dock into which their phone was inserted to launch DEX on an external monitor. This was the first generation of DEX; it worked fine but still felt a little “beta”.
- 2018: In 2018, Samsung launched the DeX HDMI adapter alongside the Galaxy Note 9, doing away with the need for a physical docking station.
- 2019: With the launch of the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung made DEX access completely wireless, meaning you no longer needed cables to run DEX. All you needed was a compatible phone like the Note 10
- 2020: In 2020, DEX was updated again and will now run on Windows PCs. All you need to do is a cable (if you’re using older Samsung phones) or wirelessly if you have a newer model.
Wireless DEX Support
Building on from the last point, wireless DEX launched aboard the Galaxy Note 20. With wireless DEX, you don’t need any cables or wires to launch the DEX experience – the phone does everything for you.
How To Setup Wireless DEX on Galaxy Note 20
Wireless DEX is currently available on the Galaxy Note 20, but it will almost certainly come to the Galaxy S21 too. And that phone is scheduled to launch inside the first half of 2021, like January-time.
Here’s a quick overview of how wireless DEX works and how you set it up on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 via Samsung Insights.
This [wireless DEX] allows users to use DeX without a cable on Smart TVs featuring Miracast, as long as both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
To use wireless DeX, first go into screen mirroring mode on your TV. Then, on your Note20 or Note20 Ultra, pull down the quick panel settings and tap DeX. Now select the TV you want to cast to.
Wireless DeX on Smart TVs is a true second screen experience — you can keep using your phone as a phone while it powers the DeX interface on your TV. It’s ideal for sharing content like PowerPoint presentations or videos, but you can also connect a keyboard and mouse and use the TV as a monitor for productivity work – Samsung Insights
What is The Best DEX Adapter?
Samsung makes a range of DEX adapters, so if you’re running an older Samsung model, like the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy Note 8, you will need one of these to use and access DEX.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the current options:
- DEX Cable: This is a simple cable that will connect your Samsung phone to a monitor and allow DEX to run. It has limited IO, but it is cheap.
- HDMI Adapter: The HDMI adapter is ideal for most Samsung models but, again, it has limited IO.
- Multiport Adapter: If you want support for ethernet, charging, and also connections to external monitors, the Multiport Adapter is the way to go – it has the best IO of all three options.
How To Launch DEX For The First Time
I’m going to assume you have all the necessary stuff required to run DEX, including an adapter if you’re using an older Samsung phone. Once you have everything in place, launching DEX for the first time is super-simple. Just follow these steps.
- #1) If you’re using the DEX cable, plug it into your phone and your monitor’s HDMI port. With the HDMI adapter and Multiport Adapter, do the same.
- #2) Once the phone is connected to the port via HDMI, the DEX software should launch straightaway. You should see the DEX logo fire up. Once this happens, DEX will quickly boot up. Typically, it takes just a few seconds.
- #3) Once DEX has loaded, you need to pair your mouse and keyboard to your phone. To do this, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Select desired Mouse and Keyboard. Make sure your mouse and keyboard’s Bluetooth is active. Once they’re connected, you’re good to go!
Bonus Tip: If you’re using the Multiport Adaptor, you can plug the hardware into your phone’s charger as well. This will ensure your phone is kept topped-up with battery life as you use DEX. You can also connect an Ethernet cable to the Multiport Adapter too.
Can DEX Replace Your Laptop or PC?
It depends. If you’re a power-user that is reliant on x86 apps and things like Microsoft’s Office and other business applications, you’re going to struggle. DEX is only as good as the apps you have on your phone.
If all you need is a web browser, some office products like Google Drive, and you work predominantly in the cloud, then, yes, DEX could easily cover all of your needs. In this respect, DEX is a bit like a Chromebook. Useful in the right settings, but not suited to all users.
If you’re a student, or you run an online business, DEX has all the tools you need to manage your workflow. You can do it all with one device, which goes everywhere with you, and all you need is a cable, a display, a mouse, and a keyboard to start up again, making DEX a great solution for lean startups that utilize hot-desks in the workplace.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.