-- Update 10/18/2017 --

After having spent even more time on the DeX for daily work activities - I need to point out one frustrating limit to how it can be used. Multitasking. Not in the sense of multiple programs open. Obviously you can do that. More in the sense of having multiple windows within the same program open. FOR EXAMPLE -- powerpoint. You can only have one instance running and that can only have one presentation open at a time. Therefore copy and paste from one presentation to another becomes cumbersome. Another is Outlook. Opening multiple emails at the same time is a non-starter. These are kind of big deals for me and are pushing me back towards being shackled on my corporate windows machine ;(

--------------------------

For the un-initiated. DeX is a little hockey-puck sized device you can buy from Samung that lets you use your Samsung Galaxy S8 or Samsung Note 8 as a desktop computer. Pretty cool huh? Includes an HDMI port, 2 USB ports and an Ethernet Jack. My recommendation is to skip the Ethernet at the moment and keep your phone on WIFI.

I spent a week or so with the Samsung DeX as my primary computing device for work. The experience was liberating as I -- as many of you are -- chained to the corporate Gestapo who regulate everything on our PC's. While this is the case in many places, the corporate IT police may let you get away with a BYOD (Bring your own device) android or iPhone platform. AND with DeX you can make that your PC.

That's nice on a lot of levels. Not merely the freedom to install whatever applications you wish but also the integration DeX offers with your Android phone truly turns it into a unique computing platform (with some reservations). For the technophilic among you - you're used to putting up with a little work around to be able to really experience something special - and that is what DeX truely is.

Imagine making and answering phone calls from your Desktop - All the while working from Outlook, writing emails and doing research on the web all with your mouse and keyboard. At the same time you also have windows open for true text messaging, as well as anything else you have loaded up on your phone. You get all the personal apps on a BYOD device of your own choosing while still having access to your work email - unlike a completely locked-down corporate laptop. Its nice. Its refreshing. I love it.

Here you can see file management, photo management and also a linux terminal all running at the same time. Windows are resizable and overlap much like a Windows operating system. Apps which are 'optimized' for DeX are generally freely resizable and also work well with native mouse/keyboard commands such as select and cut and paste. Apps which are not DeX optimized, for example in the image above the Linux Terminal (app is called JuiceSSH) appear as a non-resizable phone-sized window. What is nice is that you are free to rotate that window same as your phone. In the case of the above example I have the JuiceSSH window rotated length-wise which gives me a nice usable Linux terminal.

Microsoft appears to be on-board the DeX with some very nicely adapted apps which give you access to a fully functional and big-screen optimized version of Microsoft Outlook. Messages on the left and email on the right. It feels very much like home. I can use the scroll wheel of the mouse to scroll through either messages or message text just as you would with a Windows PC. There is also a very desktop-like experience for both PowerPoint and Excel. Everything you need for the modern corporate communications machine. Below is an example of what PowerPoint looks like on DeX:

Lets dive deeper into the phone-integration story. I feel like this is often overlooked but very compelling piece of the DeX capabilities list. For the last week I have been simply keeping a Bluetooth headset draped around my neck ala the LG Tone . Clicking on phone numbers in my Outlook calendar immediately brings up the phone interface and dials the number. If I'm working on writing some email and a call is coming in -- I see it on the big screen, caller ID and everything, with familiar choices to accept or reject. The seamless nature of bringing my phone into my computer makes DeX feel like my one-device while I'm at work. Its good.

Now there are some Hacks for DeX available that will let you work around limitations for "Non Optimized" apps. One of these is Dex Max which will allow some apps to be recompiled to support resizable windows. This came in really handy when I wanted to run an RDP connection to my windows PC. Microsoft makes a really handy Android app called Microsoft Remote Desktop. The downside is that this app is not DeX optimized. Therefore it will only run in a tiny little window on DeX. Not very helpful. Installing DeX Max will allow you to recompile that app to run full screen. AND IT REALLY WORKS! The image below shows my full windows desktop running via RDP through my phone running Dex on the big screen. This comes in Handy when you want to do things that just can't be done on a mobile platform. One example is debugging Javascript via a browser toolset. Mobile browsers to have the normal console and debug tools (stripped out for streamlining) so having the ability to RDP in full screen is really nice.

I'll close my review with a discussion of some things that will slow you down. Cut and Paste doesn't always work like you wish it did. Usually it does. Sometimes it doesn't. So you will encounter those circumstances where you want to copy something to put into a presentation or an email and its just not happening.

Drag and drop doesn't seem to be a supported concept so you're looking at "sharing" between apps or just saving and opening. Its not a deal breaker but something you need to be aware of.

My other main complaint is the stupid SHIFT+SPACE shortcut that Samsung slots for their keyboard. This shortcut is supposed to be a convenient way to switch languages (why you wan to do this so frequently that you need a shortcut for it is quite beyond me). What's worse -- the key combination they've chosen SHIFT+SPACE is really easy to hit. Imagine you are holding Shift for an Acronym and don't release the shift button before you hit space. It eats your space. That's annoying. What's more annoying is you cant' swap out the SAMSUNG keyboard on DeX so you're stuck with this obnoxious behavior.

Overall - the mix of being able to bring your texting and phone into a BYOD platform I think will be compelling for a lot of the corporate peeps out there. I like where Samsung is going with this. There are a fairly limited number of "optimized" apps for DeX at this time. 46 at my last count. So you will definitely run into many cases where you're stuck with a little phone sized non-resizable window. Remember that the Internet browser is your friend. Make Samsung Internet your default browser and use it for accessing things like Delta or Hilton etc. where you would normally use an app on your phone.

Bottom Line -- I'm keepin' it.

Tommy

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-- Update 10/18/2017 --

After having spent even more time on the DeX for daily work activities - I need to point out one frustrating limit to how it can be used. Multitasking. Not in the sense of multiple programs open. Obviously you can do that. More in the sense of having multiple windows within the same program open. FOR EXAMPLE -- powerpoint. You can only have one instance running and that can only have one presentation open at a time. Therefore copy and paste from one presentation to another becomes cumbersome. Another is Outlook. Opening multiple emails at the same time is a non-starter. These are kind of big deals for me and are pushing me back towards being shackled on my corporate windows machine ;(

--------------------------

For the un-initiated. DeX is a little hockey-puck sized device you can buy from Samung that lets you use your Samsung Galaxy S8 or Samsung Note 8 as a desktop computer. Pretty cool huh? Includes an HDMI port, 2 USB ports and an Ethernet Jack. My recommendation is to skip the Ethernet at the moment and keep your phone on WIFI.

I spent a week or so with the Samsung DeX as my primary computing device for work. The experience was liberating as I -- as many of you are -- chained to the corporate Gestapo who regulate everything on our PC's. While this is the case in many places, the corporate IT police may let you get away with a BYOD (Bring your own device) android or iPhone platform. AND with DeX you can make that your PC.

That's nice on a lot of levels. Not merely the freedom to install whatever applications you wish but also the integration DeX offers with your Android phone truly turns it into a unique computing platform (with some reservations). For the technophilic among you - you're used to putting up with a little work around to be able to really experience something special - and that is what DeX truely is.

Imagine making and answering phone calls from your Desktop - All the while working from Outlook, writing emails and doing research on the web all with your mouse and keyboard. At the same time you also have windows open for true text messaging, as well as anything else you have loaded up on your phone. You get all the personal apps on a BYOD device of your own choosing while still having access to your work email - unlike a completely locked-down corporate laptop. Its nice. Its refreshing. I love it.

Here you can see file management, photo management and also a linux terminal all running at the same time. Windows are resizable and overlap much like a Windows operating system. Apps which are 'optimized' for DeX are generally freely resizable and also work well with native mouse/keyboard commands such as select and cut and paste. Apps which are not DeX optimized, for example in the image above the Linux Terminal (app is called JuiceSSH) appear as a non-resizable phone-sized window. What is nice is that you are free to rotate that window same as your phone. In the case of the above example I have the JuiceSSH window rotated length-wise which gives me a nice usable Linux terminal.

Microsoft appears to be on-board the DeX with some very nicely adapted apps which give you access to a fully functional and big-screen optimized version of Microsoft Outlook. Messages on the left and email on the right. It feels very much like home. I can use the scroll wheel of the mouse to scroll through either messages or message text just as you would with a Windows PC. There is also a very desktop-like experience for both PowerPoint and Excel. Everything you need for the modern corporate communications machine. Below is an example of what PowerPoint looks like on DeX:

Lets dive deeper into the phone-integration story. I feel like this is often overlooked but very compelling piece of the DeX capabilities list. For the last week I have been simply keeping a Bluetooth headset draped around my neck ala the LG Tone . Clicking on phone numbers in my Outlook calendar immediately brings up the phone interface and dials the number. If I'm working on writing some email and a call is coming in -- I see it on the big screen, caller ID and everything, with familiar choices to accept or reject. The seamless nature of bringing my phone into my computer makes DeX feel like my one-device while I'm at work. Its good.

Now there are some Hacks for DeX available that will let you work around limitations for "Non Optimized" apps. One of these is Dex Max which will allow some apps to be recompiled to support resizable windows. This came in really handy when I wanted to run an RDP connection to my windows PC. Microsoft makes a really handy Android app called Microsoft Remote Desktop. The downside is that this app is not DeX optimized. Therefore it will only run in a tiny little window on DeX. Not very helpful. Installing DeX Max will allow you to recompile that app to run full screen. AND IT REALLY WORKS! The image below shows my full windows desktop running via RDP through my phone running Dex on the big screen. This comes in Handy when you want to do things that just can't be done on a mobile platform. One example is debugging Javascript via a browser toolset. Mobile browsers to have the normal console and debug tools (stripped out for streamlining) so having the ability to RDP in full screen is really nice.

I'll close my review with a discussion of some things that will slow you down. Cut and Paste doesn't always work like you wish it did. Usually it does. Sometimes it doesn't. So you will encounter those circumstances where you want to copy something to put into a presentation or an email and its just not happening.

Drag and drop doesn't seem to be a supported concept so you're looking at "sharing" between apps or just saving and opening. Its not a deal breaker but something you need to be aware of.

My other main complaint is the stupid SHIFT+SPACE shortcut that Samsung slots for their keyboard. This shortcut is supposed to be a convenient way to switch languages (why you wan to do this so frequently that you need a shortcut for it is quite beyond me). What's worse -- the key combination they've chosen SHIFT+SPACE is really easy to hit. Imagine you are holding Shift for an Acronym and don't release the shift button before you hit space. It eats your space. That's annoying. What's more annoying is you cant' swap out the SAMSUNG keyboard on DeX so you're stuck with this obnoxious behavior.

Overall - the mix of being able to bring your texting and phone into a BYOD platform I think will be compelling for a lot of the corporate peeps out there. I like where Samsung is going with this. There are a fairly limited number of "optimized" apps for DeX at this time. 46 at my last count. So you will definitely run into many cases where you're stuck with a little phone sized non-resizable window. Remember that the Internet browser is your friend. Make Samsung Internet your default browser and use it for accessing things like Delta or Hilton etc. where you would normally use an app on your phone.

Bottom Line -- I'm keepin' it.

Tommy