This morning I did something I never do – plug my smartphone into my PC to charge it up.

Yes, I know this is a terribly inefficient way of charging my phone, but all my plug ports are currently being used and this was my only option.

Upon plugging my Samsung Galaxy S10+ into the USB Type C cable I was alerted to the fact that I could now use Samsung DeX on my PC without the need for an HDMI cable or some other proprietary connector.

For those who aren’t aware, DeX is Samsung’s application that allows you to use your handset like a desktop PC. You can use a mouse and keyboard and all of the apps you have installed work as you would expect.

We’ve used DeX before and the experience was middling, but after many years the experience has been updated.

But is it any good?

The short answer is yes, this iteration of DeX is far better than the previous versions.

The ability to simply connect your phone to your PC with a USB Type C cable and use it in desktop mode is incredible but it won’t be long before you start asking yourself why you are doing this when you can use the same applications on your PC.

Are there fringe cases where this is useful? Sure. For example, if I wanted to find a photo to transfer to my PC more easily, being able to access the Gallery app and drag and drop a photo on to my PC is great.

Similarly, being able to upload edited images from my PC to Instagram is also great.

Apps will launch in portrait mode by default but only some can be expanded to the entirety of the display.

While I don’t use Microsoft Office apps on my PC, they are installed on my smartphone and if I desperately needed an Office application, this would be a good solution.

It’s also not a bad way to get a bit more grunt from a low-end notebook. As the phone is doing all the heavy lifting, you might have more joy using your S20 Ultra for work than your Intel Core i3 notebook.

But what about DeX as a replacement for your desktop?

In truth, it works pretty well.

Applications such as Gmail function as you’d expect.

The performance is good and I never noted apps taking longer to load than they would in phone-mode. The one oddity I noticed is that when you are typing, the keyboard on your smartphone will pop up. It’s not necessarily an issue but it is odd.

In order to use DeX as a standalone service without a PC you’re going to need a DeX cable that can be purchased at Samsung Stores in South Africa. Unfortunately, those stores are closed due to lockdown.

That having been said, DeX is a usable alternative to a PC and if you need to do some school work or work from home, being able to use the smartphone in your pocket as a pseudo-PC is simply fantastic.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.