- Large, high-res display
- Pressure-sensitive stylus
- Real multitasking with multiple windows
- Exceptional battery life
- Large size can be awkward
- High price
- Location of control keys
- S Pen applications cannot be used with a finger
Quick TakeThe Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is a very powerful tablet, the closest thing available to a full Ultrabook replacement.
Samsung has a reputation as a company that frequently experiments with novel market categories and unique devices. Being that it is a smartphone market leader, the South Korean manufacturer can afford to take such risks. Some of these experiments fail, but others hit the bull’s eye.
The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 could be bull’s eye bound, given the impressive nature of these devices: 12.2-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel displays, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or Exynos 5420 processors, 3GB of RAM, and Android OS 4.4 (KitKat) with TouchWiz UI that enable easy simultaneous work with up to four open windows.
The primary difference between these two tablets is that the Note Pro 12.2 comes with the S Pen stylus and pressure-sensitive screen, as well as additional software to make use of them. This review focuses on the version with the stylus, but it’s important to keep in mind that the Tab Pro 12.2 is identical in most ways.
After testing both tablets, it’s easy to conclude that they are the closest things available to full Ultrabook replacements, especially the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. That said, the high prices could be a sore spot for many users on the fence deciding between them and a notebook — the suggested price for the 32GB version of the Note Pro 12.2 is $750.
Build and Design
Unusually large mobile devices can be quite off-putting and seem impractical at first glance; however, it is easy to get used to the convenience that they provide.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is a larger version of the premium devices this company has released in the past 12 months — it’s 8 mm thick, has a slim metal rim and has a plastic back that mimicks leather.
When held in hand, the tablet does not feel very comfortable. As the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 weighs 753 grams (Tab Pro is only 13 grams lighter), it gets heavy fast. This tablet requires two hands, or a tabletop.
Still, when the tablet is turned to the portrait position, the feeling becomes much more natural. With its 12.2-inch diagonal, the display matches the A4 paper format (296 x 204 millimeters), which makes reading, flipping through files, or even working on documents very easy, practical, elegant and natural, especially when the pressure-sensitive S Pen is used.
The screen on this 12.2-inch tablet from Samsung is a Super Clear LCD with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels, providing a pixel density of 247 ppi. This is nowhere near the highest pixel density we have seen on the top tablets, but comes close to the point where it is impossible to single out individual pixels at a glance.
Thanks to Samsung using a RGBW matrix with two subpixels for each pixel, color imaging is exceptionally good. The white subpixel changes the brightness level, meaning the vividness of all other colors, as well as the display contrast, is above average for top tablets. It is exceptionally sustainable even at the most oblique angles, and is a characteristic that is welcome on such a large screen.
Samsung has built in the Auto Adapt Display option in these tablets, which adjusts imaging to the contents on the screen. Unfortunately, this only works with certain applications.
Light reflection can be an issue when it comes to larger displays, but these tablets do not show any shortcomings in this area either. The display shrugs off glare well, even when exposed to direct sunlight.
Buttons and Ports
A physical Home key sits just below the display, and there is one capacitive key on either side of the Home key (Task on the left and Back on the right). Perhaps we would prefer to see on-screen control keys instead, given that it is far more comfortable to use this tablet in the portrait position, not landscape, in many situations.
All other features are common for Samsung tablets. There is an 8-megapixel camera on the back with a LED flash under it. The bottom edge has no slots or keys, while the upper includes the Power key and the volume control switch, along with an IR transmitter that can turn the tablet into a universal remote control. The left side holds a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, while the right includes a microUSB hub, plus microSD and microSIM card slots. Both edges also have stereo speaker perforations.
As additional equipment goes, Samsung offers an adapter which converts the microUSB into an Ethernet port, while an optional Bluetooth connecting keyboard and mouse were presented at this year’s CES, clearly implying that Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 were intended for business users above all.
We’re just getting started. Page 2 discusses the performance of the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.