Today at CES, Samsung unveiled its new tablet lineup and its flagship 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro. The Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2-inch features the same chassis which is a hair thinner due to the absence of the S-Pen. The Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 and 8.4 get the same display resolution, no S-Pen and the same product design packaged in smaller form factors.
The Galaxy Note Pro boasts a beautiful WQXGA (2560×1200) touch display, a quad-Core Exynos 5 (Wifi only) or a Quad Core Snapdragon 800 (LTE version), 3 GB RAM, 32 or 64 GB of internal storage, a micro SD card slot (up to 64 GB memory expansion), 9500mAh battery, Android 4.4 Kit Kat, IR emitter, and GPS/Glonass.
Product design (very good)
Samsung launched its new stitched leather look its mobile products at IFA last September, when the Korean manufacturer introduced the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and the Galaxy Note 10.1. The new models get the exact same form factor with the same finish. Overall, the new design language is very stylish compared to the previous generation of Galaxy products whose plastic feel looked cheaper.
At only 750 g (Wifi only, 753 g 3G/LTE), the sleek body feels very light in the hand despite the large 12.2-inch display.
At the top, on the left side you will find the power button, the volume rocker, and the IR emitter in the middle.
On the right side, at the top you will be able to slide out the S-Pen, which is located right above the loudspeaker grid. The USB 3.0 port is in the middle and close to the bottom corner you will find the microSD slot and the SIM slot.
On the left side the audio jack 3.5 mm is placed at the top just above the left speaker grid.
The large 12.2-inch display with the WQXGA (2560×1200) resolution is gorgeous and delivers bright and high contrasted images. The user interface is fluid, despite the large number of pixels the system has to move around (about 4 million), thanks to the powerful processor.
Video and Audio Playback (Excellent)
I briefly tried the video playback using a file locally stored in the image gallery. I was impressed by the audio quality and the powerful sound coming out of the two speakers placed on both side of the tablet. Thanks to the WQXA resolution and its 4 million pixels, the image quality is stunning.
Software, New features
Watch the video demo to see how the new software features work:
Enhanced Keyboard for productivity (very good)
Samsung with its “pro” lineup aims at bringing the efficiency of the PC to the tablet which is more of a content consumption device than a productive tool. The new digital keyboard now features additional keys such as the Tab key, page up and down and provide the ability to copy/paste suing the CTRL+C and CTRL+V keys, an option that regular tablets do not offer. Additionally, the haptic feedback make it feel more like a computer keyboard. The large size provides a very comfortable typing experience.
Samsung decided to depart from the traditional Android home screen full of application icons by creating what the company calls the “magazine UX”. Probably inspired by Flipboard and the Microsoft Metro UI, the home screen is now divided in large rectangular zones, from where users can select the content or applications they need to launch.
One of the key differentiators of Samsung’s tablets and smartphones is the multi window and multitasking feature. Now it is possible to have four applications simultaneously, compared to before where split screen allowed only for two. You can access the multi window tray by swiping left from the right edge of the screen.
Click on an application to open it in a pop up window, or drag it by swiping the icon to open it in a split screen view. When you press on the blue dot that separate the multi windows, an additional menu will appear, from there you can rearrange the order of the two, three or four windows.
Watch the video demo to see how it works.
Air Command is another unique feature from Samsung that was launched with the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 at IFA. You get access to the Air Command menu when hovering with the S Pen on any part of the display. Air Command provide four options: Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, S-finder:Pen window. Check the description in our Galaxy Note 3 Review and the video demo in the hands-on.
With productivity in mind, Samsung offers a good remote desktop feature that allows people to directly edit their Office Document on their PC from the tablet. Remote PC features a split screen from where can move around files and folders in their computer from the Galaxy Note Pro. Samsung demoed the feature live, but I could not videotape it.
Video Conferencing – WebEx
With the Galaxy Note Pro, you will get 6 month of free WebEx videoconferencing service, which allows for on screen collaboration during a video call.
$700 Value of Content included
Samsung claims that the Galaxy note include $700 value of premium content from partners such as Dropbox, Bloomberg, Evernote, LinkedIn, New York Times, Blurb, Live Sport TV and Autodesk (Sketch Book Pro ).
Wifi Mimo – Network Booster
MIMO, Multiple-Input Multiple-Output, is a technology that uses multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve data transfer performance. One of the first tablet to integrate MIMO was the Kindle Fire HD.
The new Galaxy Note Pro and Galaxy Tab Pro tablets do not offer any surprises in term of product design or innovation. However the hardware performance and the display are top of the line and it provides a set of new software features that will certainly help to make the device more useful for work.