Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review
The Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a peculiar tablet for the very simple reason that it is unusually big and expensive. It's an incredibly powerful and well-built device that is very well endowed in the features department. Here, we take an in-depth look at what the giant tablet has to offer in our Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review. See the best tablets of 2014.
On the face of it the Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a 12-inch Android 4.4 Kitkat tablet – modified with Samsung TouchWiz and Magazine UX - that comes with Samsung's innovative pressure-sensitive S Pen, 32GB of internal memory, a microSD card, 3GB RAM and a spilt Octa-core processor on-board to manage both simple and heavy-duty tasks. It has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, price and specs.
In terms of competitors there's nothing else in the tablet market that is quite the same size as the Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2. However, it's clear that the NotePro 12.2 is looking to capture the professional market - given its name and feature set. That means its closest competitors are the iPad Air (32GB - £479 and 64GB £559 with a 2048x1536-pixel screen) and also the Microsoft Surface Pro (£519) and Surface Pro 2 (£519). See aso the best Android tablets of 2014.
All three tablets (even though the Surface is a hybrid, it's also a tablet) offer productivity features in wildly different ways, and to be brutally honest, we'd suggest that the average professional looking to do serious work on the go should take a long, hard look at the Surface Pro, as it is essentially a fully functional laptop that is (very nearly) the size of a conventional portable computer. The Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is not without merit, though. Keep reading to find out more about the key features and design aspects of this intriguing Android device..
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Video
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Design
In terms of design it's best to break up the Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 into two separate parts. First of all we'll look at its general build quality, and then focus on the dimensions and feel of the 12-inch tablet.
Where Samsung has to be given huge credit is for sheer quality of the NotePro 12.2's design.
The now-familiar Note range's faux-leather rear finish really helps this NotePro stand out (it does tend to polarise opinion), while giving it a pleasingly grippy yet sophisticated feel. There's an acceptably thick bezel around the screen, with the physical home button, front-facing camera and sensor neatly sunk in. The aluminium rim around the edge of the tablet its far from unpleasant too.
There is a slight problem with the tablet's overall size (295.5 x 204 x 8mm) and weight (739g), however. Having a 12-inch tablet is always going to be problematic to hold and Samsung hasn't altered the design of the NotePro to compensate for this fact. Rather, it has opted for a traditional flat and evenly balanced device, which we imagine is a beauty-first policy from Samsung. This isn't much of a problem if you are using the device on a desk, or on your lap, but trying to stand or use it with one hand is tricky and tiring to say the least.
What is undeniable with the Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is that it oozes power, and you get the feel when its performing mundane tasks such as flicking around the home screen and opening and closing apps, that it's all just child's play for the Galaxy NotePro 12.2. Scroll down to see its impressive benchmark scores.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Interface and screen
What's really different about the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 interface is not the TouchWiz OS that Samsung dumps on all of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, but the newly launched Magazine UX. This is Samsung's attempt to put to use the massive screen on the NotePro 12.2, and it does so by dividing up the screen into multiple Windows 8-esquse tiles that are filled with content of your choosing - be that sport, business, news, email, weather or whatever. The Magazine UX is a nice little feature for the NotePro, it is nice bening able to flick one screen left of the home screen and see all of your interest present in bite size and quick view form, but it's hardly ground breaking technology – it's essentially a page of dolled up Samsung Widgets.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Samsung S Pen
Where the device really starts to make sense is when you start using it with the accompanying S Pen. The pressurised pen tip isn't that noticeable itself – maybe that's a good thing – but spend a short time familiarising yourself with the Air Command feature and you soon see its merits. The Galaxy NotePro 12.2 becomes a lot more fun and social when you master using the S Pen.
Air Command comes with the usual five features. Action memo is handy for quickly scribbling down your thoughts without fully leaving an app, and is really easy to use on this big screen. Scrap booker lets you draw a box and take a focused screen shot of what is on screen. Screen write is exactly as is sounds, and it more of a fun graffiti tool than anything else, likewise S finder is dull and as does what is says on the tin. The final feature, Pen Window, is great on this 12-inch screen, simply draw a box and then select a utility such as calculator, calendar, dictions or several more and you are presented with a multi-windowed device.
The only downside to the S Pen is that it is a little on the thin and slippery side, which makes pressing the Air Command button especially tricky.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Screen
The 12.2-inch screen itself is pretty impressive, boasting 2560 x 1600 pixels at 247 ppi, looks incredible at an arm's length. Images and videos look amazing on the NotePro 12.2, so if you're looking for a big screened movie/gaming experience for your next train of plane journey, then this tablet will be like a portable cinema for you.
Over the years of testing mobile device's screens, we have found that perhaps the best way to judge a screen's sharpness is by reading the text on display, and all we can (rather boringly) say about that here, is that this looks pin sharp too.
The NotePro 12.2 offers pretty good viewing angles too, and although the screen is a bit glary at times, it still remained reasonably easy to view when used in broad daylight.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Camera
As you'd expect from a high-end Samsung device, the camera that is on-board the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a thing of real quality. The rear-facing camera boasts 8 Megapixels with autofocus, zero shutter lag and a LED flash, there is also a 2Mp front-facing camera which is primarily there for apps like Skype and Snapchat.
The main camera also comes equipped with several mode that we have come to expect from top end tablets, features like Best face, Best photo, Drama which all rely on multiple photos being taken at once and and then you will be presented either automatically or manually with several images form which you can choose you favourite, and save. Here's an example of us sneakily using the Drama mode with spectacularly undramatic ongoings and results.
Here's PC Advisor's standard camera image on it's highest setting:
Click image to view full size image.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Benchmarks
As expected the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 did really well in our standard benchmarking tests. It posted a lofty GeekBench 3 score of 919 for the Single core test and 2700 for the Multi Core test. It performed equally well in the GeekBench 2 benchmark with an average score of 3967. Unsurprisingly for a tablet with as impressive specs as this, it also smashed the GFX Bench Egypt On Screen benchmark too, with a score of 4850.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Battery
Samsung has equipped the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 with its biggest tablet battery yet, which is hardly surprising given the sheer size of the tablet and seriousness of the specs. The on-board battery is a 9,500mAh beast, to put this into perspective, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has a 6000mAh battery, and Samsung's flagship smartphone the Galaxy S5 only has a 2800mAh battery, and this was thought to be impressive for a smartphone.
We will be running our standard battery test in the coming days and will update this review with the results shortly.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review
The Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a bit of a funny one, as it's difficult to picture who will be buying this oversized tablet. The whole idea of tablets, and mobile technology for that matter, is that they are supposed to be portable and easy to use on the go and the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 simply isn't.
What has to be said for the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is that it is a seriously impressive piece of technology that has raised the bar in terms of tablet power and specs. I can't stress enough, how big, cumbersome and expensive it is though.
Continue reading onto the next page for our hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 from CES 2014.
Note: The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 will go on sale in the UK from 6 Feb 2014.
Another tech show and Samsung has yet again launched another version of the Galaxy Note. This time the new kid on the block is the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, a 12.2-inch Android tablet complete with the S-Pen. See all CES content.
You probably won’t be surprised to read this, but the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro isn’t all that different from the previous Samsung Galaxy Note tablets, or even the previous Samsung Galaxy Tabs for that matter. The Note Pro 12.2 is very much a new sizing option to the Note range, and not a lot more than that. Follow our coverage of CES 2014 live too.
The first thing that you notice when you pick up the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro is that it's really is big. Those two extra inches don’t sound like much when you read them on the specs sheet, but when you have the device in your hands you really do notice it. Is this a good thing? That depends on what you want to use your tablet for; the average person wants to use tablets for surfing the web, watching videos and playing games, but as the name “Pro” suggests, this is not designed for casual use on your sofa or commute to work. In short, unless you’re specifically looking for a massive tablet with tons of power, it’s wise to look for a more of a traditional consumer tablet. See also the 16 best tablets of 2014.
However, if it’s a big tablet that you are looking for then the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro has a lot to offer, especially as it’s a device that is built with the Galaxy Note pedigree. If you’re familiar with the current Note range, then you don’t have to work hard visualise the Note Pro 12.2, it can be described as simply as ‘a bigger version of the previous Notes’. Samsung has kept the leather rear finish, metallic rim and super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen. Follow our coverage of CES 2014 live too.
The device feels surprisingly light and balanced in your hands – even though it weighs 750g - and can be held with one hand for a reasonable amount on time before it starts to ache. The leather rear finish offers good grip while managing to feel solid and well built at the same time.
In terms of actual usage, the Note Pro is exactly as you’d expect. It opens and closes apps efficiently, and navigation around the home screen and apps menu is fast and responsive to the touch. The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is available with 32GB and 64GB storage, so there is ample space for file storage. Annoyingly though, Samsung’s own Note software/bloatware takes up a whopping 6.5GB of you internal memory, and cannot be deleted from the device, so you are essentially buying a 25.5GB or 58.5GB device. See all CES content.
One feature of note (excuse the pun) is the Multi Window mode that lets you have four screens open on your screen at the same time - this really makes use of the 12.2-inch screen well and we can see it being used well when you are using the tablet from day to day.
The Note Pro 12.2 also sports the new Magazine UX instead of Samsung’s traditional TouchWhiz UI. The Magazine UX is essentially a home screen that is quartered with personalised information in each home screen quad. The Magazine UX is obviously designed to offer as much information as possible as soon as the user switches on the tablet, but despite the Note Pro 12.2’s big display it still feels too busy and a bit like information overload.
The specs on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 are top of the range, the 2560 x 1600 TFT LCD display is dazzling, add to that 3GB of RAM; an 8MP rear-facing camera & a 2Mp front-facing camera; a 9,500mAh battery; Android Kitkat 4.4 and you’ve to the blueprints to a big screened tablet with a lot of power.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 review: Hands-on verdict:
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is a tablet that is pretty much on its own in the Android market, that said it appears very well built and packed full of interesting software. It’s not a tablet that we can recommend for the average user, but if there is much of a market out there for powerful big screened tablets then the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is going to be leading the charge.
The Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a seriously impressive tablet that blows away the vast majority of Android tablets and leaves them eating its dust in terms of power. If you've got £600 to blow and want a tablet that's bigger than 10-inches then this powerhouse won't disappoint in terms of performance and looks, and to be frank it's your only option as it's the only device out there like this.