Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 12.2 review
|Review: June 2014|
In a nutshell: The 12 inch version of Samsung's Galaxy Tab PRO is super-sized and super-powered, and is faultless if you're looking for a truly capable tablet. Only the high price and high weight count against it.
Why buy a tablet? To get most of the functionality of a laptop but with greater portability and less cost. A tablet will always be a balancing act between price and performance, but the Samsung Galaxy TabPro 12.2 shifts the balance decidedly towards the performance end. This means inevitably that price goes up and portability goes down, but can Samsung manage to pull it off without losing its balance?
Design - and that 12 inch screen
With smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 pushing past the 5 inch screen size and phablets at 6 inches, entry level tablets are starting to feel very cramped, and are in danger of becoming obsolete. With this in mind, Samsung has pushed its Galaxy TabPro into new territory - the 12 inch screen. This is laptop territory, and so the promise that the TabPro 12.2 holds out is to provide a replacement for a laptop, but with the convenience of a tablet.
The TabPRO mostly delivers on that promise. It's a weighty tablet at 734g, and although that's half the weight of a laptop, it still feels heavy. Holding the tablet becomes hard work and there's a strong urge to put it down on some surface. That definitely reduces the convenience factor by some margin. It's big too, although thankfully Samsung has made it nice and slim. But we can't get over the fact that pulling it out in a public space just makes you feel a little conspicuous. It seems that the 12 inch screen size does start to push the balancing act dangerously towards "not quite as portable as we'd like."
The polycarbonate build feels strong, although there's a little flex that wasn't noticeable in the 10 inch model. The back is finished with Samsung's faux leather with stitching, and while this is smart enough, it can never be described as premium. Colour choice is between Black or White.
The screen is of course the star feature, and at 12 inches it definitely provides a better workstation for serious users. If this is a replacement for a work laptop, then you might well ignore all of our comments about size, and just enjoy the greater productivity that the big screen offers. It's a great screen for multitasking, with a 4-way screen split possible. The screen resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels is superb as well, rendering text and graphics pin-sharp.
The tablet runs the latest Android KitKat 4.4 with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, including the new magazine-style addition which bears some resemblance to Windows 8.
Since this is a tablet for the power user, the fact that it uses an Exynos 5 octa-core processor is a very welcome addition. It's a "Big Core" 1.9GHz quadcore plus a "Little Core" 1.3GHz quadcore configuration, combining processing power with energy efficiency. Whilst not quite as capable as some laptops, the octa-core power is plenty for the types of jobs the TabPRO is likely to encounter - whether for business apps or for playing games or watching videos.
The device is equipped with a hefty 3GB of RAM and comes with a large 32GB flash drive, plus the ability to add a microSD card for an extra 64GB of data storage.
The 8 megapixel main camera with autofocus and LED flash is competent and can record full HD 1080p video, and there's a front-facing camera that can take selfies at 2 megapixel resolution or full HD 1080p video chat.
The TabPro 12.2 may lack a 4G connection (or even a 3G one) but it comes with ultra-fast Wi-Fi - 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MIMO. It also supports Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL 2.1, USB 3.0, ANT+ and has a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack.
Battery life from the heavy duty 9500mAh battery is reasonable, with up to 12 hours of intensive use possible before the juice is all gone.
We highly recommend the TabPRO 12.2 for professionals. Our objective scoring system requires us to award it 4 stars because of the high weight and price, but in our heart we'd like to give it a full 5 stars. The key issue is that it won't be for everyone. In fact the majority of people would faint at the price and find it too large for practical everyday use. But if you're a business user looking for a laptop-replacement, then the cost and portability issues switch in favour of the TabPRO, as it's much more portable than a laptop, and can deliver most of the functionality at a price that's by no means extortionate.
There will always be compromises to be made with a device of this type, but Samsung has made sensible decisions that recognise those compromises, and have delivered a niche product with plenty of appeal to a certain type of user.
Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 12.2 features include:
- Operating system: Android 4.4 (KitKat)
- Display: 12.2 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with 2560 x 1600 pixels, 16 million colours
- 8 megapixel camera with flash and autofocus, 1080p HD video recording
- Secondary 2 megapixel camera for 1080p HD video calling
- Media player
- Processor: Big Core 1.9GHz Quad + Little core 1.3GHz Quad
- Memory: 32GB/64GB plus microSD memory card slot (up to 64GB supported)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G+5GHz, VHT80 MIMO), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL 2.1, USB 3.0, ANT+, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Size: 204 x 295.6 x 7.95 mm
- Weight: 734g
- Battery: 9500 mAh
- Internet usage time (Wi-Fi): Up to 12 hours
- Video playback time: Up to 11 hours
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