Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 review
|Review: May 2014|
In a nutshell: The Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 is a mid-sized tablet with a smart ultraslim design, impressive performance and a spectacularly sharp 8.4 inch screen.
Last year's Galaxy Tab 3 tablets were good all-rounders, but they didn't match up to the best of the competition. This year, Samsung has upped the game, delivering much higher performance with its Galaxy TabPRO range. Here we take a close look at the entry-level model - the TabPro 8.4.
Design & looks
Now that smartphone screens are pushing 6 inches, a 7 inch tablet is starting to feel very cramped, so Samsung has given its base model an 8.4 inch screen. We think that's an excellent move. The tablet is still small enough to fit in a bag, but it's big enough to do justice to HD video and games, and opens the door to more serious apps.
The screen on the TabPro 8.4 is very impressive. It's a conventional TFT display, but with a spectacular resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels, outperforming anything with the word "Retina" stamped on it! It's a bright display that makes HD videos leap out at you! Text is also incredibly sharp, thanks to the 341ppi pixel density.
The tablet is incredibly thin, measuring just 7.2mm - slimmer even than the iPad Mini. The bezel surrounding the screen is also very thin and the tablet is lightweight, weighing just 331g. The construction is tough and functional, with a stitched, leather-like finish on the back and it's available in a choice of Black or White. There are nice touches like the chrome-effect edging and the overall look is smart, although it's not going to match up to its supermodel rivals from Apple.
The TabPro has been kitted out with the latest version of Android - 4.4 (KitKat). Samsung's TouchWiz user interface sits on top and a few new apps have been pre-installed on the device. These include apps for conference calling, e-Meeting for sharing documents during meetings and RemotePC for accessing your PC view the web. We're not sure how relevant these will be to most users. The Tab Pro also features Samsung's new magazine-style user interface, similar in feel to Windows 8.0.
Last year's Tab 3 models didn't greatly impress us with their dual-core processors. The Tab Pro 8.4 comes with a much faster quadcore Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at a speedy 2.3GHz. It's a match for the fastest flagship smartphones (which typically cost twice as much as the TabPRO). 2GB of RAM provides enough memory to run the most demanding games and apps and to watch native 1080p video without a hitch. It's even capable of playing back UHD video.
The onboard memory is either 16GB or 32GB, with 16GB being the version most commonly found in the shops. This is the minimum amount we'd settle for, but the TabPRO also includes a microSD memory card slot, so the available memory can be increased by another 64GB easily and inexpensively, keeping us happy bunnies.
The main rear-facing camera is one of the highest resolutions so far seen on a tablet. It uses an 8 megapixel sensor and is equipped with a flash and autofocus. This makes it capable of quite impressive shots, and the tablet isn't as unwieldy to use as a larger tablet, so we're not too embarrassed to use it as a camera.
The rear camera 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 8.4 comes in two versions - one with 4G and one without. Here we're reviewing the Wi-Fi only version.
The tablet supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, HT80 and Wi-Fi Direct. It also comes with support for Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0, MHL and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Battery life isn't really a strongpoint of this model, with the 4800mAh being right for the job, but not particularly heavy duty. If you run the device continuously you'll max out at 10 hours.
The TabPRO is an impressive step-up compared with Samsung's 2013 range. The 8.4 inch model clearly has the iPad Mini with Retina display in its sights. Whilst it lacks the premium build quality of the iPad Mini, it's cheaper and is technically a match for the Apple, except in the one area of battery life. In many other respects it beats the iPad Mini.
If you want a real bargain you might opt for last years's Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, but that's a much less capable device.
Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 features include:
- Operating system: Android 4.4 (KitKat)
- Display: 8.4 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
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, instant messaging (Google Talk), email
- GPS +GLONASS with Google Maps
- Processor: 2.3GHz quad-core
- Memory: 16GB/32GB plus microSD memory card slot (up to 64GB supported)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac, HT80), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL, USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Size: 219 x 128.5 x 7.2 mm
- Weight: 331g
- Battery: 4800 mAh
- Internet usage time (Wi-Fi): Up to 10 hours
- Video playback time: Up to 12 hours
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