Samsung Galaxy Note Pro review
Samsung managed to place their Note as smartphones or phablets that are widely recognized as productive equipment and that go beyond leisure. In fact, they are surely their most praised teams and the benchmark in that segment. Some exclusive applications and the use of the S-Pen certainly helped to achieve this.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro that we have been testing for a few weeks in Xataka pursues the same strategy but in tablet format. In this case we are going to a strange diagonal for a tablet. Has the Note Pro convinced us with its daring 12 inches as a work team with a future? Come in and read our review.
Galaxy Note Pro video review
Nothing better than starting our analysis of the Galaxy Note Pro with a video walk where you can get to know it up close and in great detail:
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, main specifications
It is not just your screen. The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro does its part to be a tablet with good features on the spec sheet. Here are the main ones:
Galaxy Note Pro 12: size "in no man's land"
If I mention the figure of 12.2 inches and associate the name of tablet, surely you think I'm crazy. It has not been me, it has been Samsung with its Note Pro of more diagonal. We even find ultrabooks on the market that opt for less diagonal than this tablet.
Are those two inches more noticeable then with respect to the classic 10.1-inch model on Android? Well enough. If we consider the Note model of 10.1 inches, we are talking about an increase in weight of no more and no less than 200 grams, in addition to growing 4 cm wide (in landscape mode) and 3 cm high. The only physical dimension that is kept at an acceptable level is the thickness, which stays the same, below 8mm.
To gain just two inches, this Note Pro is stretched to impractical limits for a tablet except in thickness
And all this without changes at the design level. We are exactly the same as with the recent Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, that is, a back that simulates the skin, a frame that simulates a metal finish but that in reality is still plastic, and an S-Pen with its own compartment. And as we discussed in the Note 10.1 review, this finish convinces and pleases us, and I think it conveys the idea of a "professional" finish very well.
This Note Pro 12 is decidedly intended to be used in landscape mode. Don't even try to pick it up or handle it vertically or with one hand. In fact, the natural and comfortable way of working with it is really having it supported on the knees or a table, which already anticipates one of its difficulties when it comes to being chosen to buy: why give up an ultrabook or such a fashionable hybrid outfit?
The quite forceful size and a weight that is above other high-end tablets (although with less diagonal that yes) such as the iPad Air or the Xperia Z2 Tablet (both move about 300 grams less) penalizes classic uses of the tablet such as the reading. The effort to optimize screen size with respect to physical dimensions and minimize its weight to be comfortable is not reflected in a model like this Note Pro.
When we talk about playing or playing content, the big screen is a delight whenever we choose to keep the team supported as we have indicated before or grasped well with both hands. In that case it is true that the Note Pro does not appear to be very heavy, leaving those 700 grams well distributed.
In fact, if we compare it with a Surface Pro we see that this Note Pro is about 200 grams lighter, and if we go to a convertible like the Vaio Duo 13, the Note Pro is almost half the weight.
At the level of connections, we find the USB 3.0 port at the bottom (you can also use a microUSB connector if you want), a slot for microSD cards, as well as a Home button, volume and a 3.5 mm audio input. An infrared port is also included to use this mastodon as a remote control, something that, if you are going to give a professional profile to the team, I think it clearly exceeds.
Galaxy Note Pro screen: more inches that are not worth us outdoors
As we have seen, Samsung stretches the diagonal of this Note Pro to 12.2 inches. The resolution you bet on is 2560 x 1600 pixels, a good figure that gives us 247 dpi. Although the Note 10.1 is close to 300 dpi, the sharpness is comparable to the usual working distance, and we won't see much difference.The Note Pro stumbles on a tricky stone: outdoor visibility
Regarding the panel, the Koreans, also as in the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, have chosen to place a classic TFT LCD panel under the glass protection of their screen. At the performance level, it doesn't hurt, and we get excellent viewing angles, outstanding brightness of more than 600 nits, faithful color reproduction and well-achieved contrast.
The downside is again in outdoor visibility, which is not acceptable and thank you. A typical use of this equipment would be to be able to work in official mode in any condition, generally in mobility, so deficiencies in visibility with intense natural light is really a problem for potential buyers.
As for size, the increase in diagonal aims to gain space on the screen to be able to have up to four applications open at the same time and to be able to manage more information at a glance, something that it achieves but without excessive differences compared to the Note 10.1 2014 Edition.
Fair in performance, excellent in autonomy
With a base consisting of a quad-core processor at 2.3 Ghz and 3 GB of RAM, the user experience with the Note Pro has been satisfactory ... but without much fanfare. At the benchmark level, it has been lazier than the Note 10.1 2014. For example, in Antutu, compared to the more than 35,000 points obtained by the model with the least diagonal, the Note Pro has obtained an average that has not reached 32,000 points . In Quadrant it also lags behind other models on the market with less than 19,000 points.
All this does not mean that the Note Pro does not work smoothly, and in fact there is the possibility of having a multi-window of up to four applications, but then we already noticed that the number of pixels to move chokes a little.
A clear advantage that we find the Note Pro over an ultrabook or hybrid is its autonomy
Dondo yes that Samsung has hit with this Note Pro is on the battery. He has placed an impressive 9,500 mAh battery (a good part of the extra weight has gone there) that has left us autonomy in our tests not exactly in the 12-13 that Samsung promises navigation, but it is always around 10 hours . Excellent figure that fits what we are going to demand from a team of this profile.
An intensive day of work with it can perfectly leave us enough battery to return the next day without fear of having left the charger at home.
An important aspect to consider with such a battery capacity is, as far as possible, recharging the equipment with a USB 3.0 cable, so the time required will not last forever.
S-Pen, what makes a difference ... for a few
Having landed on the market very recently, the Note Pro has the advantage of already including version 4.4.2. Android under the TouchWiz interface. If in the analysis of the Galaxy S5 we pointed out that Samsung had settled for applying small customizations and the inclusion of its own services, with the Note range it could not do the same.
In the Android tablet segment, it is still not capable of making the stature as in the smartphone world, and there we must particularly value Samsung's effort to give value to its equipment. It is, especially in this range of more professionally cut products, that Koreans can make a difference.
They do it with their S-Pen, which in this Note Pro I have no doubts that it reaches a level not seen so far in this segment. It is precise, light, well designed and allows you to draw and create freehand content with a lot of quality and in a completely natural way, since there is no need to be afraid to support the hand when using the stylus. If you are creative, here this Note Pro does mark the distances with its possible rivals.
Associated with the S Pen we find the bulk of applications made in samsung. There are the well-known Air Command with direct access to search, drawing or note-taking applications on any application, which we will talk to you about in detail in our analysis of Note 3. Special mention deserves Scrapbooker (organize and highlight information) or the Incredible SketchBook, optimized in this Note Pro and that does take full advantage of the combination of S Pen and 12.2-inch screen.
The series of applications that Samsung incorporates in this Note Pro is bulky and completely focused on the business / professional environment. We have for example a full keyboard that takes advantage of all the space on the screen to be comfortable. It is simply by size, but to write seriously you really want an external keyboard.
At the company level we have e-Meeting for shared activities, Cisco WebEX for virtual group meetings or Remote PC, which promises to remotely access our Mac or PC, although it is not a functionality that we cannot achieve through applications of third parties. They are not badly thought out and work as promised but in general you will be able to take advantage of them only in case the rest of the work team also use the Samsung tablet.
We have left the multi-window option for last. In a device to produce and with such a diagonal, this possibility of having up to four open applications (we cannot have any) promised, but the performance when we do it drops considerably and in the end, it is better to take advantage of only two than the four, which remain as anecdote. Of course, we have no doubts that the multi-window must be an option to promote in the tablet ecosystem.
Can we consider it an option to work in mobility?
Beyond analyzing the usual aspects in our gadget reviews, the objective that I had with this Galaxy Note Pro was to assess to what extent we can consider it as a candidate for that category of gadget that wants to help us work in mobility without adopting the classic ultrabook or laptop format.
The preconditions, for me, should be portability, autonomy, touch screen capabilities, LTE connectivity and a series of applications / services that allow me to edit documents with a certain degree of reliability.The Galaxy Note Pro competes against Surface, but it has a great handicap: Android is not ready to compete with Windows 8 on a tablet in terms of productivity
With the Note Pro we have been overwhelmed at first by its screen size which we have been gradually getting used to. As we have mentioned in the software section, Samsung has provided it with numerous proprietary applications that complement very well those that are already available in the Android ecosystem to work in office or email. But above all, the use of the S-Pen has been promoted to edit documents with handwritten notes or make sketches. Despite this, Android is still far from what Windows 8 can offer us on a tablet / hybrid.
Multi-window or Remote PC applications have been the most useful. It is always a good idea to be able to have two windows open at the top with a video or a web while the rest of the space is taken up by our email or text document where we are writing. Or being able to attend a video conference taking notes and consulting our Twitter. And if the connection holds, controlling and having as a "mirror" on the screen of the tablet applications that run on our regular computer is another attraction that can hook us.
Of course, here the accessory factor must always be taken into account, especially with regard to the keyboard. Along with a cover that allows us to place the tablet tilted on a table, they are the two essential accessories that we should always carry with this Note Pro to take real advantage of its work functions. In doing so, we are already including enough elements that would bring it closer in price and weight to a model such as the Surface Pro or a hybrid. Where Samsung beats them, as we have commented, is in autonomy.
In fact, the most direct rival that comes to mind for this Samsung Note Pro is Microsoft's Surface 2 Pro. Both models escape from the idea that we have of a consumer tablet (Microsoft's by weight and price, Samsung's by size) and refine benefits and purchase reasons for a professional market that, as we have indicated, wants to be able to give up its laptop in certain scenarios.
Xataka's note and opinion
If the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 pointed very good ways as a serious tablet and that seeks to be differential by applications and the use of the pencil, this Note Pro curls the curl but for us excessively. It is sloped diagonally from the screen for what we can consider a tablet, improving yes the multi-screen options in its 12.2 inches.
Even the Galaxy S5 seems small compared to this 12.2-inch Note Pro
On paper its characteristics do not detract at all, starting with the bright screen and ending with a perfect digital pen at this level. We will see if it is capable of establishing a new successful category as the Note did in the smartphone world. The movements in the market for professional tablets seem to point that way curiously.
A couple of important black points given the professional profile to which it is aimed are found on the screen, which does not meet outdoors, and in the software. To qualify for the professional market, Android still has a way to go compared to Windows 8 and even iOS, and Samsung is making efforts to achieve it, but it needs help. Hence our lower note in the software section.
If we add to this that the price (849 euros for the LTE model) is not very tight compared to its possible "classic" rivals in the high-end tablet market, the potential customer of this Note Pro is quite small. But if you are convinced and know its "user manual", you will not be disappointed.
7,8Design7 screen Performance7.5 Software7 Autonomy9,75
- Bright display
- Back finish
- Great pencil experience
- Excessive size for use as a tablet
- Performance when we demand
- High price
- Software and ecosystem for professional environment
The tablet has been loaned for testing by Samsung. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises