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Rejoice! Samsung has released a new line of Samsung Galaxy tablets, and they boast some impressive hardware specifications that are sure to get your attention. But that begs several questions: What’s different? Is the hardware really that impressive? Should you buy it?
We got ourselves the $369.99 8.4-inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro to play around with. We’ll take an in-depth look at the tablet and answer all of those questions. Then, at the end of this review, you’ll be able to enter the giveaway to win this tablet!
About Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro
The Galaxy Tab Pro line is akin to the upcoming Galaxy Tab 4 line, but don’t underestimate it as a minor revision — the focus of this line (as the “Pro” might allude to) is superior performance. These tablets are packed with very capable hardware that should be more than enough for all of your tablet needs.
The market is pretty much saturated with tablets, so it’s not surprising that the Galaxy Tab Pro has a few competitors including Samsung’s very own devices, but you also have the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini as major competitors as well. The Nexus 7 is smaller, cheaper (as low as $199), and although it sports weaker hardware, it’s still a good choice. The iPad Mini Retina, on the other hand, offers fairly similar hardware specifications (although it has a dual-core CPU rather than the Tab Pro’s quad-core CPU) and a slightly higher price tag at $399, and runs iOS instead.
Ultimately, the Galaxy Tab Pro aims to be a high-performance 8-inch tablet in the Android space, where not many tablets currently exist.
Sticking to tradition, the Galaxy Tab Pro comes in very typical Samsung packaging that has been used since the Galaxy S4 was released. That being said, there are no complaints — everything is packed tightly but in an organized fashion. There’s also not a lot of waste to throw away. But better yet, the packaging uses recycled and recyclable materials, so you can just throw it in the recycling bin and feel good about yourself.
In a lot of ways, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro looks like a Galaxy Note 3, which we reviewed. Although it has a much larger screen, virtually everything else is the same. There’s a home button and two capacitive buttons along the bottom, the placement of the two cameras is the same, and it even has the same leather texture on the plastic back cover with fake stitching around the border. However, it doesn’t include the stylus that the Note is known for.
The Galaxy Tab Pro measures in at 5.05 x 8.62 x 0.28 inches and weighs just 11.67 oz, which makes it barely thinner and lighter than the iPad Mini (which is 0.290 inches thick and weighs 11.68oz). However, you have to consider that the Galaxy Tab Pro has an 8.4-inch screen rather than a 7.9-inch one, so Samsung has managed to pack in more hardware and a larger screen, yet impressively still maintained the same weight as its iOS counterpart.
The tablet’s display is beautiful, but there’s a catch — the display is a WQXGA SC-LCD, and not an AMOLED. Some people might be shocked by the fact that Samsung released a product without their AMOLED display in it — and I was too — but it works perfectly fine. The display is extremely sharp, and color representation is very accurate. The 8.4-inch display packs 1600 x 2560 pixels, which means that it has a pixel density of 359 pixels per inch. That’s dramatically higher than the iPad Air, and marginally higher than the iPad Mini Retina. In any case, it’s very respectable and certainly beats a “Retina” display.
Performance is excellent. It uses basically the same CPU as the Galaxy S5 (the Snapdragon 800), which packs a lot of punch. I’ve tried running various games on the tablet, and they all work virtually stutter-free. The combination of improved hardware, 2 gigabytes of RAM, and an optimized codebase in Android 4.4 provides buttery smooth operation.
The audio quality from the speakers isn’t out of this world, but they’re decent. Audio is crisp and loud, which should be more than enough to get the job done, especially with two speakers rather than just one. I do wish that they sound they produce is fuller, but that’s a problem with the majority of smartphones and tablets.
The cameras are probably one of the few downsides to this tablet. While the standard 2MP front-facing camera is nothing to write home about, the 8MP rear-facing camera is lackluster. The pictures aren’t very clear nor are they detailed. Considering that the Galaxy S4 and S5 have much better cameras, I definitely expected more out of the cameras included in the Galaxy Tab Pro.
If I could note one exception feature of this tablet, it would be the battery life. During my own tests which consisted primarily of watching YouTube videos (which are more taxing than just casual Internet browsing or local video playback), I got approximately 7-8 hours — which surpassed my expectations. According to Samsung’s exaggerated figures, you should expect 10 hours of casual Internet use, 12 hours of video playback, and 127 hours of music playback.
Besides all of these nifty features and hardware, you’ll also find 16 gigabytes of internal storage. This can be upgraded via the microSD card slot for up to an additional 64 gigabytes, so you really shouldn’t find yourself running out of storage, unless you put a bunch of movies on it. The tablet also comes with 802.11ac wireless capabilities, so you’ll be future-proof in that regard for years to come.
As the tablet is called the Galaxy Tab Pro, it has aimed to include some apps and features that are useful to professionals. For example, apps like WebEx, Remote PC, and e-Meeting are all included on the tablet. For an office suite, it includes Hancom Office for Android which seems like a good choice for opening documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
The interface itself offers a new, revamped version of TouchWiz which is leaner, better looking, and more responsive. I’ve never been a big fan of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface (often using it more out of reluctance), but this updated version gets my approval.
Additionally, thanks to Google working hard to make the next several versions of Android leaner, the tablet comes with Android 4.4.2 installed. I also believe the Samsung will be relatively quick to upgrade it to newer versions of Android as they are released, after seeing how quickly they managed to upgrade the Galaxy S4 from 4.2 to 4.4.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro?
So, the final question here is: should you get the Galaxy Tab Pro? I think so. It’s a fantastic performer with great battery life and the power of Android. In all honestly, the camera is the only downside to the device — everything else is fantastic and I have little to no complaints. While you can find cheaper tablets (such as the upcoming Galaxy Tab 4 8-inch model for $269), I think it’s paying $370 to have a virtually flawless tablet. If you have a relatively new tablet that’s working well for you, you may want to stick with it for a little longer, but if you feel the need to upgrade or are new to the tablet market, I would definitely recommend the Galaxy Tab Pro.
MakeUseOf recommends: Buy unless you are satisfied with your current tablet. It’s a great performer worth the higher price tag.
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