Introducing the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro Lineup

Samsung Galaxy series of tablets and smartphones have been well received since they first started appearing on store shelves, and with good reason. Not all manufacturers really get industrial design, aesthetics, and the goal of building a cohesive whole that doesn’t cut corners. With the latest Pro series of tablets, Samsung looks to improve on their existing devices, with better performance, some tuning of the industrial design, and some software updates as well. We have the 8.4” and 10.1” Galaxy Tab Pro models in house, though there’s also a larger 12.2” model and a Note version of the 12.2” model that includes a Stylus as well as some other tweaks. Also worth mentioning is the that the Note 10.1” 2014 model appears to be nearly identical to the 10.1” Tab Pro, other than the fact that it has a stylus (S Pen). Here’s the short overview of the current Galaxy Pro product stack:

Overview of Samsung Galaxy Tab/Note Pro/2014 Models
  Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Dimensions 128x219x7.1mm
Display 8.4” WQXGA
10.1” WQXGA
10.1” WQXGA
12.2” WQXGA
12.2” WQXGA
Weight 332g (WiFi)
(0.73 lbs.)
470g (WiFi)
(1.03 lbs.)
541g (WiFi)
(1.19 lbs.)
751g (WiFi)
(1.65 lbs.)
732g (WiFi)
(1.61 lbs.)
SoC (CPU) Snapdragon 800
(Qualcomm MSM8974)
(4 x Krait 400 @ 2.3GHz)
Exynos Octa 5420
(big.LITTLE up to 1.9GHz,
4+4 Cortex-A15+A7)
Exynos Octa 5420
(big.LITTLE up to 1.9GHz,
4+4 Cortex-A15+A7)
Exynos Octa 5420
(big.LITTLE up to 1.9GHz,
4+4 Cortex-A15+A7)
Exynos Octa 5420
(big.LITTLE up to 1.9GHz,
4+4 Cortex-A15+A7)
SoC (GPU) Adreno 330 Mali-T628 Mali-T628 Mali-T628 Mali-T628
Connectivity 802.11ac WiFi 802.11ac WiFi 802.11ac WiFi 802.11ac WiFi 802.11ac WiFi
Memory 2GB 2GB 3GB 3GB 3GB
Storage 16GB 16GB 16GB/32GB 32GB 32GB/64GB
Battery 25.4Wh (~10 hours) 31.2Wh (~10 hours) 31.2Wh (~9 hours) 36.1Wh (~13 hours) 36.1Wh (~13 hours)
Online Price $399 $499 $549/$599 $649 $749/$849

Many of the core elements in the new line of Galaxy Pro offerings are similar –the displays for example are all WQXGA, and frankly that’s probably the biggest selling point right there. Coming from the world of laptop reviews, it’s awesome – and a little disheartening – to see such great displays on tablets. I’ve been asking for good laptop displays for years, and while we are starting to see a shift in the marketplace, most budget laptops still have lousy displays. Not all tablets come with awesome displays, but just about every tablet out there right now at least uses an IPS panel, and more and more we’re seeing high resolution displays as an added bonus. Worth note is that the 10.1 and 12.2 models are available in either black or white versions, but the 8.4 only comes in white (for now?); I actually prefer the white version, though, so that’s not a problem.

Obviously the size and weight of the three core models differs, and the Note versions with their S Pen weigh a bit more, but somewhat surprisingly the SoCs aren’t all the same. The odd man out here is the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, which uses a Snapdragon 800 processor whereas the other four all use the Exynos 5 Octa 5420. (Reportedly the LTE versions of the Pro 10.1 models appear to also use the Snapdragon 800.) What’s ironic about this bifurcation is that in most of our benchmarks the Snapdragon 800 and up being faster than the Exynos 5420. It’s not a major difference in performance, but it is measurable. Battery life on the other hand appears to be better on the Exynos SoC, so it’s not a clear victory regardless. Basically, not all SoCs are created equal in every area.

Wrapping up our quick overview, the amount of RAM varies slightly; the 8.4 and 10.1 "Tab Pro" models come with 2GB, but the 10.1 Note and 12.2 models come with 3GB memory. Battery capacity also varies, with the larger devices having larger batteries – presumably to help power the larger displays, though in practice it often means the larger tablets also get better battery life. The cameras are the same 8MP rear/2MP front, with a flash on the rear camera as well. There are of course different storage capacities available, though they’re more limited than what you might see with, e.g. Apple, as some of the devices only have one eMMC size. The 8.4 and 10.1 Tab Pro models we received have 16GB, with the 10.1 Note 2014 having 16/32GB options; the 12.2 Tab Pro gets bumped to 32GB (only) while the 12.2 Note has 32/64GB options. At least all the models come with an SD card slot (up to 64GB SDXC supported), though that doesn’t necessarily help with (all) applications.

In terms of pricing, the 8.4 is the least expensive of the devices, with an MSRP of $399. The 10.1 costs $499 ($50 extra for the S Pen in the Note, and another $50 to go to 32GB eMMC storage) and the Tab Pro 12.2 costs $649 while the Note Pro 12.2 costs $749 ($849 with 64GB eMMC). LTE versions of the 10.1 and 12.2 devices will typically add another $100 or so (off contract), but there’s no LTE 8.4 option. While none of these are inexpensive tablets, I do have to say that after using the 8.4 and 10.1-inch models, I find myself gravitating towards the 8.4-inch form factor. It’s small enough to be easily transportable and you can hold it with one hand, but it’s significantly larger than any smartphone so it doesn’t overlap that use case. I also generally like using the 8.4 in portrait mode, though some of that is certain personal preference. The fact that it also happens to be a bit faster in many cases doesn’t hurt either, though it would be nice to have a 32GB option.

Let’s move on to a subjective overview of the two devices we received for testing.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Subjective Analysis
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  • Reflex - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Jarred - That is the same issue with anyone who has bought into any ecosystem. Its a valid concern but not one specific to the Kindle. More valid would be that their app selection is significantly smaller, and versions are often out of date (a problem shared by the WP ecosystem). But concerns about switching apply to everyone in every ecosystem equally and are not platform specific. I'd argue that its less of an issue for Android users going to Kindle (and vice versa) since most of the apps can at least be sideloaded or installed via third party marketplace.
  • zepi - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    $100 would be the price of the software. Not the worth of it. Some software can be free, yet insanely valuable. Some companies would easily pay hundred dollars per each linux-installation if they had no other choice, but get them free, because they are worth way more than $100 to their business.

    Value you get from software is unique to everyone of us and fluctuates over time and is not constant. Value of a flashlight app might be high when you are strolling on a dark beach and forgot your flashlight home (you would easily pay a dollar if no free versions existed), but during a bright summer day on a baseball court you wouldn't pay a penny for such app.

    Are there a lot of apps that are actually worth a lot to you and you couldn't get to an amazon device? What is the total cost of reacquiring them?

    In the end, we are not rational customers. We count things "we lose" in terms of actual dollars even if in practise none of it would matter at all just because we think it's ours. Psychological research suggest that people hate giving up more than getting new stuff.
  • ESC2000 - Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - link

    Go look at the new study showing that Apple apps crash 2+ times more than android apps even though apple's store is curated and Google's is a "free for all."
  • Mondozai - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Lighter, high quality displays, top specs and cheaper.

    The drawback of the Android store is an issue but on basically every other metric they are better.
    Also, Reflex, even if Amazon is not as cavalier about privacy as Google, people are right that you are a bit too trusting. Their TOS isnt necessairly 100% honest/transparent.
  • Reflex - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    While it is true that Amazon could be lying, as could any company's TOS and privacy policy, that would be legally actionable and on that basis you simply cannot trust anyone anywhere and should just unplug from the internet. Companies can and are sued for violating TOS/Privacy Policies, as LinkedIn recently found out and as Facebook is finding out in Europe.

    Yes, Amazon could be lying to us all. But that is no different than anyone else, and if you find out that they are, its time to retain an attorney and start a class action.
  • lakawak - Monday, March 24, 2014 - link

    Wow...I am not Google fan, but you are extremely ignorant if you think Amazon is leaving tens of millions of dollars a year on the table by not selling advertisers the habits of Kindle users. How do you think they make more of their money on Kindle? It is not a huge profit margin device. And all those free apps? Howe do you think those are paid for? The kindness of strangers?

    Amazon's MAIN business model this to sell things to you. That doesn't mean they don't have a second business model with the Kindle of selling YOU to advertisers. They do.
  • darwinosx - Saturday, March 22, 2014 - link

    More cheap derivative junk from Samsung that will be in the bargain bin in a month or so.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    And I suppose everything is derivative these days, except for apple? But it's more like expensive, nicely designed, and not likely to end up in the bargain bin until the next update comes out.
  • Nfarce - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Don't you mindless Appletards have anything better to do?
  • akdj - Monday, March 24, 2014 - link

    Ever tried to sell a year or two old Android device? iOS? There's a night and day difference and I use both platforms equally. I upgraded to the 5s and Note 3 last fall. Sold the Note 1 (a pair) for $135. The almost three year old iPhone 4s went for $345 locally on Craigslist. Something to be said for resale and has nothing to do with 'AppleTards' :rolleyes:

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