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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  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    True, Apple devices sell for more on the 2nd market. But considering that they also cost usually 600€ or more (I remember a time when non-contract iPhones were 800€), you also pay a lot more up front. I've paid 500€ for a Galaxy S2 because I imported it from the UK and got it as one of the first in Europe. I ended up selling it for 180€ 18 months later. An iPhone would have cost me about the same (320€, taking the upfront price and subtracting the resell price). But that is a rubbish deal either way. I'm not going to spend more than 350€ for a phone these days. Resell value or not. And I also know a lot of people who have rubbish iPhones (mostly 4 and 4s) that keep rebooting randomly, have bad battery life, weird issues. They can't resell those for more than 50€. And they are all out of warranty of course. So really, you are making an anecdotal argument, that will only be true for some people and for a lot of others it won't.
  • ESC2000 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    See my post below - just checked what the iPad 4 and the nexus 7 2013 would command on amazon and in both cases it was 65% of the MSRP. It makes sense that apple products from three years ago command more than android products from three years ago bc all apple products were better then but they aren't anymore so expect to see the resale values gap closing. There is still some downward pressure on the resale value of Android (and Windows) products bc there are more models and more devices period.

    Also anyone who would pay $350 for an iPhone 4 is just stupid, I'm sorry. I get platform dedication blah blah blah but when you could have a new nexus 5 for the same price it's time to let go of brand allegiance.
  • ESC2000 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Btw I just went and checked amazon and either your price aren't representative or you're lying. Both devices on there are going for about $200 used (assuming the iPhone didn't have like 64 GB storage while the note had 16 or something). NEW iPhone 4s were going for $350. Nice try LOL. Here it is for everyone to see:
  • StrangerGuy - Saturday, March 22, 2014 - link

    The only performance benchmark that only matters these days is the eMMC speed. Who cares about how much bazillion FPS in 3D when everything else stutters everywhere.
  • UltraWide - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    So very true!
  • jasonelmore - Monday, March 24, 2014 - link

    and RAM. RAM dictates how long the device will be servicable and recieve updates. Apple's ipad line is gimped by their 1GB of RAM. They did it on purpose. 2 years from now, the device will start going slow because apple's 2014-2015 devices will all have 2GB or even 4GB of ram, which in turn, makes app developers use more of it. My ipad air's keyboard is stupidly slow to react to typing thanks to its horrible memory bandwidth on a almost 3 MP screen.
  • akdj - Monday, March 24, 2014 - link

    May wanna get it checked out. 7.1 made MASSIVE leaps forward with a 'brand new' rewrite of OS7. I've got three Airs and four iPad 4s. All are incredibly responsive, no crashing and fast as hell (we run an audio/video production company.
  • ESC2000 - Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - link

    Well then you are in the minority bc the three ipad air /retina ipad minis in my house regularly crash, a couple times a week, usually in safari. They also randomly reboot. I've teased my family about it bc my $230 nexus 7 (2013) is more reliable than their $400+ ipads. I've also sat them down next to each other and the screen and responsiveness of the nexus 7 matches the ipads despite being so much cheaper.

    I think the low amount of RAM in the ipads is contributing to the crashing. When I had an iPhone I was limited to eight tabs in safari which I assumed was bc it didn't have the internal memory to handle more. I've heard that the new ios update fixes the crashing and rebooting problem (which we know is real btw bc apple copped to it and claimed to be fixing it).

    And the person who was claiming that all apple products have better resale value - that was true in the apple's edge is eroding. Three years ago apple products were objectively ahead of Android products so, fast fwd a few years to last year or this year when you're reselling them, and you see that apple products command a higher amount of money. But if you're talking about products released a year ago, Apple was no longer decisively the best phone or tablet manufacturer, so the gap has started to close. I just compared the price a used nexus 7 2013 and a used ipad 4 were going for on amazon and they were both going for around 65% of their original price.
  • Vigneshj - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Will Samsung be releasing AMOLED display on tablet..? Watching movies/netflix can be a treat in AMOLED in large displays.
  • StrangerGuy - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    Screw AMOLED? I'm far more concerned about the Pentile 2 subpixels per pixel shenanigans invading the LCD space here, from Samsung no less. I'm surprised the reviewer didn't even touch upon this.

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