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Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 Review
Introduction


Samsung started 2014 with a bang. Back in early January, the Korean company announced its new Tab PRO range of Android tablets aimed at those in need of a no-compromise Android slate, for those who just wanted the very best Android could offer. Now, we're about to take the smallest of these tablets for a spin, the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4, and to say that we're excited about it would be a huge understatement. Why is that? Well, because the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 is shaping as quite the beast. Its mid-size form factor and lightweight design makes Samsung's 8.4-inch highly portable, yet its specs sheet can easily make a geek drool. And it can already be bought for as low as $400, which is a high, yet a presumably justified price tag for such a high-end product. So without further ado, let's get this review started!

Design

Familiar plastic build and faux-leather finish, but overall, the Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 is a well-made device.

Admittedly, we find nothing unique about the Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4, at least not when it comes to design. Quite the opposite – it strikes a very close visual resemblance to a number of recent Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Note 3 and the 2014-edition Galaxy Note 10.1. But you know what, we aren't complaining. After all, what's wrong with rehashing the looks of gadgets that are liked, as long as it isn't being overdone? Among the many design cues adopted by the Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 are the metal-like trim around the edge, the curvy corners, and, of course, the faux-leather finish on the otherwise plastic-made back plate with decorative stitching around the sides. The latter feature, in particular, is one we're quite fond of. It has a sophisticated look and feels nice to the touch, all the while providing plenty of friction, thus preventing accidental slip outs. All in all, even though it does not make any use of premium materials in its construction, the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 is still a solid, elegant, well-made device with a professional appearance.

If you're like us, then you'll probably find yourself using the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 primarily in portrait mode, holding the tablet from the bottom corner and operating it with your other hand. However, the slim side bezels don't leave much space for the user's thumb to rest, which could cause accidental taps near the edge of the touchscreen. Alternatively, folks with larger hands might try grasping the device entirely with a single hand, although we wouldn't recommend using the Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 like this for prolonged periods of time.

Below the screen of the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 we find a slightly raised and easy to find physical “Home” key. Next to it is a couple of capacitive buttons – one for the “Back” function and another one used for listing the recent apps. No dedicated “Menu” key is present, as that has been substituted with a button in the UI.

On the right side of the tablet are located its power and volume keys. We find them sufficiently large, well exposed, and with good tactile feedback. Something you won't find on may tablets is the Tab PRO 8.4's built-in infra-red blaster, which lets it act as an intelligent remote control.

Looking at the bottom of the slate we see a microUSB port and a pair of speakers. The placement of the latter is far from ideal for the stereo effect created is minimal, not to mention that the speakers' openings can be easily obstructed by accident when the tablet is held horizontally. The 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is positioned on the device's top and the slot for microSD cards is on its left side.


Display

One of the very best tablet displays we've come across. Its high resolution and beautiful colors are commendable.

If there's one thing that the display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 lacks, that would be drawbacks. Seriously, this is one of the most beautiful tablet screens we've had the pleasure to examine in the recent past, and the extremely high pixel density is among the best things about it. Spreading a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels along 8.4 inches of real estate gives us a figure of 359 ppi, which is the highest we've seen on a tablet to date. Mind you, this has not been achieved using some unorthodox sub-pixel arrangement – traditional RGB sub-pixels are in play. Overkill, you say? Well, we don't think so, and we believe you'd agree with us once you see this gorgeous screen in person. Simply put, anything from graphics and texts to high-res images and video displayed on the Tab PRO 8.4 look outstanding.

But that's not all there is to like about it. The tablet's screen is of the Super Clear LCD variety and produces very accurate colors across the entire spectrum. There are some minor deviations from the ideal color values, as indicated by our measurements, but in reality, these are slight enough to go totally unnoticed by most users.

We didn't have any troubles using the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 outdoors. That was mostly due to its above average brightness output of 410 nits, but the low reflectance of the screen's surface played its role as well. Furthermore, the minimum brightness of the display goes as low as 4 nits, which is great for using the device at night with the lights out, be it for checking your Twitter feed or reading a book.


Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPad mini 2 450
(Good)
8
(Good)
1:936
(Average)
6928
(Excellent)
2.22
8.11
(Poor)
2.32
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 410
(Good)
4
(Excellent)
1:860
(Average)
6914
(Excellent)
2.02
3.87
(Good)
4.77
(Average)
LG G Pad 8.3 345
(Average)
4
(Excellent)
1:1168
(Good)
6588
(Excellent)
2.26
5.61
(Average)
2.58
(Good)
View all

27 Comments
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posted on 20 Feb 2014, 04:37 7

1. Väliaikainen (unregistered)


I just somehow don't like Magazine UX. It's somehow disturbing to my eyes. They just tell me to look away from it lol... I really hope the S5 will have a more mature UI

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 19:00 1

16. Bioload25 (Posts: 213; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


Cant expect that from Samsung bro --'

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 20:25 1

17. Nexus4lifes (Posts: 85; Member since: 13 Feb 2014)


Ever heard of the term launcher?

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 22:49 1

18. Taters (Posts: 3606; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Aren't you just a hater?

posted on 21 Feb 2014, 03:50 1

20. Väliaikainen (unregistered)


If I was a hater I would hope Samsung to keep making ugly UI on their products

posted on 01 Apr 2014, 21:11

26. JohnZimmerman (Posts: 12; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)


To expand on Nexus4lifes response, you can quickly and easily remove the Magazine UX by installing a "launcher" (basically, an app that gives you a home screen, dock, and app drawer). Nova is a popular choice.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 04:41 1

2. X.E.R.O. (unregistered)


Looks like an enlarged Note 3. A stylus would probably give this an extra .5 in the final score.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 04:41 16

3. tech2 (Posts: 2482; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


If there's one thing that the display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 lacks, that would be drawbacks. - Nick T.

You sir, deserve a cookie !

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 05:08 1

4. _Bone_ (Posts: 2140; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Tablets just grown up. Thin and light like they should be, but laptop-like functions and multitasking. Although I do miss the pen here, and I'm among those who's say what the hell, go for the 12", waiting for that review.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 05:23 1

5. hboy857 (Posts: 245; Member since: 03 Jun 2013)


Best tablet Samsung ever created, congrats but it is disappointing to hear that their tablet still occasionally lags and stutters. Hopefully next time they will optimize their Magazine UX properly (or they could use more powerful intel bay trail processor) and bring us a new design for tablet.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 06:03 7

8. _Bone_ (Posts: 2140; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Movies always had a stroboscopic effect cause frames get lit, go dark and roll on, 24 times a second, and you can condition yourself to see the flickering 99.9% doesn't realize.

But may I ask what's the point?

Cause the geek world effectively conditioned itself to spot the lag I can confirm NONE of my non-geek relatives recognize or care about, cause they are busy using the phone and not hunting occasional stutters that happen on every OS and every device.

I bet you can spot something ugly on your girlfriend, but should you really focus on those things?

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 06:26 1

9. X.E.R.O. (unregistered)


The point is, that's what geeks do and I see no problem with that.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 07:04 2

10. _Bone_ (Posts: 2140; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Well they see a problem where there isn't really one, films have stroboscopic effect yes, gadgets have input lag & occasional stutter yes, but it's only there if you spend time nitpicking instead of using the product for... you know, productivity.

Stop ruining your own experience.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:30

21. geodude074 (Posts: 67; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


Considering you can purchase other $400 tablets (and even tablets at half that price) that exhibit little to no lag...

Yes, focusing on the negatives is pretty important, especially if you're paying a price premium for an inferior product.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 05:52 7

6. geordie8t1 (unregistered)


Phonearena Not sure why you are saying its expensive? Its guide.price is the same $400 as apples latest ipad mini retina. The differance here though is that this has micro sd port meaning extra 64gb card for only like $40. That extra space will cost you upwards of $600 for 64gb ipad. Bear in mind also that this tablet will no dount drop to around $350 after a month or so. In my view its one of the best tablets to date, better then the competition

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 06:02 3

7. Nabil2511 (Posts: 149; Member since: 27 Jan 2014)


loving the magazine UX..

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 07:04 1

11. amozhi (Posts: 110; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


Magazine UX exactly looks like Metro tiles. I hate metro and therefore magazine UX. It is a deal breaker. I don't buy this device. Better I would buy Chrome book for the same price

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 09:05 1

12. Sakeem (Posts: 304; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)


I had a chance to play around with a demo unit at Best Buy last night. I must say this is a well-built beast of a tablet. I think its the right size for me. Might be a birthday gift from me to me next month. Just waiting on the rumors of the Nexus 8 and refreshed Nexus 10 to see if anythng materializes with those.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 09:31 1

13. jove39 (Posts: 1334; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


"we still see lags and choppy transitions every once in a while, which is disappointing"

Samsung just can't make a smooth UI...with all the power from adreno 330...it still stutters!

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 10:44

14. grapeseed87 (Posts: 123; Member since: 13 Mar 2013)


Haha finally Samsung catching up to the tiles of WP8. :D

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 15:14

15. galanoth (Posts: 344; Member since: 26 Nov 2011)


Why are people saying this is a copy of WP8?
IIRC, Magazine UX is flipboard.

posted on 20 Feb 2014, 22:53

19. Taters (Posts: 3606; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Samsung used metal on the tab 7.7 but materials are overrated. It honestly made no difference at all in terms of quality feel compared to the plastic tabs. They are all well made unlike the stuff from HTC that has gaps everywhere and screens that easily allow dust in.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 18:45

24. networkdood (Posts: 6328; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


ohhh, but, it has to have the PREMIUM build, sooo, it needs such metals....jk...just making fun of iphone users and those who throw around the word PREMIUM....

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:34

22. geodude074 (Posts: 67; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is larger than the Tab Pro 8.4, has the same 2560x1600 resolution, has a Snapdragon 800, and only costs $379.

You can easily sideload Android apps onto the Kindle, and if you're brave enough you can install a custom ROM if you want access to the Google Play Store directly.

The Tab Pro 8.4 is several months late to the party in my opinion. It offers nothing new that I haven't seen before.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 18:44

23. networkdood (Posts: 6328; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Wow, this looks a lot like the phablet I ordered - the Coolpad 9976A - its dimensions are 185X104X7.6mm - 7.28346 X 4.09 X 0.30 in - 7.1 inch screen ...maybe P.A. does a VS review on the two?

posted on 04 Mar 2014, 01:43

25. DerryAhmad (Posts: 247; Member since: 05 May 2012)


Best Tablet on the market. Loving my Black Tab Pro 8.4

posted on 08 May 2014, 08:44

27. ron15 (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 May 2014)


Hey I really like this tablet but before buying I just want to ask if it will be able to do these things.

1. Use excel full functionality and snappy.?
2. Connect to a projector via VGA.
3. Use presenter view for powerpoint presentations.

Assuming this is "Pro" I think it has these features.. but maybe not... so anyone can you please help me?

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Display8.4 inches, 1600 x 2560 pixels (359 ppi) Super Clear LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Quad core, 2300 MHz, Krait 400 processor
2048 MB RAM
Size8.62 x 5.06 x 0.28 inches
(219 x 128.5 x 7.2 mm)
11.82 oz  (335 g)

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