Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2 specs review: 'proactive, progressive, productive'

Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2 specs review: 'proactive, progressive, productive'
The new TabPRO 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2 slates that were announced at CES 2014 left the impression that Samsung is just throwing screen sizes around to see what sticks. With the introduction of the TabPRO 12.2 it now has tablets covering all sizes, and the nearly identical specs of the whole bunch show that this has been precisely the point. Whether or not that will be a good marketing strategy for the "year of the tablet", remains to be seen, but in the meantime let's wrap what the new TabPRO line has to offer.


The faux leather back with stitching accents, pioneered with the Note 3, is here to stay with the new TabPROs, which gives them a more buttoned-down look than glossy plastic. All three slates manage to stay in the sub-8mm category, which is the waterline for calling them thin. In fact, the TabPRO 10.1 and 8.4 are the thinnest tablets our there, only beaten by the Sony Xperia Tablet Z

As far as weight goes, they are all below the average for the category, with the 10-incher a hair lighter than an iPad Air, for example, and the 8-incher lighter than an iPad mini 2. The TabPRO 8.4 is, naturally, meant to be used with one hand, so its physical key orientation is geared toward  this portrait mode, unlike the larger slates in the line.


Samsung is betting on an very high resolution display, however, which not many devices with those screen diagonals are able to offer yet. At 2560x1600, the panels cram four million pixels on their surface, which is especially crazy in the smallest 8.4" TabPRO, which holds the record for a pixel density on a tablet at 359ppi. Even with the largest 12" TabPRO's 247ppi, the pixel density is more than enough so that even the hardest screen purists won't notice any icon or text jaggies, not to mention detail imperfections. 

Samsung calls the new screens Super Clear LCD, which is a term used for its LCD screens since the dawn of the original Galaxy S, so don't get your hopes high it is a brand new screen technology, much different than the PLS-LCD panels on Samsung's high-res tablets of late.

Processor and memory

Depending on whether you want LTE connectivity with your Galaxy TabPROs or not, you will be getting your choice of the new "true octa-core" Exynos 5 Octa, which can have all eight cores firing up at once, pushing those four sections of the Multi-Window mode with ease. The LTE versions will come with the no less powerful quad-core Snapdragon 800, clocked at the respectable 2.3 GHz. The chipset alternatives won't leave you longing for more, no matter how you stress the new slates, as these are currently the fastest kids on the block. Snapdragon 805 would be an overkill, but we've no doubt that Samsung would issue tablets with true 4K displays, once that chipset becomes mainstream. 

Samsung went the extra mile, and equipped the TabPRO tablet with 3 GB of RAM, knowing full well that with this screen real estate and resolution, you might be using the split-screen modes more often than on a regular tablet, running a number of productivity and entertainment apps at once. It also stepped up on the storage, starting the 12-incher at 32 GB instead of the typical 16 GB today's larger Android slates wield. The TabPRO 10.1 and 8.4 get the usual 2 GB of RAM, though, and just 16 GB of internal memory from the box. Of course, as these are Samsung tablets, you also get a microSD card slot for storage expansion, which can come in handy with the two smaller slates of the PRO series.


We already mentioned that there will be an Exynos 5 Octa version, which will carry Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity up to 21 Mbps in the case of the TabPRO 12.2, and 42 Mbps for the smaller tablets. The Snapdragon one will be able to get on your carrier's fast 4G LTE network.

As for the other wireless radios, the tablets don't skip, sporting Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac in a dual-band MIMO (2.4 & 5 GHz) setup, Wi-Fi Direct, AllShareCast, BT4.0, and GPS with GLONASS support. In the case of the TabPRO 12.2, wired connectivity is taken care of with the microUSB port in the 3.0 standard, ensuring very fast transfer of files to and from the slate, whereas the 8.4" and 10.1" TabPRO stick with USB 2.0 connectivity. 


The 8 MP camera on the rear of the TabPRO family is of the auto focus variety, and comes accompanied by an LED Flash. Featuring Zero Shutter Lag, it takes advantage of the numerous shooting and scene modes the typical Samsung camera interface offers, such as Panorama, HDR, Sports, Night and so on. There is also a 2 MP wide-angle front camera for your video chat sessions.


With a 9500 mAh, Samsung's Galaxy TabPRO 12.2 is quoted to last 10 hours of video playback on a charge, which is above average for an Android slate, so you can rest assured it will last a whole day at the office or on the go when you are away from a charger. Given that the smaller, TabPRO 10,1 features an also-generous 8220 mAh battery pack, it would also last above average for the category, and the same goes for the 4800 mAh juicer of the smallest TabPRO 8.4.

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To cut a long story short, we like what we are seeing with the new TabPRO portfolio. The three tablets shatter most records that are important for such slates, being some of the thinnest, lightest and with the highest pixel densities in their respective screen diagonal categories. It's evident that Samsung did a great job with the TabPRO line design from these facts alone, despite the somewhat tired frontal look. How inventive can you be with the face of a tablet that is mostly screen anyway? 

In addition, they offer all the bells and whistles of a modern Android tablet in terms of hardware prowess, and even throw in the latest KitKat with a new coat of tablet-oriented interface, called Magazine UX, which is more than we hoped for. Thus it will be the pricing scheme that will make or break Samsung's new TabPRO line in the end, and we can't wait to see whether Samsung scores right with consumers in the "year of the tablet".

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