Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 hands-on
Samsung's Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 is the smallest, most compact of all new TabPRO tablets that the company just introduced, but it's pretty likely to end up as the most popular option. The reason for that is the recent glut for tablets that offer petite proportions, but don't skimp on the specs. If anything, the 8.4-inch TabPRO fits that bill downright perfectly -- it's powerful and portable.
Design-wise, there's nothing that truly sets the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 from the rest of its TabPRO brethren, except its smaller, 8.4-inch display. This means that the same faux-leather, stitched rear panel is in place, and while it definitely adds a refined feel to the TabPRO 8.4, we can't help but wonder when we'll see a truly premium offering from Sammy, with top-notch materials and all.
In any case, the TabPRO 8.4 certainly feels easy on the eyes, and while it's probably unlikely to grab the attention of too many passers-by, it's definitely not bad-looking.
Whether you view the smaller, 8.4-inch display on the TabPRO 8.4 as an advantage, or the very opposite, boils down to personal preference, but there are some things to consider. For starters, while screen real estate has been sacrificed in order to get to a more compact exterior, this does actually provide a benefit: the 1600x2560 pixel resolution LCD display is seriously crisp at 360ppi. This alone does allow the TabPRO 8.4 to launch as a serious contender for the title of a tablet with possibly the most captivating display out there, putting most any rival to shame.
Those of you already up-to-date with Samsung's latest work already know of its all-new Magazine UX interface for its line of tablets. This is not to say that TouchWiz is gone -- you can still access the good old Sammsungy Android look, but you may find yourself willing to stick around. As the name suggests, the new UI feels and looks just like browsing a real-life paper one. We may be repeating ourselves here, yet we can't help but keep going back to the Flipboard association. Of course, this being a full-blown skin, it offers more than aggregation of content -- there's the option for running two apps at once (down from the four in the TabPRO 10.1 and 12.2), and also a number of productivity enhancements, such a Remote PC app that speaks for itself, an improved keyboard layout for more accurate typing, and so on and so forth. In a true Samsung fashion, functionality is definitely not to be found lacking.
Processor and memory
Unlike its bigger siblings, the TabPRO 8.4 only makes use of Qualcomm's time-tested 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset, for both the 3G and 4G LTE versions. What forced Samsung to abandon the services of its all-new octa-core Exynos 5420 remains unclear at this point, though the point is probably moot, seeing as Qualcomm's most powerful chip has proven... well, quite powerful.
In terms of memory, we've got 2GB of RAM on board, which is still pretty generous, and an option of 16GB or 32GB of on-board storage. As with most Samsung products, an option for microSD card expansion for up to an additional 64GB is available, and we're all happier for it.
The camera unit on the TabPRO 8.4, both the front and back, are no different than the ones found on the 10.1- and 12.2-inch models. We're talking an 8-megapixel AutoFocus unit with an LED flash, capable of 1080p video capture at 60fps, which is pretty good for today's tablet standards. Up at the front, we've got a 2-megapixel shooter, good for the occasional video call. In all, we'll have to wait and test those out before we can even begin comparing them to existing units on rival slates.
Whether you're Samsung or not, it makes no difference -- the tablet space, especially for those of the more compact kind, has proven brutally competitive. With slates, such as the Amazon Kindle HDX line, the Nexus 7 2013, the LG G Pad 8.3 and the new Apple iPad mini, it's definitely going to be interesting to see how the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 does. In any case, the new Sammy slate sure packs quite a punch, and it's unlikely that it'll fail out of the door, but can it really win market share for its creator? We'll have to wait and see, but it does seem like Samsung has got a winner on its hands.