Samsung Galaxy TabPro S hands-on: a Surface competitor?


So, who's excited about Samsung's new smart refrigerator? We know we are – that huge touchscreen in its front looks sweet, and it is awesome how those internal cameras let us peek at what's inside at any time. Oh, who are we kidding? We know we're all curious about the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, running Windows 10. Its announcement marks the company's push into territory it has barely charted – that of 2-in-1 tablet devices. And when looked at from a broader perspective, the TabPro S is clearly coming in response to Microsoft's Surface Pro line and Apple's iPad Pro tablet. Could it stand a chance against them, however, and is it a device worth being thrilled about?

Design


Ladies and gents, we're holding the lightest and thinnest 2-in-1 tablet device made so far. The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is 0.25 inches (6.3 mm) thick and weighs 1.53 pounds (693 grams), which makes it thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro. And that's quite a big deal, actually, as the TabPro S makes a solid statement about being highly portable. We wouldn't go as far as calling it lightweight, but for something of this size, we're perfectly satisfied with how the device feels when held.

There's a metal frame holding the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S together, populated by a variety of connectors and buttons. On the left and right sides we have openings for a pair of stereo speakers. One notable mention is the single USB Type-C connector. It is used for charging the tab's battery, but also for adding HDMI and standard USB connectors with the help of an adapter (to be sold separately). Oddly, the 3.5-millimeter audio connector is in the bottom right corner, which might make the tablet awkward to hold when a pair of earphones are plugged in. While the TabPro S packs plenty of on-board storage, having a microSD card reader built in would have been convenient. 

Keeping the weight low, the back of the Galaxy TabPro S is made of matte plastic. While the finish does provide sufficient grip, it is also good at accumulating finger traces. Sticking out slightly is a 5MP main camera without a flash. 

Keyboard dock and accessories


Being a 2-in-1 device, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S features a physical keyboard attachment with a trackpad. Magnetically attached to the tablet, it enables us to type quickly and conveniently, all while doubling as a stand with two possible viewing angles. And when it isn't in use, the keyboard serves the function as a cover, protecting both the front and back of the slate. To be clear, this won't be sold separately. The TabPro S will be bundled with its physical keyboard dock, unlike the case is with the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro. 

We got to give the keyboard attachment a quick test at the CES Show floor, and we can confirm that it works well. The keys are large and have sufficient travel, so achieving decent typing speeds is only a matter of getting used to the accessory. Plus, the trackpad is nice when you need precision when moving the cursor around. 


As we mentioned above, the Galaxy TabPro S lets you add HDMI output and USB Type-A connectivity with the help of a special adapter. Furthermore, Samsung will be offering a Bluetooth active stylus for drawing and note-taking. Both of these accessories will be optional.

Display


The front of the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is graced by a 12-inch Super AMOLED panel exhibiting all the characteristics typical for the technology – deep blacks, wide viewing angles, and rich, saturated colors. The exact resolution of the display is 2160 by 1440 pixels, which results in 216 ppi – less than what you'd get out of a Surface Pro 4 or an iPad Pro, but sufficient for a device of this class nonetheless. We must also highlight the 3:2 aspect ratio of the display. While these proportions aren't ideal for watching movies, they give you more convenience when browsing the web or using productivity applications. On a related note, the Surface Pro 4 also uses a 3:2 display, while the iPad Pro features a panel with a 4:3 aspect ratio. 


Processor and memory


Intel's new Core M processor, built on 14nm process, powers the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. Mind you, this isn't a chip built for serious performance or hardcore gaming. It has been developed to be highly efficient and battery-friendly, yet powerful enough to deliver a smooth Windows 10 experience. As a matter of fact, the chip has a TDP of only 4.5 watts and requires no fan to stay cool. For those who are curious, the exact chip in use is the Core M3-6Y30, with 4MB cache and a 0.9GHz clock frequency. Under heavy load, this figure gets boosted to 2.2GHz, as long as the chip isn't running too hot.

In terms of RAM, you get 4GB of the stuff. That's not bad, but it looks like there's no way of adding extra gigs of RAM – RAM that would come in handy when using heavier productivity applications. Storage options include 128 and 256 gigs in SSD form. 

Battery life


As we mentioned above, the hardware inside the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is built with efficiency in mind. That's why it comes as no surprise that the tablet promises great battery life – about 10.5 hours of use per charge, to be more specific. When depleted, the built-in 5,200mAh (39.5Wh, 7.6V) battery can be recharged fully in just 2.5 hours. 

Expectations


We know what the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S looks and feels like. We know what hardware powers it and we're familiar with Windows 10 running on the slate. We know that it will be bundled with a pretty handy physical keyboard attachment. What we don't yet know, however, is how much it is going to cost. And we're not expecting it to be cheap, especially if one wants the 256GB model and to have the optional 4G LTE radio installed. Still, if Samsung nails the right price, it might have a winner on its hands.

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S stands in the ground between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4. As it runs a full-blown, desktop-grade operating system, it can be seen as a device with more productivity potential when compared to Apple's top iPad. On the other hand, Samsung's offering lacks the processing power one may get out of the Surface Pro 4, but could end up being cheaper to buy. 

In any case, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is shaping up as a decent 2-in-1 tablet device – one that's light and slim enough to be easily carried around, but capable of getting serious work done at the same time. Expect seeing it on shelves near you in February.


Related phones

Galaxy TabPro S
  • Display 12.0" 2160 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Intel Core M, Dual-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 5200 mAh

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40 Comments

1. TyrionLannister unregistered

The 5200 mAh isn't necessarily the same 5200 mAh of a phone. It will have much larger voltage and hence the real capacity will be higher in Wh.

13. Nick_T

Posts: 184; Member since: May 27, 2011

Good catch, sir.

29. rihel_95

Posts: 305; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Isn't Galaxy Brand of Samsung were meant for Android?

2. SK_WS

Posts: 46; Member since: Apr 17, 2015

it is sad that you cannot hidden the taskbar because it will burnt onto the amoled screen ;(

3. TyrionLannister unregistered

The taaskbar isn't necessarily black on windows. It's partially transparent. Also you can change the colour. Also it's not constant over time as icons glow and change. I doubt that's an issue.

4. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Uhm, what stops you from "hidden" the taskbar? Simply right-click on it, select properties and enable "Auto-hide the taskbar"...

5. duartix

Posts: 311; Member since: Apr 01, 2014

5200 mAh for a 12'' tablet is too short. Chinese brands like Onda or Teclast start at 8K - 10K mAh on their 10''. Core M3-6Y30 @ 4.5W is also a miss. For that performance level they might as well have gone for Atom Z8700 @2W or for the same power level they should have gone M-5Y10C which delivers twice the performance. The worst of all this is that I suspect they are going to land at near Surface price levels. For 350$ you can buy a Teclast X2 Pro with

23. true1984

Posts: 866; Member since: May 23, 2012

i have the xperia z4 tablet and it lasts days on a single charge with the sd 810 with a 6000 mAh battery. i'm pretty sure this will be fine

31. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Youre comparing power consumption of an Intel X86 processor with a SnapDragon? Really? Lost all creditbilty.

6. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

Android tablets are dead... Last,ARM based tablet is dead... Rise of hybrids will attract developers to Windows. Thus, creating a halo effect for phones and x86 phones..... An age afraid, surface phone will replicate damage done to arm tablets to arm based phones

16. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

This was pretty funny: "Last ARM based tablet is dead." You do realize that the last reported fiscal quarter, even with a much lower ASP for the iPad, that Apple made more off the iPad than Microsoft did for the Surface...for all of 2015 AND 2014, right?

24. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

You do realize last year was the first time the iPad wasn't the top seller and lost its spot to the surface pro right?

27. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

*BZZT*, wrong answer. The iPad has been the top-selling tablet since it was released. For the last fiscal quarter, the Surface sold more than it ever has, and it still didn't touch $1 billion in sales. The iPad has never dropped anywhere near that level.

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You do realize that the iPad was made starting in 2010 and has an established customer base too vs the Surface which is only in its 4 model vs the iPad which is in its 6th model? Geez dude. WHo give a heck how many iPad. It's not dead, but is a dying breed. Get over it. Apple bashed the Surface Pro saying it doesn't know what it wants to be a tablet or a laptop when frankly its good at both. Then they come with their oversize behemoth unproductive piece of crap that has a keyboard...so what is it trying to be? Then they say, we will never make a hybrid. Once the Ipad keeps dying and hybrids increasing sales, then we will see an x86 iPad I am betting within 3 years running OSX and then you all will be all on the train sucking Tim Cooks tits. Please just go away. You are disturbing us with your ignorance.

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Everytime someone says something is dead, it has nothing to do with sales. Its about capability of one device vs another. The Ipad is dead because since 2010, its capabilities and feature set has remain unchanged. In all its years it still cant do what a Windows based tablet can do even the ones that came out in 2002. Please grow up an get past sales. Sales dont tell the whole story. Apple sells just shows how you can sell the same useless BS to people who lack common sense such as yourself.

38. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

"Dead" implies the business model has failed, not how customers feel about it. It doesn't matter how many generations when I said ONE quarter of iPad sales is greater than ALL quarters of Surface sales. People say the Surface is a success, and the iPad is dying, but the numbers paint a different picture. 10 million iPads isn't 25 million, but it's still a healthy business, and it is still larger than 4 Surface Pros, the Surface, and the Surface RT combined.

39. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I have seen more restaurant using iPad for order taking. People are using ARM in more creative ways. Google is adopting OpenJDK for Android which will give hardware solutions developer a tools to create Internet of things such as Smart door bell. Smart barcode scanner and many such device. It's open source so no licensing liability. I think Google made the right move to adapt their Android library to OpenJDK.

7. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

The rise of windows is loading... Microsoft is gradually taking it's space

8. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Feels like a Windows version of the 2015 MacBook with it's stupid lack of ports, especially storage expansion...I'd buy the Surface 3 over this pointlessly gimped new kid on the block...unless this is $300, or perhaps they have a special Lenovo-like attachment that adds multiple ports and still supports a keyboard.

11. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

its obviously not going to be $300. Gosh I get so tired of sarcastic poorly though out responses. Why do you need so many ports? If you need ports get a laptop. Ports use power even when nothing is connected to them. The less ports the less battery drain. Gesus Frikkin Christopher!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obviously this isnt for you. Move along and go fone something you want.

37. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"Why do you need so many ports" 'Cause I don't want to be buying buncha special dongles for simple tasks like sharing a file, connecting to a printer, expanding my file system storage, etc. Also, this IS a freaking Laptop too, like the Surface Pro, it's a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 if you consider the digitizer drawing board part as another aspects. Just pointlessly gimped like the 2015 MacBook, yet it apparently will cost similar price to the Surface Pro. Stop impotently trying to categorize them into 1 ancient category of technology. "Ports use power even when nothing is connected to them" Hahaha, now you're making nonsense excuses contouring to Samsung's overpriced joke...and you wonder why people call you a Samsung fanboy. The Surface Pro 4 has 3 times the number of ports yet that didn't stop it from getting 11 hours of run time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVHNmv_-7bQ Find a better excuse to bend over like a sheep for Samsung...

9. FluffyBled unregistered

Ditching android for tablets was a good move, this might be good if priced well!

10. Dr.SamX

Posts: 240; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

Productivityvise, is it better than my Pixel C? Yes! But My Pixel C has incredible battery life which is THE feature I expect from a tablet!

25. guest

Posts: 372; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

10.5 hours is bad?

12. catze86

Posts: 731; Member since: Dec 07, 2015

I hope Note 6 have dual boot OS and Edge option

14. ashrafalhujaili

Posts: 73; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

this is soo great the amoled display , the keyboard is not bought separately, the overall design is also nice combined with the lightweight and thickness of this I would say this tablet will crush all other competitors i hope the pricing is not more than 650 $

15. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

According to GSM Arena, the European starting price is €999.

18. ashrafalhujaili

Posts: 73; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

thats because of taxes taxes in Germany = 20% so the price for the tab without taxes is 800€ that's equal to 860 $ I would say it's a little bit expensive

22. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

also taking into consideration that it comes with the keyboard...and its a 12 inch AMOLED panel..the first ever

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