Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 Review
There comes a time in a person's life when they ask themselves how have they remained productive for so long without a 12" stylus-wielding tablet with extremely high resolution display. That's precisely the moment Samsung is betting on when it introduced the Galaxy NotePRO.
It's the largest member of its Note family, and Samsung argues that the 12.2” NotePRO offers PC-like productivity in today's mobile age, which blurs the lines between computing device segments. If we look at the specs of this Android tablet, they are certainly top-notch, but barely different than other high-end slates. NotePRO does add a larger display diagonal, compared to the typical 10” tablets, and even if compared to the Tab PRO 12.2, it is one S Pen stylus ahead, but is that enough? Can it really compare to a small and light convertible with desktop-grade Windows? Let's see what's on offer with the largest device in Samsung's Note portfolio...
In the box
- Wall chargerUSB cable with proprietary connector
- Four spare S Pen stylus tips with tip replacement tool
Much larger and heavier than your average tablet, the NotePRO closes in on Windows 8.1 convertibles
Samsung has used the artificial leather look with stitching accents that it pioneered with the Note 3 here. It arguably gives its electronic devices a more buttoned-down and sophisticated look than sheer plastic, and we have to say you can be fooled it is a leather notepad looking from afar. It is still plastic, but nicer to the touch than the usual glossy coat. Glossy, however, is offering more traction for your hands, as it just sticks to your fingers, whereas the back here is more slippery. There is a metallic-looking rim surrounding the sides of the NotePRO, further adding to the more premium looks.
The tablet manages to stay in the sub-8mm category, which is where all the catwalk stars of the tablet arena belong, too. The exact dimensions are 11.64 x 8.03 x 0.31 inches (295.6 x 204 x 7.95 mm), and we'd say this is as compact as a 12-incher can get, while still leaving some bezel on the side for resting your thumbs during handling. For comparison, one of the closest competitors - the Sony Vaio Tap 11 - sports an 11" screen, but its volume is pretty close, at 12" x 7.40" x 0.39".
The issue here is weight, though - at 26.56 oz (753 g), Samsung's largest tablet isn't feathery to carry around, or keep in your hand for a long time. Sony's Tap 11 weighs about the same, but it carries an Intel Haswell processor, powering full desktop-grade Windows 8.1. When you tack on keyboard folios, like the one Logitech introduced for the NotePRO, it starts to equate ultra thin and light laptops, which carry much more oomph than this huge tablet.
We get Samsung's excellent S Pen stylus with the NotePRO, which sits tucked neatly in a silo at the top right corner of the slate, ready to alternate your productivity urges with doodling sprees. It is very easy to take out or push back in, yet feels snug, and not wobbly in the silo. The S Pen itself is pretty ergonomic and easy to handle, with an action button that is comfortably situated, and with good tactile feedback.
One of the largest high-res displays on a tablet offers good outdoor visibility
Samsung is betting on a very high resolution display, which not many devices with this screen diagonal are able to offer yet. At 2560x1600, the 12.2" panel crams four million pixels on its surface. At 247ppi, this is the most pixel density you can currently get from a 12-incher, and that is more than enough so you won't notice any detail imperfections from a normal viewing distance.
We examined it with a macro lens, and it seems to be of the PenTile variety. The pixels are arranged in a diagonal “diamond” matrix, that is different from the standard “stripe” RGB one. You can only notice that looking very closely at solid colors, and if you know what to look for.
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.
The screen comes with several color presentation modes to choose from in the settings, such as Movie or Dynamic, which change the image characteristics, like color saturation. Colors look most natural in the Normal mode, while Dynamic flares them up quite a bit. The display's black levels are a tad too bright, appearing greyish and washed-out, which worsens with the change in viewing angles. Peak brightness is pretty high, and the panel's reflectivity coating is good, which makes the screen rather visible outdoor, even in direct sunlight.