Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 Preview
Magazine UX is an almost ideal solution for tablets because of its good use of screen space. Multi Window lets us enjoy proper multitasking on a tablet.
Samsung deserves a thumbs up for launching the Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 with Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box – the latest version of the platform available as of this writing. But to no surprise, the UI of the operating system has been heavily modified on many levels. Layered on top we find a fresh new interface named Magazine UX, which basically builds upon the well-known TouchWiz by extending its already rich array of features.
The great thing about Magazine UX is that it is built from the ground up with tablets in mind. It takes full advantage of the available screen space by filling it with tiles of all kinds. Yes, we're calling them “tiles” since they remind us of the way Microsoft's Modern UI is laid out. These can behave as shortcuts to apps, as widgets, or as aggregated news feeds on topics of your choice, powered by Flipboard. And you can rearrange them to your liking, which is also nice. All in all, we're pleased with Samsung's new approach to UI design, as similar as it may look to the Modern UI found on Windows 8 tablets. It does a good job at giving quick access to up-to-date news and our frequently used software, all the while being simple enough for both novice and experienced users to get the hang of it.
Traditional home screens, where app shortcuts and third-party widgets can be placed, are still available, should you prefer using these instead of Magazine UX. But if that's the case, you might be a bit disappointed to learn that at least one Magazine screen has to remain enabled.
As we mentioned above, many features found in previous TouchWiz versions – Smart Stay, Blocking Mode, S Voice, and KNOX – haven't been omitted. Multi Window, which lets us use two active apps side by side, is also present, allowing us to enjoy a true multitasking experience instead of having to switch back and forth between opened apps.
While Magazine UX feels different as a whole, Samsung has chosen to not modify some of the core applications in its interface. The Contacts app, for example, has a very familiar look, with people listed on the left side of the screen and info for the highlighted contact listed on the right. We have a search bar at our disposal, and the options to sort contacts in groups, so all in all, there's nothing about the Contacts app that we find lacking.
We're delighted by the on-screen keyboard offered by the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1. It offers large, well-spaced keys, accurate word prediction and correcting, and quick access to items placed on our clipboard. Furthermore, we appreciate having three different keyboard layouts – classic, floating, and split.
Hancom Office is what comes on the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 for all your professional needs. Basically, it is an office solution compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. And it is a capable one indeed. Seriously, the software is very suitable for creating both basic and complex documents while on the go, especially with its intuitive, touch-screen optimized user interface. If you've ever used Microsoft's Office, than you should be feeling right at home with Hancom's alternative.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 is compatible with WebEx, which is professional-grade solution for video conferencing. In a nutshell, the software enables two or more people to attend an online meeting in order to collaborate on projects, exchange files, provide help or instructions through the built-in desktop sharing feature, and more. This is a feature that might come in handy if you're a business professional.
Remote PC is also on the list of software pre-loaded on the Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1. As the name implies, it is an app allowing one with a Samsung account to access and control their computer over the internet.
Processor and memory
You'll find a different SoC inside the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1, depending on whether you're holding the Wi-Fi-only or LTE-capable model of the device. The former is equipped with an octa-core Exynos 5 SoC, while the latter relies on the popular quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC. We know we're repeating ourselves here, but these chips are actually powerful enough to handle anything thrown at them. Yes, even when over 4 million display pixels need to be pushed around. And don't let the difference in number of cores get you confused. These two chips should be more or less equally potent in real life. 2GB of RAM are on board the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1, which is a reasonable amount even for a device built for heavy multitasking use. Of course, we can't draw any conclusions about the tablet's performance at this time since we're handling a non-final unit, but we're confident that the device won't be a slouch.
There are 16GB of storage built into the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1. When we take the non-removable system files into account, we end up with under 11GB available for our apps and media. For a tablet, that's an acceptable amount of storage space, but it isn't all that much when you think about it. If you're into storing media locally onto your device, we'd recommend getting a microSD card for the Tab PRO 10.1. Or just wait for the 32GB model to hit the shelves, that works too. It is worth noting that 50GB of free Dropbox storage for 2 years are included with the device.
Web browser and connectivity
No complaints here. We find the excellent Internet browser on the Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 with support for tabbed browsing and built-in Reader Mode, which comes in handy when reading large articles. In plain words, this mode increases font size and removes non-essential content from the page, leaving only the body of the article.
The base Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 10.1 tablet connects to the internet only over Wi-Fi, but a 3G/4G LTE model is also in the works. Naturally, you get GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac as well with this tablet. NFC and FM radio connectivity, however, aren't supported.