Samsung (SSNLF) is the dominant force in the Android camp, accounting for 63% of all Android mobile devices sold in the world.
The company also makes everything from refrigerators to cameras and has a well-earned reputation for trying just about anything in search of a new niche to exploit. It was largely because of SSNLF and its habit of pushing the envelope that phablets have become so popular.
So it came as no big shock when Samsung announced its biggest tablet yet, a super-sized Android beast that dwarfs Apple’s (AAPL) full-sized iPad Air and flies in the face of the current tablet market where small, less expensive tablets — 8 inches and smaller — are outselling full-sized models.
In this Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review, I’ll have a close look at the $749.99 behemoth to see if it’s worth the hefty price of admission.
Has Samsung found a new market to exploit in prosumers who feel the current crop of full-sized tablets are too small? There have been rumors that Apple is working on a 12-inch iPad of its own, targeting the enterprise market, so this could be the start of a growing trend.
I’ve had a week to spend with the big new SSNLF flagship tablet, and our Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review has all the details.
Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 Review: Really, Really Big
There’s no getting past first impressions, and the first impression of the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 is that it’s big. Really, really big. Take a look at the photo. That’s not an iPad Mini sitting on top of my Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review unit, it’s an iPad Air — Apple’s largest tablet.
The funny thing is, even though this thing is huge, it doesn’t feel as clumsy as I expected. It helps that it’s relatively thin and light weight (for its size), but the fact that Samsung goes with a 16:10 aspect ratio instead of the 16:9 that Microsoft (MSFT) uses with its Surface 2 tablet (reviewed here) makes it seem less top-heavy when held in portrait mode.
That being said, two-handed grip is definitely required with something this large, and finding a comfortable position in which to use it is a little more challenging than with a typical tablet.
However, thanks to Samsung’s multi-window display capability (up to four apps can be run and displayed simultaneously in their own windows) and four million or so pixels, this may just be the best multi-tasking and multimedia tablet around. It would be great for presentations, too. That’s all made possible by the massive display of the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2.
Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 Review: Prosumer Focus
The big display is one aspect of SSNLF’s focus on a prosumer and enterprise level of customer with this tablet. But Samsung goes a lot further in pursuit of this demographic.
The Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review unit I was sent is packed with pre-installed, business-friendly apps including a full suite of office applications, WebEx and a free one-year subscription to the Bloomberg Businessweek app. It also includes Samsung’s KNOX security that lets IT departments lock down a separate user environment for business purposes.
Then there’s the S Pen, the stylus with its own menu (push the button for the Air Command menu) and the ability to write notes or draw diagrams by hand — a handy option in meetings.
While not a barn-burner, the tablet offers decent performance. I had no complaints in terms of zip and speediness in general, but once I started opening multiple windows, things did start to chug a bit. In its Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review, LaptopMag ran benchmark tests and found the tablet beats the industry average, but falls a bit below the iPad Air on Geekbench scores. And it’s well below the Intel (INTC) powered Surface Pro 2, a key enterprise competitor.
Finally, SSNLF tried to make the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 look more professional by opting for a faux leather back. It’s still plastic, but it does give the tablet a little more formality in its appearance.
Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 Review: Specifications
- 12.2-inch capacitive touchscreen LCD display at 2560 x 1600 pixels (247 PPI)
- Exynos 5 Octa Core CPU
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB or 64GB storage* with microSD card slot for expansion
- 8.0 MP rear camera (with flash), 2 MP front camera
- Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, USB 3.0
- Supports S Pen stylus (included)
- 9,500mAH Li-ion polymer battery
- Runs Android 4.4 (KitKat) with Samsung TouchWiz UI
- Plastic, faux leather back
- Weighs 1.65 lbs
- MSRP $749.99
*Note: Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review model was a 32GB version
Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 Review: Conclusion
Going into this review, I didn’t think I was going to like the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 much. It was nothing personal against Samsung, just that I’ve begun to appreciate smaller tablets. I switched to an iPad Mini with Retina Display, and the Google (GOOG) Nexus 7 is my current favorite among Android tablets.
But after using it, I can see the appeal of the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 and its big display. As I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to beat when it comes to multimedia, whether that’s games or watching movies. Having 12.2-inches of space and four million or so pixels means you can cram a lot more on that screen too — something that business users and multi-taskers will appreciate.
The Android tablet experience continues to improve too. This Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review was my first encounter with Android 4.4 (KitKat), and that certainly didn’t hurt the experience. Even the battery life was decent (in the range of nine hours), unexpected for a device with such a large display to light and drive.
If you’re looking for a big tablet, SSNLF currently has the mass market to itself with the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 — at least for now. There is strong competition for the prosumer market in the iPad Air (as well as some of Samsung’s other tablets) and the enterprise market in Microsoft’s Surface line. But the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 is certainly a contender in both areas.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.