Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SAMSUNG Galaxy TabPro 10.1

Why You'll Dig it:

There are three 10.1in tablets in Samsung's current range. At the bottom you have the $200 Tab 3, with its relatively low-resolution 1,280x800 screen and dual-core 1.6GHz processor. At the top is the $600 Galaxy Note, which has capacitive stylus for note-taking and drawing. Between the two is the TabPro 10.1, which shares the Note's 2,560x1600 screen and eight-core processor but does away with the stylus and cuts more than $150 from the price.

The TabPro looks almost identical to the Note with its faux-leather rear. This is a little cheesy and divides opinion, but it makes tablet easy to grip and is preferable to shiny plastic. Most Android tablets dispensed with physical buttons a while ago, preferring to devote a section of the display to back, home and running applications, but Samsung has kept dedicated controls on the bezel. This leaves you with more screen space, but means you can't easily use the tablet upside down. That's not much of a hardship, though.

This tablet's stand out feature is its screen, which has a massive 2,560x1,600 resolution. That's the highest pixel count of any current tablet, dwarfing even the iPad's 2,048x1,536. The iPad's screen may be classed as Retina, which means the human eye can't discern individual pixels, but text on the TabPro's screen still looked slightly smoother. There's little to choose between them for image quality too. The calibration tests revealed similar contrast ratios. The iPad's came in at 805:1 and the TabPro's at 812:1 impressively deep for LCD screens.

The TabPro's display is slightly brighter than the iPad Air's at 397.9cd/m² rather than 374.7cd/m², but the iPad has the edge for color accuracy, displaying 96.8 per cent of the sRGB color gamut to the TabPro's 93.3. Viewed side by side, there's little difference but the iPad's screen has slightly purer whites.


The Galaxy TabPro has a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor, which uses ARM's big.LITTLE architecture. It has four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 processors and switches to the lower-power cores for less-intensive tasks such as audio or video playback. The tablet managed 10 hours and 14 minutes in a continuous video playback test, which is one of the better scores we've seen from a 10in Android tablet, but lags behind the 12 hours and 24 minutes we saw from the iPad Air.

We weren't particularly impressed with the TabPro's performance, however. Its 1.9GHz processor should run Android smoothly, but we experienced lag. Animations were jerky when opening and closing applications, and there's slight delay between pressing a key on the screen keyboard and text appearing. There's also a delay between swiping your finger on a web page and the page moving. This compares poorly with the super-responsive iPad and also the Google Nexus 5, which feels far snappier despite its slower processor. We suspect that the combination of a high-res screen and Samsung's software customizations is affecting performance.


Samsung's custom software isn't entirely unwelcome. As well as being prettier than the stock Android 4.4. it has some useful productivity features. Our favorite is multitasking support. Swipe in from the right bezel and a pane appears with a selection of apps. You can drag an app to one side, and even adjust how much of the screen each takes up. It's useful for looking at documents or websites side by side, for example.

Samsung has also tweaked its My Magazine app to suit business users. As on the Samsung Galaxy S5, swiping left from the main homescreen brings up a tiled magazine view that pulls information feeds from various news stories in a choice of categories, but swipe left again and you'll now see a dedicated Business screen. This has panels for news stories, your calendar, your inbox and the integrated Hancom Viewer office document app.

The TabPro also comes with a remote access utility that lets you log into your PC. Once we'd logged into the service and installed the agent on our PC, we were able to view whatever was on our PC's screen and even do some basic editing. We could enter data into Excel spreadsheets but not Google Sheets, for example. More useful was the ability to access our PC's file system and copy files to the TabPro. From a productivity point of view, though, we preferred to use SugarSync to synchronize our documents between a PC and tablet's storage, and to edit them using the tablet's built-in apps.

On paper, the Galaxy TabPro 10.1 seems an excellent alternative to the expensive Galaxy Note. It has the same high-resolution display and processor, and if you don't need the Note's stylus, you'll appreciate the $170 discount. We love the high-quality screen too, but were disappointed with the tablet's performance. The operating system feels too laggy for a premium tablet, especially compared with the similarly pr iced and far more responsive iPad Air. We think the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is much better buy than the Samsung Galaxy Pro 10.1.


A lovely high-resolution screen and some useful productivity features, but the TabPro's performance is disappointing.


CPU: 1.9GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Octa
DISPLAY: 10.1in widescreen LCD(2,560x1,600)
DIMENSIONS: 171x243x7mm, 469g
DETAILS: www.samsung.com

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