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Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 deep-dive: Almost a laptop replacement

Matt Hamblen | March 10, 2014
Samsung's big Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet offers a desktop or laptop computer experience -- almost.

Samsung's big Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet offers a desktop or laptop computer experience — almost.

The new Note Pro has a crystal-clear 12.2-in. diagonal LCD display at 2560 x 1600 pixels, which provides 30% more screen real estate than on a 10-in. tablet. The viewing experience is complemented by a stunning sound system that makes playing videos truly immersive.

With a 9,500mAh battery, a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa Processor and 3GB of memory, I was able to get more than 13 hours of battery life with intensive use (including streaming much of the original 1990 BBC trilogy of House of Cards), impressive by any standard.

There are many other hardware plusses, including Samsung's customary micro SD slot that lets you add up to 64GB of internal storage. An 8-megapixel rear camera comes with a super quick shutter speed (rated at zero by Samsung) and full HD video at 60fps; there's also a 2-megapixel front camera.

My Wi-Fi-only review unit came in black with a faux leather back and a glass screen that, unfortunately, did little to reduce outdoor glare. A white version is also available, and Verizon Wireless now offers a 4G LTE version.

Samsung is pitching this tablet mainly as a productivity machine for writers, artists, executives and students who are mobile and need a way to create content as much as they consume it. So I decided to give it a try for 10 days — first, at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and afterward in my home office.

At 1.7 lb., the tablet felt heavy. It weighs more than the Microsoft Surface 2 (1.5 lb.) and the iPad Air (1 lb.) — and at 11.6 x 8 x 0.32 in., it's noticeably larger as well. Still, it is much lighter than the 4.5 lb. MacBook Pro that I regularly use for work.

The limits of a virtual keyboard

To make the Note Pro truly an effective mobile productivity device at MWC, I needed to carry along review units of the Samsung Bluetooth keyboard ($60), the S-Mouse ($40) and the Book Cover case ($70). Unfortunately, even with these add-ons, there were problems.

At a Glance

Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung

Price: $750 (32GB); $850 (64GB) for Wi-Fi-only. 32GB 4G LTE model available at Verizon Wireless for $750 w/ two-year wireless agreement or $850 w/o contract

Pros: Brilliant, large display; full virtual keyboard; superior voice and digital pen input; outstanding battery life; useful and innovative Magazine UX feature

Cons: Inconsistent touch reactions; flimsy Book Cover makes it hard to prop up the tablet; priced too high for a market filled with alternatives

 

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