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Review: 12-inch Galaxy Note Pro is too big for its own good

Galen Gruman | March 19, 2014
Samsung's mega tablet wants to be both a tablet and a laptop, but it's too awkward for either purpose

If there was ever a need to show that bigger isn't necessarily better, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12-inch Android tablet provides the evidence.

The Note Pro 12.2 is a classic example of Samsung's habit of letting engineers design products and its strategy of having a product for every possible niche, rather than designing great products that support the needs of a wide range of users.

The 12-inch Galaxy Note Pro is one of several sizes of the Note Pro tablet line, which are all the same except for the screen size. But the major issue with the Note Pro 12.2 is that it's simply too big. People love to complain that the 10-inch size popularized by the original iPad and the 7-inch size popularized by the original Samsung Galaxy Tab are too small to do "real" computing. Using a 12-inch Note Pro should help them dismiss that complaint.

The tablet designed for three hands
The 12-inch Note Pro weighs only a few more ounces than a classic 10-inch iPad: 26.5 ounces versus 23.5 ounces. (An iPad Air weighs 17 ounces.) But the much larger size means it's a much greater drag when held in one hand, a common practice with tablets that allows the use of gestures or the Note Pro's included stylus with the other hand. In fact, the drag of the 26.5-ounce Note Pro 12.2 felt heavier than the 30-ounce weight of my case- and cover-protected third-gen iPad, simply because of the greater pull of the Note Pro 12.2's larger chassis. Others who tested the tablet had the same reaction.

Your wrist will complain quickly after holding the 12-inch Note Pro -- you really need to rest it on a surface, whether your lap or a table.

When the Note Pro 12.2 is supported by your lap and held with one hand (so the screen is tilted to a functional angle), you'll find the degree of travel required to access the screen and the device's buttons is onerous. I compared using the 12-inch Note Pro 12.2 to the older 10-inch Note 10.1 model, and it's a night-and-day difference. With the Note 10.1, an average person can thumb easily to the Home or other standard Android buttons. Not so much with the Note Pro 12.2 -- one-handed typing and menu selection require more arm movement, rather than hand movement, in the Note Pro versus the Note 10.1. It's quite fatiguing.

If you hold the tablet with both hands, such as when standing, you'll find thumb-typing is workable on the Note 10.1, but difficult on the Note Pro 12.2. Again, the travel is too far -- and you can't let go of the tablet's side to move your hand (at least not for long).


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