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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

What the Note Pro 12.2 has to like
Although it has some big usability flaws, there are good aspects to the Note Pro 12.2 shared by its smaller brethren. (Unlike many reviewers, I liked the original Note 10.1, and I still encourage Android tablet buyers to consider the current version of that model.)

One nice feature is the included S Pen stylus, which is a great adjunct if you use software optimized for it, especially for drawing and sketching. The Note's Air View contextual menu is also a handy use for the S Pen, for the few apps that take advantage of it. There's not much software designed for the S Pen, but it's useful even in regular apps as a more accurate way to select items. My only beef is that the pen's button is hard to feel and press, an issue in every generation of the S Pen.

The Email app has an option to display messages in three columns: one for folders, one for messages, and one for the selected email's content. (You can hide the folder column if desired.) That's a PC-style feature taken from Windows and OS X, but it's a good one and works quite nicely on the Note Pro 12.2's 12-inch screen. I absolutely love the new ability to create mail rules within the Email app -- I've been begging Apple for years to do that in iOS, which it continues to ignore.

You'll also find a keyboard with lots of markings on its keys, as well as extra keys. I found the extra markings distracting at first but got used to them. One value is that they show you what special character you can get if you long-tap a key; Apple has long had that capability in iOS, but you had to know what symbols each key could insert, as there was no way to display a map of them as in OS X or, now, in the Note Pro 12.2.

I also like the inclusion of Ctrl keys that let you use standard Windows shortcuts for Select All, Copy, Cut, and Paste. When you're doing heavy keyboard work, it's nice not to have to interrupt your typing to use a selection gesture or gesture-invoked menu. Likewise, I like the inclusion of cursor keys for the same reason -- plus, you can use them to Shift-select text!

The rest of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is pretty standard for Android tablets: There's a MicroSD slot for additional storage and OK-quality built-in speakers. The Note Pro runs the latest Android version, 4.4 KitKat, along with the standard Google apps, the standard Samsung apps, and the standard Samsung UI extensions.


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