If there is a screen-size arms race going on, then Samsung dropped the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb at CES when it announced a 12-inch tablet. We recently got a chance to go hands-on with this imposing piece of Android hardware.
At this year’s CES, Samsung surprised everyone with the announcement of its new Galaxy Pro series of tablets, with the Galaxy NotePro 12.2 being the star of the show. This 12-inch slate is one of the biggest Android tablets currently available - only Toshiba’s older Excite 13 is bigger. With the addition of the Pro series tablets (which also come in 8.4- and 10.1-inches), Samsung now has a total of eleven tablets in its current line-up, which if you ask us is a little insane. However, when we met with Samsung last week, one of its executives said that he believes in the idea of ‘Device Democracy’ - he wants customers to have the freedom to be able to buy a device in any size they want. Of course, not everyone knows what size they need, so we do think that perhaps Samsung’s tablet selection is a little overwhelming for the average user.
The Galaxy Pro tablets are also the most business-focused Android tablets we’ve seen, not only from Samsung, but any Android OEM. Along with Samsung’s usual business features, such as its Enterprise grade security and BYOD management layer, Knox, the Pro tablets come with Samsung’s Remote PC access application, a 6-month WebEx free trial and a full copy of Hancom Office for working with Microsoft Office docs.
Since the Galaxy NotePro is a Note device, it comes with Samsung’s excellent S Pen stylus, that uses Wacom technology, for pen input. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat and has Samsung’s new Magazine UX, which is an update to the My Magazine app found on the Note 3. It’s like a cross between Flipboard and Windows 8’s Modern UI. The NotePro 12.2 has an updated version of Multi Window enabling you to run four apps simultaneously on this huge tablet - something only really feasible on a screen this big.
There are also optional keyboard docks - both from Samsung’s, and upcoming ones from Logitech and Zagg. The keyboard dock, along with a Bluetooth mouse, turns the NotePro 12.2 into a 12-inch Android notebook.
Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 Tech Specs
The specs below of the NotePro 12.2 are pretty impressive, but are actually not much different than last years Note 10.1 2014 edition, so its performance should be similar to its predecessor. There is also an LTE model that uses a Snapdragon 800 SoC, but we haven’t been able to test that one yet.
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5420
1.9 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 + 1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7
2560×1600, 12.2 in (31 cm), WQXGA TFT display, 247 ppi
32/ 64GB (eMMC) + microSD up to 64GB
Front: 2MP (FHD)
Rear: 8MP with LED Flash
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
295.6 x 203.9 x 7.95mm, 750g
MSRP $750 - $850
The Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is available now in the U.S. The 32GB model is $750, and the 64GB model is $850. The 32GB model is also coming to Canada later this month for $770. The NotePro 12.2 has already been available in the UK since early February, starting at £649.
The optional Samsung keyboard dock is $130, and the Bluetooth mouse is $40, so for the complete Android 64GB notebook experience, you’ll have to put down $1020, which is quite a chunk of change for the performance and functionality the NotePro 12.2 offers.
We think for most professional users that amount of money would be better spent on a more capable Windows based Ultrabook, but we’d like to give the NotePro 12.2 the benefit of the doubt, and test it out a little longer before we come to a final conclusion about it.
Still, our first impressions are that Samsung has created what could be considered the ultimate large Android tablet, and certainly it’s a very impressive piece of hardware. Now we are wondering if anyone will respond to Samsung’s figurative bomb, and make something even bigger. Let’s see what MWC brings next week.