Back in March, Samsung, to my surprise, released a new set of tablets, their Note Pro, and Tab Pro series. These two tablets are unique in the Android realm because they are the first large Android tablets to hit the market. Up till now, all tablets have been chasing the 10″ form factor; essentially chasing the norm that Apple put in place with the iPad. Samsung breaks this trend by releasing a 12.2″ tablet! I was at first skeptical, having only a few months earlier picked up a Note 10.1 2014 edition. But when I saw it in person at Best Buy, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one!
Below is my video unboxing and comparison/review I made that pits the Note Pro against its sister tablet, the Note 10.1 2014.
Indeed, both tablets are almost exact clones, with one being just larger. But upon closer inspection, there are a few tweaks.
The first set of changes are physical. Samsung moved the usb connector on the Note Pro from the bottom of the device to the side, and upgraded the micro-USB to a full USB3 connector. The new connector placement makes it better to use in landscape mode in a case and the USB3 provides more power to recharge the gigantic battery within the device. The microphone placement has also moved to the top of the device. The last change is the capacitive button to the left of the home button. The button is no longer a stack, but an image of 2 windows on top of each other. The button now brings up the running applications panel; a feature that emphasizes its multitasking prowess. All these physical changes still keeps the tablet around 1.65lbs.
The next change is in the Operating System and Samsung’s Touchwiz interface. The Note Pro comes with Android 4.4.2, while the 10.1 2014 came with 4.3 (4.4.2 is also available for the 10.1). The updated operating system does show improvements in performance,, and the 10.1 felt more snappy once 4.4.2 was installed. Touchwiz, on the Note Pro is slightly different than what’s available for the 10.1, in particular, the further refinement of Samsung’s Magazine UX. The integration is tighter and is available as pages within the main interface, making it more seamless. The only problem is the Flipboard panels that show news stories seldom update, and you will see the same old news for a very long time… It could be useful, but it still feels like a half-assed implementation. The star of the new version of Android (KitKat) is the improved multitasking. I still don’t find it very intuitive to use, but the Note Pro’s large size makes having multiple apps running side by side great.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Note Pro, the size alone makes using it much nicer. The performance between the 10.1 2014 and the Note Pro is negligible, since they share the same hardware under the hood. Some will find the size a detractor, but having used so many 10″ tablets, it’s refreshing to have a larger tablet that’s easier on the eyes. I will be looking forward to seeing what Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 will be like. Stay tuned for my comparison and review when my Surface Pro 3 arrives!