Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 review

14 Mar 2014

Another brilliant Android tablet from Samsung; a little pricey, though, and the magazine interface needs work

Price when reviewed: 
349(£349 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
5

Samsung has been making a big effort to boost its Android tablet range in the recent times with a flood of products appearing on the market; by the looks of things, the Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 represents the pinnacle of its achievements so far. See also the 11 best tablets of 2014

First launched at CES earlier this year, the TabPRO's key attraction is its high-DPI, 8.4in 2,560 x 1,600 display, which beats Apple's iPad mini 2 with Retina Display on both total pixel count and pixel density, delivering a highly impressive 341ppi. For reference, the iPad mini 2's display is 7.9in across, with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 and a pixel density of 326ppi.

Quality is good, as you'd expect from a Samsung display. Aside from its ridiculous sharpness – text looks incredible on this screen – colours are intensely saturated, viewing angles are superb and the tablet remains readable in most conditions, including bright sunlight. To put that all in numbers, maximum brightness hits 368cd/m[sup]2[/sup] and the contrast ratio is 800:1; not the best we've seen, by any means, but only very slightly behind the iPad mini 2's figures.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Design and specification

In the past we've been critical of Samsung's physical design, but recently it has put some effort into improving matters. While the TabPRO still can't match the beauty of the iPad mini 2's all-metal chassis, its build quality and feel are absolutely superb.

It's finished all in white, with a textured, faux-leather rear panel, complete with "stitching" around the edge. The perimeter is enclosed in ridged, chrome-effect trim, and the home button, flanked by capacitive recent tasks and back buttons, also has a bevelled silver outline.

We're still not completely comfortable with the elongated 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen – it feels rather too tall to us in portrait mode – but the overall effect is one of a premium device, and its narrowness does have one key advantage: you can grasp it in one hand more comfortably and securely than the iPad mini 2.

Other advantages the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 holds over its iOS-based rival include a microSD slot that supports cards up to 64GB in capacity, an infrared transmitter that allows the tablet to be used as a universal remote control, Miracast support and 802.11ac wireless. Apple's compact tablet is stuck on 802.11n. What the TabPRO doesn't have, however, is a pressure-sensitive stylus like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Performance, battery life and cameras

As you might expect of a top-of-the-range compact tablet such as this, the core hardware is suitably high-end. The starring role is played by a quad-core, 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC – the same chip as is found in the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet – and the supporting cast is just as capable: an Adreno 330 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

Results in benchmarks are different to the iPad mini 2, but not markedly so. It's faster in the multicore Geekbench 3 test, with a score of 2,863 (compared with the iPad mini 2's 2,526), but slower in the single-core test. In the SunSpider JavaScript test, it gained a similar time of 394ms.

Detail

Price ex VAT £291
Price inc VAT £349
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 5
Performance 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 4

Physical

Dimensions 128 x 7.7 x 218mm (WDH)
Weight 331g

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 8.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 2,560
Display type Multitouch, capacitive
Panel technology Super clear LCD

Battery

Battery capacity 4,800mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 2.3GHz
Integrated memory 16.0GB
RAM capacity 2.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? yes
Built-in flash type Single LED
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11ac
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Upstream USB ports 0
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Android 4.4

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