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Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 14 Mar 2014

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £291 (£349 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £157
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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/m2 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.

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User comments

Late?

I appreciate this is picky but "Samsung took a while to get into the Android tablet market" is surely incorrect since the original Galaxy Tab was the first Android tablet ever released, back in 2010.

I'm also not entirely sure it's fair to compare this tablet with the iPad Mini since the latter has a smaller screen. The only direct competitor would seem to be the 8.9 inch Kindle Fire.

By KevPartner on 14 Mar 2014

Where is the 3G or LTE version?

I was wondering if PC Pro know why Samsung don't release 3G or LTE versions of their tablets in the UK? I have a Note 8 3G (I make calls on it) but had to order if from Germany. Why release phone capable tablets in Germany but not the UK?

By Anis_Khan on 20 Mar 2014

Comparison

The iPad mini 7.9" screen, 0.5" less than Samsung TabPRO 8.4. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX is 0.5" bigger.
I think you could argue for a comparison to either based on cost, features or quality. My guess is that Jonathan chose to compare against the market segment leader.

By scombellack on 21 Mar 2014

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