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Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review

Verdict

A big, powerful Android tablet that's packed with features, but isn't all that practical

Review Date: 21 Mar 2014

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £541 (£649 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £629
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

Tablet manufacturers have, to date, largely steered clear of screens larger than 10.1in. But with rumours of a larger iPad rife, the landscape could be about to change – and Samsung is staking a claim on this new sector with the Android 4.4-based Galaxy NotePRO 12.2.

Inevitably, the NotePRO's dominating feature is its superb 12.2in display. It boasts a super-sharp resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 and bags of contrast: we measured maximum brightness at 328cd/m2 and contrast at 1,171:1.

Unfortunately, a tablet this size will always feel significantly less portable than a regular 10.1in tablet, or an Apple iPad Air. Despite Samsung's efforts to keep the bulk down (the NotePRO 12.2 is a mere 8.7mm thick) it's more awkward to hold even than the hefty Nexus 10, especially one-handed – this is not a tablet you'll want to read while standing up on a train.

Indeed, its 744g weight means you'll be looking to prop it up on a surface or your lap at every opportunity. It's surprising that Samsung hasn't seen fit to build in a kickstand.

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2

Specifications and features

Aside from that oversight, there's little that this bear-sized tablet misses out on. Running the show is Samsung's top-of-the-line eight-core CPU, the Exynos Octa 5, effectively a pair of quad-core CPUs working in tandem.

The faster 1.9GHz cores are used for demanding apps and games, while the slower but more efficient 1.3GHz ones come into play for less-demanding jobs such as video playback.

They're backed up with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of base storage, expandable via a microSD slot. The NotePRO supports all the latest wireless communications standards, including 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4 and NFC, plus Wi-Fi Direct support and AllShare Cast for mirroring to Miracast-compatible TVs and monitors.

There is a 4G version (based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor instead of the Exynos), but it won't be available in the UK until 17 May. At the back there's an 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash, capturing photographs with plenty of detail and rich colour, with a second 2.2-megapixel camera at the front.

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2

As usual with the Note brand, the NotePRO 12.2 also comes with Samsung's S Pen pressure-sensitive stylus, which docks in a slot found in the top-right corner of the tablet. Pull it out and you can scribble notes, scrapbook parts of web pages and sketch out design ideas using the excellent SketchBook for Galaxy drawing app, which is free to download from the Samsung Hub store.

The NotePRO 12.2 runs on a base of Android 4.4, with Samsung's TouchWiz and "Advanced Magazine UX" optimisations on top. This adds tile-based homescreens to the Android desktop, which can be populated with news, app and social feeds.

It's no different to the interface on the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4, and you get all the same professional applications preloaded.

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