Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2in review

Is it worth the $1000+ price?

Samsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2-inch)
  • Samsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2-inch)
  • Samsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2-inch)
  • Samsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2-inch)
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Improved software
  • Supreme stylus functionality
  • Incredible screen

Cons

  • Size isn't for everyone
  • Some people could find its 750g weight too much

Bottom Line

A select few will swear this is the best tablet on the market. They’ll hurriedly explain how it has more powerful hardware; how its software is more versatile; and how the added two inches has helped them ditch their 13-inch notebook. These people - whether they’re executives or creative types - will only be too happy to buy the NotePro 12.2. And probably anything else dressed in a Samsung badge thereafter.

Would you buy this?

Expansive screen

Twelve point two inches.

That’s the size of the NotePro’s screen. Even large 10.1in tablets are dwarfed by the expansive slate. The size has allowed Samsung to cram plenty of features into the NotePro 12.2, and at 753 grams, it shows. Impressively this heft is concealed in a body just 8mm thick.

Accounting for a great deal of the NotePro’s charm is its high 2560x1600 resolution screen. Not only is the 247 pixel-per-inch density higher than most 10.1in rivals, but the Samsung display astounds in colour, sharpness and brightness.

Writing on the NotePro feels like an organic extension of pen and paper.

Samsung’s Note range of products make use of a stylus known as the S-Pen. Armed with the S-Pen, the tablet feels more like a canvass and less like the confines of an electronic screen. Using it is actually a pleasure; the experience is only hampered when your arm comes into contact with the home, back or task keys. Otherwise writing on the tablet feels like an organic extension of pen and paper.

The S-Pen rests snug in the top right of the NotePro 12.2, its chrome tip — emblazoned with the Samsung logo — blends in with the NotePro’s border. Whisk it out and a menu known as ‘Air command’ populates options that enable screen writing, memo writing, the ability to perform a search and more.

There's plenty to do with the S-Pen
There's plenty to do with the S-Pen

The screen alone doesn’t account for the NotePro 12.2’s charm; it’s the coming together of the great screen with the exemplary S-Pen. The S-Pen mimics pencils, pens, textas, quills and more with an accuracy that is uncanny. These two elements bring the joy to digital note-taking.

A home for TouchWiz

The NotePro runs Android 4.4 KitKat
The NotePro runs Android 4.4 KitKat

Reviews of Galaxy smartphones have seen Samsung’s TouchWiz software slandered. We are not fans of TouchWiz and you can read why not here, here and here. But on this tablet, with the added screen space, even we have to concede it works very well.

Samsung has mastered split-screen apps on this 12.2in Galaxy.

The rendition of TouchWiz running on the NotePro feels as though it was designed from the ground up to work on a tablet. Every facet of it feels new, looks stylish and proves functional. We wished Samsung adopted the same philosophy with its smartphones.

Flipboard features prominently on the homescreen of the Galaxy NotePro. The digital magazine and news application will curate tailored content to dedicated homescreens that are as aesthetic as they are interactive. Five custom Flipboard panes can be customised in addition to the stock five TouchWiz panes.

Windows can easily be resized at a touch of the screen
Windows can easily be resized at a touch of the screen

Samsung Galaxy products are notorious for introducing the split screen functionality to smartphones. The NotePro 12.2 can split its resolution-rich screen in four. The ability to juggle four intensive applications simultaneously will probably bode well with a small number of readers; for the rest, it’s just as easy to allocate screen space for two or three applications effectively. In short, Samsung has mastered split-screen apps on this 12.2in Galaxy.

The same diligence is extended to the multimedia software used on the NotePro. The gallery, music player and video player are all well designed and are functional enough to leave you wanting for nothing. We’re particularly fond of Samsung’s WatchOn application, which makes use of the infrared receiver to control your home entertainment system.

Read more: Best fitness gadgets for walking, running and cycling

The music player is fantastic, as are the gallery and video players
The music player is fantastic, as are the gallery and video players

Fantastic hardware, Strong connectivity

TouchWiz is functional, but economical it is not. The taxing software works well on the NotePro because it has powerful hardware — specifically a generous 3GB of RAM. The NotePro also has a 2.3GHz quad-core CPU, 32GB of internal storage, is compatible with microSDXC memory cards up to 64GB, and comes in 4G and Wi-Fi variants.

A select few will swear this is the best tablet on the market.

Intensive screens demand a lot from batteries. The NotePro 12.2 relies on a 9500 milliamp-hour battery for power. It is large even by tablet standards. Charging such a big battery with a standard microUSB connection would take the better half of a day. Samsung combats this by using microUSB 3.0 to charge the NotePro. And unlike the Galaxy S5, which ships without the cable in spite of supporting it, a microUSB 3.0 cable is included in the box. Charging a flat NotePro 12.2 takes approximately five hours.

Connectivity is another strongpoint for the NotePro. The tablet supports the latest in dual band Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. Missing, however, is support for Near Field Communications (NFC). It’s an unusual omission considering Samsung is an advocate of the technology.

Read more: Sony Xperia Z2 review

Stunning stills, Epic videos

Tablets across the board tend to have poor cameras. (Even the reigning iPad Air lacks a flash.) Samsung’s Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is not one of these tablets. On the back rests an 8 megapixel shooter armed with a LED flash and capable of recording videos in Full HD resolution.

Photos are easily ahead of the tablet competition and are on par with what we see from mid-range smartphones. Little image noise can be found on full resolution images taken in ambient and fluorescent lighting. The camera will continue to perform well even when lighting is scarce. Weaker cameras are quick to rely on the flash, but we found the NotePro’s camera performed diligently in comparison.

Captured with the NotePro 12.2
Captured with the NotePro 12.2

Captured with the NotePro 12.2
Captured with the NotePro 12.2

Captured with the NotePro 12.2
Captured with the NotePro 12.2

Captured with the NotePro 12.2
Captured with the NotePro 12.2

Videos captured in Full HD resolution would easily playback well on televisions. Videos in low light situations are more prone to image noise than still photographs; however, the NotePro 12.2 continued to outperform rivalling tablets in this respect.

Read more: How to install Android 4.4 KitKat launcher on the Samsung Galaxy S5

The NotePro’s front camera proves ideal for video-conferencing by featuring a 2MP front facing camera that records Full HD videos. Even the front camera benefits from proprietary software designed to improve self-taken photographs.

Final thought

The Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2, with its large screen and thousand dollar price tag, has inched its way out of being a mainstream tablet. Most people will find it too big or too heavy to use everyday. Others won’t see the S-Pen lend material benefit to their day-to-day.

Then there’s a select few.

A select few will swear this is the best tablet on the market. They’ll hurriedly explain how it has more powerful hardware; how its software is more versatile; and how the added two inches has helped them ditch their 13-inch notebook. These people — whether they’re executives or creative types — will only be too happy to buy the NotePro 12.2. And probably anything else dressed in a Samsung badge thereafter.

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Read more on these topics: Android, samsung, TouchWiz, stylus, galaxy, Note, KitKat, 4.4, NotePro, 12.2, S-Pen
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