To say that Samsung flood the market with products wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration. This is the second set of tablets we will be reviewing from Samsung after the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids we reviewed a couple of months ago. But whilst the Galaxy Tab series is for the lower end of the market, this Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 review series is, as the name suggests, the top end of the market, with a price to match. So what do you get for your money?
Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 review:
Whilst Samsung have had tablets out for several years (the Samsung Galaxy Tab series), it’s never been oriented towards business users. Whilst it’s been reasonably capable with tepid specs and available to run any business app from the Google Play Store, it would never look at home on a board room table. Samsung have decided to change that with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO series. There are a range of tablets, with 12.2 inch, 10.1 inch and 8.4 inch tablets available. This is the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 Review.
Design & Display:
As mentioned, the TabPRO series has three sizes. The mid-sized 10.1 inch is a nice fit in the hand and shows off with a 10.1 inch WQXGA super clear LCD display capable of resolutions of 2560×1600. This screen looks beautiful when showing off 1080p video and with dual speakers on either side of the screen, you get good sound too, showing that not only is this a great tablet for business, but for pleasure too.
The two bigger sizes are designed to be used in a landscape orientation (the 8.4 inch tablet is used in portrait like it’s smaller siblings). That’s not to say you can’t use it in portrait, rather that the physical home button and soft back and menu button are on one of the longer sides, with the forward facing camera and sensors opposite above the screen.
The rear of the device is covered in a stitched leather backing, which seems an odd choice (albeit attractive), but clearly one to make it look attractive in the boardroom. The rear also holds the 8MP camera and flash in the mid central position so there is no danger of putting your fingers on the lens when taking a picture (in landscape, anyway).
Top of the device showing (from L to R): Power, volume rocker and IrLED port.
The power button and volume rocker are on the top edge in the left hand corner. The middle of the top edge is given to a IrLED port so that you can control the TV and other Infra red devices from the tablet (although you have to dig to find the Samsung WatchOn app, designed as the remote control app). The right hand edge of the device has the MicroSD card, capable of expanding the 16 or 32GB of internal storage by a maximum of 64GB. The lower edge is given to the MicroUSB, and finally, the left hand edge has one of the two speakers and the 3.5 mm audio jack.
When it comes to hardware, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 (SM-T520) is no slouch. It has a Exynos 5 Octa-core processor composed of a 1.9GHz Quad-Core processor and a 1.3GHz Quad-Core processor. It is then backed up by 2GB of RAM with a total of either 16GB or 32GB storage. The screen is powered by a Mali-T628 GPU. All this power is going to be power-hungry, or so you’d think. The Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 is powered by a Li-ion 8220mAh battery, so battery life shouldn’t be a problem.
As well as all this power, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 has all the connections you’d expect of a device of this magnitude with WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 2.0. It also has GPS and GLONASS, as well as a range of sensors you’d expect to find in a Samsung Product.
As ever, we submitted the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 to a batch of benchmarks from both AnTuTu and Quadrant SE.
AnTuTu Benchmark results:
With all this power we expected the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 to be top of the list, but much to our surprise, it was just pipped to the post by the HTC One M8, but only by a couple of points. The Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 scored 35148 points (where as the HTC One M8 scored 35224). That being said, it is the highest tablet on the list, maybe only just beaten by its kin, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 LTE/4G version, which has a Snapdragon 800 2.3 Quad-Core CPU (we’re guessing with a LTE antenna, there is no room for 8 cores).
When it comes to 3D graphics, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 is able to handle OpenGL ES 2.0 and 3.0 graphics. We ran the OpenGL ES 3.0 test from AnTuTu and it came out with a very respectable score of 2797.
Quadrant SE Benchmark Results:
As previously mentioned, Quadrant SE compares the results of your benchmark against some very old hardware, so of course, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 came out on top of the list scoring 17141 points.
The Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 comes preloaded with Android 4.4 KitKat, meaning it’s able to take advantage of all the great improvements of the Android OS. It also comes with Samsung’s TouchWiz Launcher which has been given some very nice tweaks to make the most of the extra screen space. Samsung have used the dual screen function seen as far back as the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and improved it, with the ability of the 12.2 inch device to be able to quarter the screen with four separate apps at once. Both the 10.1 inch and 8.4 inch only manage a dual pane view, which is still useful if writing notes from the web, or even having video call in one window and meeting notes in another. Another addition to TouchWiz is the Magazine Widget, a take on HTC’s Blinkfeed, which shows you news stories and social media updates as well as S-Planner details.
This is Samsung’s Magazine Widget, which is a rival to HTC’s Blinkfeed. All the tiles are configurable.
Samsung is well-known for packing their products with what could be classed as bloatware like the host of Samsung specific Apps like Hub, Books, Video, Music, Games and Knox. The Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1, however, has also been packed with business apps ready for the boardroom. The Apps included are e-Meeting, Remote PC, WebEx meetings and Hancom Office Viewer. All these apps would be a bit of a waste on a home tablet, but would, we imagine, be great for office users.
The Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 comes with an impressive camera for a tablet with an 8MP camera on the rear, capable of taking decent pictures and full 1080p video and a 2MP camera on the front for video conference calls, which this tablet was designed to do.
A picture taken inside at about 1900 with no flash and only the light from the window taken on Auto mode.
The Samsung Camera app hasn’t been adjusted for the tablet and has all the features you would find on Samsung phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Rain at the same time of day, taken on Auto mode.
As mentioned earlier, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 has a massive 8220mAh battery which will keep this device running for hours of hard work, even with an Octa-Core CPU. In our experience, the device charges in about 90 mins to 2 hours and lasts… well put it this way: we charge the device when we got it a week ago, and it still has 50% left after being on all the time with (admittedly) little use. By our reckoning, the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 would last about 2 days of average use, maybe less with heavy processing.
If you’re a business and are looking for a tablet with more power and more screen room than the Archos 79 Xenon we reviewed last month, then the Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 is for you. Yes, the price is more, but you do get a lot more power for your money as well as more screen real estate. If you’re a business exec, then the additional software installed on this tablet is invaluable. They are mostly free trials, but if you are a regular business user, they will be your most often used apps.
If you’re a home user, then this tablet could be overkill. The smaller Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 would be a better choice as it only has a 2.3GHz Quad-Core processor. If your heart is set on the 10.1 inch screen, however, then this is going to be a tablet you will be using for years to come, as the hardware under the hood will be future proof for years to come.