Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 review: By the dozen
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is to most Android tablets what the Galaxy Note was to phones when the term "phablet" was not even coined yet. One's first reaction is "it's huge" but then after using it for a while other devices just seem too small.
Samsung would love to have the business tablet - BlackBerry's PlayBook failed, the HP TouchPad failed, leaving the Apple iPad as the de facto business tablet. So far most Android slates were okay personal devices but turned no heads at the office.
The tide could be turning - the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is nearly the size of an ultrabook and it has the processing power of some of the earlier models. The change in screen size seems trivial on paper but it's a nearly 50% increase in surface area and almost enough to fit an A4 page at 100%.
The difference when working with documents is tangible, but the advantages of a larger screen extend to multitasking too. The latest incarnation of Multi-window allows for a fluid workflow similar to desktop experience.
Other than that, the Note Pro 12.2 is virtually identical to the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014). It has a fast chipset (but no faster than a flagship phone), a body that finds good balance between build quality, durability and weight, and a thing or two to make it stand out against the sea of Android tablets.
The first of those things is the S Pen which, depending on the user, can be the best thing ever or a mere plug for the compartment hole. But it was really the updated multitasking on the big screen that was the standout feature for us.
That said, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is a perfectly fine alternative to the Pro 12.2, especially if you want a bit more portability. It does lack a bit of that special feel though, it's a great 10.1" Android tablet, but that doesn't tickle our buying bone. The Note Pro 12.2 is simply the first of its kind and thus a lot more desirable, but it's also way more expensive which makes the choice even tougher.
The Asus Transformer Pad TF701T is the latest refinement of the hybrid device and offers far better value for money, but it's just the old formula with fresher ingredients. Having a hardware QWERTY and a bigger battery is great, but if you haven't bought a Transformer already, chances are you'll skip this generation too.
The Apple iPad Air is, by virtue of its predecessors, the tablet to beat. It's beautiful and light, it feels familiar to the millions who have iPhones and grants access to Apple's walled garden (full of apps, music and accessories you've bought).
Microsoft has the Surface 2 and Lumia 2520 to offer as an extension of its own ecosystem that is the backbone of businesses worldwide. The Surface in particular is enjoying growing interest by consumers. Windows 8.x is still a sliver of what 7 and XP are to the market though, ironically Android and iOS are the OSes that push hardware in the tablet field rather than the Windows name.
Going from 10.1" to 12.2" sounds like a small difference, some might dismiss it as negligible. We found that it's anything but - in the end, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 might prove too big for the majority and, but using it for a while puts other tablets in perspective.
And this brings us to the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's biggest problem. For all the good it does, its steep pricing means that few will actually give it a chance. Oh well, we guess reaching the masses was never the point of this device.
The best days of Wintel may be behind them, but tablets - Android, iOS or other - will never be the only solution if they never make it past the 10" mark. Comfort and productivity have to confront portability at some point and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 does just that.