- Video review
- Connectors and Controls
- Galaxy TabPro S’s specs
Despite the bad start of Windows 8 in 2012, as well as the tablets based on it, today the market of Windows-tablets is growing slowly, but confidently. Microsoft has finally managed to find the market needs by offering quite good devices Surface Pro. It is not surprising that Samsung decided to return to Windows-based products. And what products! It is a tablet on Windows 10 with a keyboard included, which also got an excellent screen Super AMOLED.
The novelty named the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S was first shown in January at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. It should be mentioned, that the Korean company has chosen an unusual name for the new tablet. To be more precise, it looks unusual to include the tablet into the Galaxy lineup - from time immemorial there have been only Android-devices. As for Windows-products, they had been included into ATIV series, which was closed later. And now let’s take a look at the Galaxy TabPro S.
The tablet really stands out, first of all, for its AMOLED-display. In many specs, it coincides with the Surface Pro 4, but Samsung decided to use its energy-efficient Intel Core M processors, and all wired communications were intended for USB Type-C connector. The device turned out to be quite unusual, so to speak, with its own identity and some "trick." Let's take a closer look at it.
In 2015 and 2016 Samsung started releasing beautiful smartphones and something from that experience the company tried to transfer to the tablets. However, if you remember, Samsung had made stylish products on Windows even before, e.g. metallic laptops Series 9 - so graceful, curved, and other fancy features
What can we say about the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S? In fact, nothing - on the front side there is just a huge 12-inch screen with a wide frame and rounded edges. If you look at the device exclusively as a tablet, it looks really oversized, unusually large and bulky.
On the other hand, what is surprising about it? By creating the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, Samsung decided to chase two hairs: first of all, the above-mentioned Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and second - the Apple iPad Pro 12,9". Oh yeah, the latter is also a competitor, although not so obvious.
It should be noted, that the tablet from Samsung does not look worse than any of the opponents: it is serious, solid and of high quality. At first glance, it is clear that it is not cheap.
The back cover looks "vast and spacious" - only the camera lens brings some minimal diversity. The cover itself is black, covered with matte paint. The material is made of some durable alloy, the side edges are felt much more solid - they are pleasantly cool in hands, and have a metallic color. And you know what? The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is also available in the white color, and this one looks really amazing and unusual!
But it’s not only the color that creates an image. Do you know that the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is thinner than its above-mentioned competitors? It is only at 6.3mm thick, that makes it look really fine, taking into account the 12” diagonal. For comparison: the Surface Pro 4 is at 8.45 mm thick, and the iPad Pro 12,9" – at 6,9 mm. Let's compare their weight as well: 693 grams in Samsung against 766 grams in Microsoft (with a processor Core m3) and 723 grams in Apple (version Wi-Fi + LTE). Thus, somehow unexpectedly, Samsung decided to hit the market of professional tablets. Of course, there are still many aspects about the Galaxy TabPro S, but so far it has been looking pretty good: thin, relatively lightweight, perfectly assembled, with à metal body. Let's look at it in full detail.
Connectors and Controls
Usually, the number of connectors and buttons on a tablet is not higher than that of a smartphone. But the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is a Windows-based device, which are usually "stuffed" in full. Let’s take, for example, the Surface Pro 4 - it has a full-size connector USB 3.0, a slot for microSD memory cards, a 3.5 mm mini jack for headphones and a headset, and Mini DisplayPort. But the South Korean product looks much more modest in this regard – it’s not surprising, if we remember how thin it is.
Only the front camera and the LED about its work are placed above the screen
A slightly protruding lens of the rear camera produces the only interest on the back side. It would seem - such a whopper, and the lens is "sticking". But do not forget about the slim body. Besides, it doesn’t cause any problems.
The interface terminals for connection of the keyboard are placed at the bottom.
Above you can see much more: a power button, a volume control, a microphone and two small plastic inserts of the antenna. In this case, only Wi-Fi.
On the left, there is another button that seems a bit misleading - it is located very close to the power button, so it is not clear what should be pressed to turn on the tablet. Especially if we take into account the fact that if the tablet is completely turned off, it is necessary to hold the button for a few seconds. So you hold the wrong button, damn it and then start pressing the second one with much greater fierce.
Meanwhile, this button is made to ... surprise-surprise, to call the Start menu or the Start screen - a sort of the button "Home". Next to it there is a speaker.
All the connectors are at the bottom of the right side: a 3.5 mm mini jack for headphones or a headset, and the second connector is USB Type-C, to be more precise, USB 3.1, providing transmission speed up to 10 Gbit / s.
Cool? Not really. Just remember the Apple MacBook, the 12-inch one, with exactly the same set of ports. Do you remember its tricks? I remind you: the package includes only the charging cable while connecting to the rest of the periphery requires a separate adapter, bought for a lot of money separately. I do not know at how much will Samsung evaluate such an accessory, but it would be better to include it into the standard package, at least somehow compensating for the disadvantage of taking it on you all the time. We had the tablet in the pre-sales variant, so its packaging in the retail version cannot be judged.
The second speaker is placed to the right, and ... did you not notice that something is missing? Indeed, the memory card slot! In the "professional» Galaxy TabPro S there is no microSD support! By God, it seems like Samsung is going to compete with the MacBook, not the iPad Pro. If so, write about it in the comments – it would not be out of place.
We cannot rate the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S’s packaging to the full extent, as the tablet came to the test in a featureless white box. However, we could find inside of it something besides the device itself.
It is not difficult to guess that this is a charging and a USB-cable. It should be mentioned, that the charger is two or three times bigger than a usual one of a smartphone or a tablet, if you take a typical Android-tablet. We can understand it, for it is nearly a laptop, and even has a keyboard included. But the keyboard will be examined in the next section, so now I will pay attention to the USB-cable. On the one side it has a typical "plug", the so-called USB Type-A, and on the other hand - USB Type-C from USB 3.1. The cable looks solid and of high quality, and at the same time it is still a kind of rarity.
Windows 10-tablet with a keyboard
On the one hand, the keyboard seems to be included in the packaging, but on the other hand, it serves as a part of the cover. In general, Samsung promotes the Galaxy TabPro S as a device with the keyboard as a necessary part, so it is sold only with the keyboard included. In the future, possibly, they will represent a cheaper version without the keyboard, but nowadays this is not the case.
The keyboard has a «side effect» - it is used as the cover for the Galaxy TabPro S. It protects the device on the both sides.
The back of the cover is easy to recognize - here the camera is protruding, and at the same time two folds can be seen.
The folds need to set the tablet in the "laptop" position. This is performed very easily with just a single hand movement. Then the magnets find each other, and you can start working. In 2015, we tested the Prestigio Visconte 3 [http://xdrv.ru/articles/tablets/305/1], another tablet with a detachable keyboard. There the transformation was much more difficult - the author had a hard time while trying to attach it correctly. Here the situation is much better.
Another undeniable advantage of the keyboard - its tough support. It was absolutely impossible to use the above-mentioned Prestigio on your laps - the tablet just sank. However, there are no such problems with the Galaxy TabPro S. Of course, it has some instability, yet it is not a typical laptop, but still it is quite convenient to use it on the knees. That means, you can easily take it with you without any problems - thus, it could potentially replace a laptop.
Now let us pay our attention to the layout. We tested the tablet from "Americans" – with no Cyrillic keyboard. But it does not matter, now it is important to estimate its size and ease of use. And here everything is just fine. Still, it is a 12-inch device, which means that the keys can be made conveniently sized, with no reducing of the layout itself.
Your attention is attracted by two big keys [Shift], and a long key [Backspace], there is a good turnout unit. In general, everything like in a decent laptop.
Five contacts can be seen above the keyboard. They are joined to the tablet, and after that the keyboard starts working.
The touchpad is small, but there is nothing to be done - the space is really limited. Here it is purely nominal, but nevertheless is comfortable to use. We can recall again the horrible Prestigio tablet’s touch panel, and it is not even nearly as good as this one. The TabPro S has left and right mouse clicks, and the surface itself is smooth, with a good catch of a finger movement. In terms of ergonomics, the keyboard for the Galaxy TabPro S is made rather well. In addition to its primary function, it also serves as a cover for the tablet. The layout is comfortable and, generally, the device resembles a real laptop, while being in the laptop mode. It is a pity, of course, that there is no keyboard connectors or an additional battery, but this is the price for a small thickness and weight economy.
The display has long been the main feature of Samsung mobile devices. The company gives it a special attention, because it has the most advanced technologies in this field. De facto it has no worthy competitors here, and this can be clearly seen on the Galaxy TabPro S. At MWC 2016 in Barcelona Huawei announced the tablet MateBook, which was extremely like the Galaxy TabPro S. Not literally, but in the main function: it is a 12-inch tablet on Windows 10 with a keyboard attached. Do you know what their main difference is? Right, it is the display.
Actually, Huawei's device received an excellent display, but this is in any case an LCD matrix. As for Samsung, it is supplied with an OLED-screen in the modification of Super AMOLED, and it is the best in the market in many respects. I will not be surprised if soon the South Korean company returns completely to the market of laptops in their premium segment, where it will offer large AMOLED-displays. The 12-inch matrix in the Galaxy TabPro S is used for the first time too.
The tablet gets the following benefits from such a screen: small thickness, low power consumption, excellent color reproduction, wide viewing angles, good brightness, "natural" blacks. And it's all subjective, so to speak "by eye". The display is really excellent, and even unusual in something. Thus I'm not used to seeing a normal black on a Windows device - in LCD matrixes, we remember, it is slightly greyish due to the peculiarities of the technology.
The Galaxy TabPro S’s screen has high resolution, though it does not set records. We are talking about 2160x1440 pixels, the same figures as in the Surface Pro 4 and the Huawei MateBook. At 12 inches diagonal, it provides a good point density at 216 ppi. The aspect ratio turned out to be quite unusual: 3:2. It is like in the pictures with SLR cameras. This makes the screen not so "square" like in the iPad with the ratio 4:3, but not so elongated as in the most displays with the aspect ratio 16:9. Microsoft for some reason considered this option to be successful, and has begun using it since the days of the Surface Pro 3. Now this experience is repeated by Samsung and Huawei.
Meanwhile, the maximum brightness was measured at the level of 331.1 cd/m2, which is not so much. Although it depends on what to be compared to. For an average tablet at 7-8 diagonal this result is a slightly below average, but for a full-fledged notebook – is noticeably higher. Perhaps the main thing here is to determine is it sufficient for the typical use of the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S or not, and the answer is" yes". The flaw is fading in the sun, but nevertheless, it is strange to imagine a person who will carry a heavy 700-gram 12-inch tablet like a phone. But the brightness of black is zero, as it should be in the OLED-display, which gives it an amazing depth and the highest contrast.
Öâåòîâîé îõâàò ýêðàíà òîæå íå ïîäâåë – îí çàìåòíî ïðåâîñõîäèò ïðîñòðàíñòâî sRGB è ïðèáëèæàåòñÿ ê Adobe RGB, ïðÿìî êàê ó ïðîôåññèîíàëüíûõ ìîíèòîðîâ. Îäíàêî ÷òî äëÿ ÆÊ «âûñøèé ïèëîòàæ», äëÿ AMOLED ÿâëÿåòñÿ íîðìîé, â ÷åì íå ðàç äîâîäèëîñü óáåäèòüñÿ, òåñòèðóÿ ìíîãî÷èñëåííûå ñìàðòôîíû ñ ìàòðèöàìè Super AMOLED. Â îáùåì, ïî ÷àñòè öâåòîïåðåäà÷è óñòðîéñòâî Samsung íå îïëîøàëî òîæå.
The color screen coverage also did not disappoint - it is clearly superior to the space sRGB and is close to Adobe RGB, just like in professional monitors. However, what seems to be superb for LCD is just a norm for AMOLED, we made sure of it while testing multiple smartphones on the matrix Super AMOLED. In general, the color reproduction of the Samsung device has not failed as well.
The gamma curve looks good. It is significantly below the reference curve of 2.2, which means a slight darkening of the image, but the eye cannot catch it.
Another interesting characteristic of the screen is the evenness of illumination. You would have thought that in this respect AMOLED is better than a liquid crystal matrix, but it is not. As can be seen, the upper right corner is noticeably darker than the bottom left one. The jump in brightness is 40-50 cd / m2, which is generally not visible.
As for the evenness of color temperature, the situation is better. It is not perfect, but much more equal. The differential does not exceed 400K, which is very little in absolute terms, which makes it invisible for the eye as well.
Nothing interesting can be found in the screen settings. Although, in fact, what can one look for, if it is common Windows 10, where the system settings cannot be customized?
However, no one forbids operating the equipment through the personal software. Especially for this aim, the Galaxy Settings app with the AMOLED section was created. Inside we could find screen switch profiles: adaptive, movies, photos and basic. All exactly the same as in the Samsung smartphones. However, while changing these profiles, we did not notice any difference. Probably, the problem was caused by the unfinished beta version of the application - at the time of testing the tablet was not on sale yet.
Despite some flaws, the Galaxy TabPro S display is really excellent: clear, with good colors, deep blacks and wide viewing angles. It is very pleasant that the OLED technology is gradually coming to the big devices.
It seems that a huge tablet, which is five minutes away from a laptop, does not need two cameras. Actually, it is really hard to wear, to say nothing of shooting with it. But no, the Galaxy TabPro S offers two cameras of the same resolution at 5 megapixels (!), one front and the other one - rear.
The managing application turned out to be both simple and advanced, with a certain set of parameters. So you can adjust the white balance, ISO sensitivity, and to make a timer recording.
The choice of settings is rather poor, especially for the pictures. You can only select the aspect ratio, which influences the picture resolution. The maximum for both cameras is achieved at a ratio of 4: 3.
The quality of recording is pretty good. Of course, the large Windows-tablet cannot be compared with the Samsung smartphones, but nobody expects such a breakthrough. Nevertheless, the images are quite good, especially in a well-lit area. The white balance is correct, there is no glare or much noise.
For shooting video, there is a separate mode. The white balance adjustment is also available here, as well as the selection of resolution. I think that choosing anything below the maximum Full HD does not make sense.
The video looks good, at the image level. The picture has high definition, accurate colors, and generally, it looks quite natural.
The front camera, in spite of the fact that it has the same resolution of 5 megapixels, shoots worse and it one can see it immediately. The images are not clear, and there is much noise. Although for a facial sensor, the quality is similar to that of a decent smartphone.
In Windows-tablets the camera is not a strong point, and therefore, we can say that the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S made a pleasant surprise in this regard. For this category of devices it performs at a good level.
Galaxy TabPro S’s specs
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is not represented in a single variant. I'm talking about the specs, not just a color. Thus, I got a younger version labeled SM-W700. More advanced variants offer twice more capacious SSD, as well as the ability to work in the LTE-networks with the support of the standards up to LTE Cat.6.
As you can see, the mentioned versions of the tablet are not much better than that I had to deal with. In terms of speed, they are identical, though the 256GB SSD is still more pleasant, especially in Windows 10. At the same time the amount of RAM is fixed – the 8GB version is unavailable, although the Surface Pro 4 can be bought with even a 16 GB RAM (!).
The Galaxy TabPro S has got an Intel Core m3 Dual-Core 2.2Ghz 6th generation processor, which has two full 64-bit Skylake x86-cores working at 0.9 GHz, and accelerating up to 2.2 GHz. At the same time, there is support of the Hyper-Threading technology, so that the chip can execute up to four threads simultaneously. The processor is manufactured on 14 nm process technology, and has TDP of 4.5 watts.
Perhaps, it is necessary to explain all this "explosion of terms" in a simple language. Compared to the typical Android- and iOS-tablets, which use a variety of ARM-based processors and inexpensive Intel Atom, a full-fledged, though low-frequency Core m3 still works a lot better. Theoretically, it could exceed any chip like this, including Apple A9X, which can be found in the iPad Pro. I will say more – the Core M is installed in the 12-inch Apple MacBook laptops! The funniest thing here is that the Core m3 can also be used in the Surface Pro 4, but Microsoft is giving preference to more powerful modifications Core i5 and even Core i7. No wonder the Microsoft Surface is much thicker and heavier – it is designed for much stronger processors.
Now, Intel HD Graphics 515. Compared to the average laptop graphics card, it is certainly weak, but for a tablet, this is not a bad option. Its performance is somewhere on the level of the average mobile accelerator 2012, for example, AMD Radeon 7570M. Inside HD Graphics 515 has got 24 executive units, working at a frequency of 300 to 850 MHz, depending on the load. It supports graphics API OpenGL 4.4 and DirectX 12. There is also support of 4K-resolution with a vertical frequency up to 60 Hz. The interfaces have compatibility with the DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4.
As for RAM, everything is not so cool as it could be theoretically. It has 4 GB, and no other options there. Basically, that's enough for relatively simple operations, for which the plate is created, but, I should remember, the Surface Pro 4 can be purchased in versions 8 and 16 GB of RAM. In addition, the Core m3 processor can support up to 16 GB of RAM. By the way, it has two memory channels that turned out to be involved, which is nice. However, Samsung installed DDR3-800 modules, though the same processor pulls their frequency to 1866 MHz. Perhaps, this is made because of energy considerations, rather than for the sake penny savings.
SSD 128 GB is not so good as it may seem. Of course, it is a lot for Android-devices, but for full-fledged Windows 10 the situation is different, especially if you use the Galaxy TabPro S as a particularly compact variant of the laptop. Programs can quickly take the entire place available, and if movies are added... In general, 256 GB will be really much of use, trust me. Again, we remember the Surface Pro 4, which may provide up to 1 TB of free space, and there is support of memory cards!
Communication abilities look typical. There is support of Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard, which is the fastest one, along with Bluetooth 4.1. The surprise was the presence of the NFC-module - someone will find it useful. In addition, interfaces can be expanded by the USB port, if you connect it to the USB-hub, or through the purchase of the device version with 4G-module.
In general, the characteristics of the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S look much simpler, compared to the Surface Pro 4, although it exceeds low-cost Windows-tablets. It's more like a low-power laptop - obviously, it is positioned in this category.
To measure the performance of the tablet Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, I got one of its main competitors – the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Actually, you should not be a genius to guess who will win. But it is interesting to figure out how much is the gap between the devices.
You know, the difference is not very big. The Microsoft tablet had an Intel Core i5-6300U processor, which was supposed to be much faster, but there was not serious leading in the system-wide test PCMark 8.
While measuring "pure" processing power, the Galaxy TabPro S appeared to be unexpectedly much behind even the iPad Pro with its ARM-chip A9X. Apparently, it is caused by the low frequency of the Core m3-6Y30. Though it is able to accelerate to 2.2 GHz, but only temporarily, if there is an external power supply, and if it is not very hot. Overall, the nominal frequency of the processor is only 0.9 GHz.
The graphic component of the tablet Samsung is good, but still rather weak taking into account its de facto laptop processor Core i5. Though they have the same number of pipelines, but the operating frequency of the GPU is lower. On the other hand, the typical games that are available on Android, the Galaxy TabPro S will manage easily. But there is one detail - the tablet runs on ordinary Windows 10, where games require a much more powerful graphics card, and generally are not focused on the touch-sensitive controls. It should be understood that you can play only simple casual games on the Windows-based tablet, which run with no issue here.
But here is the back side of the less powerful processor - good autonomy. Of course, it is much behind the Android-plates, but still noticeably better than in the Surface Pro 4. At the same time, I recall that the Samsung device is thinner and lighter.
Subjectively, the performance of the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is sufficient. If you consider it as a special version of the ultra-compact laptop, which does not have to deal with serious computation, then you will not feel any discomfort while working with the tablet. And I should remember, there is a bonus of better autonomy, which compensates in some way a relatively low operating speed.
The main flaw of the Android-devices is not actual for the Samsung Galaxy TabPro. I mean the so-called fragmentation - the absence of the latest system updates. Here we have Windows 10 with all the consequences. And to be precise, Windows 10 Professional, although there is an option of "Ten simple", also known as Windows 10 Core. All the updates that will be released for it, will be set on the tablet without question.
We can follow from here that there is just nothing particular to describe. If you are interested in Windows 10, it is better to read our review there is everything you need.
We can only note here that the tablet mode is default, and that is quite logical. However, with an attached keyboard it almost does not make any sense.
Windows 10 can be customized –there is complete freedom of action here. But nobody does it - the standard interface is much better.
It is more or less convenient for sensor devices, although the classic apps are overfull with small controls.
Samsung only added to the tablet a couple of special programs that are supposed to improve the experience of using it.
The task of Galaxy Settings is clear from the title – these are some additional settings. In fact, there is an option of activating the maximum energy savings when the battery is low, and even the choice of display profiles - this is what I wrote above in the display section. All other units relate to the text: a license, a user manual, and the like.
Another kind of business application is Scrap Box. It is something like the touch-drawing tool, but rather a program for taking notes in the screenshots. It also may be useful.
Another kind of business application is Scrap Box. It is something like the touch-drawing tool, but rather a program for taking notes in the screenshots. It also may be useful.
As for the rest, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S will manage any application, whether it is a professional tool for the development or creation of content, or the heaviest 3D-game. Of course, not everything will work quickly and beautifully, but it will run – this is for sure.
I liked the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. Seriously, it is a tablet that you want to hold in hands and enjoy. It is more than enough as a replacement for a laptop or ultrabook, unless you are rendering there animated films lasting for two hours.
The tablet turned out to be quite productive and possessing decent specs. Of course, the need to fiddle with adapters for USB Type-C really upsets, but on the other hand, it is smaller than its competitors, and works longer on a single charge. Besides, it has an advantage of slim body and light weight for the 12-inch screen.
As for the display - this is clearly the most powerful component of the device. I have been waiting for a long time for a device with full Windows and OLED display - and here it is. The Super AMOLED Matrix is increasing in its size, and it is admirable. The screen on the Galaxy TabPro S looks great, it has an excellent color reproduction, wide viewing angles, and a deep black color. In general, if the function of display is essential to you, it makes sense to pay attention to the Korean tablet.
I can only remind about its metal body and attractive design. The device looks solid and expensive. The keyboard is also pretty good: thin, with large keys, protects the body of the tablet and, that is the most important, allows you to set the tablet on your laps. However, the inability to expand the memory with microSD cards is a bit disappointing. So how much does it cost?
Galaxy TabPro S’s Price
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S with 4G-module is available for $899.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The situation with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 looks more interesting. The variant of the tablet with similar to the Galaxy TabPro S’s configuration costs about $899. At the same time, it has a slot for microSD cards. However, the device is thicker, heavier, has lower battery life, and is sold without a keyboard. But there is an opportunity to purchase any configuration to your taste. Thus, the most advanced variant with Core i7, 16GB (!) Of RAM and 512GB SSD will cost $2099.
Apple iPad Pro 12,9
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 "is also to some extent a competitor of the Galaxy TabPro S. In its basic configuration, it costs $799. Cheap? Sure. But let us remember that this is a version with 32 GB of memory and without 4G-module. Do not forget about the Smart keyboard, which is available for $169, and at the same time about difficulties that arise everywhere in iOS. Whatever you try, but so far, there is nothing better for work than Windows.
Besides, there are such devices as the Lenovo Yoga 900 and HP Spectre X2, but the former is more of a notebook-transformer, and the latter – is already a bit out-of-date. By the way, you can pay attention to the Microsoft Surface 3, if you need a cheaper variant.
- excellent screen Super AMOLED;
- perfect quality of performance;
- metal body;
- small thickness;
- low weight for this type of device;
- good autonomy;
- support of USB Type-C connector;
- keyboard-cover included;
- handy keyboard layout;
- decent cameras;
- support of NFC.
- only one USB Type-C interface connector;
- no slot for microSD memory cards;
- inconvenient location of the power button with respect to the Start button on the tablet’s edges;
- lower productivity compared to the analogues.
One may comment about the Galaxy TabPro S in the section of comments below.