[highlight color=#336699 ]Introduction[/highlight]
Here we’re seeing Samsung’s offensive into the 2-in-1 world, with the introduction of the Galaxy TabPro S. A tablet that runs Windows 10 like a dream and fits like a glove into your bag. Is the TabPro S all we need to be a functional productive adult?
In the past few months we’ve seen a surge of tablet/laptop hybrids, 2-in-1 devices, laplets (whatever you want to call them, let’s call them laplets to make this review easier). As if there wasn’t enough for you to throw your money at. However the aim is not to add another electronic in your life, 2-in-1 devices are here to try and replace your bulky laptop.
If you’ve been paying close attention to the tech world you’ll notice how laptops are slowly getting smaller, and tablets are getting more powerful. Based on the evidence, the 2-in-1 phenomenon was as inevitable as the Big Bang. Tablets and laptops are two forces with increasing density that were going to eventually collide, providing the catalyst needed to create the 2-in-1 laplet.
By this point I’m just talking nonsense and should probably get to the tech. We’ve seen some impressive laplets from Microsoft with the Surface Pro 4, the Huawei MateBook and the Apple iPad Pro. The TabPro S has proven that it can run Windows 10 and still compete with the aforementioned competition. It has one of the best screens we’ve ever seen but it does come with some shortcomings which is explained further in this super special awesome review.
OS Windows 10
Processor Intel Core M3-6Y30
Screen AMOLED 12–inches
Resolution 2,160 x 1,440
Memory 4GB RAM
Storage 128GB Solid State Drive
MicroSD compatible? No
Rear camera 5MP
Front camera 5MP
Connectivity 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi
Dimensions 198.8 x 290.3 x 6.3 mm
[highlight color=#336699 ]Design[/highlight]
Samsung hasn’t always had the best reputation for design but boy did they change since the ugly ducking days of the Galaxy S5. The design revolution started off with the Galaxy S6, graceing us with its presence and with it came a complete design overhaul with the rest of Samsung’s flagship devices.
In the tablet department we saw change with the Galaxy Tab S and Tab S2 being shining examples of stellar design. The TabPro S is further proof that Samsung now truly value design quality, it’s a truly stunning device that would garner second glances in coffee shops while you’re working on your “novel.” The Tab S2 influence is evident here with similar antenna bands, protruding camera hump and overall design language.
The magnesium metal frame all around the edges of the device are aided with chamfered edges, to provide a comfy experience for your hands. It’s a shame the magnesium body doesn’t extend all over the device like the Tab S2, instead you’ll find plastic making up most of the body. We can understand why, it makes the TabPro S lighter and easier to lug about. It weighs in at only 691g making it lighter than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (713g) and the Surface Pro 4 (769g).
The svelteness of the TabPro S needs to be brought up, I can’t get over how slim the frame is, measuring at only 6.3mm. Attaching the keyboard case adds to the thickness but it’s not really noticeable when you throw it in your bag at the end of the working day.
One massive bonus you get from the TabPro S that you don’t get from the Surface Pro 4 or iPad Pro, is an inclusive keyboard case. This makes the TabPro S a true laptop replacement straight out of the box, with other laplets you’ll have to purchase the keyboard separately. The keyboard doubles as a case so you don’t have to worry about scratching anything when lugging it about.
As for the keyboard itself, it’s not bad but it’s also not great. That’s only at first when you’re getting used to the awkward key placements, particularly the arrow keys. The standard QWERTY keys are a comfortable 1.7mm each, so missing keys and spelling errors aren’t a common theme.
Stability is not a problem with the keyboard, it takes quite a nudge to actually topple over the TabPro S. Like most tablet covers, magnets are used to hold the tablet into place. My main beef with the keyboard case is the awkward viewing angles. When typing out an article I could only bend the screen to an awkward near up-right angle or 45 degrees off the table. Both proved to be really awkward for those that are used to bending their laptop screen to which ever angle they desire. Due to the angles using it on your lap is not recommended, plus it isn’t stable enough for lap action.
It isn’t a deal breaker, it’s just a small hurdle to get over, once I was in the zone I didn’t notice it as much but a stiff neck was definitely felt after.
Switching between the two viewing angles revealed how weak the magnet bonds are, quite often the case would flap off limply. Its quite disappointing but something to improve on next time.
Another point to improve is how the keyboard cover can’t be seamlessly flipped over to use as a tablet. The keyboard may be free but it’s not as great as the rivalling Surface Pro 4 keyboard case, which saw more attention to detail. I think it can be assumed that Samsung does not intend the TabPro S to be used as a tablet for the majority of the time, you can’t even use the touchscreen when it’s docked.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Camera[/highlight]
Taking pictures with your tablet is a big no-no. You’ll be that annoying guy at a gig, the pretentious fool in the coffee shop, it’s just not socially acceptable. Tablet manufacturers aren’t really trying to give us a reason to use it either. Why would you want to use a bulky 5-megapixel tablet when you (might) have a 12 megapixel smartphone, with a host of features in your pocket?
We still desire high quality cameras in our tablets for Skype calls, but the Tablet Pro S joins the tablet herd in falling behind with camera technology. Its still pretty decent for Skype calls, the front-facing camera is also 5-megapixels with enough clarity to distinguish your identity.
As for the front-facing shooter, as implied, don’t expect to take pictures worthy of a hundred likes on Instagram. Pictures tend to look dull if the lighting is poor, and aren’t much to shout about. The iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 are similar in comparison.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Screen and Speakers[/highlight]
The screen is my favourite part of the TabPro S. It’s always the case with Samsung devices, the staple Super AMOLED screen used on their high-end devices just scream quality. Its one of the best screen I’ve ever seen on a tablet, one that is excellent for watching Netflix or just plain old Internet browsing.
Not many laptops can boast about a screen that would be on par with the TabPro S, that’s because not many laptops have a 2K, 2,160 Ã 1,440 pixel screen. The colour saturation is top notch as you’d expect from an AMOLED screen. Blacks are deep due to pixel power management and colours pop with no hindrance to the battery life. Pretty as it is, it’s not comparable to the Surface Pro 4, which boasts a mind boggling 2736Ã1824 resolution.
Speakers are usually quite sub-par on tablets, producing tinny sound quality. It’s more or less the case on the TabPro S, playing music through your tablet is never the de facto choice, connecting it to a bluetooth speaker is highly recommended.
The two speakers places on the sides of the TabPro S are good enough for a Netflix binge. I just wish they were front-facing speakers, to make up for the lack of bass.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Performance[/highlight]
With a dual-core M series processor and 4GB of RAM, the TabPro S is surprisingly no slouch but for a price upwards of £800, you’d expect more memory considering the M series is Intel’s bottom rung processor range. The M series isn’t know for it’s graphical power, but more for energy efficiency which we will talk about later.
Being only dual-core you shouldn’t really treat the TabPro S like a gaming PC, this is coming from the guy who tried to run Civilisation V on it, just don’t do it, it doesn’t work. Less graphically intense card games are great, so Hearthstone in bed all you want.
Minecraft is available on almost every console known to man, mainly due to how graphically un-intense it is. Yet it crashes quite a bit on the TabPro S. It’s probably best sticking to the card games. Better yet you can stream games consoles and PCs through the TabPro S as a monitor, but you’ll have to buy the multiport adapter.
Which brings me to a problem I have with 2-in-1 laplets, the lack of ports. I get it we’re in an age where everything is in the cloud, but the tech world isn’t exactly there yet. Often I have to email myself documents because there is no way I could connect my USB with the TabPro S. The TabPro S only has a USB-C port, which connects the multiport to offer a USB connection. It’ll set you back a further £59.99.
As for productive day to day activities such as spreadsheets, articles and emails. The TabPro S handles them like a professional, but for those that require intense multi-tasking you might need something beefier like the entry level i3 Surface Pro 4. Opening too many tabs on your browser makes the TabPro S stutter and lag badly. Netflix while you work is a bad idea.
The Intel Core M3 processor is fan-less making the TabPro S a quiet device even when things got intense on-screen. Putting the TabPro S through Geekbench yielded unremarkable results with 2,183 in single-core and 4,295 in multi-core. Our iPad Pro scored higher at 5,456, while an i5 powered Surface Pro 4 smoked all with 6,622 in the multi-score category.
Although the TabPro S lags behind the iPad Pro in processing power, it has an advantage over the Apple tablet, by running Windows 10. With a free operating system that isn’t as constrictive as a mobile one, the TabPro S is able to run software such as Adobe Premier.
Making PhotoShop, InDesign, Premier all compatible with the TabPro S. Importing and editing 4K videos is do-able but choppy to the point where we would rather use the dedicated office editing rig. Of course not everyone has a dedicated editing rig, if you want a portable laplet to run Adobe software, the high-end i7 Surface Pro 4 (i5 even) is more recommended.
That being said, the TabPro is perfectly capable of running PhotoShop. We took pictures and colour corrected them on location with no problems, as long as you’re not asking more from the 4GB of RAM.
It’s quite a weird but liberating experience to run a full desktop operating system on a ‘tablet,’ small things like running desktop versions of websites just prove to be incredibly convenient. But for those that prefer apps, Windows 10 isn’t at the standard Android and iOS are at. Certain big names don’t appear in app form including BBC iPlayer and Instagram.
So we mentioned the impressive battery life earlier and it is due to the Intel M3 processor, which is designed to be less graphically intensive. excellent battery life is exactly what you need from a portable computer, there’s nothing worse than being at a conference with 20 minutes of battery life, with no plugs around. My internal screams are still reverberating in my skull to this day.
The TabPro S is the only Windows 10 tablet that I can honestly not worry about when it comes to battery. But it is still at a disadvantage against tablets with mobile operating systems. For example Android has Doze mode which saves an immense amount of power when you’re not using it.
Don’t expect the TabPro S to be awake the next morning if you forget to charge it. It’s one of the disadvantages of winning full Windows 10, you miss out on some mobile OS benefits that can be vital.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Conclusion[/highlight]
I love the TabPro S, I really do. It has proven to be convenient, powerful and useful during my times of need. It has that Samsung design language that you can stare at for hours, although that would be kinda creepy so maybe do something on the TabPro S itself. Jokes aside would I buy the TabPro S? Yes, if I didn’t need a device that can run intense software seamlessly. If you’re one to use it mainly for spreadsheets, documents and Internet browsing, go for it.
The viewing angles offered by the TabPro S isn’t great but manageable that also goes for the keyboard. As it is the TabPro S is an excellent device with some constrictions. Its one of the best Windows 10 tablets we’ve used so far, second only to the Surface Pro 4.
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