Samsung have never been a company to flinch to competition, and the big screen tablet market is no different here. The Tab Pro may not be the best tablet on the market, but it’s one of the best media consumption devices you’re going to find.
The Tab Pro comes in the same box design as one of our previous Samsung reviews which we have praised for its style, and there is no change here. The wooden finish gives the box a very professional, clean look that doesn’t deter from the professional nature of the device, nor the pragmatic implications of the word “Pro” in the title of the device itself. From the get-go, you can tell that this is a professional device, but this also makes it seem quite standard in design. An image on the front of the box demonstrates the factory setting operating system and the more stylish design of the device.
The tablet has the same ‘stitched’ finish that the recent line of Samsung products has used, presumably to offset the more unprofessional design of the plastic casing. Whilst there is a new emphasis on metal cases in recent years (The HTC One M8, for example), I still find that incredible things can be done with the cheaper casing, presented admirably here. The tablet itself weighs surprisingly little compared to its size, leading it to be quite ergonomically sound when sitting in your lap, leaning back on the sofa or propping it up on a desk. Although the default case does not allow for standing up, you can pick up new cases that will either attach onto the back, or work as a sleeve to allow for more comfortable viewing on a desk or flat surface. Luckily, due to the weight of the device, you shouldn’t find yourself in too much discomfort.
As for other design choices, the Tab Pro seems to opt for simplicity. Considering its implied workplace context, I think that the design works well in this circumstance. A heavy home button gives easy access to return and hop between apps at a frenzied pace, and the speed of the device assists with the overall feeling of easiness that permeates from every part of the tablet. You aren’t going to find yourself putting too much effort into making it ‘work’. The larger screen definitely helps with this, giving you plenty of space to work with. There are two front-facing cameras on the front of the tablet, presumably to assist with Skype business calls, and a camera with accompanying flash on the back. This is slightly questionable, as I am still hard-pressed to work out why you would want a camera on a device so big, other than to take pictures of yourself, or do video calls. Regardless, it’s a nice feature to have, even if it just seems obligatory. The ‘on’ button on the side of the tablet now runs along the top if holding it in landscape mode, the default mode you’ll be using the device with. This has, unfortunately, left a weird design quirk in the volume controls. Due to the landscape nature of the device, volume is now turned up using the right segment, and down using the left.
Many mobile games and applications still run portrait modes however, and the volume controls can end up going in the completely wrong direction if you forget this backwards design choice.
When you finally sink your teeth into the device, you’ll find a host of pre-installed applications that are angled once more towards a business style of usage, such as email, note takers and other quality of life assurances. The tablet screams “quality of life” at you, from the beautiful screen resolution that makes video and reading a delight, to the size and sound of the keyboard. We’re going to highlight the keyboard here specifically; the sound of each key press, the size of the keys and the overall colour scheme make this keyboard one of the most satisfying to type on I have seen in a long time. The screen is large enough that comfortable computer typing can be used when sitting in landscape mode, and it’s been a true delight to try out long sessions of typing. The vibrations after every key stroke add to the weight and importance of each word, something that is incredibly satisfying as a writer.
The experience is sweetened further by the size of the tablet. Although it has been previously mentioned, the size of the screen really does add an extra layer to the enjoyment to using the device. I’ve had a large amount of fun playing a variety of games from the thankfully flexible Play store. In particular, larger games, such as roleplaying games that suffer on the smaller devices due to a lack of space really flourish here. You get the freedom to see your screen and really indulge in some of the more creative, even traditional games that are available. Watching films is similarly a treat, with applications such as Youtube already installed, and Netflix available through the store. The only problem I could find was the average sound system. Considering that the tablet is for professional use, I’m not particularly surprised that the system isn’t incredible, but the movie viewing experience is partially dampened by the sound. Luckily, the resolution more than makes up for it.
The smoother running of the tablet can be credited to the more simplistic operating system. Running with around 30 complex games at the time of the review, the tablet runs smoothly, and beautifully so. The tablet is extremely fluid, and the quality of life assurances continue into the basic running of the device, with everything laid out perfectly to give you a pleasant running experience. Testing out both the latest FIFA (Apparently a comparison through many of our devices now) and some other games (Namely Order and Chaos Online, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Candy Crush and Enchanted Cave) all run with incredible efficiency, and the size of the tablet will cause you no problems if you’re sitting down. It will become more uncomfortable if standing or holding up the tablet for longer periods of time, but the games can be enjoyed more when in a seated position regardless.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro is a fantastic tablet that does exactly what it says on the box. It’s an excellent device with a visibly strong foothold in the tablet market. Whether needing a new media consumption device for the twilight hours of the morning, or a tablet for work, so you can take notes in those vital meetings, or even so you can play Cut the Rope in said meetings, the Tab Pro is a highly recommendable piece of tech; check it out at your local tech store today.