Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO first impressions

The latest entries into the Galaxy tablet lineup deserve the PRO moniker

When the Galaxy TabPRO and Galaxy NotePRO line of tablets was first introduced in Las Vegas last month, it was met with a subdued reception: Samsung, after all, seems to announce tablets in brand new sizes and spec configurations on an increasingly-regular basis, leading critics and consumers alike to dismiss yet another set of Galaxy tablets with an incremental bump in specs. But a closer look at the new PRO line revealed something exciting — this wasn’t just one of Samsung’s run-of-the-mill refreshes, but rather an exciting overhaul of both its Tab and Note lineups. With a fresh new UI, the best spec sheet in the business, and a few new sizes added for good measure, the PRO line just might include some of Samsung’s best tablets to date.

Our Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 and Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 arrived on Saturday, and we spent the snowy weekend curled up getting to know what it takes to be a PRO. We’ll be spending much more quality time with the tablets in the coming weeks, but ahead of our full in-depth review, here are a few of our initial takeaways.

It would appear as though Samsung is taking a step toward standardizing its tablet lines, shifting away from the confusing “Galaxy Tab” and “Galaxy Note” differentiators and using PRO as the new common denominator. The TabPROs and the NotePRO share many of same specs, including that stunning 2560x1600 LCD display found on each model. It’s Samsung’s crowning achievement to date with breathtaking clarity, color saturation, and viewing angles. At 8.4 inches on the Galaxy TabPRO, its pixel density offers mind-boggling detail; on the higher end at 12.2 inches on the NotePRO, you’ll notice some degradation only if you’re comparing the two sizes side by side. Simply put, this is one of the nicest displays on the market today, and Samsung has successfully set the bar for the upcoming wave of flagship smartphones and tablets hitting shelves this year.

Both the Exynos 5 and Snapdragon 800 produce lightening-fast speeds and stellar multitasking capabilities

Samsung has also standardized the look and feel of its PRO line, including the faux-leather finish it introduced in its Note 3. No longer a Note exclusive, the finish looks great on these tablets and adds a premium sense of quality and durability to the lineup, as does the tasteful faux-chrome outer skeleton. 

Much of what’s under the hood is the same across the board, too, though with some slight differences: all of the WiFi tablets use an Exynos 5 octa-core processor, except for the TabPRO 8.4 and the various LTE versions – these models use a Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3 GHz. The RAM and storage setup differs too: on the 12.2-inch NotePRO and TabPRO you’ll find 3 GB of RAM  with 32 or 64 GBs of onboard storage; on the TabPRO 8.4 and 10.1, you’ll find 2 GB of RAM with 16 or 32 GBs of storage.

Using the NotePRO 12.2 and the TabPRO 8.4 I was exposed to both internal setups, but was unable to really tell the difference between the two. Both the Exynos 5 and Snapdragon 800 produce lightening-fast speeds and stellar multitasking capabilities, and it’ll take a few more days of usage to really determine if there’s a clear winner here.

All in all, the PRO tablets are truly something to behold, and with roughly the same specs in each model, the decision really comes down to size

Even with such powerful guts, though, the PRO tablets still seem to be throttled by Samsung’s TouchWiz, which appears here in a slightly-evolved form atop Android 4.4 KitKat and with the tablet-centric Magazine Home in tow. It’s a nice refresh and packs some cool tricks up its sleeve, but it’s still relatively heavy and at times can slow the tablets down. You can check out our first impressions of Magazine Home here, and stay tuned for much more coverage of what’s new in this latest iteration of TouchWiz.

All in all, the PRO tablets are truly something to behold, and with roughly the same specs in each model, the decision really comes down to size. I truly enjoy the 8.4-inch footprint, which is just small enough to be portable yet large enough for comfortable multimedia consumption. Despite it’s place at the bottom of the PRO totem pole, it’s plenty powerful with a gorgeous design and a pixel density that will leave your head spinning.

At the other end of the spectrum, the NotePRO 12.2 offers its own set of strengths: at this size viewing movies and playing games has never been more immersive, and the S-Pen, along with Samsung’s Note-centric software, can really shine with so much room to work with. Sure, you’re sacrificing portability, but this is a device meant for your living room or office rather than your backpack.

I’ll be spending the next few weeks putting the PRO lineup through its paces for a full review; until then, you can let us know in the comments and in the forums what you’re most curious about.

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO first impressions


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO first impressions


Excellent! I bought the 8.4 on Thursday and have found it to be a terrific tablet. Screen, speakers, etc, it is really great. I love the 8" form factor. And the screen is MILES ahead of the G Pad 8.3

I currently have the iPad Air, its excellent however I was considering to sell it for the 8.4

How is the battery life? everything else about it looks great

Tough to totally get a good picture on battery life after a few days, but I find it no worse than the G Pad or Nexus 7, in fact, maybe a little better. I start the day with a workout video streaming using Plex and after an hour I still have above 90% battery, which is pretty good as far as streaming video playing goes.

That's good to hear about the screen. The G Pad screen is decent enough for my needs but it can definitely be improved upon (coming from my old Xoom the G Pad screen is beautiful though). Overall I'm happy with the G Pad but this 8.4 tabpro has me interested. I definitely love this size of tablet though and am happy to see more in the 8" size range.

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Ugh. Why didn't they put the stylus in the 8? I liked the Note 8 but it needs a higher res screen and was a little slow. I would snatch this up in a second if it had a stylus.

The 8.4 is from their Tab Range, so no stylus. You'll have to wait for the new 8.4 Note if you want the stylus

Now if only Samsung made a GPe edition of the 8.4 TabPRO with and without cellular and be done with TouchWiz.

Knox is just child's play.
You might want to consider their flash-triggered switch, though.

My device went through hell to send this message.

Not really a deal breaker for flashing. Rooted my Note3 with Knox just fine. It's really not a problem if you plan to install a custom ROM, since Knox is just part of the stock ROM itself.

while you're right in saying this, we all know that this is more of a band-aid over a bullet hole, if the experience someone truly wants is a GP Edition... it's great that we CAN do this, but some don't want the crashy headache, if it doesn't HAVE to happen! :)

Where is the 32gb Galaxy Tab 8.4? They're nowhere to be found on Amazon or Best Buy. They better not release tablets like these and then gimp them with only 16gb models :P

Problem is everything can't be moved to the micro SD. It's pretty easy to fill up 16 GB these days.

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I find 16gb with microSD plenty. Though I guess different people have different uses. For example, I don't play much games (which are usually the largest apps), and store all my photos/movies on the MicroSD card. I Wont be complaing on a 32gb version though.

16gb is usually plenty for me as well, but not if they're gonna fill up half of it with bloat, like they do some of their other devices.

"but this is a device meant for your living room or office rather than your backpack."

Well said. Additionally, meetings. Other than that I am driving. No need for true portability at that point, so ya, the 12.2 is working for me. Hancom? Awesome for a tablet.
Maybe sell the 10.1 2014 and pick up the tab8 pro for fun time/traveling, etc. That with the note a fanboi lol.

Samsung and the galaxy line is nothing but a huge disappointment. The Samsung Galaxy S was incredible for its time and I thought I found my permanent OEM. Since then Samsung has ruined their product and turned it into a soccer mom companion filled with crapware and a ui that hides android deep below. I'm sick of having to root my samsung devices and in the end the display is still so so! My nexus 7 looks brilliant next to my galaxy s3, whenever I start to forget how incredible my nexus display is I just put it next to my galaxy s3 and tab 2.0. Remember when Samsung was hands down noted as the BEST OEM when it came to displays? What happened? Super amoled is not so super... And the excitement I used to feel when a new Samsung flagship was released is no longer there... I just see a line of devices that could have been better, the galaxy S had the top notch everything and since then we haven't seen a single samsung device that won in all categories, samsung has changed their direction completely. You will not find the best display, you will find a ui that is cluttered and hides the brilliance of android, you will not feel the power of the hardware due to the heavy Samsungware. Samsung completely mangles android. Such a disappointment of what could have been if they stayed the course...


Yes, I own a few samsung devices, I don't display my opinion on things unless I have a direct experience with them... Did you read everything I wrote? I'm thinking no, as it clearly states that I OWN these devices


If you mean an s3 as the newest sammy device you own, then yes I read your rant. Entirely, for I wish I hadnt at this point! Go try a pro device then respond of your sammy hatred. Seems unfair to lump several devices since an s3, as the galaxy line being a huge disappointment. Enjoy your nexus.

Seems like you took offense to what I wrote. Sorry bro, but Samsung mangles the Android experience period. You can argue all you want, you obviously missed my point. And I revised a comment below stating that if you like the samsung experience no offense, if you expect an android experience you will be disappointed.


If you don't like Samsung then STFU and go away. I've been reading your posts and they are all anti-Samsung! I happen to love my Samsung devices and the "Samsung experience". And obviously many others like them as well since they are the best selling Android devices! So STFU!


Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Cool, I was having fun too. Actually smiling as I responded to you. Not offended, and I hope your not either. Honestly, I know first hand how tw chokes down some of their devices. So far the pro does not lag! Has to be 1 or 2 things. 4.4, or the slimmer ux.

For me, and what I do for a living, tw works the best for me. If you havent, at least check one out. The screen on the 8.4 is ridiculous. ......

I really wasn't trying to offend, and I will check out the display on the 8.4... I really was venting my aggravation as I was the biggest samsung fanboy at one point and I was so disappointed with the last two devices I owned. They look amazing and makes me consider purchasing yet another... But my biggest fear is dropping yet another large amount of money to be disappointed for a 3rd time...


No arguement on the price! They are not shy, fer sure. Best buy dude, return it within 15 days if you dont like it.....just sayin!

Glad your not offended and I appreciate your coolness in making a suggestion to which device I should check out for a good display. The same can't be said for crestor who wasn't smiling at all, I didn't mean to make creator cry because i wrote negative opinions about his favorite OEM... I'm sorry crestor, please don't cry! I like samsung ok...honestly!


Oh yeah, definitely. Thats why we are here. Maybe pick a less pro samsung thread to vent lol. You were like the "anti-richard yarrell" lmao

And I'm enjoying the nexus experience heavily. As a programmer I couldn't be happier! And samsung just released their apk to us android developers so we can give the "sammy" experiences that are good and leave the rest of the crap behind...



And Nexus is boring. As a programmer I couldnt be happier with everything packed into the Note 3

I'm not going to lie: if there was a GPE Note 3 that retained all of the S-Pen features, I'd bite in a heartbeat.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Yes, agreed. I have been waiting 2 years for something like a GPE Note. I just picked up the 12.2 recently to see whether it's any more bearable, but it still seems overbearing, to me. Give me the Nexus experience with the fantastic Samsung S-Pen technology, and forget the Samsung handcuffs. I'm *really* struggling with the 12.2. I want to like it, but the limitations are really annoying me. Giant icons, wasted screen real estate, inability to scale down some of the "big" ... I sometimes feel like I'm looking at 480x640 screen which is ridiculous with the resolution this thing is capable of. If there were a viable, accurate stylus option for the Nexus 7, I'm not sure I'd be reading this article.

Yes! me also. I don't think the Nexus experience is boring at all. I *would* be curious, however, to see a nice HTC Sense tablet on a device with fantastic resources. That's the only other flavor I like right now, personally.

Mostly agree with you, but what are some other options below 10"? I was going to pick up the new Nexus 7, but then saw that HUMONGOUS bezel on it, and said no thanks. (Google can take their landscape-only tablet and shove it.) This is the first tablet in the 7-8" since the Note 8 that I would really consider high-end. The G pad 8.3 maybe ...

Your an idiot. Therefore your opinion doesn't matter. Ciao.

posted with a galaxy note 3. h8ers gon' h8. live2win#swagface#switchedOn*_*

It's his opinion. If his doesn’t matter, then yours really doesn’t matter.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Totally disagree on the screens I find the one on the nexus and my note8 crap compared to the super amoled of my s3 and note2 in fact the reason I like the high end samsungs is the amazing screens anything else about them is nothing special compared to other brands

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Why did they take the earpiece out of the 8.4? I was actually looking forward to using it as a giant phone. the hilarity of it on the street was so tempting.

The Note 3 is already large enough here to freak me out; I can't imagine a tablet.

My device went through hell to send this message.

Let's just say I made a HUGE mistake in purchasing Samsung two more times after I had been disappointed dramatically... I kept believing in an OEM that blew me away at first and I wanted so bad for them to blow me away again... But I have to accept the truth...Samsung SUCKS now! And is disqualified as an android flagship device... Truth is... If you purchase a Samsung device, you will not get an Android experience, you will get a samsung experience. Edit: for me, Samsung sucks. If you like the samsung experience no offense. My main point is directed for those who are Android enthusiasts who are looking for an Android experience, and will be disappointed if expecting to have an Android experience with a Samsung product.


Yes, that's why I revised my comment in saying no offense to those who want the samsung experience. If you want the Android experience, stay away from samsung.


Michael, I would argue that anyone who is an "Android Enthusiast" already knows that Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, and most OEM's will not provide a vanilla android experience, save the Google Edition products.

The average consumer buying an Android device for the first time is likely to purchase a Samsung device just because they are the most well known. To that consumer they would not be considered an enthusiast, so the Samsung experience is what they are after since that's what they saw in a commercial.

People on this site and other tech sites are more familiar with the different skins and are more informed than the masses. So telling an android enthusiast not to buy a Samsung product, as if they would be surprised to see touchwiz, seems unnecessary.

Your an idiot. Samsung provides an enhanced android experience. There's nothing samsung has that's not a part of android.

posted with a galaxy note 3. h8ers gon' h8. live2win#swagface#switchedOn*_*


I'm hoping in your follow up review that you will emphasize the how & where Touchwiz slows down the device. I still find it truly amazing that top of the line specs at the beginning of 2014 can be hampered so much by OEM software.

I purchased the Note Pro 12.2 last Thursday, and I cannot say enough about how beautiful the screen is.

I was a bit surprised to see Touchwiz, which I have no problem with and actually like it. But with all the talk about the new Magazine UI I was under the impression Touchwiz was being replaced and I'd have to learn a new UI.

However, I for one, was glad to see it. A few of the icons and things have been refreshed, and all-in-all the experience the last few days has been really nice. Some say the price is high, but then again that's relative to each person's budget and need.

The price point was good for me, and I have no regret or buyer's remorse. I also own the Note 10.1 2014 edition, and now I have to decide where that device fits into my life.

Probably going to see a bunch of 10.1 2014's on facing the same dilemma. I would like to see how it runs on 4.4 first though.

I agree. I hope they update the 10.1 2014 to 4.4, but if not I was happy with it when I purchased with 4.3, and so I'm good.

My challenge is that I own 3 tablets now (Note Pro 12.2, Note 10.1 2014, and the Note 8.0). My wife has no interest in any tablet, so for now I plan to keep one at work, one at home, and use the Note 8.0 for when I'm out driving and the kids need something to tinker with.

What's the android experience?Please explain I thought by choosing android experience over like the apple experience was to be free to customize everything etc...

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O jeez... Looks like I opened up a can of warms... Samsung is great if that's what you like... I didn't mean to cause such an uproar... My fault.

The android experience... OEMs put their own UI/UX on top of Androids basic UI/UX the true android experience starts out with a blank slate for the user to customize from scratch... Nexus and Google play devices are the only true Android stock devices. If you haven't used these devices you haven't used stock android. Once using stock android, you will not want it any other way, as you realize that the drop down menu and several other changes are the OEMs design and not customizable unless rooting the device.


Michael, I think it's unfair to say that "once using stock android, you will not want it any other way..."

Many people find stock android not to their liking. The beauty of android is that there is something for everyone. Some people swear by Samsung's Touchwiz, others would be completely lost without HTC Sense, while some prefer the cool and slick features of LG or Sony. While yet others have no clue about the fact that Android is behind their beloved Kindle Fire.

Then there are those who don't like or want any of that extra stuff and like it plain and simple. There is no one answer for everyone. Most people don't like change. So that's why the OEM's spend millions of dollars on marketing their unique features and experiences because they know that once a consumer gets used to a certain way of doing things they are not likely to change.

You prefer stock android and that's great. But I would encourage you to not suggest that it's for everyone.

I agree with you're point. May I add that I like to start with stock android and then customize to my liking. I don't like to run an OEMS software on top of android and never see it in its purest form. That's me. I feel like what I'm writing is being picked apart a little too much. So I'm going to let this be my last post which I'm sure all of you will appreciate since I have done nothing but aggrivate and my intention was never to do so.


I agree with both sides of this. Ex., I enjoy HTC's Sense near absolutely, but prefer the Nexus experience for tablets. I understand some users love the Samsung experience, but it's never really appealed to me and I would much prefer the choice.

Other way of explaining... Basically if you purchase a Samsung device, you will never see kit Kat... The touchwiz UI will be running on top of kit Kat...


All of you guys are calling it by the wrong name! It's not TouchWiz, it's Nature UX, TouchWiz is the launcher.

My device went through hell to send this message.

You only need to know one thing with the android experience when it comes to Note series.
You lose all Note specific features that make Note unique and popular.

Would love to see a Note 8.4 (Pro or otherwise) this year. The stylus on that size would be great. Tried a Venue Pro 8 and the stylus (an overly- Active Stylus) was worse than a capacitive stylus.

My opinion on this subject doesn't matter... If you are confident in what you like then all the more power to you. Obviously as a programmer/developer/Android enthusiast my device of choice is the nexus line or Google play edition, that me... Some happen to love the Samsung experience and I apologize if I came off the wrong way and insulting those who like samsung. I myself was a huge samsung fanboy in the early days and just didn't like the direction the OEM took in recent years and that's what I really meant to say.


Hopefully we can all agree that Apple SUCKS!!!!! And I would rather have samsung devices for the rest of my life then be forced to use an apple product for one year


Jesus Christ, do you really think it was necessary to create so many separate comments telling us how much you dislike Samsung? This comments section has turned into a shit show with you as it's star, step back from the keyboard and go outside or something.

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:S we don't bash apple here, we remain objective.

P.s. Samsung has made many top quality android devices, all of which I or a mate has owned: galaxy S 1->4, galaxy note 1->3, nexus s, galaxy nexus, nexus 10, galaxy note 10.1, and now the note 10.1 2014 edition. And yes, nature UX does add mini lag spikes everywhere, but it's minor, all things considered.

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Last time I checked you can get the Samsung headphones on amazon for $2.50. I have put a pair in every car and a couple around the house in my common area spots. Good cheap headphones for general use

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The ones they supply are crap anyways. They always fall out of your ears.

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I will say after having a 7in wifi tab 2, and now the tab 3, I have no complaints about the performance vs. price range of said products, they do what I want them to, end of story, and I will possibly be replacing the current tab 3 with the note pro, just to see how much they have improved performance

Posted via my outdated and under spec'd galaxy tab 3 using the Android Central App

They aren't shifting away, it's just another temporary name, remember the note 10.1 2014 edition just came out -.-

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Didn't Samsung agree to tone down on the TouchWiz interface after Google's criticism a month ago? Why is it still there?

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Samsung didn't agree to squat. Why would the #1 OEM kiss Googles ass? Google Needs Samsung more than Samsung needs Google. With Android being open source, there is not a whole lot of leverage for Google...

Usually your an idiot. But I'm agreeing with you on this one. Well said s0ld13r.

posted with a galaxy note 3. h8ers gon' h8. live2win#swagface#switchedOn*_*

I am in love with my 8.4, absolutely stunning. Runs fantastic and the new office application they used is actually incredibly full featured. I like that even though it isn't a note, which was my dream, that using the new multi-window auto opens stuff as a "pen window" style, unless you drag it out to the screen. Blown away with the quality

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Picked up a Note Pro 12.2 on Saturday and within 20 minutes or so I ended up ditching the stock launcher for Nova.

As much as I wanted to give the magazine UI a chance I just couldn't see the point of wasting so much screen real estate on the other screens with icons due to huge margins and large gaps between icons. Its even harder to take knowing you've spent a premium to get more screen space and the developer fails to give you the ability to truly leverage that space.

I'm not digging some aspects of the standard UI though, like not being able to swipe down on the left for notifications and right for quick settings. I would much prefer stock Kit Kat with S-Pen functionality but with some tweaks and additional apps I'm finding this thing to be a keeper for sure. Since the tablet is so large, hand position changes to hit home or back can be a pain so quick app switching applications are helpful such as Swapps or Switcher etc.

I just picked up the 12.2 last week and am feeling well same way. I tried the Note 10.1 a couple of years back when first looking for a tablet, and returned it. Still not quite sure how I feel about the 12.2 yet. Seems like the high resolution display is crippled a bit by Samsung's OS. Text and icons are huge, wasted real estate with the grid. This stuff is killing the experience for me. I, too, would prefer the stock Google experience along with the fantastic Samsung S-Pen tech. This is the reason I want ed this tablet - to replace paper as best currently possible.

These are REALLY good looking tablets. I wouldn't mind snagging the 8.4 inch later this year for the right price. Love my Nexus 7, but I want to try an 8 inch tablet next

The extra screen space really makes a BIG difference.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Is it bad that I think the "magazine" UI is a huge improvement over their older Touchwiz? I think it makes decent use of the bigger screen especially on the 12 inch.

Sent via my Verizon Moto X

I like it, too. I think it's more appropriate for Samsung's tablets than the traditional Touchwiz UI.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

The 10.1" Sony Xperia Z2 may make an appearance at MWC next week

The more competition/choices the better.

Well I sorta strong arm my better half to pick up the pro tab 10incher lol. It's very slick n fast, the magazine is nice adding what you want to read and you can change how it's displayed. Although she hasn't put it to much use, she still learning. It's her first tablet. The one thing I saw there was no noticeable lag compare to my note 2014ed, just more fluid I wud say

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How about some pictures or video comparing the overall size of the 8.4 to the Nexus 7? Not screen size. Overall physical size.

These look really nice, and I'm very intrigued by the NotePRO 12", but that physical home button on a tablet just looks so...

A million words come through my head, but none of them seem to sum up how disgusted I am by that home button. I don't know... maybe I would get over it after a while. I've certainly gotten used to having one on my Note 2/3 phone.

It just seems *so* out of place on a tablet.

Yeah, I don't like it either, and I keep finding myself reaching for control buttons at the bottom when in portrait orientation.

Does anyone know the difference between the Tab PRO 12.2 and the Note PRO 12.2? Is the $100 price difference simply for the stylus?