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3/7/2014
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Samsung's 12-Inch Tablet: Is It Worth $850?

Galaxy NotePro tablet is Samsung's best piece of mobile hardware for the enterprise, and the 12.2-inch device has a price tag to match.

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Verizon Wireless is now selling the Samsung Galaxy NotePro tablet. The device, which was announced earlier this year, boasts a 12.2-inch display, LTE 4G, and a brand new magazine-style user interface from Samsung. With the right accessories the NotePro can almost replace a laptop. I spent several weeks using the NotePro. Is it worth the weighty cost?

The primary feature of the NotePro is, of course, the huge screen. At 12.2 inches across the diagonal, it is one of the largest available on a tablet. The NotePro's screen alone has a larger footprint than an entire Apple iPad Air. Samsung's tablet has a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) Super LCD panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio. There's no denying that it looks gorgeous. The display provides ample room for multitasking, such as running apps side-by-side in separate windows.

The NotePro has a classy design. The front surface is all glass, with Samsung's trademark button configuration along the bottom. There's an attractive chrome band around the entire rim of the tablet. This band houses stereo speakers (which sound great), buttons (that work well), and ports, all of which are positioned for easy use. The S Pen stylus is also tucked into the rim, and it is easy to retrieve. The entire back panel is made of plastic that resembles faux leather (complete with stitching along the edges). Samsung has upgraded its flagship products, such as the Galaxy Note 3 and Chromebook Series 2, with this leather look. The overall appearance of the NotePro is sharp and business-like. The materials are good, and the tablet feels solid and well made.

As the name implies, the NotePro was designed for people who need to be productive. The device ships with Android 4.4.2 KitKat on board and what Samsung calls its Magazine User Interface. The UI, which is what you'll experience on the home screen panels, lets owners customize the content that appears on the home screens in segregated boxes that resemble magazine pages. For example, on one home screen panel I was able to build a collection of boxes that included my calendar, email inbox, Google Drive documents, and a customized newsfeed. Customizing the home screens takes time, but can be rewarding once you come up with the right mix. Of course, the best feature is the multi-window function for running two apps at once. Individual applications behave just as they do on other Android devices.

There are tons of applications preloaded, including the full suite of Google-made apps found on all Android devices and a similar suite of Samsung-made apps, such as S Voice and Knos security. The software that accompanies the S Pen is quite good, and it really works well with the large screen. It felt natural to use the S Pen to scribble notes and then attach them to emails. Some of the third-party extras are Dropbox, Hancom Viewer (for PDFs), Netflix, Evernote, Flipboard, and Microsoft Office clones from Hancom.

[Will this tablet help Android stay the market leader? Read Android Takes Top Tablet OS Crown.]

The NotePro uses Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa processor, with four cores at 1.9 GHz and four cores at 1.3 GHz. It has 3 GB of RAM and comes with either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage and support for microSD memory cards. Connectivity options include WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and LTE. It also offers an 8-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel user-facing camera. It carries a 9,500 mAh battery. I found it offered at least 10 hours of productive time. The NotePro weighs 1.65 pounds. It feels pretty heavy after a while, and I found holding it for more than an hour was tiresome.

The review package sent by Samsung included a stand, keyboard, and mouse. Used with these accessories, I was able to perform nearly all my job functions on the tablet. For my purposes, however, photo and video manipulation still requires a laptop or desktop computer. If your work is limited to editing documents and email, I have no doubt that the NotePro could be the only computing device you need. Of course, the accessories are what really make it a solid work machine, and traveling with them makes the entire package bulky and heavy. For couch-side surfing, I prefer smaller machines, such as the Nexus 7.

Verizon Wireless is selling the NotePro at stores beginning Friday. It is asking $849.99 for the tablet without a contract, though it is willing to take $100 off that price for those willing to sign a two-year agreement. (Pro Tip: Don't sign, just buy it outright.)

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/13/2014 | 6:25:27 AM
Re : Samsung's 12-Inch Tablet: Is It Worth $850?
There is hardly any doubt that it is a mega thing. It has a pretty dashing design with all the latest hardware that is available till now and battery is massive as well. I wonder if Samsung had kept productivity more under consideration than making it beat every other tablet in almost every aspect. If they had done that, they would have watered down some specs keeping the price affordable.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/11/2014 | 1:57:45 PM
Re : Samsung's 12-Inch Tablet: Is It Worth $850?
It looks like manufacturers are trying to come up with a tablet that could be somewhat smaller and more portable than laptops while performing all a laptop can. This one mentioned in this article comes close to that yet falls short of full-fledged productivity. If photo and video manipulation still need a laptop, rest of the things can be done on a 10 inches tablet as well at a much lower price.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/11/2014 | 4:25:27 AM
Is this the best option for the enterprise?
The Galaxy NotePro tablet may be Samsung's best mobile hardware for the enterprise, but this doesn't mean it is the best option the market offers for the enterprise that wants to go mobile. 

Enterprise CIOs would agree that there are many factors to consider before buying a considerable number of tablets for the company's employees.

Other than Samsung's best hardware for the enterprise priced at a probaby overpriced $850, does this tablet offer the best software, the best apps for the enterprise, the best security?   

-Susan
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
3/8/2014 | 10:55:57 AM
Yoga
Is it cool? Oh geez yes, drool worthy even. But, at this size and price, we start reaching a range where I don't see any advantage over a Yoga.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/7/2014 | 3:27:16 PM
Exepsnive, but the price will come down
Steep price. If Apple ever releases the so-called iPad Pro, I can actually imagine it undercutting this price, since I doubt Apple would charge a $400 premium for the larger screen. (That's assuming, of course, that the iPad Pro is simply a bigger-screened iPad Air, rather than some kind of new form factor; there've been rumors, for what they're worth, both ways.)


But there isn't an iPad Pro right now, so I suppose Samsung has some space to experiment with pricing. Like several people in this thread, I'm not sure many people will drop $1000 on a Samsung tablet and accessories when a wide variety of Windows convertibles are available for substantially less. Windows 8.1 devices aren't popular, of course, which is probably why Samsung feels bold-- so I guess we'll have to see. Will Samsung's UI and the promise of Android apps trump the productivity merits of Windows tablets? Since this device is aimed at professionals, I'm not so sure.

My guess is that this tablet will settle into a lower price point before too long.
Paul987
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Paul987,
User Rank: Strategist
3/7/2014 | 1:02:04 PM
No way, not even close.
I love Android as much as the next guy, but in my opinion there's simply no way an Android tablet of any size is worth $850 or more.  For that price, Windows tablets would need to be considered, and a comparison of capabilities between them virtually eliminates the Android tablet.

Now I'm sure there are people who WILL see enough value in this to pay the asking price, but from an assessment of the actual hardware cost and value, it's very difficult to argue that it's worth that much.  An 14 inch, i5 notebook with 4 gigs of ram and several hundred gig hard drive can be had for ~$300.  How on earth can a 12 inch Android tablet cost roughly 3X that?
TooC151
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TooC151,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2014 | 11:57:11 AM
Re: SAMSUNG RIPOFF
I can relate with you a bit here, except mine is a little worse.  I bought a Nexus 10 (which is made by Samsung, but it's a google tablet).  Same deal, no official accesories except that they came out with a flip cover like 6 months ago.  However, I knew this prior to buying my device which is why I do not have buyers remorse.  Unfortunately, you cheated yourself.  It's important to take responsibility for our choices.  It's not the Best Buy girls fault.  She doesn't give a damn what tablet you buy.  She's not paid on commission.  Apple does make 2 cases for their products, a flip cover and a flip case.  That's it!  Apple does not have an official iPad keyboard.  That's third party.  Oh, and they make all their over priced adapters as well.  If the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition was as popular as the iPad Air, I'm sure there would be better options.

 

Now, back to the article.  No!  For $850, buy a laptop.  Heck, you can buy one of those HP hybrids if you really want the "tablet" and laptop experience.  You'll have full Windows and a keyboard w/trackpad already.  Just need a slip cover.
TooC151
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50%
TooC151,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2014 | 11:57:08 AM
Re: SAMSUNG RIPOFF
I can relate with you a bit here, except mine is a little worse.  I bought a Nexus 10 (which is made by Samsung, but it's a google tablet).  Same deal, no official accesories except that they came out with a flip cover like 6 months ago.  However, I knew this prior to buying my device which is why I do not have buyers remorse.  Unfortunately, you cheated yourself.  It's important to take responsibility for our choices.  It's not the Best Buy girls fault.  She doesn't give a damn what tablet you buy.  She's not paid on commission.  Apple does make 2 cases for their products, a flip cover and a flip case.  That's it!  Apple does not have an official iPad keyboard.  That's third party.  Oh, and they make all their over priced adapters as well.  If the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition was as popular as the iPad Air, I'm sure there would be better options.

 

Now, back to the article.  No!  For $850, buy a laptop.  Heck, you can buy one of those HP hybrids if you really want the "tablet" and laptop experience.  You'll have full Windows and a keyboard w/trackpad already.  Just need a slip cover.
TooC151
50%
50%
TooC151,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2014 | 11:57:00 AM
Re: SAMSUNG RIPOFF
I can relate with you a bit here, except mine is a little worse.  I bought a Nexus 10 (which is made by Samsung, but it's a google tablet).  Same deal, no official accesories except that they came out with a flip cover like 6 months ago.  However, I knew this prior to buying my device which is why I do not have buyers remorse.  Unfortunately, you cheated yourself.  It's important to take responsibility for our choices.  It's not the Best Buy girls fault.  She doesn't give a damn what tablet you buy.  She's not paid on commission.  Apple does make 2 cases for their products, a flip cover and a flip case.  That's it!  Apple does not have an official iPad keyboard.  That's third party.  Oh, and they make all their over priced adapters as well.  If the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 edition was as popular as the iPad Air, I'm sure there would be better options.

 

Now, back to the article.  No!  For $850, buy a laptop.  Heck, you can buy one of those HP hybrids if you really want the "tablet" and laptop experience.  You'll have full Windows and a keyboard w/trackpad already.  Just need a slip cover.
RonaldG587
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50%
RonaldG587,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2014 | 11:55:45 AM
Large Screens or Tablets?
I have a 10 inch Nexus 10 that I port to 27 inch HDMI monitor using the Nexus's HDMI port. I have a 10 inch Samsung Note (Original) that I port to a 71 inch HDMI TV set frequently. Unfortunately Samsung has not seen fit to provide a native HDMI port. I do connect to the TV but have to have several additional connectors. My 10 inch Nexus was about $500 in December 2012, and got the Samsung Note 10.1 for $279 at Walmart as a refurbished model. A 10 inch or smaller Android Tablet with an external HDMI port would be good to have, then if you are someplace like a hotel room with a large TV, you could connect to that. I used to think that larger Tablets was plus, but since they can port HDMI out, you can connect to an external monitor when you want the larger size screen.
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