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Samsung Reveals Professional-Grade Tablets

Samsung unveiled new workhorse Android tablets at CES, two of which feature monstrous 12.2-inch displays.
CES 2014: 8 Technologies To Watch
CES 2014: 8 Technologies To Watch
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Samsung landed in Las Vegas with guns blazing. The company announced a wide array of new products, including curved television sets, cameras, tablets, and more. With its eyes set firmly on Apple, the company revealed four new Android-based tablets that up the ante to the nth degree.

Falling under the NotePRO and TabPRO brand names, the four tablets include the NotePRO 12.2 and the TabPRO 12.2, 10.1, and 8.4. The only real difference between the two 12.2-inch models is that the NotePRO device offers the S Pen stylus and more enterprise-friendly software. All four tablets feature WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Super clear LCDs with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The displays are impressive, to say the least, and the 8.4-inch model has stunning pixel density. All three surpass the pixel density of the Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display.

As Apple did with its two tablets, so did Samsung when it comes to tech specs. Each of the four tablets offers a nearly identical set of hardware features; the major difference between them is size. The NotePRO 12.2, TabPRO 12.2, and TabPRO 10.1 all use Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa processor, with four cores at 1.9 GHz and four cores at 1.3 GHz. The TabPRO 8.4 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, though Samsung said the exact model will vary by market. All include 3 GB of RAM and come with either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. Each of the four tablets will offer Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and LTE connectivity options. They include 8-megapixel main cameras and 2-megapixel user-facing cameras, a variety of sensors, and a standard set of ports.

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The NotePRO 12.2 and TabPRO 12.2 share the same dimensions and weigh 1.65 pounds and 1.63 pounds, respectively. Both carry 9,500 mAh batteries, but Samsung did not specify battery life. The TabPRO 10.1 has an 8,220 mAh battery and weighs much less at 1.03 pounds, and the TabPRO 8.4 has a 4,800 mAh battery and weighs just 0.73 pounds.

The material and build quality of all four tablets is quite good. Samsung clearly stepped up its efforts to make the new tablets more appealing to users who might be tempted by Apple's aluminum designs.

The tablets will all ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, the most recent version of Google's mobile operating system. Samsung, however, developed a brand-new user interface for the tablets. Rooted in TouchWiz, it includes what the company calls the Magazine UX for interacting with the tablets' home screens. As the name implies, the user interface resembles a magazine and lets users flip pages to jump between home screens and active apps. The magazine pages are fully customizable so users can create an active series of home screens that they can then access by swiping back and forth. It is attractive to look at and easy to use.

The two larger tablets include Samsung's split-screen multi-window feature. This lets users run two apps side-by-side on the screen at the same time. The NotePRO 12.2 is better able to use this feature, however, thanks to the S Pen stylus. Both the NotePRO 12.2 and TabPRO 12.2 come with Cisco's WebEx for screen-sharing during virtual meetings.

The NotePRO 12.2 and TabPRO 12.2, 10.1, and 8.4 will ship globally during the first quarter of the year. Pricing details were not disclosed.

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