The battle for tablets replacing computers is heating up with the two main players (Microsoft and Apple) leading the charge, while others are quietly developing and perfecting their own efforts (Dell’s XPS 12 for example). Samsung entry in the professional tablet arena is a solid start with the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. On paper it would seem to have everything you’re looking for, and for the basic user it probably achieves its mission. That said, personally, I believe it would be a better fit as a travel device as it just doesn’t look to have the power I would need.
Naturally, when you think tablet you think about how it looks and feels in your hand. The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is incredibly thin for a pro tablet at just 6.3mm, while it weighs in at 680 grams (1.5lbs), with a 12-inch 2160 x 1440 AMOLED screen. It looks beautiful, with similar design traits that you’ll find throughout Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. The top features the power and volume rocker, while a Windows ‘Start’ button is presented on the side. It also features a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C port for charging and connecting everything else (which is a struggle and a major detractor from the “Tablet over Laptop” debate – need more than one!)
Much like other 12-inch tablets, it’s a little weird to hold and use casually, fortunately the experience changes when you connect it up to the keyboard case. These pro tablets really do require a good keyboard case to make them useful, but they almost always suffer from the same thing – cramped keys. I figure I’d get used to it with extended use but I don’t know that I would want to. Another issue is that it only has two standing positions, and neither of them are ideal angles (which becomes an issue as discussed in the next section).
As previously mentioned, the display on the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is a 12″ 2160 x 1440 AMOLED screen at an aspect ratio of 3:2. Much like all of Samsung’s screens, this one is beautiful to look at. The picture is incredibly sharp, detailed, coloured properly and bright. In full sunlight I had no trouble seeing the screen, and the contrast and colour range is off the charts amazing. Now that said, looking at the screen from odd angles is less than ideal. I also witnessed some significant burn-in on static content. (Burn-in occurs when a screen displays the same thing for a long time, it leaves a kind of ‘imprint’ on the screen for a while afterwards.)
The 2.2GHz Intel Core M3-6Y30 CPU certainly does wonders to power the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, while running a pretty stock version of Windows 10 with few (if any?) modifications. I was able to run Chrome, Word, and even some light Photoshop work. The device didn’t get very warm while I pushed it with the photo editing, which was a good sign. That said, attempting to do any kind of serious gaming was fruitless, the same with video editing – those issues are partly due to the limited RAM (4GB). Compared to my current video editing laptop which packs 8GB (and even then it sometimes struggles to keep up) it’s just not ready for that kind of heavy task. I also noticed that sometimes while multitasking, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S would unload/refresh pages such as YouTube that I had a paused losing my place in the video with it.
While the box says 10.5 hours, battery life on the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is no where near that in my experience. While individual results will certainly vary depending on what you’re doing with the tablet, 5-7 hours is probably more accurate for people who are considering replacing their laptop with this device.
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Overall
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is a beautiful looking, thin and lightweight tablet that could arguably replace my laptop… on trips. While it gets closer to being able to replace my laptop, right now it just can’t do the things I’d need it to do. For every great feature on this tablet, there is a caveat.
- The screen is beautiful BUT it has bad viewing angles and burn-in.
- The keyboard makes the device useable BUT it’s cramped.
- It has enough hardware to run stock Windows 10 and most application BUT only has 4GB of RAM.
- The battery lasts longer than my laptop BUT it’s no where near the advertised 10.5 hours.
- It has a USB-C outlet BUT it only has one USB-C outlet.
It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not ready to replace the laptop yet. Take it traveling and you’ll love it, but stick with the laptop for serious work. You can buy the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S for $900 (USD).