Twenty-two model numbers for Samsung’s successor to the Galaxy Note 3 have leaked thanks to @evleaks, showing where it will be available worldwide.
From the leaked model numbers, we can see that there will be 16 and 32 GB models and both black and white, as well as that it will be available on numerous carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the U.S. While it seems it will be available around the globe, some other carriers we can pick out from the list are DoCoMo and KDI.
Previous leaks about the Note 4 have suggest that there will be one model (SM-N910S) that is expected to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor while the other (SM-910C) figures to pack a 64-bit Exynos chipset. Some other rumored specs include 3GB RAM, a 16-megapixel rear camera, and front-facing 3.6-megapixel shooter. Powered by Android 4.4.3 (for now), the display should also be 5.7-inches and offer 1440×2560 resolution.
There’s been talk that the device will make a debut at the annual IFA trade show in Germany that starts Sept. 5.
The post Full list of Samsung Galaxy Note 4 model numbers leak appeared first on AndroidGuys.
It’s no surprise that Samsung would make a new Galaxy Note smartphone given the series’ very healthy sales, but just how is the company going to improve on the design of the Note 3? By giving it a quad HD screen, apparently. The company has posted a web profile for an unannounced SM-N910A (the Note 3 for AT&T is the SM-N900A) that includes a 2,560 x 1,440 display, hinting that the future Galaxy Note will pack visuals roughly as sharp as LG’s G3. It also backs what we’ve heard about Oculus VR getting greater-than-1080p OLED screens from the Korean tech firm. There aren’t any other big clues in the profile, but they come on the heels of import data that suggests the next Note will maintain the same 5.7-inch screen size as its predecessor — Samsung may be resisting the urge to produce a truly gigantic phone like the G Pro 2 or Lumia 1520.
As for what’s behind that new panel? That’s tougher to prove. SamMobile claims that the new Note will be powered by a speedier Snapdragon 805 or Exynos 5433 processor (depending on the market) and ship with a newly stabilized 16-megapixel camera. Those make sense when Galaxy Notes are historically more powerful than the Galaxy S models they follow, but nothing’s set in concrete — we wouldn’t rule out a surprise or two. If the profile is accurate, though, fans of Samsung’s larger handsets have at least a visual upgrade to look forward to this year.
We’ve heard recently that Samsung wants to go in a new direction with their next Galaxy Note device. Whether it ends up being mind-blowingly innovative remains to be seen, however we’re definitely expecting to know sometime at the end of this year. Sure enough, an insider with knowledge of Samsung’s plans has let slip that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date is going to be on September 3rd, right in the ballpark of when we were expecting it.
This announcement would come right before IFA 2014 in Berlin, and sounds a lot more like Samsung’s announcements of old; just before large mobile conventions and extremely flashy, quite unlike the comparatively sterile affair that was the Galaxy S5‘s announcement. The insider says that invites for the Samsung Unpacked event to announce the new phablet device would start going out in August.
We’re expecting some exciting things from the Note 4 especially after Samsung has claimed to be looking at a new “form-factor” for the device, and so far the device is rumoured to have a 5.7-inch Quad HD display. Are you excited to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
After the relatively pedestrian reception of the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung has said that it is looking for a way to refocus its efforts in the premium smartphone market, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that is expected to be released later this year. While Samsung has said they are considering a new form factor for the Note 4, it doesn’t look like they are going to stray too far size-wise from yesteryear’s 5.7-inch Note 3. In fact, according to a tip handed to GSM Arena, it looks like the Note 4, which carries the model number N910, will have a 5.7-inch Quad HD display.
This may be a relief for some expectant Note 4 owners who may have been scared the next generation Galaxy Note to balloon beyond the 6-inch threshold, however it looks like Samsung thinks the Note has found its niche at 5.7-inches. The Quad HD screen is by no means a surprise, and actually makes a lot of sense for a phablet with the extra screen real-estate, making for 515 ppi clarity, by no means a small amount. It’s probably notable to see that the Galaxy S5 Prime also features in this list, implying that it’s still on its way.
What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 potentially staying at the same screen size as last year? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Time for some Android news quick status. the @googlenexus Twitter account leaked out an interesting screenshot, that many are speculating to be the new Android dialer. Galaxy Note 4 might finally see that YOUM display, and Motorola might have a more budget friendly phone. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Last week, we heard from Yoon Han-kil, Samsung’s Senior Vice President of Product Strategy, that Samsung would be looking to give the next Galaxy Note device a “new form factor”. The device, which would most likely be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, plans to breath new life into the Galaxy Note line of devices in an attempt to recapitalize on the market that the phablet devices helped create. According to ZDNet in Korea, this revitalization may include a Samsung design patent that we saw late last year.
The patent in question is one named “Youm” and features a wraparound screen that does away with the conventional side bezels. What this allows is the extra screen space, which is tilted away from the main screen, to be used for addition user inputs including lock/unlock gestures or quick menu options. It’s a concept that Samsung has shown off prototypes for before, but has been suspiciously quiet about since then. While it’s definitely a tantalizing idea to consider that this design could feature on the Note 4, there’s no real concrete evidence to say that Samsung will utilize Youm.
What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 using the Youm wraparound screen? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will be a “new form factor”, Samsung searching again for the next big Thing
The Samsung Galaxy Note line of so-called ‘phablet‘ devices has been its own bag of surprises over the last few years; while many were sceptical that the original Galaxy Note would even sell, let alone be iterated upon, we are already onto the 3rd generation of the giant-screened smartphones and the future still looks bright for this sector of the market. The allure of the Galaxy Note family has faded, however, as most other major manufacturers have launched their own phablet device in the hopes of capturing their own part of the market. Naturally then, Samsung is looking for a new way to make their next phablet, expected to be named the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, appear even more attractive to consumers.
In an interview with Reuters, Yoon Han-kil, Samsung’s Senior Vice President of Product Strategy briefly illuminated Samsung’s ambitions for the next Galaxy Note device. As expected, Yoon confirmed that the next Note could be expected to launch in the second half of 2014, but also mentioned that the device would be in a “new form factor”, adding that “Our ultimate goal is to make products that consumers really aspire to have. This is how we are trying to find a breakthrough in the stagnant premium market.” What exactly was meant by ‘new form factor’ is unknown, but this is definitely exciting news for fans of phablets as it means Samsung is really looking at putting their stamp on the market they helped to create.
What do you think about Yoon’s comments? Do you think the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can be the game-changer that Samsung wants it to be, and what do you think it needs to do this? Let us know what your opinion is in the comments below.
Samsung has really outdone themselves in sticking to their Galaxy line’s mantra “The Next Big Thing”
With a gorgeous 12.2 inch display this device will confuse most lay-people who witness you using it in public because, ”I didn’t know they made iPads that big!”
Using the device at first is complete joy, I found myself grinning from ear to ear just in awe of the size of the thing. Aside from its weight, web browsing and reading are great. I really like the soft-touch, leather textured rubber of the back panel. On a device so big and unprecedented in the Android world, I didn’t find the TouchWiz UI to be overbearing or annoying at all, but mostly because when dealing with a totally new form-factor, it’s easy to keep an open mind.
My only real complaint about Samsung’s design choices here are the fixed capacitive buttons and home key. Although it’s nice to have the extra screen real-estate from the lack of navigation bar, the fixed buttons get in the way when holding the device in portrait mode. It feels a bit like being treated like an iOS user “You’re going to use this the way we want you to use it, and any other way is wrong.” They could redeem themselves in the next model if they added invisible navigation buttons to all four sides of the bezel and only allowing which ever side of the bezel is currently at that the bottom light up or respond to touch.
After a week or so of use, the device had lost most it’s grandeur. I all but stopped using it for pleasure and only picked it up when I had to work the go. It is the best Android-powered solution for mobile work productivity. It seems that a screen this size is the first place multi-window and split screen apps have really found a home. I am able to have Gmail and Hangouts open sharing half of the screen and Chrome working on the other half, with the small movable Swype keyboard, working was a dream, and each app had plenty of real-estate to be able appreciate all of it’s features and see all text.
I didn’t find myself reaching for the S-Pen often because Swyping is much faster for input, and for some reason the links in Chrome would tend to get confused when the S-Pen was out and stop responding to finger touches, so I was never able to get a proper taste for it.
Overall the Note Pro is great for productivity, but that’s about all. It’s fun to see apps on the bigger screen, but since displays this size aren’t common, developers haven’t yet started catering to this size. Most of the time, you’re just going to be looking at a magnified version of what you’re used to seeing on your 10.1 inch tablet.
If you’re familiar with the 2014 Note 10.1, the hardware looks exactly the same, but larger. The top center, directly above the Samsung logo you’ll find the IR blaster, to the left are the volume rocker and power key. On the right hand side of the device the S-Pen can be removed from the top corner above the the right speaker. Then the USB 3.0 slot in the center, above a MicroSD slot and SIM slot. The bottom side is smooth and clean. The left holds only the 3.5 mm headphone jack directly opposite the S-Pen above the left speaker.
The front of the device is a black slate with the capacitive multi-tasking button to the left of the hard home key and balanced by the capacitive back button. Even thought they’re backwards, at least Samsung has taken a step in the right direction replacing the menu button with the multi-tasking key.
As I said, TouchWiz doesn’t feel overbearing on this device, but mostly because you can’t be sure what to expect from such a device, so Samsung had free reign to set the bar wherever they wanted. Their stock keyboard feels great, and with the screen-size, you’ll feel like you’re actually typing on a full-sized keyboard for the first time on an Android tablet.
They didn’t try hard enough to jack up the resolution, so a icons, apps, fonts and settings all tend to feel large and toy-like. the worst offender is the notification shade in portrait mode, it takes up the entire screen like a phone.
If you read my review of the Verizon LG G Pad 8.3 LTE, you’ll recognize this, but as they are both Verizon devices, I can’t rightly publish the review without touching on the data connection!
Let’s talk about having 4G LTE on your tablet. I admit, up until I reviewed this unit, I was one of those people who preached against tablets with dedicated data lines. “Just use your phone as a hotspot!” I would say. But I have to say, having that data connection all the time has won me over. How best to do this? Numbered list!
Reasons to have a dedicated Verizon data line on your tablet
- No hotspot set-up
- Lower drain on your phone’s data plan (might even be able to save money by switching plans)
- Lower drain on your phone’s battery
- If you don’t have a Verizon phone, your tablet will get data when your phone might not.
- Verizon’s LTE speeds have improved a lot (33 Mbps down 3 Mbps up)
Basically, if you’re a tablet user, and you constantly find yourself switching on your phones hotspot, but don’t use the hotspot for much else, this could be a great alternative for you.
The Note Pro is huge, but so is the price. At $750 with a 2-year activation and $850 outright, I can’t say I would recommend this device to anyone who didn’t know for a FACT it was worth the money for them, or have a very good reason why this is the tablet they need.
Well, this is a pleasant surprise. We’ve known for a while that Verizon would carry an LTE-capable Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, but the carrier has just put the massive tablet up for sale without any fanfare. Not that it’s exactly an impulse buy. Samsung’s cellular-equipped slate costs a hefty $850 at full price, and you’ll only save $100 if you sign up for a two-year contract. If you’re determined to stay online while you draw your latest masterpiece, though, you can order the Note Pro today.
How do you fit 12.2 inches of tablet into your life? That’s a question I’m sure Samsung must have pondered at some point before greenlighting its Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, a device that stretches the upper limits of what we can easily call a tablet. It’s also something I’ve wondered myself, given that its size puts it within uncomfortably close competition with 11- and 13-inch laptops. That increase in screen real estate comes at a high price, too: $750 for a 32GB model and $850 for 64GB, both WiFi-only. LTE-capable models are coming soon, but Samsung hasn’t announced pricing yet. As you might imagine, then, the Note Pro 12.2 isn’t intended for your average consumer. No, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is aimed at the prosumer niche of the market — whoever and whatever that actually means.
The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 isn’t a complete departure for Samsung, though. Cosmetically, it’s near- identical to the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, except larger. There’s that same faux-leather back replete with “stitching,” and 2,560 x 1,600 display. What, then, aside from a massive screen, makes the Note Pro 12.2 different enough to justify the price? On paper, the answer to that would center around the version of Android it ships with (4.4.2 KitKat), its ability to connect remotely to your PC, as well as Samsung’s Flipboard-like Magazine interface. Let’s be real, though. When it comes to the Note Pro 12.2, size clearly matters most. But that begs the question, can you and your prosumptive tendencies handle it?
I’ll admit I was initially skeptical of Samsung’s decision to counter complaints about its cheap-feeling, plastic design with — wait for it — cleverly disguised plastic. More specifically, I’m referring to that faux-leather back we first encountered on the Galaxy Note 3, which appears to be the new build standard for Samsung’s flagship mobile products. It’s something that sounds awful in writing, and seeing it in photos doesn’t do it much more justice.
And yet, my misgivings were unfounded. What I assumed would be a tacky design workaround is actually a sly coup on Samsung’s part. Somehow, with that one change, Samsung’s managed to make this 12.2-inch tablet look professional; a device befitting that “Pro” moniker. The black, textured matte back feels comfortable in-hand and looks like something you’d pull out of your attaché case. It elevates the Note Pro 12.2 to a premium perch other Note tablets fell short of — a place where you could almost forgive its exorbitant price tag. Almost.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Note Pro 12.2 could easily be mistaken for a stretched-out Note 10.1 2014 Edition. It bears an uncanny resemblance that extends even to the port layout. The dual speaker setup occupies both edges of the device, high up enough that your hands won’t muffle the sound. A redesigned, more stylish S Pen (denoted by its grooved, faux-metal cap) remains holstered in the upper-right edge of the device. Below that is where we find the only significant change. Whereas this spot used to house just a covered microSD slot, it now also houses a USB 3.0 port for fast data transfer and charging, though you can still connect via micro-USB if you like. Apart from that, you’ve got a 3.5mm headphone jack on the upper left edge, plus power and volume up top alongside an IR blaster.
The Note Pro 12.2′s front face is similarly unchanged. Samsung’s logo appears in the upper portion of the bezel, while the physical home button resides below and is flanked by soft keys for task management and navigating backward. Speaking of bezels, Samsung appears to have found a sweet spot size-wise that leaves just enough space for users’ thumbs to rest without overtaking the rest of the screen. It’s a decision made out of necessity, as well. At 295.6 x 203.9mm (11.6 x 8 inches), the Note Pro 12.2 is big enough that Samsung didn’t have the luxury of adding to its dimensions. That said, at 750g (1.65 pounds) and 7.95mm (0.31 inch) thick, it’s surprisingly light and thin — two buzz words that are practically a must for outsized mobile products.
Different connectivity options mean different processors for the Note Pro 12.2 line and since this particular model is of the WiFi-only variety, it’s imbued with an octa-core Exynos 5 SoC. The LTE model, on the other hand, will ship with a Snapdragon 800 chip inside. Regardless, both are paired with a healthy 3GB of RAM, and include radios for Bluetooth 4.0 and dual band WiFi a/b/g/n/ac MIMO. Additionally, both come with either 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage. It’s worth noting that, out of box, only 25GB of the 32GB of storage on our unit was available for personal use. Thankfully, you can expand that capacity via microSD, so that internal storage constraint shouldn’t cause much concern. There’s also a massive, non-removable 9,500mAh battery to power that equally massive 12.2-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 display.
For the Note Pro 12.2 and the Note 10.1 2014 Edition before it, Samsung used a TFT LCD, abandoning the hyper-saturated Super AMOLED panels that have always been a hallmark of Galaxy products. The trade-off here are relatively muted colors that makes gazing upon the 12.2-inch panel more relaxing on the eyes. That 2,560 x 1,600 resolution also translates to a high pixel density of 247 ppi, which means greater detail in everything from icons to videos. There’s not a visible pixel in sight, nor should there be. Viewing angles are fantastic, as well, but considering the size of the Note Pro 12.2, I don’t expect you’ll have much need to view it on slant with while you’re lying in bed. Oh, and if you take this thing outside, I’d advise you to seek out shade — even at full brightness, it was very difficult to make out the screen in direct sunlight.
There’s a good amount of third-party software pre-installed on the Galaxy Note Pro 12 — about 27 apps, in total — but thanks to some deft organization on Samsung’s part, you don’t really notice it. You need only access the app drawer for evidence of this tidy housekeeping. The first two icons displayed on the grid are dedicated folders for Google and Samsung apps. Although, in the latter case, there’s a mix of non-Samsung associated third-party apps included like Evernote and Flipboard. Because of this streamlining, the Note Pro 12.2′s app layout takes up just over two screens. Even the default homescreen layout seems a bit cleared up: only one row of apps and two widgets occupy the two default homescreens.
The Note Pro 12.2′s bloat may seem like overkill on Samsung’s part, but the vast majority of it is useful and includes common apps most users would have downloaded anyway. Things like Twitter, NYTimes, Evernote, Dropbox and Netflix, to name just a few examples. The same goes for productivity software like Hancom Viewer (for document viewing/editing), e-Meeting (a conference app) and Remote PC which allows users to mirror and remotely control their PC or Mac. Samsung’s Smart Screen eye-tracking features (i.e., Stay, Pause and Rotation) also make an appearance on the Note Pro 12.2, but they’re disabled by default; you’ll need to dive into the settings to turn them on.
Of course, this being a Note, Samsung’s also bundled in its requisite suite of S Pen apps. The usual gang’s all here: Action Memo (a rebranded S Memo) for quick note-taking; Scrapbook, which collects articles, images or videos you highlight from the web; Sketchbook; and finally, S Note, which integrates directly with Evernote or Samsung account. In truth, this collection of apps serves more as a neat demo of what the S Pen can do, than as useful justifications for having the stylus.
The S Pen’s functionality hasn’t changed from when we last saw it on the Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Removing it from its holster immediately triggers the onscreen Air Command display, a palette-like control for quick access to Action Memo, Scrapbooker, Screen write, S Finder and Pen window. You can also enable the Air Command display by depressing the S Pen’s built-in button when hovering over the screen. Of the lot, only Pen window and Scrapbooker require the user to draw onscreen to effect the desired action. For example, after selecting Scrapbooker, users will need to draw a circle around any items of interest to add to a personal collection. The same goes for Pen window, which launches a pop-up application when a square is drawn onscreen.
Swiping left from the bezel, either with the S Pen or your finger, will slide out an app panel for Multi Window shortcuts. To start filling the available four quadrants of the Note Pro 12.2′s screen, you need only drag and drop the app of your choosing. These windows can resized however you like, granting other onscreen apps more or less space, depending on your needs. On top of this, you can even select apps from the slide out panel to appear as pop-up windows over your Multi Window selections. And in a neat UI flourish, Samsung’s made it so that minimized pop-up windows appear as floating circles, not unlike Facebook’s Chat Heads.
Let’s talk about Magazine UX, the Flipboard-like homescreen/news feed that Samsung designed in collaboration with Flipboard for the Note Pro 12.2. It’s nearly identical to Flipboard, but isn’t officially Flipboard. And it’s made all the more confusing by the fact that specific topic feeds (e.g., Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Sports, etc.) are not only navigated using the same page flip animation, but also offer Flipboard as a curated news source. So, it is Flipboard… kinda.
Whether or not you’ll appreciate this addition to the Note Pro 12.2 depends on how much you use Flipboard to begin with. Don’t despair if it’s not your cup of tea, though. Unlike on the demo model we previewed at CES, Magazine UX is not set as the default homescreen and is also not mapped to the physical home button. So you can effectively ignore it if you like, but be warned there’s no way to completely disable it.
Perhaps the neatest feature Samsung’s debuting here is Remote PC, which, as the name suggests, allows you to remotely access your PC or Mac. The setup process is fairly straightforward, and Samsung’s step-by-step onscreen guide should take all of three minutes to complete. To get started, you’ll need to download and install Samsung’s dedicated remote access software to your computer, launch the corresponding app on the Note Pro 12.2 and enter an authentication key which will appear on your PC’s screen.
After that, mirroring your PC on the Note Pro 12.2 is as easy as selecting your computer icon from within the app. Remote PC does give you full access to your PC, but it’s not without its quirks. Navigation is split up between a mouse-and-pointer setup, accessible from a submenu, or the default gesture controls. While you’d think it’d be more natural to use the touch inputs for control, I found the traditional pointer control scheme to be more precise. There’s also an understandable bit of lag between what’s being mirrored on your Note Pro 12.2 and the computer. Depending on your wireless connection, though, your experience may vary.
While Remote PC does have its advantages, there is one aspect of it users will find frustrating, and that’s text input. As the Note Pro 12.2 is a tablet, its onscreen keyboard will take up a significant portion of the lower half of the screen — the exact place where most dialog boxes for text entry would appear. The unfortunate result is that you can’t actually see what you’re typing, which made for some unintentionally amusing messages on my part. It’s by no means a dealbreaker — remote access to your PC is an incredible boon in and of itself — but you do need to adapt to its quirks.
When a reviewer forgets to notice a new product’s performance shortcomings, you know it’s a going to be a solid workhorse. And that’s exactly the experience I had during my initial honeymoon phase with the Note Pro 12.2. Apps loaded quickly, screen transitions were smooth and stutter-free. Everything worked as gracefully as I expected it to with an octa-core Exynos 5 chip and 3GB RAM.
That is, until I began pushing the Note Pro 12.2 to its moderate limits. I say “moderate” because I don’t think enabling one instance of Multi Window on this device should cause it to significantly slow down. It’s a performance hiccup that only grew worse with the addition of more windows. Yes, the Note Pro 12.2 is technically capable of displaying four open apps plus floating pop-ups on top of that, but there’s no real benefit for the user. How could there be when the experience is marred by a noticeable lag? In fact, there’s a pervasiveness slowness to the Note Pro 12.2 that ruins any sense of rapid-fire multitasking. It’s the opposite of what the device’s prosumer customer would want.
As a media viewer, however, you can’t really go wrong with the Note Pro’s considerable screen size. That 12.2-inch screen’s an ideal venue for showing off presentations and high-res photos. It’s similarly fantastic for watching Netflix or any other streaming media, so long as you can find a comfortable way to position it. If you can find a suitable way to prop it up, the Note Pro 12.2 can even serve as a solid replacement for viewing media on your laptop. The dual speakers are powerful enough that you should be able to comfortably watch with chatty friends or even in a moderately noisy environment. As a bonus, there’s also no distortion when the volume is pushed to the max.
And now, back to that Exynos 5 chip. As noted earlier, this WiFi-only model comes equipped with 3GB of RAM and Samsung’s octa-core processor inside; that of the big.LITTLE architecture. So you’re not exactly getting all eight cores firing simultaneously, but a setup wherein the best suited set of four cores, be it for light tasks or heavy processing, takes over. It’s likely the reason the Note Pro 12.2 seems to take its time cycling through tasks when activity ramps up.
From the table below, you can see that the Note Pro 12.2 stands up well in benchmark tests compared to its smaller sibling, the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, or the Tegra-4 powered HP SlateBook x2. And really, those are the only fair comparisons we can make as there aren’t many other tablets that push past the 10-inch mark. What’s curious is that, despite both Galaxy Note devices sharing the exact same processor and RAM allotment, the Note Pro 12.2 underperformed in two areas where it should’ve achieved parity. Then again, even the stronger benchmark results don’t truly reflect our real-world experience with the Note Pro 12.2 and its tortoise-like pace.
|Galaxy Note Pro 12.2||Galaxy Note 10.1 2014||HP SlateBook x2||Nexus 10|
|SunSpider 0.9.1* (ms)||1,044||1,069||654||989|
|GFXBench 2.7 HD Offscreen (fps)||N/A||22||N/A||12|
|*SunSpider: scores were run on Chrome using v0.9.1 for consistency. Note 10.1 scored 1,063 on v1.0.1. Nexus 10 scores were run on 10/1/13 using Android 4.3.|
The Note Pro 12.2′s 9,500mAh battery is a significant bump over the 8,220mAh one used in the Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Which makes sense, since it needs more juice to power all the pixels on that 2,560 x 1,600 display. If you’ve ever taken a look at your power management tab in Android’s settings, you know that the display is the biggest drain on battery life. Knowing that, you should temper your expectations for longevity. During a normal eight-hour workday, the Note Pro 12.2 lost just under 50 percent of its charge and that was with what I’d consider normal usage — some light browsing, emailing and monitoring of my Twitter feed. I’m sure it’d retain that charge even longer, perhaps for two days, if power-saving were enabled and it was left to mostly idle under light use.
Compared to the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, the Note Pro 12.2′s formal battery result is a little more promising, but nowhere near impressive. With a locally stored video running on a loop, Twitter set to sync at 10 minutes, one push email account active, as well as WiFi and GPS enabled, the Note Pro 12.2 lasted 10 hours and four minutes. That’s about two and a half hours longer than the Note 10.1 2014 Edition. It’s an improvement, for sure, but as with any formalized test, it’s not really reflective of actual consumer usage. Your personal consumption habits and dedication to power management will dictate just how long you can keep the Note Pro 12.2 powered up.
Never before in my history of product reviews have I felt sillier than when I walked around Brooklyn taking photos and video with a 12.2-inch tablet. People stared. I could feel them judging me, and rightly so. Not only does it feel ridiculous to take photos with the Note Pro 12.2′s 8-megapixel rear camera, it’s also really difficult. As I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to see the screen in bright sunlight, so oftentimes I wasn’t fully aware of how my shot was framed or if it was in focus. Then there’s the simple matter of maneuvering the Note Pro 12.2 so you can access the camera settings menu or scroll through the mode select wheel. It’ll make you feel clumsy and corny, and don’t you have a smartphone for this purpose anyway?
The Note Pro 12.2 snaps photos at a resolution of up to 3,264 x 1,836 in 16:9 ratio or 3,264 x 2,448 for 4:3 shots. Samsung’s included menu options for burst mode and image stabilization — both of which are disabled by default — as well as the ability to customize the volume key function for video, photos or zoom. That mode scroll I mentioned before offers up the same suite of settings we saw debut on the Galaxy S4: Beauty face, Best face, Sound and Shot, Drama, Eraser, et cetera. During my neighborhood walkabout, I stuck to Auto mode as that’s what most consumers will probably resort to, anyway.
I don’t have any real complaints about the Note Pro 12.2′s photo imaging performance, nor do I have any raves. My final batch of shots were above average. Color reproduction was fairly accurate, although shots with a greater depth of field tended to appear less finely detailed. My sample 1080p video, however, is unwatchable, even with image stabilization enabled. As you’ll see below, the Note Pro 12.2 records ambient audio clearly, but utterly fails to maintain a smooth framerate when the camera or objects are in motion.
Configuration options and the competition
First things first: when it comes to the Note Pro 12.2, you need to decide how much internal storage you need. If you do go down the higher-end route, then you’ll be paying a $100 premium for 64GB of storage, totaling $850. Keep in mind, there is a microSD slot, so you can cheaply augment that storage with up to a 64GB card. In comparison, the 64GB Note 10.1 2014 edition, whose screen is 2.1-inches smaller and bears the same S Pen, Exynos 5 processor, screen resolution and functionality, can be had for $600. That a steep discount of $150 for what is essentially an identical tablet made by the same company.
You don’t need to narrow your choices down to just Samsung’s Galaxy Note line for a high-res Android tablet. There are alternatives like Google’s Nexus 10, which gets you stock Android, a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and 32GB of storage for $500. Or you can explore something like HP’s Tegra-4 powered SlateBook x2, a 10-inch full HD convertible tablet that comes with a keyboard dock for $480. Although, take note, the SlateBook x2 is only offered with 16GB of internal storage.
When it comes to iOS options, the 9.7-inch, WiFi-only iPad Air looks like a relative steal next to the Note Pro 12.2. For $600, you’re getting a marginally lower resolution (2,048 x 1,536), 32GB of non-expandable storage and access to Apple’s ecosystem. A $100 price bump gets you all that and a roomier 64GB of internal storage. Then again, it doesn’t have an active digitizer pen input, so there’s that. All told, the iPad Air is still the more expensive option compared to the kitted-out Note 10.1 2014 Edition, but it offers a reliable user experience. That’s something neither the Note Pro 12.2 or Note 10.1 2014 Edition can guarantee.
To me, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is quintessential Samsung. It’s emblematic of that spaghetti-to-the-wall approach we’ve seen the company indulge in time and again. I don’t know that the Note Pro 12.2 needs to exist because I don’t know that there’s actually a niche hungry enough for this product. With its same-y internals and feature load, the Note Pro 12.2 seems more like an endorsement of the cheaper and smaller Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Forget the Flipboard-ish Magazine UX and Remote PC functionality — its only two standout features — everything the Note Pro 12.2 can do, the Note 10.1 can do just as well, or even better if we’re taking benchmarks into consideration.
Then there’s that price. An MSRP of $750 or $850 is hard to swallow considering you’re mainly getting two more inches of screen space and a performance that tends toward a more leisurely pace. The Note Pro 12.2 is also too big to hold comfortably. Yes, it’s a great go-to for media consumption, but you either have to prepare for wrist fatigue or MacGyver a rig to prop it up independently. It’s just not worth the trouble. Prosumer or not, there are better, more cost-effective ways to do what the Note Pro 12.2 aspires to do.