LAS VEGAS: KOREAN TECHNOLOGY GIANT Samsung has been trying to shed its reputation as a purely consumer focused company, releasing a steady stream of enterprise friendly applications and services.
At CES this year the company has taken this to new heights by unveiling its Galaxy Tab Pro range of tablets. The Tab Pro 12.2 is the biggest - both physically and strategically - of this new range of enterprise focused Android tablets.
Design and build
Our initial reaction was shock when we picked up the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2. Measuring 296x204x7.95mm, it's huge compared with other Android tablets. The tablet is also significantly heavier, with the WiFI-only model weighing a hefty 750g and the 3G/LTE model a slightly heavier 753g.
But after a couple of minutes we soon became used to the increased size and weight, and found that it wasn't too unwieldy to hold thanks to its ergonomic design. The Galaxy Tab Pro looks like a blown-up Galaxy Note smartphone, with the same metallic sides and faux-leather back. The Note-like design meant that, unlike some other Samsung Galaxy devices, the Galaxy Tab Pro felt sturdily built and didn't feel overly plastic.
Samsung has configured the Galaxy Tab Pro with a gigantic 12.2in WQXGA 2560x1600 resolution Super Clear LCD display. This makes the Galaxy Tab Pro one of the biggest Android tablets available.
During our hands-on we enjoyed the extra screen real estate. As well as making it easier to read text displayed on the screen, it also made it quicker and easier to edit documents and spreadsheets on the Galaxy Tab Pro.
We were also fairly impressed with the Galaxy Tab Pro's screen quality, which proved pleasantly bright and vibrant.
Our one qualm with using the Galaxy Tab Pro's screen is that, unlike its Galaxy Note Pro sibling, it doesn't come bundled with an S Pen stylus. This meant that even with the extra screen space certain applications, such as S Note, were awkward to use.
Operating system and software
The Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 comes with the latest Android 4.4 Kitkat pre-installed. But be warned that the operating system has been heavily customised and Samsung has overlayed it with its brand new Magazine UX interface.
Magazine UX alters Android so much that it's close to unrecognisable. After a while with the device, though, we soon found our bearings and began to take advantage of some the new user interface's productivity and business-focused features.
One of the best things we noticed was the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2's multi-window support. The feature splits the Galaxy Tab Pro's screen into up to four different windows so users can use more than one app at a time. We fired up the Galaxy Tab Pro's web browser, while keeping email, Twitter and a Google Drive document open, and we can definitely see the appeal of the feature.
The Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 demo unit we tried also had Samsung's Knox security service pre-installed. Knox is a security feature from Samsung, similar to BlackBerry Balance. The feature is designed to secure the device at a hardware level and protect users from threats such as Trojanised apps.
The feature also has a sandboxing feature that let users create separate work and home areas on the device. Businesses can have app management and data-wipe powers on the work side, while they can't touch non-work data stored on the user's personal side.
Processor and performance
The LTE version of the Galaxy Tab Pro is powered by a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, while the WiFi-only version has an eight-core Samsung Exynos 5 Octa chip. Both versions of the Galaxy Tab Pro have 3GB of RAM.
We only got to try the LTE Qualcomm powered Galaxy Tab Pro. While we were slightly sad not to try the octa-core model we found the demo unit was still a very fast device. It opened applications almost instantly and in general dealt with any task we threw at it, hassle free.
We didn't have time to benchmark the Galaxy Tab Pro, or see how it dealt with more difficult tasks like 3D gaming, but we will do so in our full review.
Battery and storage
Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 with a sizeable 9,500mAh battery. We didn't get a chance to battery burn the unit, but a spokesman told us the device should last "longer than most tablets" on one charge. The Galaxy Tab Pro comes in versions with 32GB and 64GB of internal storage.
Overall, our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 were positive. Despite being significantly larger and heavier than most tablets and featuring a radically customised skin on top of Android 4.4 Kitkat, the new Galaxy Tab bristles with enterprise appeal. Featuring a host of productivity and security applications, powerful processor and LTE connectivity options, the Galaxy Tab Pro has the potential to be the best Android power user tablet this year. But with Samsung remaining cagey on one key detail - the Galaxy Tab Pro's price - we're going to have to reserve judgement until this is announced. µ