When we got the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, the first thing we noticed was how big it is even for a tablet, in fact, we mentioned the same thing in our Photo Gallery post of the Note Pro, but could not help mentioning the same to open our initial impressions post, as that was what our very first impression was. In fact, the very next thing we did was align the tablet on top of our 11 inch Macbook Air, and guess what, it completely engulfed our computer. The tablet is also one of the heaviest at 753 grams. Having said that and taken it out of the system, in our little time of just over 6 hours with the tablet, we can safely say, this is not a tablet for everyday general use and aimed at a very niche market. How? Find out in our initial impressions that follow:
Build Quality and Feel Good factor
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro measures 295.5 x 204 x 8 mm in dimensions. It is in fact cut from the same cloth as the Galaxy Note III or the Note III Neo and feels just as premium or not premium as them, again, something that is a matter of personal choice. The tablet is mainly plastic and as a result it does not feel in hand like a Rs 62,000 product which it is. Certainly, it is in the territory of Windows Ultra books and Macbook Airs of the world, and does not give you the assuring feel like any of those devices. The back of the device is not removable and a quick tap on the back does produce some creaking noise exposing the gap between the back panel and the rear of the internals of the tablet. Make no mistake, the tablet is a solid build, but in comparison to something like an iPad Air which feels extremely sleek and premium in hand, the Note Pro is not in the same category.
The plastic trim on the side is not our favourite design decision either and we are not sure how well it would age in say even a couple of months of usage. However, with the Note III, it kept up well, so we hope that would be the case here. The back of the device has the same faux leather stitched plastic like the Note III and the textured feel actually gives a very reassuring feel while holding the ginormous device. We were actually scared of dropping the device while using it one handed, given the size of it, but that was not an issue when using it two handed. The screen is a finger print magnet and extremely reflective, so obviously you are best advised to use a screen protector.
Our Gripe with the buttons
Despite having used the device continuously for several hours, the button configuration here absolutely bamboozles and confuses us. The tablet is obviously meant to be used in landscape mode, given the Samsung branding and the hardware home button placement. Obviously the device has a gyroscope that detects change in orientation and the screen rotates to be used in portrait mode, but using the device like that is super odd. Not just that, when in portrait mode, you are looking at the Home button and the capacitive buttons on the left which is very uncomfortable to use. The power button is placed on top of the device when placed in landscape mode, which is just bizarre. If something is meant to be held in landscape mode like the Home Button and Samsung branding suggests, then the easiest place for locating the power button is on either of the flanks from where we are holding the device. Every time we had to operate the power button, we had to actually keep the device down or stretch our left thumb across which was not very pleasant. Especially if you have small hands, you are going to really struggle with this especially as you have to hold the tablet from the bottom, else you would be covering the speaker grilles which are on the top. It feels, that Samsung actually was undecided if the tablet is to be used in landscape or portrait mode and ended up doing something in between.
The Screen despite its size is Gorgeous
Say whatever about the construction, you cannot grudge Samsung of the fact that they make absolutely stunning displays. The screen on the Samsung Tab Pro is no less and despite a PPI of 247, we enjoyed reading the text and watching multimedia on it. The reason for that is simple, we did not use the tablet as close to the eye as our smartphones, where anything below a 400 PPI is rated a disaster. If you do though, want to plunge the head into the table, icons and text do begin to pixelate out. Having said that and given the massive size of the device, the tablet is in our opinion made for business and enterprise, and would make a great accessory for your office. Apps like Office would be great on the tablet and the typing experience due to the screen estate. In fact, it is also a great companion for quickly discussing presentations and excels sheets, and some multimedia work. But beyond that, we do not know where the device fits in. We certainly cannot think about taking it to bed for light reading at night.
The Question of Apps
The application collection for the Android tablets has always been scarce. And most of the apps are blown up experiences from the smartphones, which is not all that great. The experience is totally opposite to that on iPad where dedicated apps for large screen estate are aplenty. Although there is a section for Tablet Highlights, we could barely find too many apps there and apart from the very basic ones, we ended up either using phone versions or going back to our iPads. Some of the big game titles such as Assassin’s Creed, QuizUp etc did show up in the tablet section, so there is definitely hope there. Although the gaming experience was good, we found the size of the tablet once again a stumbling block too big.
Once again, these are our first impressions and they may change completely over the next ten days when we plan to use the device as our primary and only tablet. So, stay tuned for an extended coverage and plenty more on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro. If there is anything, you would like us to cover, or would like to know about the tablet, drop a comment either on the post or to our Social networking profiles.