Last Thursday I was invited to the Galaxy TabPro S event where I was able to take a closer look at Samsung’s first Galaxy-branded Windows device. Since the TabPro S wants to be a portable 2-in-1 device focusing on productivity I was really looking forward to getting my hands on the device and comparing it with the Surface Pro 4 which for me is exactly the device the TabPro S intends to be. In this post I want to share with you my initial impressions of the device after having used it for a couple of days – an in-depth review will follow in the coming weeks. I also plan to write a detailed article comparing the Surface Pro 4 and the Galaxy TabPro S.
About this article: At the time of writing the pen sadly wasn’t yet available, Samsung says it will be available starting this June. Furthermore, so far I have only had quick look at the included keyboard cover since it was missing in my box. I will get the keyboard in the coming days for a more in-depth look.
Check our in-depth review here.
Design and Build Quality
One of the highlights of the TabPro S is definitely the device’s portable form factor: Even though the device is fairly big – with a display size of 12 inches – for a tablet, the TabPro S weighs only 693 g and is 6.3 mm thin. The Surface Pro 4 – which I already consider as being very portable – weighs about 100 grams more and is more than two millimeters thicker. So Samsung definitely did a great job in terms of making the device as portable as possible. Nevertheless, one should also keep in mind that Samsung had to make some compromisses to achieve this level of portability: Firstly, the device is only available with Core M3 – unlike the Pro 4 which ranges up to Core i7 – and secondly the TabPro S lacks a kickstand. Furthermore, the convertible isn’t equipped with a full size USB port but rather with a USB Type C port which is used for both data transfer and charging. At the end of the day I have to say that so far I’m really pleased with the TabPro S in terms of weight and thinness. Regarding the overall design, I’d describe it as quite stylish and elegant while slightly resembling the design of Samsung’s S-series (S6, S7) in the phone market. The only downside I have to mention is that – due to the extreme thinness – the camera stands out quite a bit which could annoy some of you. I for one still have to find out if it’s that big of a deal for me…
Build quality is superb: Despite its thinness, the TabPro S is absolutely sturdy and doesn’t bend at all. The sides of the device are made out of metal and therefor feel absolutely premium – as does the back, which is covered by a very confortable and premium plastic.
So all in all my first impressions in terms of design are very positive: The tablet looks stylish and elegant and is very well built.
Samsung is well-known for its Super AMOLED displays which one either loves or hates – although “hate” is probably a bit exaggerated. Still, I for one definitely am part of the “love” group. I am a huge fan of the great and vibrant colors as well as the beautiful blacks and I think this could also be a great differentiator for Samsung in the 2-in-1 market. With its 12″ size the display of the TabPro S is as big as the one found on the Pro 3 and with a resolution of 2160 x 1440 pixels, the device is offers the same sharpness as the Pro 3. But I am not only pleased with the display in terms of color reproduction and sharpness but also in terms of brightness; the display can get very bright.
As of now I can’t give you any real world figures here but Samsung claims that the device should offer up to 10 hours of battery life and thanks to quick charging the battery can be charged in about 2.5 hours. I already charged the device once and I can confirm that charging the TabPro S is very quick indeed.
There’s one speaker of each side of the TabPro S which offer quite decent sound and for those who aren’t happy with the quality Samsung includes headphones in the package which I haven’t tried out as of now.
Although I don’t expect (and hope) that anyone will buy the TabPro S for taking photos, it’s still good to now that the device has a 5 megapixel camera both on the back and on the front. While you won’t take any good quality pictures with the back camera, the 5 megapixel shooter on the front should be very good for Skype calls.
Software and Performance
Despite being sold under the Galaxy-brand – which was previously only used for Android products – the TabPro S runs (full) Windows 10. Unlike other OEMs, Samsung luckily doesn’t preinstall any third-party programs which is a big plus in my opinion. There is some Samsung software though: But that’s actually not a bad thing since most of them offer a real value. Especially Samsung Flow, which for instance allows users owning a Samsung smartphone running Android 6.0 to unlock the TabPro S with their phone. Galaxy Settings offers some device-specific options, for instance you can adapt the display mode. Last but not least there’s also Scrap Box which seems to be a snipping tool equivalent.
As mentioned before the TabPro S only comes in different Core M3 options and there are no Core i models. I’ve been told at the event that Samsung made this decision because they wanted to keep the device fan-less (which is cool!) and the latest Core M processors offer enough power for most people. So far this holds true for me as well.
At home I have only used the TabPro S as a tablet so far and it will be interesting to see if I’m still so pleased with the device when I’ve got the keyboard here to actually use it as a 2-in-1. Especially, since the keyboard folio didn’t really convince me at the hands on event since your limited to two angles only. But so far I’m pleasantly surprised by the TabPro S: It is stylish, it is light and thin, it feels premium, it has a phenomenal display, it offers enough power for my needs and it runs Windows 😉