Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Hands On, An Android-less and Absurdly Thin Surface Rival

by Reads (6,008)

Behold, the Samsung Galaxy Tab that runs Windows: The Galaxy TabPro S.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

This is a first for Samsung, given that the vaunted Galaxy Tab lineup has exclusively consisted of high-end and mid-range Android tablets since the original in 2010, and it’s an impressive first take.

This 6th-generation Intel Core M-powered tablet measures just .24 inches thick without its keyboard case, making it marginally thinner than the Apple iPad Air 2.

At a glance, the Galaxy TabPro S is very reminiscent of the excellent Galaxy Tab S 9.7 Android tablet, with a similar design, complete with flat sides with slightly rounded edges, though sporting a metal alloy frame. At 1.53 pounds without the keyboard (more than a half pound more than the iPad Air 2), it feels particularly solid. You can tell Samsung didn’t waste any space in fitting all the components together.

A Surface Rival

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S keyboard

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S keyboard

Of course, while its name forces comparisons with other mobile tablets, its operating system and processor suggest this is more a Microsoft Surface rival. And to that end, it couples with a keyboard cover that could be easily confused with the older-generation Surface Type Covers. However, unlike the Surface Covers, the Galaxy TabPro S keyboard cover wraps all the way around the device like a folio, attaching via magnet to the back, and again to a smart connector on the bottom for data transfer. The cover can bend in two stops to prop up the Galaxy TabPro S, though it’s not as stable as the Surface tablet kickstand and will do best on a flat surface.

They keys are laid out as a big block with no spacing between them, just above a large single piece trackpad. Again, to Surface users this will look very familiar. Samsung reps could not confirm key travel distance, but expect it to be on the shallow end give the cover’s thinness. That said, both the keyboard and touchpad seemed responsive during our quick hands-on time with it.

Display

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S "kickstand"

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S “kickstand”

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S has a 12-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1440 resolution. That’s right, it’s AMOLED. In fact, Samsung reps claimed it was the biggest AMOLED screen they’ve put on a device to date (excluding any of Samsung’s uber-expensive HDTVs). Simply put, it looks stunning, with vibrant colors and very deep blacks. Samsung displays are consistently some of the best on the market, and this device is no exception.

Unlike the Surface tablets, this display is touch only. There is no active pen support. Samsung reps made mention of a capacitive stylus accessory, but that won’t be providing the pressure-sensitivity of the Surface Pen, or even Huawei’s new stick.

Specs

Other Galaxy TabPro S specs include a USB Type-C input that doubles as data and charging, with some version of quick charge (Samsung reps couldn’t confirm, but it may be Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, which is found on the Samsung Galaxy smartphones). The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S also has 4GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of capacity, and a 5,200 mAh battery that Samsung reps claim can provide up to 10 hours of juice. That could be thanks in part to the OLED display, which consumes less power than traditional LEDs. The TabPro S will ship with either Windows 10 Home or Pro.

We’re a bit concerned about the single USB Type-C port. We didn’t like it on the MacBook. It’s too limiting. Data and power should be separate, especially for a “Pro” device built for mobile productivity. But we’ll see how it works out when we get a chance to review the TabPro S.

Software Tweaks

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S kickstand kicked back

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S kickstand kicked back

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S brings a few interesting features to Samsung smartphone owners, including the ability to unlock the device via the smartphone’s fingerprint sensor, as well as interact with the smartphone’s Android notifications on the Windows 10 tablet, all through Samsung SideSync.

One omission is KNOX, Samsung’s mobile security and management suite, which is odd given the enterprise potential for a device like this.

The reasons, according to Samsung reps at CES 2016, have to do with the operating system. Samsung essentially has total control over its Android software stack, which includes KNOX, while Windows 10 is all Microsoft’s. This Galaxy TabPro S is equal parts of both parties, and in fact the Windows maker is even touting the new Surface rival on the official Windows blog

This probably also means that the excellent power management and security features on last year’s Samsung ATIV Book 9 won’t be on board either, though this is not confirmed.

Price and Availability

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is slated to ship in February, and Samsung has yet to announce a price. However, word around the Samsung booth at CES 2016 was that the price would be around $900.

That’s also not confirmed, but we do know that the keyboard will ship with the tablet. For comparisons sake, the Core M-powered Surface Pro 4 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starts at $899, and it and ships with a Surface Pen. A Surface Type Cover will run you at least and additional $130.

If Samsung sticks with that rumored price, the Galaxy TabPro will be an attractive Surface alternative. We are definitely excited to try out this slick Windows 10 machine.

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