In my opinion, laptops are still unbeaten by tablets. Devices such as the Microsoft Surface Pro, which is now in its 4th generation, may have come close to completely replacing the laptop in our lives, but not just yet. Companies like Lenovo have just produced hybrids such as their Yoga series, which give you the best of both worlds by acting as a laptop and tablet simultaneously. Another is Samsung, with its recently released Galaxy Tab S Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pro
We hadn’t seen a computer from Samsung in a while, right up until CES this year when it unveiled the 2-in-1 convertible Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the Huawei Matebook are in this year’s race to see which brand captures the audience looking for something smack in between a tablet and a laptop.
Body and display
From the second you open the box of the device and take out the Tab S Pro, you know it’s a premium device but not a delicate one. The body is encased in a magnesium frame holding a massive 12-inch Super AMOLED display running the resolution of 2,160×1,440 (216ppi) on the front and a somewhat textured back of the device. The display is better than most we see in high-end laptops at the moment.
The device comes with four buttons: the volume rockers, power switch and Windows home button. Ports are one area where I found the Tab S Pro seriously lacking, since it only has a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Tab S Pro is powered by a sixth-generation Intel Core M processor, this one being a dual-core clocked at approximately 1.5GHz with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage. Microsoft’s Windows 10 is on the device out of the box. You can get Home or Office versions, depending on which variation of the device you get. Wireless connections on the Tab S Pro include Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, as well as GPS and NFC.
The Tab S Pro is equipped with 5MP auto-focus (rear) and 5MP (front) cameras. Neither comes with flash, but both can record HD videos.
Daily Use and Battery life
I used the device for a week and tried my best to keep it as my daily driver. The Tab comes with a 5,200mAh battery. Initially when I started using the device, I was a little disappointed with its battery life as I wasn’t able to even achieve six to seven hours – forget about the 10 plus hours promised by Samsung. But it was only on the third day that I began to realise that the whole point of Samsung using the Intel Core M processors was to keep usage of the device just like a tablet.
Once I started switching off features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while not in use, I was easily able to achieve six hours of battery life on the device. Adjusting other features such as brightness and using power saving mode also helped boost the device’s battery life.
The Tab S Pro is definitely a capable device. It worked with ease when I was using e-mails, web browsing, streaming and watching videos. The only time I felt a slight lag was when I tried to do a little photo editing. Images took time to load and so did effects.
One bug I seemed to encounter a few times while using the device was that it would hang for a considerable amount of time whenever I had to restart the unit. As I said, I only used it for a week so I’m not going to say this is a problem with the entire line, but it did happen enough for me to notice.
One of the biggest trumps the Samsung Tab S Pro has over the Surface Pro 4 is the fact that the keyboard comes in the box. It’s attached to the case of the device, which is magnetic. The magnet attaches itself on two ends of the device, one at its back (pictured below) and the other on the magnetic pins at the Tab’s bottom.
Even though it’s great not having to spend extra on a case and a keyboard for the device, there are certain flaws here. The case doesn’t offer the most comfortable orientation and isn’t very lap-friendly. The keyboard feels rather jammed together and typing did require a bit of adjusting to. And it isn’t backlit.
I’m very much on the fence when it comes to my opinion of the Tab S Pro. On one hand, it’s a delight to use with a gorgeous screen, lightweight but sturdy body, quick processing and ease in handling. However, the lack of connectivity ports and battery life were very disappointing. Can a Samsung Tab S Pro replace your current laptop? Most probably not. Is it better to have than a tablet? Definitely yes!
Samsung is on the right path but the Tab S Pro is a work in progress.