Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE - A Non-stylus Note Striving to be Pro

Launch SRP: S$798

Performance & Battery Life, Camera, Conclusion

Performance, Benchmarks, and Battery life

The Samsung  Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.3GHz processor, which is exactly the same as its earlier launched Note cousin. It however comes with 2GB of RAM, which is 1GB shy of its Note cousin. Given these specs, how does the new Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 compare against other 10-inch tablets, especially against its similarly specced Note 10.1 2014 edition?

To answer that, we've put together the following tablets under scrutiny against the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1:-

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 vs. The Competition
  Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (LTE) Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T Apple iPad Air Microsoft Surface 2
Launch SRP
  • From S$798
  • From S$998
  • From S$1198
  • From S$749
  • From S$688
  • From S$618
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.3GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz Quad-core
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core
  • NVIDIA Tegra 4 quad-core 1.9GHz
  • A7 dual-core 1.4GHz processor with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor
  • NVIDIA Tegra 4 quad-core processor
Operating system
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Apple iOS 7
  • Windows RT 8.1
Memory
  • 2GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
Display
  • 10.1-inch / 2,560 x 1,600 pixels / TFT LCD
  • 10.1-inch / 2560 x 1600 resolution / Super Clear LCD display
  • 12.2-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) LCD
  • 10.1-inch / 2,560 x 1,600 (WQXGA, 300ppi) / LED-backlit with IPS, 10-point capacitive multi-touch
  • 9.7‑inch / 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264ppi / Retina display / LED-backlit Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology / Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD / 1920 x 1080 (208 ppi)
Camera
  • Rear: 8-megapixel with autofocus and LED flash
  • Front: 2-megapixel
  • Main: 8 Megapixels / Front-facing: 2 Megapixels
  • Rear: 8 megapixels, auto focus camera with LED flash
  • Front: 2 megapixels
  • Main: 5 Megapixels, 1080p Full HD video recording
  • Front-facing: 1.2 Megapixels, 720p HD video recording
  • 5-megapixel iSight Camera / Autofocus / Five-element lens / Hybrid IR filter / f/2.4 aperture / 1080p HD video recording
  • 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD Camera (720p HD video)
  • 5MP rear-facing camera / 1020p FHD
  • 3.5MP front-facing camera /1020p FHD
I/O Ports
  • Micro-USB 2.0
  • USB 2.0
  • Micro-USB 3.0, MHL 2.1, 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Tablet: Micro HDMI, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack
  • Dock: USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • MicroSD card reader
  • Headphone jack
  • HD video out
  • Cover port (for use with Surface accessories)
Storage
  • 16GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD card (up to 64GB)
  • 32GB eMMC internal storage
  • MicroSD (up to 64GB)
  • 32GB internal storage with microSDXC (tablet) & SDXC (dock) slots
  • 16/32/64/128GB
  • 32 or 64GB
  • MicroSD card (up to 64GB)
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL 2.0, Screen Mirroring, AGPS, GLONASS, IrLED
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v4.0, MHL 2.0
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO, HT80)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • IrLED
  • GPS + GLONASS
  • 802.11a/b/g/n (dual-band) with Miracast, Bluetooth v3.0 + EDR
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi‑Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth v4.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0
Battery
  • 8,220mAh
  • 8,220mAh
  • 9,500mAh
  • 7000mAh
  • 8,827mAh
  • 31.5Wh
Dimensions
  • 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.3mm
  • 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.9mm
  • 295.5 x 204 x 7.95mm
  • 263 x 180.8 x 8.9mm
  • 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm
  • 275 x 173 x 8.9 m
Weight
  • 477g
  • 547g
  • 753g
  • 585g
  • 469g (Wi-Fi) 478g (4G LTE)
  • 676g

 

Sunspider

SunSpider JavaScript helps measure the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience.

Amongst all the other Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 performed the best in the Sunspider benchmark. Interestingly, the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 did not fare as well even though they have almost similar specs.

 

Quadrant

Quadrant evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performances. Evidently, Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 leads the pack.

 

3DMark 2013

Originally developed as a PC benchmarking tool, 3DMark is now expanded to support multiple platforms including Android OS. The Ice Storm benchmark is designed for smartphones and tablets.

For an in-depth understanding of 3DMark for Android, do head over to our article, "3DMark - Android Device GPU Performance Review." In a nutshell, 3DMark now consists of three test sections:

  • 3DMark Ice Storm is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark test that uses fixed off-screen rendering at 720p then scales the output to fit the native display resolution of your device. Ice Storm includes two graphics tests designed to stress the GPU performance of your device and a physics test to stress its CPU performance.
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme raises the off-screen rendering resolution to 1080p and uses higher quality textures and post-processing effects to create a more demanding load for the latest smartphones and tablets.
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited is used to make chip-to-chip comparisons of different chipsets, CPUs and GPUs, without vertical sync, display resolution scaling and other operating system factors affecting the result.

For this review, we will focus on the scores of the Ice Storm Unlimited. The trio of Samsung tablets is in a league of its own compared to the ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T, iPad Air and Surface 2.

 

Battery Life

The battery life of Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 was tested by looping a 720p video with the following settings:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%

Despite having the same battery and display size, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 lasted about 20% longer than the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. As seen in the Power Consumption chart, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 drew lesser power.

We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio and the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 topped the Portability chart thanks to it being the lightest and slimmest 10-inch tablet of the lot. 

 

Imaging Performance

Once again, the imaging is never one of the main use cases for a tablet. Nonetheless, the Samsung Tab Pro 10.1 has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, both of which can also record HD videos - similar to the Note 10.1. We found the camera to be decently good for a tablet; check out the quality of the photos below:-

 

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is an almost perfect enterprise-oriented device that can double up well for regular content consumption needs. It is basically a Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, with the S-Pen ripped off and with enterprise software features preloaded on it.

Its major Achilles' heel is still the Samsung TouchWiz interface. Though beautiful, the features are not as well optimized compared to stock Android; stutters are frequent, which affected productivity and tainted the user experience slightly. The implementation of a physical button on the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 can cause users to accidentally press it when holding it in portrait mode, thereby causing tremendous inconvenience, which is inevitable when using it in portrait mode. The inability to turn off Magazine UX is no doubt a turn off for some, especially those that come from stock Android or Apple iOS; the app will undoubtedly consume resources in the background unless otherwise there's a way to disable it. On the flip side, the integration of the Magazine UX is a boon for those who don't really want to rely upon third-party apps and are glad to use what's provided with the tablet. As such, the presence of the Magazine UX is definitely a plus point and could only be improved upon by acknowledging that some users prefer their own apps and allow the interface to be disabled.

Despite the free suite of enterprise apps, the lack of an intuitive user experience somewhat affected the productivity aspect of the tablet that Samsung wants to promote. It does not help either when the retail price is S$798 for the LTE model. The Wi-Fi edition goes for S$748, but considering such a small price differential, most would opt for the LTE model.

If you are a Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition user, there is no reason for you to 'upgrade' to the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 because it's not a successor model. Aside from the enterprise apps, you get almost similar performance. In fact, the Note series of tablets still have an upper hand with their S-Pen stylus related functionality. Currently priced officially at S$898 for the LTE edition and S$798 for the Wi-Fi model, it's technically still a superior product and doesn't cost much more than the Tab Pro 10.1 we've reviewed today.

So for whom will the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 appeal to? Ironically even with all its enterprise oriented preloaded software functions, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 would probably appeal to the average end-user looking for a top-end content consumption tablet with a high resolution screen, extremely thin and light build and a long lasting battery. With a class leading weight of just 477 grams. the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is on par with the Apple iPad Air and even betters it from the perspective of overall dimensions (it's just 7.3mm thin). This makes the tablet effortless to handle and is by far one of its strongest suits. And given some of the quirks we've found when using some of the tablet's more productivity oriented functions, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is probably better at pleasing general consumers than those who are focused on a device squarely for productivity. Perhaps that's why we find its asking price a little on the expensive side when considering all aspects of the device.

8.0
Design
8
Features
8
User-Friendliness
7.5
Performance
8
Value
7.5
The Good
Very light and thin
Superb display
Enterprise-level apps bundled out of the box
The Bad
Designed for enterprise, but is better suited for content consumption
Portrait handling hampered by Home button
Stutters observed, more so in multi-tasking
High price