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First Look: Samsung TabPro S

A few years ago I said “tablets are good, but haven’t replaced laptops yet”. Those days are gone. You have to be a wee bit loose with your definition of a tablet, but since the release of the Microsoft’s Surface in 2012 we’ve seen laptop power contained within a tablet form factor and many more have followed since.

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Samsung’s foray into this area is almost perfect. The Galaxy TabPro S is thin (6.3mm), light (696g) and powerful (2.2GHz dual-core processor), everything you need. In fact, running Windows 10 might be the only big negative I had.

As an operating system, Windows 10 is fine, but it feels cluttered and clunky on a computer that mainly uses a touch interface. It is, however, better than a less versatile operating system such as Android or iOS.

The make-or-break for any “hybrid” tablet is how the keyboard is integrated. Some models have clunky folding methods that can leave new users struggling with keyboard origami. The Galaxy TabPro S uses a simple method that works remarkably well. When folded away, it’s like carrying a small folio folder. The keyboard itself was a little cramped but still OK for typing on. I made more mistakes than I do on my regular (full-sized, ergonomic) keyboard but that’s to be expected. The keyboard sits flat on whatever surface you’re using and also works as the stand for the tablet section. This means it’s difficult to balance on your lap.

The lack of a kickstand on the tablet section means it’s not as simple to use without the keyboard but that’s far from a deal-breaker.

It had the graphical capability and power for me to stream games from my Xbox (using the built-in Xbox app). Given its processor and RAM there’s a good chance it could run heavy-duty programs, such as Photoshop, but I wasn’t able to test this.

One thing the TabPro S suffers from is a lack of ports. There’s only a single USB-C port (fast becoming the connector of choice for portable electronics) and a headphone jack.

In many ways, it’s difficult to write about a device you liked and that had no issues. I carried the Galaxy TabPro S all over town and used it to work remotely on many occasions and never had a problem. It’s even slightly cheaper than other hybrid computers with similar specs.

Essential specs

Samsung TabPro S (4G LTE version)

  • Price: $2000
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor: 2.2GHz, dual-core
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 128GB storage (85GB available)
  • Display: 12" (304mm), 2160 x 1440 Super AMOLED
  • USB: USB-C
  • WiFi: 802.11 ac 2.4G+5GHz
  • NFC: Yes
  • HxWxD: 199 x 290 x 6mm
  • Weight: 696g

Our writer received this tablet on loan for this First Look. First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.

by Hadyn Green

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