Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 review
10.1 in 2,560x1,600 display, 469g, 1.9GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Octa, 2.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Android 4.4.2
There are three 10.1in Samsung tablets in the current range. At the bottom you have the £225 Tab 3, with its relatively low-resolution 1,280x800 screen and dual-core 1.6GHz processor. At the top is the £500-plus Galaxy Note 10.1, with its capacitive stylus for note-taking and drawing. Finally you have this, the Tab Pro 10.1 (irritatingly written as TabPRO offically), which shares the Note's 2,560x1,600 screen and eight-core processor, but takes away the stylus and over £100 from the price.
The Tab Pro 10.1 looks almost identical to the Note, and keeps the love-it-or-loathe-it faux-leather rear. This is a little cheesy and divides opinion, but it certainly makes the tablet easy to grip and is preferable to shiny plastic. Most Android tablets dispensed with physical buttons a while ago, preferring to devote a section of the display to back, home and running applications, but Samsung has kept dedicated controls on the bezel. This leaves more screen space for your desktop, but means you can’t easily use the tablet upside down - but we don't consider that much of a hardship.
GALAXY TAB PRO DISPLAY
The screen is the tablet's standout feature, thanks to its massive 2,560x1,600 resolution. This is the highest pixel count of any tablet currently available, dwarfing even the current iPad's 2,048x1,536 display. The iPad's screen may be classed as Retina, so the human eye is not able to discern individual pixels, but even so text on the Tab Pro's screen still looked slightly smoother than on Apple's tablet. There's also little to choose between them in terms of image quality. In our calibration tests, both tablets have similar contrast ratios, with the iPad coming in at 805:1 and the Tab Pro 812:1 - impressively deep for LCD rather than AMOLED screens.
The Tab Pro's display is slightly brighter than the iPad Air's, with a measured figure of 397.9cd/m2 compared to 374.68cd/m2, but the iPad has the edge for colour accuracy, displaying 96.8% of the sRGB colour gamut compared to 93.3% on the Tab Pro. Side by side, there's little to choose between the two screens, but the iPad has very slightly purer whites.
GALAXY TAB PRO PERFORMANCE
The Galaxy Tab Pro has a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor, which uses ARM's big.LITTLE architecture. This has four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 processors, and is designed to switch to the lower-power cores when performing less-intensive tasks such as audio or video playback. The tablet managed 10h 14m in our continuous video playback test, which is one of the better scores we've seen from a 10in Android tablet, but lags behind the 12h 24m we saw from the iPad Air.
We weren't particularly impressed with the Tab Pro's performance, however. Its 1.9GHz processor should be able to run Android smoothly, but we experienced plenty of lag. Animations were jerky when opening and closing applications, and there's a slight delay between pressing a key on the onscreen keyboard and text appearing. There's also a delay between swiping your finger on a web page and the page moving. The tablet's performance compares poorly to the super-responsive iPad, and also to the Google Nexus 5, which feels far snappier than Samsung's tablet despite its slower processor. We suspect that a combination of the high-res screen and Samsung's software customisations is affecting the tablet's performance.
The processor showed its muscle in our 3DMark benchmark, though, with a huge score of 9,523. Real Racing 3 ran perfectly with all detail turned up to maximum.