Have you used a Samsung Galaxy phone? Then you’ve basically used a Samsung Galaxy tablet.
Samsung loaded its own tweaked version of Android KitKat 4.4 onto the Note Pro, and the experience is rather similar to any of its phone offerings. At least this time, there’s less bloatware, so you’re not carrying around extra programs that you won’t use. There is a Samsung app store built in though, oddly. Not sure I’d ever use it, since you need a Samsung account to go along with it, when you’re already forced into using a Google account on the device.
But let’s address the physical device. You can’t ignore how huge the Note Pro is. It’s as long as my forearm! How anyone could carry this in their hand all day is beyond me. Sure, it’s light -- for its size -- but it’s just unwieldy. And unlike Microsoft’s Surface, the Note Pro doesn’t have a built-in kickstand to offset its large size. Sure, you can buy a $20 case to remedy that, but it seems like an oversight on a tablet this large.
Samsung has done a good job on the screen, though; the Note Pro sports a 4 million pixel display. Colors are satisfyingly vibrant and YouTube videos are crisp enough to silence display complaints. Even the standard wallpapers hold an incredible amount of detail; highly visual applications like Yahoo weather and Flickr look fantastic.
The touch screen is Samsung business as usual -- responsive, accurate, all that jazz. Like the rest of the Note line, the Pro comes with a little stylus that tucks neatly into the back of the tablet when you’re not using it. It functions properly, but I never found myself using it beyond anything but doodling. I could see the Note Pro as a decent sketching tool, if I had any artistic ability whatsoever -- the 12.2 inch screen isn’t far off from the size of a standard piece of paper.
Unfortunately, like a piece of paper, this tablet flexes really easily. Whether or not this is because it’s been a review unit and therefore abused by journalists is unclear, but the creaking and cracking the Note Pro made was really unsettling. I felt like I was close to breaking it anytime I held it. Someone messed up here. The faux-leather backplate just looks and feels cheap, like the rest of the Note Pro.
The processor performance is the real bummer, though. It’s got a quadcore Exynos 5 Octa, which should be good. It works fine for simple apps like Facebook and games like Sega’s recent "Sonic the Hedgehog" abomination, but when you get into more intensive games like Asphalt 8, the Note Pro just can’t hack it.
I could forgive most of this if the tablet was cheap ... but this 32GB model is $650. For a machine that feels shoddy and doesn’t do anything better than its smaller brethren, that’s just too much money. I’d recommend the Note Pro 10.1 or 8.4 instead -- you get pretty much the same internal package in much sturdier and more portable packages.