Samsung has announced a new flagship tablet at CES, the Galaxy NotePRO, which comes loaded with a stunning 2,560 x 1,600, 12.2in display, a suite of productivity apps, and a host of free apps and services designed to help it compete against Apple's iPad.
We spent some hands-on time with the device before the official launch at CES 2014, and the first thing we noticed was the brilliant display. The WXVGA screen is the highest resolution display on the market, and it shows. At 12.2in, this isn't a device that you can use with one hand, but at under 8mm thick it feels like you are holding a thin paper notepad. The construction is solid and, yes, it also has the faux-leather stitching that adorns the Galaxy Note 3. It isn't leather, but it is better than boring plastic.
Although the tablet runs Android 4.4, it sure doesn't look like it. Samsung is using what it calls a "Magazine UX" interface, which consists of a collection of widgets (calendar, email, browser, photos, etc.) than can be configured in any number of designs. It looks like a cross between Windows 8 and Flipboard, but works much better. You can drag and drop widgets or resize them just by pinching the corners. Samsung will ship the device with threes standard templates, but it is easy to add more. And if you are an Android purist the standard App Grid is always just a tap away.
Feel along the side of the device and you can pull out the Samsung S Pen stylus. As soon as you pull it out of its slot, the S Pen menu window will open up with options for Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, and S Finder. You don't need the S Pen to operate the NotePRO, but it is a handy tool. It’s great for handwritten notes and the character recognition is remarkably accurate – even with my terrible handwriting, I was able to scrawl a phone number and use the S Pen to dial it in less than five seconds. Neat stuff.
Samsung is pushing the Galaxy NotePRO as a tablet that can get things done. To that end, it has included Remote PC with the device, which does exactly what you think it does. You have to install an app on the host PC or Mac, and after that you will have complete control over the remote device. The tablet also comes pre-loaded with a six month premium subscription to Cisco WebEx Meetings, which makes it easy to quickly set up a video conference.
Finally, Samsung is bundling what it claims is over $700 (£430) worth of pre-paid apps and subscription offers with the NotePRO. These include Bitcasa, Bloomberg Businessweek+, Blurb, Cisco WebEx Meetings, Dropbox, EasilyDo Pro for Tablet, Evernote, Hancom Office for Android, LinkedIn, NY Times, Oxford Advanced Learner's A-Z, and Sketchbook Pro. I wasn't able to test all of these out, but it is certainly a robust collection of offers.
The LTE version of the NotePRO runs a Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core processor and comes with 32GB-64GB of storage (plus an SD Slot), an 8-megapixel camera, and GPS.
Pricing for the NotePRO has not been set, but Samsung expects it to ship globally in the first quarter of 2014.
Samsung also introduced Pro versions of its Galaxy Tab line-up of tablets, which do not include an S Pen. They come in at 8.4in, 10.1in, and 12.2in.