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Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Review: The best alternative to the Microsoft Surface

When Microsoft first introduced the Surface in 2012, it would introduce the world to the 2-in-1 hybrid computer, where the main computer is a tablet and is accompanied by the detachable keyboard.

But these types of devices didn’t become more mainstream until late 2013 when more came on to the market. All the computer OEMs have tried to emulate the success that Microsoft has seen with their Surface lineup and the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is a good alternative for those looking at the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S for a few weeks now and it’s one of my favourite Windows 10 tablets to use even if there are some minor annoyances.

Normally in my product reviews, I would cover design & hardware, software and camera but for this TabPro S review, I won’t be covering the camera as much because let’s face it, cameras on tablets aren’t as great as a smartphone camera or a dedicated camera like a DSLR.

 

Design & Hardware

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The most prominent  feature of the TabPro S is the display. It has a 12-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2160×1440, which is about 216 pixels per inch. It may not be as high-resolution as say the display found on the Google Pixel C tablet or the Surface Pro 4 but it gets the job done.

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The display looks great from all angles, no matter which side you look from. Videos look great but you shouldn’t stare at a screen for too long (your eyes will eventually get sore).

The TabPro S has a metal body that feels great in the hands but since it’s so large, you’ll need to use two hands. The included keyboard has a faux-leather feel that makes it feel grippy when carrying the TabPro S around.

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When looking head-on at the tablet, there’s one button the left hand side that is a Windows key and brings up the Start Menu. On the very top you’ll find the power/lock button and a volume rocker.

There is also speakers on both the left and right hand sides of the device. On the right side is where you’ll find the USB Type-C port and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

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The TabPro S is sporting a dual-core Intel Core M processor along with 4GB of RAM. It comes in two colour options, black and white and only one capacity, 128GB. There is no microSD card slot for expandable storage, so you’ll have to rely on using OneDrive (which is pre-installed) if you need more storage space.

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The battery on the TabPro S is 5,200 mAh and it lasts up to 10.5 hours and takes about 2 hours to fully charge. The battery should easily last all day for everyday tasks and some light gaming.

The TabPro S also comes with a detachable keyboard which is good but there isn’t much travel to the keys. When the tablet is attached to the keyboard, you can prop the tablet at two angles, one for when you’re using it on your desk and the other when you are using it on your lap. The trackpad on the detachable keyboard is quite small and feels very squished.

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However, the TabPro S comes at a cost, you can find it anywhere from $1099 to $1249, depending on where you go. These prices are in Canadian dollar and are before taxes (if applicable).  

 

Software

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The TabPro is running Windows 10, which Microsoft says it the best version of Windows yet. Which I do agree with Microsoft, they have made major improvements to their OS. Windows 10 takes the best of Windows 7 and 8.

Even though the TabPro S is running Windows 10 Pro, it should be noted that you shouldn’t be using it for heavy tasks, that’s where a more beefier Windows laptop or desktop will come in handy.

Just like in Windows 8, Windows 10 can be used with devices with and without touchscreens. And unlike Android, there are lots of Windows 10 apps that work well on a tablet. Sure, there might not be as many apps as on Android or iOS but there are alternatives and you can easily install apps that are not on the Windows store.

I was able to easily multi-task on the TabPro S and the tablet easily kept up. In Windows 10, there’s even a tablet mode which will bring up the “Modern/Metro UI” that was introduced in Windows 8. And you can easily switch between Tablet mode and the traditional Windows 10 desktop with one click.

Samsung has also included some of their own software but not to the extent of completely customizing the OS a la TouchWiz on Android. Instead, Samsung has pre-installed some of their own software such as Samsung Flow which can allow you to easily sign into the TabPro S by tapping it with your Samsung phone.

Most of the other apps you’ll find pre-installed on the TabPro S are standard with any Windows 10 PC.

 

Camera

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The TabPro S has two cameras (one front-facing and one rear-facing), they both have a resolution of 5-megapixels. The cameras aren’t anything special , they’re nothing compared to the camera on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge but they should be enough for video calls.

Just like other tablets, cameras on them aren’t that great and shouldn’t be used that often. You don’t want to be that guy who uses their tablet to take photos. Use your smartphone or a dedicated camera instead of using a tablet to take pictures.

 

Final Thoughts

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If you’re looking for a good alternative to the Surface Pro 4, or you want a good Windows 10 tablet that can also do a bit more, then look no further than the Galaxy TabPro S.

However, with the Canadian dollar as it is, it has made the price of the TabPro S that much more expensive when you consider that for about $1000 CAD, you are getting a 2-in-1 tablet with only one storage configuration which can be a deal breaker if you plan on using this as your primary device (which more and more people have been using a Surface Pro 4 for) and the lack of any other ports or even expandable storage makes it hard to justify it’s price.
The TabPro S would have been much more appealing if it started at a lower price (especially in Canada), if it started at $599-699 CAD, I would give it a higher recommendation.

Pros
+ Great screen
+ All-day battery
+ Premium design
+ Keyboard is included

Cons
– Expensive (especially in Canada)
– Thin keyboard with no travel
– One USB Type-C port
– No Expandable storage and no other storage capacities

8point5_CT_Review




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