If nothing else, Samsung should certainly get an “A” for effort. The South Korean manufacturer’s devices have generally met with approval, and one could forgive them for resting on their laurels. Instead, they seem to be intent on ensuring there are Samsung tablets for just about every kind of user.
Having made their name mostly with solid budget-range devices, they’re now clearly targeting the Apple crowd with the decidedly iPad Air-like Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. It certainly isn’t for budget shoppers, but it may well be worth the price.
Comparing tablets, the 9.57-by-6.75-by-0.29 inch Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is only marginally larger and ever-so-slightly thinner than the Apple iPad Air. They’re exactly the same weight, too, with both weighing in at a scant 1.03 pounds.
The Galaxy Tab Pro features the same faux-leather design found on previous Samsung tablets, and it’s as divisive as ever. Most will enjoy the premium aesthetic, but some may find it rather tacky. The build quality is very good, offering minimal flex and smooth seams.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is designed to spend most of its life in landscape mode, and the layout reflects that. The top edge is home to an IR blaster along with a power button and volume rocker. A pair of stereo speakers are placed near the top of the left and right edges, making for a better audio experience compared to tablets with speakers on the bottom or back panel.
There’s a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack on the left side and a covered microSD card reader on the right, while the bottom edge is reserved for the micro-USB port. On the bottom of the front bezel is a physical home button, flanked on either side by capacitive touch buttons.
Resolving the Details
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was particularly noteworthy for its beautiful 2,560-by-1,600 pixel display, and the same can be said of the Tab Pro 10.1. The ultra-high resolution display edges out the iPad Air in a tablet comparison, and it’s every bit as good overall.
Though brightness is only average, the color reproduction, contrast and viewing angles are all fantastic. For those who are prone to tinkering, the Display Mode option also provides a number of handy tweaks and adjustments.
Under the Hood
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor, while the LTE-enabled version employs a 2.3-gigahertz Snapdragon 800 chip. Both feature two gigabytes of RAM. The performance is quite similar between the two, and it’s generally very good.
Comparing tablets with the iPad Air, the Galaxy Tab Pro delivers similarly smooth and snappy performance overall. The Galaxy Tab Pro handles virtually any task you can throw at it with ease, but it struggles noticeably when too many tasks are running at once.
It’s a disappointing showing for what is otherwise a satisfyingly powerful device.
Samsung clearly aimed at creating an Android-powered alternative to the Apple iPad Air, and in many respects they’ve succeeded. There aren’t many shortcomings when comparing the tablets, though the Galaxy Tab Pro’s shaky performance in multitasking is disappointing.
Otherwise, the Galaxy offers comparable performance and a brilliant display in a solid, well-designed Android package. It improves on the Galaxy Note 10.1 in several ways, though the Note remains a solid option for those who require the functionality of the integrated S Pen.
Samsung may not have unseated Apple just yet, but they’ve certainly provided a solid Android alternative.