The larger a tablet gets, the less keen we are to use it as a camera. You need to shed your dignity to use the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 as a compact-replacer, but its camera is actually pretty good.
It’s very fast to focus and there’s virtually zero shutter lag. Tablets often treat their cameras as afterthoughts, and this tends to result in slow performance, making the things frustrating to use. In daylight, sharpness and photo ‘pop’ are both great. Some of that sharpness is down to processing, but when it results in photos that good a good deal better than those of other tablets, we don’t care much.
Here’s the camera in action.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 also has a very effective HDR mode, which melds multiple shots in order to make scenes with trickier lighting easier to shoot. Once again, the tablet is much closer to smartphone levels than what we might usually expect from a tablet.
We found the camera’s close-up shots a little soft, but we doubt many people of you will want to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 to take macro photos.
For the spec fans out there, the camera has an 8-megapixel 4:3 aspect sensor - of the usual 1/3.2-inch size. The lens has an f/2.4 aperture with a focal length of 32mm. The front camera shoots at 1080p resolution and is pretty good too.
You get most of the same modes as Samsung phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well. This includes drama shot, which takes multiple exposures for some natty action photos, panorama and the face-smoothing Beauty Face. They're most frivolous, but there's some fun to be had with them.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 has a 9,500mAh battery that is non-removable. That’s bigger than the iPad Air’s 8820mAh battery or the Note 10.1 2014 Edition’s 8220mAh battery.
Stamina is, as you would hope, very good. With brightness set to 40 per cent we got 13.5 hours of SD-quality video playback off a charge. That’s even better than the 10.1-inch model.
Good stamina makes this a tablet you can rely on, even if it is just around the home – where the Note Pro 12.2 thrives. However, charging the battery does take quite a while. It takes a good few hours with the bundled 2A charger, and will take forever plugged into a laptop.
We are not a business technology website and have therefore not focused hugely on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s inbuilt business apps. However, Samsung considers them an important part of the tablet.
Perhaps the most important is Knox. This is a security system designed to let tablets and phones be used within large companies’ corporate networks. It offers far greater security than Android, and is a great addition given how fiddly some third-party BYOD security packages for Android are.
We haven’t spent a great deal of time with the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s other business-focused apps, but they enable things like WebEx virtual meetings and remote access to your work computer through the tablet. These are things that can be provided in other tablets with third-party apps. But having them all 'centralised' under the Samsung banner is a bonus.
The tablet also has an IR transmitter, letting you control your home entertainment gear with the tablet, using a third-party app.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is not a tablet suited for most people. It’s big, it’s relatively heavy and it’s quite expensive.
However, this is an area without many rivals. If a 10.1-inch screen isn’t big enough and a pressure sensitive stylus is a must, this is actually a very successful tablet. The Samsung UI remains overwrought in places, but looks better than before and works pretty well on the big screen. And the S Pen works better than ever before thanks to the increased screen space.
We’re not convinced it’ll actually be that much more useful than an iPad Air for many people using a tablet for the more social side of business – presentations, displaying data at meetings and so on – but the more PC-like features such as quad-app multitasking should prove indispensable for some. And while the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is not light, it is lighter than any 12-inch laptop and certainly thinner at just 8.6mm thick.
A 12.2-inch tablet is not the right choice for 90 percent of tablet buyers. However, good build quality, decent specs and the always-handy S Pen make this a good buy for arty types or business users not satisfied by an iPad Air.
Next, read our best tablets round-up