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Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2: S Pen Stylus and Performance

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 – Stylus

Where we’re keen on Samsung doing its best to get the most out of something is with the S Pen stylus. A few crucial 'right moves' make the stylus a great asset rather than a naff add-on. They’re pretty much the same as Samsung’s other Note products, so we’ll be brief:

  • The S Pen slots into the body so you’ll only lose it once a week, not three times a day
  • It uses pressure sensitive digitiser rather than ‘dumb’ capacitive pen, making it worthwhile
  • There’s palm rejection, meaning when the stylus is close to the screen you can rest your hand on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 without it counting it as a touchscreen prod
  • The nib is rubber rather than plastic, and has a bit of give, making it feel more natural to write with
  • There’s no battery in the stylus
The S Pen is a great piece of hardware, and one of the few things that sets Samsung’s tablet line-up apart from the rest. This particular tablet doesn’t introduce many brand new stylus software features, but the current bunch is pretty good regardless.

The stylus can be used wherever you need to input text, as the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s custom keyboard has a separate OCR mode that lets you write – rather than tap. It’s generally slower than typing with your thumbs, but character recognition works quite well unless you have truly terrible handwriting.

When not handwriting, Air Command is the main way to access S Pen features. It pops up when you hover the S Pen over the screen an inch or closer and press the button on the pen itself.

Functions on this radial menu include partial screengrabs, writing notes on the screen, the universal search and two more interesting ones – Action Memo and Pen Window.

Air Command

Action Memo gives you a post-it sized scrap of note paper. Write something on it and it’ll be OCR’d into standard text that you search the web with it or email to someone.

Pen Window is a multi-tasking feature we referenced earlier. You draw a Window on the screen and can then run a mini version of a core app within it – a browser window, a calculator, video player or your email being obvious examples.

These extra stylus bits turn the S Pen from a stick into a tool.

Pen Window lets you bring up a dictionary screen for those tricky 'what on Earth does that mean' moments

However, it’s also useful as simply another way to navigate around the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. For the most part it works just like a finger when prodded on items – it can flick through menus, run apps, be used to play games and so on.

There are also a few stylus-optimised apps included. The most important are S Note, the versatile note-taking app that can even be made to sketch out presentations, and SketchBook Pro. This is a fantastic drawing app that shows off the stylus’s benefits for creative types. It supports pressure sensitivity, Photoshop-style layers and plenty of brush customisation. It’s one of the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s best apps.

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 – Performance

All this was true of the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. However, that tablet was beset with performance issues at launch that we haven’t experienced with the Note Pro 12.2.

Performance is pretty great generally, with little lag and plenty of power on tap. The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 version we’re reviewing uses the Octo core Samsung Exynos 5420, clocked at 1.9GHz. This is the chip used in the Wi-Fi only version of the tablet. The 4G version uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 instead.

They’re fairly evenly-matched processors, and both version of the tablet have 3GB of RAM. This is the most seen in any mainstream Android tablet or phone, as of February 2014.

In the Geekbench performance test, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 scores 2,712 points. That’s roughly on-par with the fastest Snapdragon 800 tablets and phones. It has enough power to play top-end Android games. However, you will find that not all games are optimised for the tablet’s super-high resolution screen. Real Racing 3 looks blockier than you might expect, for example.

Still, that is not Samsung’s fault.

Stocklone

February 14, 2014, 12:28 am

Thank you for pointing out the pentile screen. Makes me feel so much better I have the higher DPI pentile with the 10.1. I thought on the off chance Samsung might not go pentile because it was going to be so much more apparent. I guess not.

David

February 15, 2014, 2:12 am

The problem with Samsung is their non friendly user interface. They add so much useless staff and the real staff we need are almost hidden. Example, I bought the Samsung galaxy note 2014 edition for the pen. When using it I couldn't just open a new page on the software to draw something new. It took me hours to figure it out. It is common sense to have a, new page, or save and delete on the main screen, but unfortunately not on their device. A real shame, I love their device for price, style and components but they really have to work on user friendly interface and remove all the unnecessary tools that probably just a small fraction of us uses.
Samsung, please make things simpler, and make all these add up tools as extra for people who wants them, not as the main features.
I would buy this new cool 12.inch tablet but I'm afraid it's going to be just an other nightmare to use as the 2014 tablet edition.
I will have to wait for Android to make one. I now use the LG Nexus 5 and I must admit the best in the market so far. I can't wait for them to make a 12 inch tablet. You really feel in control with the 100% Android interface. I want it, I keep it. I don't want I, I remove. Not like Samsung.
David

az

February 15, 2014, 8:05 am

Why not compare this tablet to Surface Pro 2? It looks like they are both aimed at the same market.

Alcino Major

February 17, 2014, 10:54 pm

Sorry but you have calculated wrong the overall score
if the final score is based on the average scores then the result of the final score is: 7.5/10 and not 8/10 (60/8=7.5)

oz

February 18, 2014, 7:46 am

I doubt it... These are more the type of people looking to replace iPads at work. Where the Surface Pro 2 is more of a laptop/desktop replacement with excellent touch and stylus input.

sguyx

February 22, 2014, 2:36 pm

If you hate it, root it and get rid of all the feature you dont like. Then you dont have those extra stuff anymore.

I dont understand what you mean by saying "... waiting Android to make one." The tablet is an android device with Android KitKat.

sguyx

February 23, 2014, 12:21 pm

Is there a phone model too? As far as I know, I read it that you can make phone calls too (gsm) but then, I asked about it from a retailer because they had wifi and 4g/lte models but they hadnt gsm networking on the specs, and they said that this is only a tablet. Well, 4G/LTE model is just a tablet without gsm handling? Gsmarena-site says that it has also gsm networking. What is true?

My Note 10.1 can handle gsm calls too - and if this is true that the notepro is just a tablet, Im not going to upgrade my present tablet to be forced to buy a separate phone too... But Im not sure will I even upgrade my beast at all. Notepro 12.2 sounds a perfect device but if it is just a tablet, then I have to say, no thanks...

Sounds 6/10 - compared to what?
So bad sound quality, much worse than other tablets?

Lisa has made, again, a nice vid review about this tablet. Check it (youtube, mobiletech...)

sguyx

February 23, 2014, 12:27 pm

Maybe they use whole numbers and 0,5 is rounded up...
7,5=8
7,4=7

Lanka

February 28, 2014, 1:49 am

Still dreaming of a new line of tablets.. If Notes are aimed at writing down notes with stylus, they could call new line Art and aim it for - guess who - artists. I already use my Note 10.1 as a digital sketch pad&light digital painting pad. Sure it ain't good as full weight photoshop with 1000€+ Wacom Cintiq, but it's still far easier to carry around. I even used to doodle with a 4" PDA some 10+ years ago..

Heck, make them at sizes of 10/12/14" at 16:10 ratio.. I'd buy the 14" in instant. Weight isn't a concern, it's not like I'd stretch arm out to hold a sketch pad in air with one hand while drawing on it with another. 14" would be roughly A4 worth of screenspace to work with. I'd toss out those under-screen buttons, add couple of physical sliders on the outer rim, such as disable touch (since you got stylus to work with) that'd work better than "palm-rejection".. Toss the fake leather crap out as well and cover the whole thing with rough textured rubber or silicon for better grab - be that from holding or stop it from sliding on table - as well as more scratch resistance. I cringe everytime I look at the scratches on my 10.1 it gets from attempts to draw on table. Sometimes carrying a wet towel around to clean surface first just doesn't work, and the hard plastic just loves to slide around.

Didn't Qualcomm reveal Snapdragon 805 a while ago? One of those, please. 4gb+ ram, 2560x1600 for the smaller pads. 4096x2160 for the 14", since Snapdragon 805 is meant for 4k displays, that shouldn't be much of an issue. Might as well add a docking port too, so that'd make quite interesting "laptop" with a keyboard attached. Maybe even fit some proper USBs and other connectors to it. Hm. Keyboard dock with charger, that'd be actually interesting..

And then Samsung could cough up way to connect to PC* (bluetooth, wireless usb, maybe even WiFi, if latency doesn't kill it) to use stronger hardware&limitless choice of software. Stream clone of screen from PC to tablet - and stylus/touch/kb data from tablet to PC. Although I bet Wacom would have something to say about using their tech for making a what's practically a wireless Cintiq..

Eh, one of these days I'm going to practice my technical drawing&rendering skills and just send Samsung a design draft to consider. /industrial design student

*I know there are these things called "Mac"s, but as if anyone still uses them.

Peter

March 5, 2014, 7:33 am

Hi

Yet another typically uninformed reviewer! The comment...

"The obvious missing thing here is a way to turn the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 into a laptop. There are no docking points on its bottom or its sides that might open the doors to a keyboard accessory that would turn the Note into a Android laptop."

Does not even mention the Samsung accessory keyboard and mouse "designed" for this product. It does not mention the amazing Logitech keyboard/cover. It does not mention that the Galaxy Note pro will work with any BlueTooth accessory device. It does not mention that using an OTG cable with a USB hub you can connect a USB keyboard AND a USB mouse and OTHER USB devices.

Why does it HAVE to HAVE a dock - has this reviewer never heard of wireless communications?

It does not mention that it can power and use (directly from its own USB3 port, a TERRABYTE drive for file read write of ANY file TYPE (not limited to music and photos via iTunes). I already do exactly this on my Galaxy Note 3. Yes, a PHONE that can power and use ONE TERRABYTE of external storage plus 96 gb internal storage.

It does not mention that it works (via an OTG cable) with Logitech unifying receiver, to allow the use of a Logitech Keyboard and Darkfield Laser Tracking mouse.

It does not mention that (via an OTG cable) it recognises and operates with a Logitech Presenter for the provision of PowerPoint presentations. It can actually directly present PPT presentations (using Open Office or similar software) and these can be FULLY controlled by the Logitech Presenter. I already DO THIS on my Galaxy Note 3. In fact I have done this on my original Galaxy Note One!! Using the MHL to HDMI or VGA adapter you can connect the device to a projector for these presentations.

Of course if you use a USB hub, you can connect all these devices at the same time. With a USB hub you can connect multiple USB memory sticks and they are all treated as separate drives. You can read, write, delete or transfer files of ANY TYPE between them.

It does not mention that using an OTG cable attached to a card reader, you can read, write, delete or transfer files of ANY TYPE, to and from and between disparate memory cards, e.g. from SD to Sony Memory Stick, microsd and any other memory device for which you have a usb adaptor.

There are videos on YouTube showing the ORIGINAL Galaxy Note One as a gaming PC with its gaming output on a large tv screen. This Galaxy Note One has a mouse, keyboard and gaming controller attached to it.

This was available TWO YEARS AGO! The power and capability has only improved since then.

Come on reviewers, get your act together. Realise there is more to life than just an iPad. There is REAL power available if you choose the right product.

My best wishes to all future buyers of the Galaxy Note of your chosen size! Me, I'm waiting for the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 64gb. Oh, and don't forget, (with the GSM/LTE wireless models) these devices can also operate as a FULLY functional phone.

Meanwhile I can manage very well with my Galaxy Note 3 and its 96gb of memory.

Kind regards

Peter

FlyJiveDude

March 10, 2014, 5:45 pm

It's an overall verdict, not an average. It doesn't really matter what the other categories say.

nobjizzer

May 4, 2014, 12:10 am

what david means is he can't wait for samsung to pull their finger out and make a 100% Android interface which is designed and developed by google, sadly Samsung are a bunch of money grabbing thieves just like most of the mobile tech manufacturers and they are trying to push their dumbass stock software on customers because the phones on contract are usually "free". Not sure but I think the carriers must pay the manufacturers for their stock software as a tradeoff for supplying "free"
phone as far as I am aware these phones get manufactured in the millions and the components are actually a pittence, that together with the cheap labour in the east and they cost next to nothing to manufacture, then add the fact that android is essentially linux and we should all know by now that linux is opensource which means of course that it is freely available to joe blog to edit etc. however Samsung quite rightly does not want you to edit their product, hence the bloatware. If you want a 100% android phone you are going to have to buy it and then get a sim only contract or as you say root it if you are confident enough not to end up bricking the phone.

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