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The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 runs Android 4.4 with a recent version of the TouchWiz interface, the same one we saw on tablets like the Tab Pro 8.4. There’s a bit of bloat compared with a vanilla Android tablet, but the interface is pretty sensible.
Samsung has geared the layout towards the hardware, with the Google search bar and the apps shortcut within easy reach of your thumbs.
The Tab Pro 10.1 also supports Multi Window, Samsung’s multi-tasking feature. You can run two apps on-screen at once, such as the browser and your email, and choose how much of the screen each gets to take up. Apps aren’t exactly fully customised for the screen space they’re given, but it usually works well enough to be pretty handy - it's just this sort of scenario where the high-resolution screen really comes into its own.
Like other new Samsung mobile devices, the Tab Pro 10.1 also has My Magazine, a home screen page that acts as a news feed, aggregating content from your favourite websites and social networks.
My Magazine? That's ok, you can have it
As we’ve said of previous My Magazine devices, though, the software is not well-suited to its premium place on the home screen. My Magazine isn't really a place to get quick updates. It's a modified version of Flipboard – an app you’re meant to sit down and consume like a magazine. Try to use My Magazine like a quick fix and it’ll feel clumsy.
As with any TouchWiz product, the Tab Pro 10.1’s interface is not beautiful. But it’s not confusing like some versions of the UI, and it makes pretty good use of the screen space. With a bit of tweaking, you can make it work very well.
Unlike the non-Pro Samsung Tab tablets, the selection of pre-installed apps focuses on those with a business slant. There’s a WebEx meetings client, remote desktop software, Samsung e-Meeting app and Knox, one of the best Android security solutions out there.
None of these are going to be of much interest to the average buyer who just wants a slightly higher-grade Android tablet. But you can easily dump them into a single folder or – a TouchWiz special – ‘disable’ them. This is rather like uninstalling apps, but the data stays on the tablet. You effectively hide them - which is what Samsung should really have called it to avoid confusion.
The Tab Pro 10.1 uses an Exynos 5420 processor – it’s a Samsung-made chip with eight cores. Four are high-performance Cortex-A15 1.9GHz cores, the other four lower-power 1.3Ghz Cortex-A7 brains.
An eight core processor sounds impressive, but it’s actually a little bit less powerful than the quad-core Snapdragon 800 and 801 chips used by other new phones and tablets. In the 3DMark Unlimited graphics benchmark, it scores 13703 points, which is close to Tegra 4 and Apple A7 devices like the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface 2.
Another benchmark, Geekbench 3, shows that CPU performance is fairly close to the very latest Snapdragon devices. The Tab Pro 10.1 scores 2709 points in Geekbench, which is comparable with the 2893 points of the Snapdragon 800-using Note Pro 8.4.
Tablets and phones that use TouchWiz often provide day-to-day performance that’s worse than the specs would imply, but performance is passably good. There are some minor, intermittent pauses before the contents of menus pop up, but little-to-none of the very basic interface scroll lag we’ve seen in some Samsung devices of the last 12 months. It does take quite a while to come out of standby at times, though, which can get annoying. The TouchWiz performance trade-off is here, but it's not a deal-breaker.
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