MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet
Can this 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet really replace your laptop? And more importantly, can you play Street Fighter on it?
Pros
  • Brilliant FHD+ SAMOLED display
  • Convenient keyboard dock/case
  • Impressive performance
Cons
  • No S Pen included
  • Single USB-C port for all connectivity
9Overall Score

For a while there, tablets were positioned as the device that slots between your smartphone and your laptop. Then at some point, manufacturers decided that you didn’t have to choose between a tablet and a laptop, ushering in a whole new generation of 2-in-1 convertible PCs. The first few iterations left something to be desired, but the market segment has really come into its own. Casting the ATIV naming aside, Samsung has put forth a legitimate Surface Pro competitor with the Galaxy TabPro S, a 2-in-1 Windows tablet with some real horsepower under the hood.

A Legitimate Laptop Replacement

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

Announced earlier this year and only recently launched in Canada, the Galaxy TabPro S is a 12-inch tablet that comes bundled with a magnetic keyboard attachment. What’s handy here is that the magnetic keyboard doubles as a “case” of sorts, quickly and easily snapping into place. The connector also automatically recognizes when you’re in “laptop” mode and adjusts the Windows settings accordingly.

One challenge that we’ve seen with many of the 2-in-1 convertibles in recent years is a lack of performance. You had to trade processing power for convenience and versatility. That’s not the case here. The Galaxy TabPro S is a premium product with all the makings of a portable daily driver. Remember that gorgeous SAMOLED screen on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4? That’s basically here again, but in a 12.0-inch size. If you like the displays on Samsung’s phones, you’ll like the 2160 x 1440 pixel screen here.

Running through the main spec sheet, you find a 2.2GHz Intel Core M processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB SSD for storage, 5MP camera, a 5,200 mAh battery with fast charging, USB-C 3.1, Wi-Fi with MIMO, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, and optional LTE Cat.6. It may not be enough to replace your more powerful desktop, but it’s plenty to replace your regular laptop.

Typing and Productivity

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

As much as people have come to line the Surface Pro line from Microsoft, one of its biggest problems is its form factor. The kickstand is fine when you’ve got an actual working surface, but you can’t exactly use the Surface like a laptop. That’s not a problem with Samsung’s take on the product niche.

The keyboard case attachment has a groove just above the keyboard where the base of the tablet can magnetically snap into place. You can’t adjust the angle, but it does mean you can put this thing in your lap and use it like how you would any other notebook. If you want tablet-only functionality, you can always remove the keyboard cover. The whole build can be just a touch wobbly, but it still feels solid for everyday use.

I have mixed feelings about the keyboard itself. It’s not exactly fair to compare this against the full-size SteelSeries mechanical keyboard I use with my desktop, but it’s clear enough that I can’t type nearly as quickly or as accurately on Samsung’s keyboard. I will say that it is at least on par with many other laptop keyboards though. By moving away from an island-style chiclet design, individual keys are larger. I also greatly appreciate the larger shift keys on either side.

I’ll Just Plug This Flash Drive Right Here…

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

The SAMOLED touchscreen is a joy to watch (and touch). The keyboard is as functional as it needs to be. The form factor is slim and stylish, rivaling practically any Ultrabook on the market. Where I did struggle in using the Galaxy TabPro S as a true laptop replacement, however, was in its connectivity. There’s really only one port, aside from the headphone jack.

Everything goes through that USB-C port, including the quick charger. Samsung certainly isn’t the only company to take this approach; Apple did it with this year’s MacBook. On the one hand, I understand that this is technically a “tablet” and tablets have never been very good with throwing the kitchen sink of ports at us. This becomes more problematic when this is positioned as a true 2-in-1.

Got a file on a USB flash drive? You’ll need an adapter. Want to connect an external hard drive? Get an adapter. Want to output to an external display? Get an adapter. Have a pair of USB headphones? You’ll need an adapter for that too. The good news, at the very least, is that you don’t have to mess around with a giant power brick.

TabPro S Level Battery Life

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

Speaking of charging, you actually don’t need to do that all that often either. Using the provided smart charger, the Galaxy TabPro S can get up to full power in about 2.5 hours. From there, you can legitimately get a solid 10 hours of work before you run out of juice. This isn’t just a boastful claim on the official product page (which lists a 630-minute battery life). It really is true, provided you don’t push that performance too much during that time.

In my own experience, I went about watching a few YouTube videos, browsing the web, and otherwise going through your regular mundane daily tasks. That included downloading a few large files over Wi-Fi (for the benchmarks below). And yes, I really get somewhere between nine and ten hours before I had to plug it back in. If you’re looking for a true mobile workhorse that you can take with you to meetings and sales calls all day long, the Galaxy TabPro S can quite handily fit the bill.

Benchmark Scores

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

Running the TabPro S through a few basic benchmarks revealed rather positive results. The Home conventional 3.0 test with PCMark 8 yielded a score of 2149. That puts it right in the same range as the Surface Pro 3, but shy of what the more expensive Surface Pro 4 can do.

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

You see the same level of performance with the Sky Diver benchmark in 3DMark, revealing a score of 2,385.

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

Where I was most impressed was when I ran the Street Fighter IV benchmark. Granted, the game is several years old now, but when I tried running the test on many other laptops and convertibles in this price range, they tended to fail miserably. Not so here. Using the default settings with 720p full screen, the TabPro S received an admirable “A” grade with an overall score of 9,927 and an average 59.74fps frame rate. Nice stuff.

It’s too bad there’s no regular USB port for your fight stick (which will be larger and heavier than this tablet).

MEGATechie TabPro S-pectacular or MEGATechie TabPro S-ubstandard?

MEGATech Reviews: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 2-in-1 Windows Tablet

If you’ve been thinking about getting an iPad Pro or a Surface Pro, you really should put the Galaxy TabPro S from Samsung as part of your list to consider too. The svelte and slim body makes it easy to slip into your briefcase or backpack. The display is among the best in the business. The performance really will surprise you and the battery life will keep you going all day without charging.

Of course, it’s certainly not without its faults. The keyboard isn’t amazing, the single USB-C port can be inconvenient, and the lack of an included stylus (especially considering how Windows 10 is getting better pen support and Samsung has already jumped into this kind of usage with its S Pen on the Note series) might be potential turnoffs. All said though, this is a solid option for any mobile professional.

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S retails for about $800 US (but closer to $1,300 Canadian) and is available now.


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