Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Samsung throws everything it’s got into the fledgling maxi-tablet category. But will it succeed?
Wacom’s Cintiq Companion – reviewed in our January issue – has a lot going for it. As well as functioning as a dedicated digitiser, it can be unplugged from your computer and used as a standalone Android device. However, its biggest drawback is its ridiculous price tag: a walletemptying £1,200. Samsung’s Galaxy Note could be the next best thing – and it’s half the price.
At 12.2-inches it’s smaller than Wacom’s 13.3-inch tablet, but its screen is of a far higher resolution; Ultra HD (2,560x1,600 pixels) instead of normal HD (1,920x1,080 pixels). We’ve seen Ultra HD resolutions on laptops and monitors, but having it packed into a tablet is an incredible experience.
Load up an image and you see every brush stroke in fine detail, and you notice minute details in even the humblest of cameraphone pics. The Galaxy Note Pro runs the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, which is the one that finally catches up with Apple’s iOS in terms of ease-ofuse and slick aesthetics. Samsung then overlays Android with its TouchWiz interface, which fluctuates between being useful and being annoying. If we’re honest, we prefer the stock Android installation on Wacom’s tablet.
Samsung’s styluses are codeveloped with Wacom, and the latter
Load up an image and you see every brush stroke in fine detail – in even the humblest of cameraphone pics
believes the magic pen supplied with the Cintiq Companion is far better than anything Samsung does. We’re inclined to agree, but we still find Samsung’s styluses pretty darn good. They use clever magnetic fields, so they can run without batteries and still have a usable button. They also feature pressure-sensitivity, enabling you to subtly adjust the flow of virtual ink or paint.
While Samsung’s S Note software includes a variety of brushes and pencils, it’s a bit too much of a general note-taking app to be suitable for digital art. Autodesk’s SketchBook hasn’t been updated for a while, and it lacks the pressure-sensitivity of other apps. ArtFlow, an art app that’s unique to the Android platform, unsurprisingly works really well, with a decent grasp of pressure levels, instantaneous responses and effective use of the large screen.
The problem Samsung’s got is that the Galaxy Note Pro is simply too broad in its uses to be as good as Wacom’s dedicated art tablet. Android’s art software is catching up, too, but we still prefer ArtRage and Procreate on the iPad to ArtFlow with a pressure-sensitive stylus. The Note Pro may be great for looking at images, then, but it’s not so good for making them.
The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s large size makes it slightly impractical, but that’s the price you pay for so much screen real estate.
Samsung’s styluses are co-created by Wacom, which can be a little dismissive about the standard of its rival’s drawing instruments.
Slide the stylus out and the tablet automatically launches a little menu to choose common
stylus activities, such as capturing a portion of the screen or making quick notes.
New to the Galaxy Tab Pro is a faux-leather plastic case. We like the feel of it, but the fake stitching is a bit cheesy.
As well as packing 32GB of internal storage, there’s a micro-SD slot, so you could potentially add another 64GB.