One of the most exciting devices out of CES this year was easily Samsung’s monstrous Note tablet, the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2.
On paper, it’s nothing terribly mind-blowing. It’s quite literally the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, which we reviewed last year, on a much larger scale. Inside, it has the same 3GB RAM, 32 or 64GB of fixed storage with expansion via microSD, a 9,500mAh battery, and one of two SoCs. Like the 2014 Note 10.1, the LTE variant comes with a Snapdragon 800 chip and the Wi-Fi model is fitted with an Exynos 5 Octa chipset. Both have 8-megapixel cameras, the S Pen, and 2,560 by 1,600 pixel resolution Super Clear LCD displays.
The major difference, obviously, is size. The 10.1-inch Note is a common size for Android tablets, and very similar in size to the ever-popular iPad. It’s relatively lightweight and, so far, considered to be the best size for tablet productivity.
While 12.2-inches may only seem like a small bump in size, it’s actually not. The size increase is rather significant.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, for example, is 243.1mm wide, 171.4mm tall, and 7.9mm thick, hitting the scales at 540g (tack on a few more grams for LTE). The TabPRO 10.1 is the same width and height, but it’s only 7.3mm thick and 469g. At 295.6mm wider, the NotePRO 12.2 is 52.5mm wider. It’s also 32.6mm taller, yet only 0.1mm thicker than the Note 10.1 2014 Edition. And when it comes to heft, the 12.2-inch NotePRO is a whopping 753g.
This isn’t exactly ideal for extreme portability. Tablets in the 7-inch and 8-inch category weigh far less and go practically unnoticed in a book bag, while 10-inch tablets are bigger and heavier, making them more noticeable in a bag. However, they’re markedly better for productivity – writing, scheduling, and especially typing – in the same way the 13-inch MacBook Air is better for certain tasks than the 11-inch model.
In that vein, it’s not difficult to see the appeal of a 12.2-inch tablet.
I doubt such a large tablet will appeal to the masses right away, if ever. But If a 10-inch tablet is noticeably easier to work on than 7- or 8-inch tablets, which are better suited for content consumption than creation, then why wouldn’t a 12.2-inch tablet be that much better for productivity?
Just holding the tablet for a few minutes in Las Vegas piqued my interests. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much information crammed on a tablet display at once. Mutli-Window never felt more at home. And the new Magazine UX scaled very nicely on the large display.
While I probably wouldn’t want to take a tablet like the NotePRO 12.2 with me everywhere I go like I currently do with the iPad mini or Nexus 7, it would make a killer couch tablet for watching movies while my roommate plays video games or browsing the web.
That said, there’s a reason few may ever enjoy the pleasures of a 12.2-inch Android tablet: price.
First, the NotePRO 12.2 was rumored at a staggering $1,000. Thankfully, that number changed once the devices officially went on preorder. The 32GB NotePRO 12.2 starts at $750 and you can double the internal storage for another $100, or $850 total before taxes.
That’s no so bad, when you consider most high-end tablets at 10-inches start around $600. But even a $150 jump in price is numbing, if you consider $600 to be a steep starting point.
Most people, as far as I know, have been expecting and wanting tablet pricing to come down even further, not to increase. We’ve seen it on the smaller scale devices, but the discounted price tags have been slow to arrive on full-sized tablets.
I, for one, couldn’t imagine paying $750 for an Android-powered tablet, even if it is 12.2-inches. The software support isn’t quite up to snuff yet for full-sized Android tablets. The situation is fine on 7- and 8-inch slabs, but poorly optimized applications are an eyesore (and still present) on 10-inch tablets. That problem will only be amplified on a tablet with a 12.2-inch display.
If you’re looking forward to the LTE-equipped NotePRO 12.2, brace yourself. The pricing for the Verizon edition isn’t official yet, but rumors allege this model will hit at $1,000. Ouch.
The NotePRO 12.2 wouldn’t be the first mobile OS-powered tablet to exceed $1,000, though we’re hard pressed to believe such a large price tag will help move these devices off shelves. You could buy a base model MacBook Air or a 128GB Surface Pro 2 – two devices with far more utility, power, and justification – for that kind of money.
Even Apple’s highest-capacity iPad Air – 128GB – with LTE only costs $929 before you add taxes to the mix, and I’d be willing to wager that it’s the least popular iPad model of them all, solely because of its massive price tag.
So, sure, the Wi-Fi model of the NotePRO 12.2 may do just fine, even with its $750 entry level price point. It’s not as bad as we were expecting, but it definitely solidifies our assumption that Note should be paralleled with “premium.” This tablet lineup is now among the most expensive around, even when you toss in fully-fledged tablets running Windows.
Something tells me, however, Samsung will struggle to move this particular model. Most of the people I know who want a tablet don’t want one bad enough to splurge and spend half their paycheck on one. They’re looking for the value models – Kindle Fires, Nexus tablets, or used iPads – since they already splurged to get the phone they want, or because they’re not even sure they’ll like it or use it.
Personally, as a tablet fiend, I won’t even consider the NotePRO 12.2, no matter how cool it is. Would I like one? You bet. But the price point is off. Way off. If I were looking to purchase something in that range, I’d rather spend a little more and get the 128GB Surface Pro 2.
What say you, ladies and gents? Will the NotePRO 12.2 move at $750? Or is it a non-starter? Are you looking at picking one up for yourself?