Samsung is still trying very hard to throw its weight around in the tablet space, releasing seemingly every size imaginable to make a lasting impression. At CES earlier this year, the company introduced a trio of new slates, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 and Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, the latter of which we have in our possession. This, as you’d imagine, is meant to go up against Apple’s iPad mini with Retina, and to a lesser extent, LG’s awesome G Pad 8.3.
Equipped with an 8.4-inch Full HD display, the Tab Pro 8.4 is a device that keeps every familiar Samsung quality within a safe distance: familiar design, features, specs, emphasis on quantity. But the company is trying to stand out by tossing in tons of “premium content,” such as $25 worth of Google Play credit, three months of Hulu Plus, 50GB of Dropbox for 24 months, and more. This is a device being marketed as a more power-centric option, for users that want to work as much as they play, and the specs and additional content clearly reflect that.
Other specs include a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor (the international version comes with a Exynos 5 Octa), 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz, 16GB or 32GB of internal memory (microSD expandable), 8-megapixel camera (2-megapixel front), side-mounted stereo speakers, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4800 mAh battery. Samsung is clearly throwing its spec weight around, but customers ultimately benefit from what on paper is a phenomenally beefy tablet. At $400, it also remains competitive with other options out there of similar size.
While its specs are terrific, and its design familiar, what will ultimately push units out the door is Samsung’s magazine-like changes, which the company demonstrated in January. The Tab Pro 8.4 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, but the customizations seems to run so deep that Google’s platform is largely unrecognizable. That’s either a really good thing, or a really bad thing depending on your feelings toward vanilla Android.
Samsung’s fans feel very passionately about the company’s tweaks—some of them do add value to the experience—but when Google starts pushing back against those changes, you have to wonder if what Samsung is doing is becoming too much. We don’t yet have much of an opinion on Samsung’s Magazine UX, so we’ll have to wait and see how the experience pans out over extended usage.
For now, check out our quick unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, and stay tuned for more coverage.