ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX502 Glacier Blue

Samsung has a tendency of spray-and-pray that one of its products may hit big. There is just so many iteration of ‘Galaxy’ that you can’t help to wonder – did they ever done market research before spewing out another phone/tablet?

The answer is Yes – at least in this case. There is a gap in the market.

ASUS ZenBook 14 AMD

In their latest effort to fill the market with every possible size of tablet; 7-, 8-, 10-inch, now it’s a 12.2 incher, The Galaxy NotePro.

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True to its Note line of products, there is a stylus dubbed the S-Pen and all the air gesture and S-Note preloaded into the tablet. One major differentiation is its 2560×1600 pixels LCD screen. Image quality is sharp and colors are bright, as expected from Samsung. But above that, is there any feature worth boasting?

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The USB 3.0 port perhaps. I guess you won’t be able to use it much since no one ever transfers large files all the time anyway, and yet most users are opting for wireless transfers or cloud these days too – AirDroid and DropBox for example.

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Other than that, you get pretty basic stuff – a micro SIM slot and a micro SD slot. Sadly, this won’t be any different from the device that you already had. 4G LTE, 32GB memory, 3GB RAM, 6 hours battery, so-so stereo speakers and 8 megapixel camera are quite standard in today’s flagship device. In fact, the camera is unwieldy and the module somehow loses out to older 8 MP shooter.

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Speaking of the speakers, this is one of the very few tablets that really gives the stereo feel, thanks to the large separation across the two speakers through the extremely huge screen.

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Besides, you get an IR blaster like the other Galaxy devices too – control your TV or something else with your phone.

As for the battery, you’ll be getting a extensive 9500mAh that can last only for about 6 hours of intensive usage. It does take a very long time to charge – as from a near 0%, I charged it for 7 hours straight and what I get is only about 92%.

Performance wise, this tablet has an Adreno 330 to power up all the graphical needs and to cope with the high resolution display. On Epic Citadel, the results are as below.

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At full resolution, it’s never going to run well on Ultra High Quality, averaging at 31.6FPS but falls short to below 25FPS at most of the times. At High Quality however, the most it drops is towards 25FPS, which is still acceptable.

Oh – before I forget.

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Samsung, please make use of the real estate of the screen size and remove all these physical and capacitive buttons.

So why spend for another tablet? Well, there are 3 possible answers to that question.

1. Business Companion

Samsung has actually designed this device to be a capable business solution. More friendly than a Windows tablet and more powerful than an iPad (multitasking), Samsung further enhanced its features to allow for S-Meeting, WebEx and Hancom Office; convenient tools to host a conference and do some document editing. While those functions are not new, viewing on its 12-inch screen is certainly pleasurable to the eyes.

2. Creative Canvas

No its not a new feature either. In fact, Samsung has been advertising its brand of Note as a creative go to device since the days of Galaxy Note P7000. But the original note, at 5.3’ and 800×1280 pixels, there wasn’t much estate to get creative, unless you’re into miniature art or chibi drawings. Things are quite different on this slab because we all know; size does matters.

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Sample drawing on the Galaxy Note Pro

The S-Pen digitizer, sourced from Wacom was very accurate. Promising 1,024 pressure sensitivity, each stroke is well captured. Baring the glitches – my hand still triggering the screen when it was set to ignore touch input – drawing on the tablet was relatively enjoyable.

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Another improvement was the handwriting recognition. The software is now mature enough to recognized individual alphabet as opposed to prior auto spelling function.

Then if you are a sketch fanatic and like to build your own sketch/scrap book, should you get it? Well, it is built tough enough and light enough to be slipped into your bag on your everyday commute. The battery lasts long enough until you finish your Venti Starbucks Frappuccino. The S-Pen is good enough to produce good drawings, provided you invest some time into scaling the learning curve. But the keyword here is enough.

3. For movies/games

The screen is beautiful – that’s for sure. The battery is also large enough and there is a set of loud-enough stereo speakers. Sure, Android’s codec for video playback capabilities is limited even with the prominent MX Player. As far as I tested, movies look exceptional on the NotePro. You’re going to need a stand for this thing though, holding it for an extended period of time isn’t going to work out well.

For gaming however, I played CLARC (as I am a fanatic of puzzle games) and I found out that the NotePro doesn’t even get hot beyond comfortable temperatures, just slight warmth around the camera areas and it did not spread around the entire back of the device. And yes, I spent a few hours playing CLARC the battery dropped about 30% only.

Verdict

At the price of RM2,999 RRP, its hard to justify its capabilities. For the creative minded, with the advent of pressure sensitive styli for iPads such as the Intuous Stylus from Wacom and for those who plan to go pro, could’ve invested in a full fledge Intuous Pro tablet plus another laptop to spare. To those who are business minded, tablets having a physical keyboard such as Microsoft Surface 3 or an ultrabook such as the amazing Yoga Pro 2 may be the better solution, of course the RM2,999 doesn’t even include the keyboard dock for the NotePro.

Ultimately, it’s hard to hate the device yet at the same time, the price is a tall order to love. Perhaps with discounts in the future, perhaps this could power the travelling executives and itchy handed sketchers out there.

Score :

Screen                                                                                       8

Call / Connectivity                                                              9

Performance                                                                          8

Software                                                                                  7

Battery                                                                                     7

Camera                                                                                     5

Design                                                                                       8

Speaker                                                                                    7

Build                                                                                          7

 

Final Score                                                                              7.3


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