tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro (8.4-inch) Tablet Review

What might've been a fantastic value tablet is undone by a fatal flaw.

June 25, 2014
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Science Introduction

So I said that this was a good tablet with an Achilles Heel, so now it's time for me to show my lab notes. What I found was a tablet with a great screen, but poor optimization and a small battery ultimately doom what could've been a fantastic value option.

Screen Performance

Respectable numbers

Though PenTile displays get roasted on the regular from reviewers, this one isn't so bad. In fact, it's probably the first really good one I've seen. It took a while for the tech to get there, but Samsung's devotion to this pixel structure paid off. Though the effective resolution is cut from 2560x1600 to about 2090x1309, that still nets a resolution that's far beyond the "retina" standard even at worst. Though a display with "PenTile" in the name used to be worthy of derision, that's no longer the case.

Color too, is excellent. Though its white point is off a bit towards the cyan end of things in its most accurate color mode, on the whole color performance is just as impressive as it is on the rest of Samsung's Pro tablets. Not every slate has a display this accurate, so there's very little left but praise when we see a gamut this spot-on to the Rec. 709 standard.

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Fantastic color, but a cool white point means an odd color cast.

Contrast is another story. Not because it's bad, mind you—it's merely "good." A black level of 0.34 cd/m2 and a respectable peak brightness of 344.9 cd/m2 leave this tablet with a fair contrast ratio of 907:1. Though its high peak brightness was gained in the wake of sacrificing low black levels, it's necessary to dispel the 15.4% of ambient light the screen shines back at the user.

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Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 may fall behind the iPad Mini, but not by much.

We've covered some other tablets in regard to aspect ratio, and we'll do so here again. A tablet with a 16:10 ratio like the Tab Pro is great for video content, but avid readers may find themselves annoyed. Though the screen is good, text will appear small if you read PDFs unless you zoom in, and that can be a huge pain to use your finger to scan back and forth. It may not be the first thing you think of when you buy a tablet, but it's definitely something you want to keep in the back of your mind. While the Tab Pro is perfect for video, it's not so good for text/PDFs.

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Battery Life

Ouch.

Batteries are getting better and better, but the Galaxy Tab Pro got left behind. Though it holds onto a charge fairly well when not in use, when that screen goes on—that's a different story.

Only able to read an eBook for 6 hours and 36 minutes, this will not replace your eReader or paperbacks. Screens have trouble conserving power when displaying a mostly-white screen, and it's common to see tablets struggle on this test. However, most of the Galaxy Tab's competition is ahead of it when it comes to battery life, so most other tablets you find will last longer than this one.

When playing our terrible video library on repeat, the Tab Pro was able to continue on for 6 hours, 13 minutes before finally shuffling off its mortal battery coil. While that's enough to last a short flight, it's definitely going to leave you high and dry if you want a companion in the taxi after you grab your luggage. It's just something to be aware of, but you may be able to squeeze more battery life out of the Tab Pro if you turn down the backlight a bit.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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