Tablets in the 7-8" range have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. In 2014, we could see slates larger than 10" stake out a slice of the market for themselves. Samsung is firing first with a pair of 12.2" Android tablets: the Galaxy NotePRO and the Galaxy TabPRO. The NotePRO comes with the company's S Pen stylus, but the two devices are otherwise identical. And they're loaded.
Both devices have a 12.2" display with a 2560x1600 resolution. Samsung identifies the screen as a "super clear LCD," which doesn't tell us much, but I suspect the underlying panel is based on IGZO technology.
The NotePRO and TabPRO are powered by either Samsung's eight-core Exynos 5 SoC or Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800. (Samsung will use different chips for different regions.) Backing the processors are a generous 3GB of RAM and a choice of 32GB or 64GB of solid-state storage. Users can bolster the onboard storage with their own microSD card, as well.
Optional 3G and 4G connectivity is on the menu. Bluetooth is included by default, of course, and the Wi-Fi supports the latest 802.11ac standard. There's even a USB 3.0 port onboard—and dual cameras, too. Impressively, Samsung quotes a thickness of only 0.31" (8 mm) thick and a weight of just 1.65 lbs (750 g) for both tablets.
Both machines are loaded with KitKat, otherwise known as Android 4.4. Samsung has layered a new Magazine UX interface on top of the OS, and the UI replaces the home screen with one dominated by widgets. I'm not sure I like the switch, especially with a screen this big. The UI's Multi Window mode looks pretty neat, though. It lets users split the screen into four windows for simultaneous multitasking, which is the sort of thing one might do with such a large tablet.
Unlike the Galaxy NotePRO, the TabPRO belongs to a family that also comprises 10.1" and 8.4" variants. The smaller TabPRO models have the same processor options and 2560x1600 display resolution as their 12.2" sibling. However, they're limited to 2GB of RAM, USB 2.0, and either 16 or 32GB of local storage.
Samsung hasn't announced pricing, but we should know more soon enough. The Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO are set to hit store shelves in the first quarter.