Samsung Galaxy Note Pro vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 2
January 30, 2014
Samsung's gigantic Galaxy Note Pro is a tablet unlike any other. As an Android slate with a 12.2-in screen, it doesn't exactly have a lot of obvious competition. So why not compare it to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, another popular tablet that uses a stylus? Join Gizmag, as we break down their features and specs.
The Galaxy Note Pro is enormous. The Surface Pro 2 is already a fairly large tablet, but Samsung's Note is eight percent longer and 18 percent wider. The one dimension where the Note Pro isn't big is depth, coming in 41 percent thinner than the beefy Surface.
That thick build in the Surface also helps to make it much heavier. The Galaxy Note Pro is 17 percent lighter than Microsoft's tablet/PC hybrid.
Samsung loves it some pleather. All of the company's recently-announced mobile devices have the soft-touch plastic build that we first saw on the Galaxy Note 3.
Neither tablet includes a keyboard accessory, but you can buy compatible keyboard covers for both. Microsoft's Touch Cover and Type Cover are integral parts of the Surface experience, while Logitech has already announced its own keyboard cover for the Note Pro.
The Note's screen is much bigger, as the Surface only gives you 72 percent as much display area. The Note's resolution is also sharper, with a solid 248 pixels per inch.
Both devices are marketed for productivity and, at least in theory, their included styluses help out with that. We think the stylus makes a lot of sense on Surface when navigating legacy desktop apps. We haven't spent enough time with the Note Pro to have a lot to say about its stylus integration, but it's very similar to that of the Note 3, with TouchWiz's Air Command window at the center of things.
Both devices may look like tablets, but we're looking at mobile (Note) and desktop (Surface) processors on the inside. On the user end, both tablets should deliver zippy performance.
The Note Pro's 3 GB of RAM is a lot for a mobile device. Microsoft, though, sells the Surface Pro 2 in two higher memory configurations that also reflect its laptop guts.
There's a bit of overlap at the 64 GB point, but otherwise storage options also reflect the tablets' different mobile and PC roots. Also keep in mind that your storage choices for the Surface will depend on which RAM configuration you choose.
The Surface Pro 2 also has PC-like ports, including one USB 3.0 and a Mini DisplayPort. Both tablets have microSD card slots to augment that internal storage.
Samsung is going to offer the Note Pro in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with cellular data models. Don't hold your breath for a mobile data-enabled Surface Pro 2 anytime soon.
One advantage of making a gigantic tablet like the Note Pro is that you can squeeze an enormous battery inside. We can't jump to any conclusions about the Note's battery life yet, but it's hard to see this 9,500 mAh sucker not providing at least good uptimes.
Battery life was a concern in the original Surface Pro, but the Surface Pro 2's Haswell chip helps it to last much longer than that first model did.
Cameras look to be a huge advantage for the Note Pro ... not that we'd recommend hoisting this unwieldy glass and plastic slab for any serious photography.
The Note Pro ships with the latest version of Android (4.4 KitKat) but it has a very thick layer of Samsung software goop slapped on top of it. There's the standard TouchWiz, but also a new Magazine UX that lives on the home screen. It's a series of permanent widgets that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Modern ("don't call me Metro") UI that you'll find in Windows 8.1.
Samsung may be marketing the Note Pro as a professional productivity-oriented tablet, but don't expect it to run any desktop apps. That's the Surface Pro's killer feature, as you'll be able to run older Windows apps. That also means you can run Microsoft Office on it, though the expensive suite isn't included with your purchase.
The Surface Pro 2 has been on store shelves for several months now, and the Note Pro is still getting ready to launch.
In most regions, pricing is still a question mark for the Note Pro. But Samsung does have it up for pre-order in the UK for a hefty £649. That translates to around US$1,070, which would have it starting at even more than the Surface Pro 2. Just know that different tax systems can have those direct conversions flying a bit off the mark. Either way, though, we wouldn't bet on the Note Pro's official pricing dropping too far below US$1,000 (if not coming in above).
For more on the new Galaxy Note Pro, you can check out our hands-on from CES.