Over the last few years, Samsung has emerged as the foremost Android device manufacturer.  While their customized user interface Touchwiz is not without issues and their addiction to bloatware is second to none, the fact remains that Samsung puts out high quality hardware with boatloads of good software features and apps as well.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the Note line of products.  With the line’s innovative features, notably the distinctive large form factor and the lovingly engineered stylus and S Pen app infrastructure, these flagship products are truly marvellous chunks of glass and copper.  And while the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2″ tablet isn’t perfect, it is far and away the best tablet available for it’s target market.

Which begs the question:  what is the Note Pro’s target market?  While other reviewers have dismissed the Note Pro 12.2″ altogether as a solution in search of a problem, as it doesn’t meet the current consumer market sweet spot, it nonetheless is the perfect device for a large number of users.  To wit:

  • Digital and graphic artists.  The Note Pro 12.2″ is basically a huge Wacom digitizer, with a very high end stylus.  The included Sketchpad app is excellent, and there are many other design apps available at reasonable prices.
  • Web and UI designers.  Not only for the same reasons as digital artists, but because it’s unbelievably handy for sketching concepts and doing mock ups with stake holders in real time but without the hassles of pencil and paper and with the ease of an end product in a digital format that’s easy to share.
  • Students and anyone else regularly taking notes.  The handwriting recognition works well, there are lots of tools to help smooth elements when drawing diagrams, you can embed all kinds of media and tag it… and all that goes into the built in S app infrastucture to make all the text in S apps searchable, to boot.
  • Programmers, analysts and anyone else regularly creating flowcharts, diagrams, etc.  The S Note app does a great job of turning scribbles into diagrams, and again one can embed all kinds of other media as well.
  • Readers of large format material.  Technical manuals, textbooks comic books, photo books, magazines – anything that requires pictures or lots of space for formatting will be easily readable on the huge screen.

Now that we know the target market demographics for context, a list of feature pros and cons can be drawn up:

Feature Pros Cons
Screen
  • HUGE, gorgeous colours, very bright, 2560 x 1600 (247ppi)
  • Incredibly sensitive to pressure from both finger and pen, but very well calibrated.
  • The Wacom digitizer makes for a huge difference over other touch screens.
  • Drains battery relatively quickly.
  • Screen can flicker when battery level drops below a certain threshold.
Battery
  • Huge format factor allows for a huge battery.
  • Playing video from local storage with WiFi off allows for 4 hours of playtime.
  • Huge form factor means screen drains battery quickly.
  • Not swappable.
  • Some suffer from manufacturing defects where the battery connection was not soldered properly, making the screen flicker nonstop.  This is one reason that makes a refurbished model more attractive than a brand new one – a refurb will most certainly have had this fixed.
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth makes it easy to connect devices (keyboard, mouse, etc.)
  • HDMI output makes this a great media device, as it can easily keep up with video and gaming demands.
  • USB 3 makes for blazing fast file transfers.
  • WiFi seems to be a huge drain for the battery as well – best to keep it off if possible.
Case
  • With a case with a built in keyboard and/or extra battery, the Note Pro makes an excellent low demand touch screen laptop.
  • Good cheap ones abound on eBay and Amazon.
  • A case is a must-have to protect from drops and bangs.
  • Can be pricey, especially if one buys Samsung official accessories.
  • Cheap cases can be just that – cheap.  Caveat emptor.
User Interface
  • TouchWiz S Pen apps integration and framework really shines – this is where Samsung put in a lot of effort, and it shows.
  • Multi-window is GREAT.  The ability to have more than one app open on the ‘desktop’ is a huge feature, and only available on Android with Samsung’s TouchWiz.
  • TouchWiz is clunky in many ways, and can tax even high end hardware.
  • Many people find TW not well suited to their personal device use style.
  • Third party ROMs will not generally have the S app infrastructure, wasting a lot of the Note Pro’s potential by making it unattractive for third party ROM developers such as CyanogenMod.
  • Enabling non-certified apps to work in multi-window mode involves rooting and more jiggery-pokery than it really should – Samsung should have provided the ability to do so out of the box and put the choice in the user’s hands.
Rooting
  • Simple and easy to do, with either Odin or Kingo.
  • Rooting, as always, voids warranties.
Apps
  • S Pen apps and framework integration are above average products!
  • AutoDesk Sketchpad Pro comes free with the Note Pro.
  • Great loads of system app bloatware that have to be frozen with Titanium BackUp or similar app.
Cost
  • Can be had for as little as $350 refurbished, putting it in the price range for the average buyer.
  • Can cost as much as $750 new, putting it beyond the average buyer’s price point.

To sum up:  if you are not this tablet’s target market, then the huge number of special features and uses will got to waste… but if you are the Note Pro 12.2″ target market it’s the only real choice!

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