CES 2014: Samsung preempts rumored iPad Pro with new 12-inch Galaxy tablets

Samsung Galaxy TabPro (12.2-inch, lifestyle 002)

It’s day two of Consumer Electronics Show and we’re expecting a flurry of new Apple-related product announcements throughout the day. Our continually updated CES 2014 coverage does not include yesterday’s Samsung press event, but it’s not too late to rectify the omission and tell you about some new tablets Apple’s fierce competitor announced at the show: one new Galaxy NotePro and three new Galaxy TabPro devices (it pays to keep tabs on competition).

Available in up to 12.2-inch variants (here’s why), all four tablets sport a new Windows 8-style home screen called Magazine UI and some nice multitasking improvements such as the ability to run up to four apps concurrently and resize their “windows”.

And as an amusing ide-note, I’m also going to tell you about film director Michael Bay’s disaster at Samsung’s press event (bonus: video).

All that goodness is right after the jump…

So, Samsung’s new lineup includes one 12.2-inch Galaxy NotePro and the new TabPro available in three sizes: 8.4-inch, 10.1-inch and 12.2-inch. All four slates run the latest Android 4.4 KitKat.

First up, the flagship Galaxy TabPro (pictured top of post) with its massive 12.2-inch screen. This 296mm tall, 204mm wide and 7.95mm deep tablet weighs in at 732 grams (about a pound and a half), or 740 grams for the cellular version.

The Verge‘s hands-on video notes (see below) notes that the weight makes it a tad “cumbersome and unwieldy”, especially when you hold it with one hand, and the same goes for the 12.2-inch NotePro.

Speaking of the NotePro, seen below, its flagship 12.2-inch versions has exactly the same dimensions as the TabPro, though it’s a bit lighter at 750 grams (three grams more for the cellular variant).

Galaxy NotePro (12.2-inch, front 001)

Both 12.2-inch tablets have the same 2,560-by-1,600 pixel resolution ‘Super Clear LCD’ display at 247ppi and pack in either a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor (Wi-Fi and 3G models) or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chip (the LTE models), with your choice of 32 or 64 gigabytes of built-in storage.

Other goodies: a massive 9,500mAh battery, an eight-megapixel back camera, a two-megapixel front cam, dual-band WiFi 802.11 ac, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and IR support.

The only visible difference between the NotePro and the TabPro is support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus. Silicon-wise, both Qualcomm and Samsung chips have with 3GB of RAM which allows for nice new multitasking features.

Here’s a nice hands-on clip, courtesy of The Verge.

Speaking of multitasking, Samsung’s new Windows 8-style home screen called Magazine UI allows for some interesting multitasking capabilities.

Hopefully, Apple is paying close attention to how Samsung is advancing its tablet series and will act accordingly by improving iOS multitasking in iOS 8. As The Verge’s hands-on video attest, the new multitasking UI does resemble Windows 8’s tile system.

Check out the official promo.


Instead of getting whisked away to Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay upon pressing the Home button, the new Magazine UI gets invoked instead, sporting three customizable panels: one for your office/workspace, another for personal use and a third for social media.

The layout offers tiles of apps and information that users can customize and configure. Three preset pages are offered by default, though users can customize up to five pages with apps and news widgets.

The whole system feels very similar to the LiveTile system in Windows 8.1 and is a bit more approachable for new users than the typical home screen.

All four Pro tablets feature Android 4.4 KitKat and will be available later this quarter, but Samsung did not release pricing information.

SAMMobile.com tweeted out the alleged European price points:  the new NotePro 12.2 LTE should cost €849, or about $1,155. As for the TabPro 12.2 LTE, the device should retail for €749, which works out to about rather pricey $1,020.

Detailed information about the new tablets can be found in Samsung’s press release.

What else did Samsung announce?

Just briefly, there’s a new NX30 compact system camera powered by a DRIMeIV image processor and a 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor capable of taking RAW 5,472-by-3,648 pixel shots and capturing full HD video.

It has a tiltable EVF with eye contact sensor, a three-inch Super AMOLED swivel and touch display and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity with support for Samsung’s Photo Beam and Mobile Link features.

Samsung NX30 camera (image 001)

Next up, a new ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition Windows notebook was shown off with a 14-hour battery life, courtesy of an Intel Core i5 or i7 ultra low voltage chip with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 graphics.

It’s outfitted with a 15.6-inch full HD (1,920-by 1,080) screen and has 128/256GB SSD storage, 2x USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, mini-VGA, Ethernet, a card reader, headphone/mic jacks and a security lock.

Samsung Ativ One 7 (image 001)

Finally, we have an interesting looking all-in-one desktop in white, the ATIV One 7 (pictured above). It runs Windows 8.1, has a 24-inch display with built-in webcam, packs in a fourth-generation Intel Core i3 or i5 chip and includes a hybrid 1TB hard drive/128GB SSD.

Samsung has not said when the new computers will be available or how much they will cost. In other Samsung news, @evleaks posted a trio of screenshots showing off an alleged new smartphone interface with light fonts and pastel gradients.

New Samsung smartphone UI

It’s a scaled down version of the Magazine UI found on the new Galaxy tablets, I think.

Finally, the South Korean company has invited famous Hollywood director Michael Bay to help promote its new HDTV sets, but he quit the press conference following a teleprompter malfunction.


Bay later explained in a post over at his website how he embarrassed himself at CES:

I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar.

I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.

By the way, Samsung’s new HDTVs range in size from 50 to 105 inches, with the flagship 105-inch one featuring 4K resolution and a curved display with a movie-theater aspect ratio of 21×9.

So, what do you think?

Has Samsung lost its mojo or what?