Closing Thoughts

Samsung is no stranger to the tablet market, and the latest refresh of the Galaxy Tab lineup shows their experience. The Galaxy Tab Pro 8.3 and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 are both good tablets, and the displays in particular are going to be worth the price of entry for some users. As with laptops and smartphones, it’s not just about any one item pushing a tablet over the top, though the reverse isn’t true – if any area is severely lacking, that might be enough to kill interest in a particular device. Basically, it’s more of a gestalt approach: the sum is greater than the parts, and Samsung delivers the goods with the Galaxy Pro tablets.

Of the two, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise now that we think the Pro 8.4 is the best one to buy. The more compact form factor coupled with a lower price and better performance gets the trifecta to win out over the Pro 10.1. There are areas where the 10.1 clearly wins out (color quality and battery life, specifically), but is it worth $100 more to get those, along with a bulkier, heavier device? I don’t think so; feel free to disagree however, as they’re both good tablets.

Unfortunately, as good as they are they’re also rather expensive – as usual, quality has a price, and so do the WQXGA displays. Compared to other offerings, obviously the iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina are right in the same price range. Really, the question over which to get is going to come down to your OS and app ecosystem preferences; I’m happy with Android, so for the price I’d be inclined to go with Samsung’s Galaxy Pro tablets, but iOS fans will have plenty of reasons to stick with Apple.

Android alternatives include the Nexus 7, which delivers slightly less performance in most cases than the Pro 8.4 and it “only” has a WUXGA display, but it has one big selling point: it costs $170 less than the Pro 8.4, and you could even pick up two for the price of a single Pro 10.1 – or you could grab the 32GB model and still only pay $269. The Pro 8.4 looks and feels nicer in my opinion, but it’s really difficult to argue with that sort of price competition. If you want two more options, the Kindle Fire HDX 7” ($200) and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” ($379) pack similar performance with their Snapdragon 800 SoCs and have a lot to offer, but the lack of Google Play Services is a pretty massive drawback in my book. I really can’t find any other direct competition in the Android market for the Samsung Pro 8.4 right now, so it's an easy recommendation.

For larger tablets, there are a couple more contenders worth considering. The ASUS TF701T 10.1” ($424 with WQXGA LCD and 32GB, with a Tegra 4 SoC) and the Toshiba Excite Pro 10.1” ($471 and also Tegra 4, WQXGA, and 32GB) are 10.1-inch offerings with similar core features (Tegra 4), with both pros and cons relative to the Tab Pro 10.1. Slightly lower pricing is one benefit, more storage by default is another perk, and the lack of TouchWiz UI may be another, depending on how you feel about that. Performance goes back and forth depending on the benchmark you want to look at, though I'd still give the edge to the Snapdragon 800 overall. Plenty of other budget tablets can be found, but they’ll all come with slower SoCs, lower quality displays, and generally worse build quality.

Bottom line then is that if you’re looking for a high quality Android tablet, Samsung’s latest offerings should be at the top of your list. There are a few quirks at times (like physical buttons), but nothing that I’d consider a deal breaker. If you have the money and you want one of the best Android tablets I’ve had a chance to use, the Galaxy Pro tablet series likely has what you’re looking for. We’re still seeing pretty major jumps in performance with each new generation of SoCs, so these won’t be the “new hotness” for long, but right now this is about as good as it gets. If you have the necessary funds, I can definitely recommend both of these tablets. We'll likely see additional competition in the coming months, but until we get the next generation SoCs I don't think you'll see anything clearly faster/better than the Galaxy Pro line. Now if they could just reduce the price a bit, it would be a much easier recommendation.

Camera and Video Analysis


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  • SilthDraeth - Saturday, March 22, 2014 - link

    On my note phone if I want to take a screenshot, I hold the power button and the Samsung Home button. Give that a try. Or, on my wife's note 10.1 first edition, it has a dedicated screenshot softkey that appears where your normal android home keys, etc appear. Reply
  • FwFred - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    LOL... 'Pro'. Surface Pro 2 just fell off the chair laughing. Reply
  • garret_merrill - Friday, October 3, 2014 - link

    Really good tablets, although I would seriously consider the Note Pro series too (highly ranked by a number of sources, see But either way, the Samsung tables deliver fantastic quality. Reply
  • Brian Z - Saturday, March 22, 2014 - link

    Antutu? Really... Maybe somebody kidnapped Anand and Brian. Frigging Antutu Reply
  • grahaman27 - Saturday, March 22, 2014 - link

    Better than just posting the browser speed tests for CPU, and draw final thoughts from that, which they have gotten in a habit of doing. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    What's wrong with running one more benchmark and listing results for it? Sheesh... most of the time people complain about not having enough data, and now someone is upset for me running AnTuTu. Yes, I know companies have "cheated" on it in the past, but the latest revision seems about as valid in its reported scores as any of the other benchmarks. Now if it wouldn't crash half the time, that would be great. :-\ Reply
  • Egg - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    You do realize that Brian has, for all intents and purposes, publicly cursed AnTuTu and mocked the journalists who used it? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    The big problem is people that *only* (or primarily) use AnTuTu and rely on it as a major source of performance data. I'm not comparing AnTuTu scores with tons of devices; what I've done is provide Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 vs. 10.1 scores, mostly to show what happens when the CPU in the 10.1 hits 1.8-1.9 GHz. It's not "cheating" to do that either -- it's just that the JavaScript tests mostly don't go above 1.2-1.3GHz for whatever reason. Octane and many other benchmarks hit higher clocks, but Sunspider and Kraken specifically do not. It's probably an architectural+governor thing, where the active threads bounce around the cores of the Exynos enough that they don't trigger higher clocks.

    Don't worry -- we're not suddenly changing stances on Geekbench, AnTuTu, etc. but given the odd clocks I was seeing with the 10.1 I wanted to check a few more data points. Hopefully that clarifies things? It was Brian after all that used AnTuTu to test for cheating (among other things).
  • Wilco1 - Sunday, March 23, 2014 - link

    The reason for the CPU clock staying low is because the subtests in Sunspider and AnTuTu only take a few milliseconds (Anand showed this in graphs a while back). That means there is not enough time to boost the frequency to the maximum (this takes some time). Longer running benchmarks like Geekbench are fine. I wouldn't be surprised if the governor will soon start to recognize these microbenchmarks by their repeated bursty behaviour rather than by their name...

    Of course the AnTuTu and Javascript benchmarks suffer from many other issues, such as not using geomean to calculate the average (making it easy to cheat by speeding up just one subtest) and using tiny unrepresentative micro benchmarks far simpler than even Dhrystone.

    Also it would be nice to see a bit more detail about the first fully working big/little octa core with GTS enabled. Previously AnandTech has been quite negative about the power consumption of Cortex-A15, and now it looks the 5420 beats Krait on power efficiency while having identical performance...
  • virtual void - Monday, March 24, 2014 - link

    You cannot disregard the result produced by something just because the load generated by the benchmark comes in very short burst, that is the _typical_ workload faced by these kind of devices.

    The result in Geekbench give you some hint how the device would handle HPC-workloads, it give you very limited information about how well it handles mobile apps. Another problem with Geekbench is that it runs almost entirely out of L1$. 97% of the memory accesses where reported as L1-hits on a Sandy Bridge CPU (32kB L1D$). Not even mobile apps has such a small working set.

    big.LITTLE is always at a disadvantage vs one single core in bursty workloads as the frequency transition latency is relatively high when switching CPU-cores. Low P-state switching time probably explains why BayTrail "feels" a lot faster than what the benchmarks like Geekbench suggest. BayTrail has a P-state latency of 10µs while ARM SoCs (without big.LITTLE) seem to lie between 0.1ms - 1ms (according to the Linux device-tree information).

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