Samsung debuted a couple brand new Android tablets at CES this year, both of which are being positioned as “Pro” versions of its existing Note and Tab line of devices. The slates do indeed offer some features aimed more at enterprise users, but they also feature a UI that’s dramatically different from a stock Android experience.
The Galaxy NotePRO is a 12.2-inch tablet with Samsung’s S Pen and 2560×1600 screen resolution, and the TabPRO comes in 12.2, 10.1 and 8.4-inch sizes, and also offers a 2560×1600 screen on the top-end model, as well as on both of the smaller screen devices, which is amazing considering you’re cramming more pixels into a smaller space. Each runs Android 4.4. The NotePRO and TabPRO models are powered by an Exynos 5 Octa processor for Wi-Fi and 3G versions, and the Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz processor for the LTE editions.
But the really impressive thing about these new tablets aren’t found on a specs sheet; instead, it’s the new Magazine UX, which reimagines the basic home screen of an Android tablet with a design that has more in common with Windows Phone or even individual apps like Flipboard. There’s also a Multi Window mode that allows users to play with up to four different windows of separate active content on the same screen. In practice, it results in an experience that feels very unlike using any previous Android tablet, and while I didn’t spend quite enough time with it to make any final judgement, I did enjoy the cursory experience I did manage to get with the gadgets.
Samsung is going to bring the NotePRO and TabPRO devices to market sometime in Q1, 2014, and there’s no official word on pricing yet, though SamMobile has pegged them ranging between $389 and just under $900 depending on spec loadout. These are a curious breed of devices, and ones that could potentially take on Microsoft’s Surface and Windows 8 tablet offerings, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact they make once they do launch.