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I was lucky enough to test drive the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S at CES this year. I instantly fell in love with it. Now, my entire approach feels like I’m a walking advertisement for Samsung, but honestly, I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of getting a Surface Pro and just could not justify the price tag.

With the Tab Pro S, you get a variety of features you’ll find in the Surface Pro and a little bit more and a bit less. For some, it’s a perfect substitute; for others, it may not be enough.

Let’s look at our first impressions of the Galaxy Tab Pro S and whether it’s worth the price tag.

First Impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

Galaxy Tab Pro booting

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S made its debut at Samsung’s press conference at CES 2016. It’s a tablet computer running the full version of Windows 10 but offering the laptop and tablet modes on the same device.

It uses a folio keyboard and can be used in a number of ways, similar to other 2-n-1’s on the market. It’s capable of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC connections out of the box.

When paired with a Samsung Flow-enabled Android phone, it can take advantage of biometrics, shared notifications, and instant hot spot connection via the paired device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S Specs

Display

  • Resolution: Super AMOLED, 2160×1440 (Full HD+)
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:2
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Size: 12”

Processor

  • 2.2 GHz, Dual-core, Intel Core M3

Communications

  • 802.11n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC

Input

  • Touch screen, Keyboard

Battery

  • 5200 mAh

Storage

  • 128 or 256 GB SSD

USB

  • USB-C (1)

Camera

  • 5 MP front and rear

Memory

  • 4 GB

OS

  • Windows 10 Home

Dimensions & Weight

  • Dimensions: 11.4” W, 7.8” D, 0.2” H
  • Weight: 24.44 oz

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

Galaxy Tab Pro S in box

With the release of the Galaxy S7, Samsung has changed up the quality and color scheme of the boxes it ships its products in. When I received my Tab Pro S, it came in a high-quality, black box which was sturdy and felt like something amazing was inside.

Tab Pro S

Upon opening the box, the Tab Pro S was protected by a branded cover that reminded you what you were about to hold.

Instructions & accessories for Tab Pro S

Below that, you found the basic instructions, fast charger, and USB-C cable.

Tab Pro S without keyboard

The Tab Pro S itself is slim, sleek and lighter than you’d imagine. The keyboard folio that comes with it is also high-quality and easily snaps into the Tab Pro S so you can use them together.

Tab Pro S top buttons

The keyboard folio feels sturdier than most accessories out there, with the keys being smooth to the touch as is the touchpad.

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USB-C port & microphone jack for Tab Pro S

The Tab Pro S comes with one USB-C port, a microphone jack, along with a power button, home button, and volume buttons like you’d find on most phones or tablets.

They are strategically placed so that they’re easy to reach and use no matter how you’re using the device.

Setting Up the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

Tab Pro S screen

After turning on the device, it came with about 40 percent charge out of the box, it was immediately clear how amazing the Super AMOLED screen and resolution is.

While I was impressed by the display at CES, seeing my own Tab Pro S light up was something else entirely.

Getting everything ready

It took about 15 minutes to go through the Windows 10 prompts to set up the device, similar to upgrading or installing Windows 10 on a home computer and then it was ready to use.

One of the biggest surprises was the lack of bloatware on the Tab Pro S. I expected somewhere between a new PC and a new phone, to be honest, especially knowing how much bloatware comes pre-installed on Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S7.

Other than some of the basic Windows programs and new Samsung programs for the Tab Pro S launch, the tablet ran like a dream after its first startup.

Using the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

My everyday laptop is an HP Envy touchscreen computer running an i7 processor from Intel with 16 GB of RAM. As you can imagine, I’m used to speed, and I swear the Tab Pro S runs much smoother and faster than my HP ever has. I’m convinced it’s the SSD in the Tab Pro S that makes the transition between opening programs, documents, and more that much more efficient, and it’s something I just took for granted before with my HP.

I was impressed by the battery life as well, though I’ve yet to see the 10+ hours of usage others, including Samsung boast. So far, I’ve been able to get about six to seven hours of battery life with continued use, doing just the basics. If I’m watching Netflix or doing something intensive, then that goes down to about two to three hours of use. Luckily, though, the Tab Pro S takes advantage of the fast charging changes Samsung made to the S7 and S7 Edge.

The transition from a 17” laptop to a 12” screen was a bit jarring, giving me headaches the first few days. You have to get used to it and once you do, the transition isn’t as hard. You can increase the display size on the Tab Pro S, if necessary, although it tends to cause display issues with some software.

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The touchscreen itself is extremely responsive. Pairing the Tab Pro S with a Bluetooth mouse is the way to go if the touchpad is too small for you to use, as I found was the case for me.

The portability, functionality, and ease of use is what makes the Tab Pro S a great buy. I no longer have to trudge my giant laptop – which I do love – with me to meetings or even just to pop into an office down the hall. It takes up so little space, I can work on a small desk, my lap, and most places on the go without worrying about my workspace.

Quirks of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

The Tab Pro S comes with one USB-C input and output, meaning you’ll need to buy a USB-C (with pass through charging) to take advantage of other accessories.

Sometimes, despite shutting down the Tab Pro S completely, it turns on while in its carrying case. I think this is because of where the power button is and how the folio closes around it. It gets bumped and turns on. So be aware when traveling, as you might turn it on and drain the battery without knowing it.

The folio keyboard case picks up dirt and fingerprints fairly easily. You’ll have to clean it frequently to keep it in good condition, especially on the go.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for something akin to the Surface Pro but don’t necessarily need all the functionality or want to spend that much money, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S is a worthy competitor for most consumers.

It all comes down to what you want to get out of the device and how you’ll use it on a daily basis. With a price tag of $900, it’s still a hefty investment for most, but you’ll find that the portability and functionality quickly make up for the amount you spend on the Tab Pro S.