While media consumption has long been the main use for tablets, they get plenty of supplemental use for productivity; things like checking your email, giving presentations, etc. when a notebook isn’t available.
But a full-time replacement for your notebook? For many this is a practical option. Outfitted with a third party keyboard cover, the standard iPad can be a more portable notebook replacement for salespeople and other mobile workers.
Likewise, Microsoft and its hardware partners have pitched Windows 8 tablets with attached keyboards as viable notebook alternatives.
Now Samsung has upped the game with the Galaxy Note Pro, a 12.2-inch Android tablet that sports a larger screen, closer to what notebook users are used to.
Early reviews have been positive, though a common thread is that the Note Pro, advantages aside, falls short of offering all the benefits of a notebook PC.
“...with a surprisingly complete selection of productivity apps in both Google Play and Samsung’s own app store, this massive Android tablet can help you get real work done,” says PC World reviewer Mark Hachman.
When the Note Pro was unveiled in January at CES, company officials touted the fact that the virtual keyboard is full-sized thanks to the larger display making it easier to type. I know many people who can speed type quite well on virtual keyboards, but most find it an adjustment not work making.
As PC World notes: “In fact, to use it as a laptop replacement, you’ll need to buy a Bluetooth keyboard and possibly a mouse. That completely eliminates its use as a ‘lap top’ computer.”
Is the value there?
Re/Code reviewer Bonnie Cha was impressed with the Note Pro as a tablet but came down hard on its value as a notebook replacement:
“Despite the productivity features and extra-large screen, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 can’t match the power of a laptop, and with its sky-high price tag, it’s hard to recommend even as a standalone tablet,” she said. “You’re better off investing your money in one of the many affordable Windows 8 devices, or going for a less-clumsy tablet like the iPad Air or even the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.”
("How tablets can replace notebooks for real work" will be one of the key sessions at the Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6. Check out more agenda details and our preliminary list of confirmed speakers)
Appealing to business users
Over at The Verge, reviewer David Pierce says the Note Pro includes good software for business use:
“Samsung's clearest nod toward the business user is the set of apps that comes preinstalled. There's e-Meeting, which lets you share a virtual whiteboard with everyone in the meeting (assuming your entire company switches to Note Pros). Cisco's WebEx app is standard conference-call fare, and Hancom Office is a relatively solid replacement for Word and PowerPoint.”
Still he adds “...for getting work done on a tablet, nothing competes with Office, Windows, and the Surface Pro.”
And further argues that “laptops aren't dead yet. They're getting thinner and faster and more versatile, and they come from a work-first world that no tablet can touch yet.”
Better input options a plus
Reviewer Matt Hamblen at Computerworld took note of the NotePro’s input features that go beyond the keyboard, starting with Google Voice.
“I must say, I have never used a more efficient tool to dictate emails and documents quickly; there wasn't even a training period involved. When did voice recognition get so good?
“The S Pen (available with recent Samsung smartphones and tablets) allows you to do a wide variety of tasks. For example, by pushing a button on the S Pen, you can quickly capture a screenshot or draw a line around an object to select it.”
As with other reviewers Hamblen dinged the high price of the Note Pro ($750 for a Wi-Fi only model). Overall he says it’s a viable laptop alternative for anyone who can adjust to using the virtual keyboard or willing to use an additional, Bluetooth keyboard.
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