I come from a Windows OS background and I'm an ex-Apple iPhone (now Galaxy Note 2) and iPad user. I've been waiting a long time for a tablet like this to be released: a large screen, expandable memory and the freedom of Android. Thanks to my Note 2 I have a little over a years of experience with Android OS but I knew what to expect from the Note Pro 12.2. Originally I had my eyes set on theSamsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (32GB, Black), after months of waiting and playing I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. Just before doing so I read of a possible 12" model coming out in the following year so I figured another 6 weeks of waiting can't hurt and patience definitely paid off.
Comparing the Note 10.1 2014 Edition and the Note Pro 12.2:
One big issue that annoyed me with the Note 10.1 2014 Edition ("14E") was the ridiculous My Magazine app that never goes away. It constantly hogs system resources as it runs in the background even after forcing shut downs of the app, and disabling the Home button link to this app didn't help as it would just keep running in the background. I noticed that the 14E was constantly using 1.5-1.7GB of its 3GB RAM total at all times even after factory resets, disabling apps and reboots. Thankfully the Note Pro 12.2 ("NP12") doesn't have this issue as it hovers around 1.2GB of memory used after a reboot. Even having pages of the magazine feeds and widgets running it still allocates memory usage better and best of all: no pesky My Magazine app!
Luckily I was able to compare both tablets side by side at the local Best Buy. This was a large factor in my decision to go with the NP12 over the 14E. Both tablets are about the same when it comes to hardware but there are other major differences between the two. Let's go over some of the features that the NP12 has over the 14E...
1. Over 2 extra inches of real estate on the screen. This means writing on the NP12 with the stylus while in portrait mode is very much like writing on a real piece of 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper, aka standard notebook paper. The palm rejection does a great job of making sure only the stylus gets recognized for input (if you want that on). I find that a 10 inch screen is too cramped to comfortably write notes on. Do your research, this is a 12 inch tablet so don't be surprised and don't consider it a downside.
2. Larger, longer lasting battery rated at 13 hours (9,500 mAh) versus the 14E's 9 hours (8,220 mAh). My mixed use gets me anywhere from 8 to 12 hours before plugging it in for a charge, depending on what apps I'm using and what the brightness/volume is set at. Lots of gaming/graphic intensive apps will exhaust the battery quickly whereas reading PDFs, E-books, etc. is where the battery really stretches its legs. There are numerous settings and options for the tablet to use minimum energy which I will go over later.
3. Multitasking on the NP12 is fantastic. Multi Window allows you to run 2, 3 or 4 apps on screen at once (the 14E supports up to 2 apps side by side). There are many apps compatible with Multi Window. You can also resize the windows depending on where you need the most room on the screen. Chatting with friends on Hangouts, surfing on Dolphin Browser, watching your favorite movie and checking/writing Emails all on the same screen is productivity at it's finest. You can save Multi Window templates too for quick access so that you don't need to drag the apps one by one every time you want to multitask. Just select your template and all the apps open up automatically. I usually have 3 apps going at once: Video (or Music) at the top left, AquaMail at the bottom left and Dolphin Browser taking up the entire right side of the screen.
Bonus feature: there is a trick that allows more than 4 apps open at once on the NP12, up to 9 apps total. First use Multi Window to load up whatever 4 apps you want on the screen, then hold the S-pen above the screen and press the pen's button which bring up Air View. On the Air View pop-up select Pen Window. Now use the S-pen to draw a box and then choose an app to launch in that box. The app loads up in the box you drew. It comes up as a floating window that can be resized, moved around on the screen and also minimized to a floating "bubble" that you can move around anywhere you want. You can do this 5 times total. So 4 apps via Multi Window and 5 apps via pen window. The Multi Window apps are all joined on the main screen while the 5 pen window apps are solo floating windows and can be minimized to a bubble to have them out of the way. Pretty cool!
4. KitKat 4.4: the new "Magazine Home" user interface (UI) is a little like Windows 8 but at the same time its different. After playing with it for a little while you'll actually want to use it and set up multiple pages filled with your news subscriptions, feeds, widgets, etc. I did not think I would like the dashboard/widget style UI but on a screen this size it works well and looks great. Basically you can set up different pages filled with all sorts of widgets ranging from:
Application widgets (Email, Calendar, Music, Video etc.)
Social widgets (Twitter, Flickr, YouTube etc.)
News widgets (Art & Culture, Science & Technology, News, Style, Sports, Business, etc.)
Each news category has dozens and dozens of publications to subscribe to and I find myself spending more time reading articles than I ever thought I would. If you're not a fan of the new UI the familiar Android desktop is still there with your standard icons and widgets. If you'd rather customize the tablet completely I highly recommend Nova Launcher.
Those are the main differences to me. Now onto some general information about the tablet as well as apps I use and features worth checking out:
Like every other phone, tablet and computer out there the NP12 does come with some bloatware. There are different types of bloatware so I'll cover each one:
1. Some preloaded apps can be uninstalled completely giving you back some minor storage space. This is a good thing.
2. Some preloaded apps cannot be uninstalled and instead can have "most" of their data cleared and then "turned off" - these apps remain installed on the tablet but are disabled. Some of the preloaded apps that can only be "turned off" are Chrome, e-Meeting, DropBox, Gmail, Google+, Twitter, Cisco WebEx and others. These are just some that I do not use myself so I turned them off. Even when turned off/disabled, these apps still take up some room but its very little, 5MB or less per app.
3. Some apps cannot be uninstalled nor can they be turned off. They can have most of their data cleared though. Either way this is just plain stupid. I can only think of two off the top of my head: Evernote and RemotePC. I don't use these particular apps at all so why can't I at least disable them so they don't show up in my apps list? Both of these apps use about 9MB of space combined. Again it's not a deal breaker for me but Samsung y u do dis?!
I bought the 32GB model. The tablet needs about 6-6.5GB for the operating system and preloaded software/apps. Out of the box you have around 25.5GB of space to play with, this of course depends on what preloaded apps you choose to keep/update or disable/uninstall so your free space will vary. A great investment would be aSanDisk Ultra 64 GB microSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card 30MB/s with Adapter SDSDQUA-064G-U46A, which gives you another 60GB~ of extra space for apps, movies, music, pictures, whatever you want to put on it. This SD card plus the tablet's free space adds up around 85GB which for me was more than enough. It's very easy adding your media files to the SD card, just plug the card into your PC with the supplied adapter and create folders like Music, Movies, etc. then copy/paste or drag and drop Artists folders into the Music folder, and videos into the Movies folder. I loaded music, movies and pictures on the SD card and I leave the tablet's internal storage for apps since applications seem to run faster off of the internal storage as opposed to off the SD card. If you think you need more space you can go big with SanDisk's newest 128GB card also found on Amazon.
The screen is beautiful. High quality photographs and wallpapers at the native resolution (2560x1600 or bigger) look really, really good. If you're looking for some stunning wallpaper for your tablet check out:
This model is WiFi ONLY! There is NO slot for a SIM card. The WiFi model also works with your MiFi device and can also connect to the internet via a mobile hotspot such as your iPhone or Galaxy smartphones. I use my Note 2 smartphone as a mobile hotspot and it works great.
If you are looking for the 4G/LTE version you'll need to check out the model that Verizon offers. It's available through Verizon or here on Amazon, just search "note pro 12.2 verizon"
GPS - yes the tablet has GPS built in, you do not need to be connected to the internet for GPS to work (such as the Google Maps app).
Hancom Office is included with the NP12. This is Microsoft Office for Android, simple as that. You get full versions of word processing (Word), spreadsheets (Excel), and slideshow (PowerPoint). It all works very well with the large 12.2" screen and I find it very familiar after using MS Office for so long. You can even open existing word, excel and powerpoint documents with Hancom Office and continue editing and creating. Hancom Office is fantastic, however I must admit it was a little involved to get it up and running, so I will explain as best I can: After the initial setup of your NP12, go to your apps (bottom right, little white squares) and launch the "Samsung Apps" app, it will require an update so go ahead and download then install the update. After that is done, go back to your apps and launch Hancom Viewer (there is also a Hancom widget in one of the two default Magazine Home screens if you want to launch it that way). When you launch it a small white box should come up and it will say installing fonts and files, etc. so let it do that and when its done the Hancom Viewer app should open completely. On the left side select Office Download, then OK. This should open the Hancom Office Update Manager. When you do this there's a good chance the Update Manager will prompt you to update it so go ahead and do that. After its updated you can launch it again, the Hancom Office Update Manager is where all the Hancom apps are downloaded/updated/installed. You'll see 12 rows of Hancom apps such as Hcell, Hshow, Hwp, etc. Update and/or install all the ones that need to be done by pressing the rectangular button at the far right of each row. Each time you press the install or update button on the far right it will take you to Samsung Apps where you can press the Update button. Go ahead and update all 12 apps if needed, some may already be updated but will need to be installed (or vice versa). Once every button on all 12 rows is greyed out in Hancom Office Update Manager, then you know you're done! Now just go to your apps and launch whichever one you like. Hcell is excel, Hshow is powerpoint, and Hword is word processor.
Hangouts is a cool app and it comes with the tablet. It lets you text/message anyone with an email address or phone number. If you are familiar with iMessage then you know what this is.
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Dolphin Browser is a must for surfing the web. It is fast, supports tabs, and has a cool feature named speed dial. A speed dial is a bookmark placed on the Dolphin home screen for easy, one-tap access to the webpage. You can have pages of speed dials, its very useful and beats going down a list of bookmarks looking for a particular site.
Perhaps the best feature of Dolphin Browser is that it supports Adobe Flash and Java. I bet your iPad can't do that! What is Adobe Flash? Many of the websites you visit require flash to display the content properly, some websites even have flash animation and to play those you will need the flash player. One example of flash required content is Youtube videos, and Youtube videos that are embedded in other websites. Here is how to enable Flash on the NP12:
*** NOTE: the link to download the Flash Player Installer on the website above is broken. Here is an updated working link for the Flash Player installer: downloadandroidfiles.org/Files/Apps%20%28APK%29/KitKat.Adobe.Flash.Player.11.1.apk
When you're all done installing Flash player you should head over to the official Adobe Flash website to test the flash player so that you know it works. On the website you should see a bouncing red box. If not just refresh the page and you should see it the second time around. The Adobe page to test your flash player is:
PROTIP: ONCE YOU GET DOLPHIN BROWSER AND FLASH PLAYER UP AND RUNNING, DO NOT UPDATE DOLPHIN BROWSER IN THE PLAYSTORE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. It's not worth taking the chance of the update messing up Flash Player.
Amazon Instant Videos - yes, you can watch them on this tablet. Yes, you'll need Dolphin Browser and Adobe Flash installed and correctly configured. If you followed the aforementioned links you should be all set by now. Here is another link specifically dealing with streaming Amazon Instant Videos on KitKat 4.4, which is the tablet's operating system. This worked for me and it should work for you!:
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Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop is a remote desktop app that you can download for free and in my opinion works better than the RemotePC app that comes preloaded on the tablet. This app allows you to access your PC or Mac's desktop environment so that you basically have your entire PC/Mac on your tablet. It takes advantage of the 12.2" screen by filling it entirely with your computer's desktop. This is useful since you can run all your PC/Mac programs right on your tablet. It works really well and is probably my favorite app that I have come across. There is an optional paid upgrade to the app that let's you remote into your PC/Mac from anywhere. For now I am just using the free version to access my Windows PC, very cool and worth the download.
If you want to connect this tablet to your HDTV, a projector or anything with an HDMI input, you'll need a Samsung MHL HDMI adapter. This adapter allows you to mirror your tablet's screen onto your HDTV or other source. I also noticed that you can play a movie on the tablet (which also displays on your TV) and still use the tablet for other apps while the movie plays uninterrupted in the background of the tablet but still in full view on the TV. In other words you can play your movies or shows on the big screen while surfing the net or whatever apps you want to use on the tablet. This adapter is available here on Amazon but I chose to buy mine off of ebay. If the one sold on Amazon does not say "shipped and sold by Amazon" there is a good chance you will get a cheap knockoff adapter that will not work, just read the reviews from other buyers for yourself. If you want to try your luck the adapter can be found here:Samsung ET-H10FAUWESTA Micro USB to HDMI 1080P HDTV Adapter Cable for Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 and Note 2 - Retail Packaging - White. The seller I found on ebay is selling the legitimate Samsung adapters that have the hologram sticker and QR Code on the box indicating that it is a genuine Samsung product. Mine arrived promptly and works great. Save yourself the headache and get a genuine one here: ebay.com/itm/350958988570
Bluetooth is available so you can connect a BT mouse and keyboard if you like. Samsung makes an S Action mouse especially for the Note Pro and Tab Pro line of tablets and it works very well. The mouse buttons are specifically linked to actions such as Recent apps, Multi Window, Back, Menu, etc. I got to play with this mouse recently and it's fun although I opted not to buy it as I don't see me using the mouse enough. If you are interested its available at Best Buy (search ET-MP900DBEGUJ) and here on amazon:Samsung S Mouse for Tablets (ET-MP900DBEGUJ)
You can also connect USB peripherals to the tablet using a USB OTG cable like this:Black Color Micro USB 3.0 9pin OTG Host Flash Disk Cable for Samsung Galaxy Note3 N900 N9000 10cm. This allows you to connect a number of USB devices such as a mouse, keyboard, flash drive, external hard drive, even a PlayStation 3 controller to the tablet with the ability to access them - If you have a lot of movies on your external hard drive you can use the OTG cable to connect it to the tablet to watch movies. Another example is if you have a thumb drive on your keys, you can connect it to the tablet to access all your files. You can connect more than one USB device at a time by using a USB hub along with the OTG cable mentioned before. I don't recommend connecting more than two devices at the same time in the USB hub, especially if its a device that sucks up a lot of power like an external hard drive.
Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Kindle, Google Earth all work great, no issues. If you want to stream video from the tablet to your Smart TV (like Apple AirPlay) check out the AllCast application made for Android devices.
Extending battery life is simple: disable the vibration/haptic feedback and keyboard/stylus sounds as it really isn't necessary. Keep the brightness on Auto and the volume at half or less. When you're done using it for a while make sure you close all your apps and clear your RAM before putting it to sleep. This will greatly increase the standby time of the tablet so that when you pick it up again later it will still have lots of juice left in it. This is the procedure I do:
Swipe down the top of the screen
Clear your notifications by pressing the X under the sound bar
Swipe down the top of the screen again
Turn OFF WiFi (important)
Press the "Recent apps" soft button (to the left of the Home button)
Select Close all
Press the Recent apps button again (no apps should be running now)
Select Task Manager
Select RAM manager on the left
Press "clear memory" - do this AFTER closing your apps
Press Home button
Press Recent apps button a third time
Select Close all (this closes Task Manager)
Press Power button to put it in Sleep/Standby mode
Doing the above every time sounds tedious but after a few times its second nature and you will notice the battery percentage stays where you left it (or it only drops only 1 or 2%) even after an entire 24 hours in standby.
If you notice when opening/closing apps and switching between apps there is a slight visual delay, this is normal. It is meant to make the transition between apps look "pretty" - Microsoft OS and Apple iOS have something similar. This will eliminate the windows animation and transition effects which in a nutshell will make the tablet run much quicker and smoother:
Swipe down and go to Settings
Go to the General tab
Scroll down to About Device
Press the greyed out Build Number section continuously, 5-7 times
Developer Options is now enabled right above About Device
Under Developer Options, scroll down to the Drawing section
Set all three of these settings to OFF:
"Window animation scale"
"Transition animation scale"
"Animator duration scale"
You'll notice how snappy it runs after doing that.
Another available on/off toggle is the double-press Home button to bring up S-Voice. When you press the Home button twice quickly it will launch S-Voice. If you'd rather have this feature disabled read on:
Launch S-Voice by pressing the Home button twice (or via apps > Samsung folder > S-voice)
At the top right press the 3 small squares then select Settings
On the next window the second row down is the "Open via the Home key" on/off toggle.
Some apps that my girlfriend has recommended for drawing/painting/art. She is a graphic designer and bought her own Note Pro 12.2 soon after playing with mine so I will take her word for it. I have seen some of the pieces capable with this tablet and it is impressive. Also note that the files you create and save in some of these apps can be opened and worked on in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop:
Sketchbook for Galaxy (included with the tablet)
Fresco Paint Pro
Onto the accessories:
I am using the Samsung 12.2" Book Cover with my NP12. It is well made, very sleek looking and does protect the back and corners well. The stand works well in both positions. Don't plan on taking too many pictures with this cover though because when opened the cover wraps around the back and blocks the camera lens. That is OK though because you should never be using a tablet to take pictures. Ever. Stop. No.... don't do it. You look ridiculous. I'm pretty sure there is a law against this - ipadisnotacamera.com - I rest my case.
Anyway, I bought mine at the local Best Buy and you can find it on bestbuy.com - search for "samsung book cover 12.2"
The IVSO Slim Smart Cover Case is nice too and protects the tablet a little better than the Samsung Book Cover but I find the IVSO's stand to be a little more flimsy and I don't like that it makes the tablet sit upside down (home button on top) when using it in your lap. On the plus side the camera lens isn't covered with this cover and there's a thin magnet that holds the cover to the tablet so it doesn't flop around.IVSO Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2/Tab pro 12.2 Ultra Lightweight Slim Smart Cover Case with Auto Sleep/Wake Function-will only fit Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2/Tab pro 12.2 Tablet (Black)
I picked up thisGalaxy Note Genuine Wacom Touch Pen 8pi Stylus (ET-S200EBEG) - Black. It is about the same thickness as a regular pen so its easier on your hand and it has an eraser on the end, too. Here's a tip: go to settings > controls > S-pen and at the top make sure "Turn off pen detection" is not checked, now you can use a second stylus without needing to remove the factory stylus from the tablet. If you're going to be using the S-pen a lot this is a very good investment.
If you're looking for a great sleeve, check out theMerkury Innovations 12-Inch Solid Zipper Sleeve, Black/Blue (M-LL1090). It fits this tablet perfectly, even with the Samsung book cover on it and the quality is top notch. I love the fit and finish of this sleeve and how well it fits this particular tablet, the side pocket for the charge cable/external HDD is a bonus.
Need a longer USB 3.0 charge cable? I bought one of these here on Amazon:Cable Matters SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type A to Micro-B Cable in Blue 10 Feet. It works just as well as the factory cable for charging and is available in 6, 10 and 15 feet - useful if the nearest wall plug is too far away.
I like choices so I bought another sleeve, this one has a handle though:Evecase 10.6~12 inch Tablet, Netbooks Ultraportable Neoprene Zipper Carrying Case with Dual Hidden Pocket & Handle - Black/ Red. This sleeve is great because of the handles so I can throw in the tablet and carry it around just like that. If using my backpack I'll use the other sleeve mentioned above inside my bag. This sleeve is just as nice as the other and also has a side pocket. The black/red color looks sharp.
Last but not least: the User Manual. This has TONS of useful information about the tablet. Definitely worth it to look through this, in fact most questions that people keep asking about the tablet can be answered just by looking in the manual. The direct link to the PDF is:
If you have any questions just post a comment and I'll get back to you.