These two excellent input options made the virtual keyboard's shortcomings easier to bear and increased the appeal of the unit as an all-the-time device.
Excellent software features
The Galaxy Note Pro also features the new ability to run four separate app windows at once on the screen. I was able to view a YouTube video in one of the four, while keeping Gmail open for new emails in another, with Google Maps and the Computerworld website open in the other two. When I pressed the home button to revert back to the home screen, small icons of each of the four previous apps still remained in their appropriate locations; touching one of the icons took me back to that app.
While some Android purists might be concerned that Samsung has added its Magazine UX customizable user interface to the Note Pro, I found the interface beautiful and functional.
For example, I created a screen that had several rectangular widgets showing general news, sports news, tech news, and so on. Each widget (like the tiles in Windows Phone) remained active and easily accessible. It's truly an example of Samsung improving on the Android experience.
Samsung also has beefed up productivity on the Note Pro with a number of perks, including a new word processing, spreadsheet and presentation suite called Hancom Office Suite. I fiddled with many of the functions in Hancom Office and found them similar to what's possible with Microsoft Office, although many IT shops and workers will probably wish to stick with the more familiar Microsoft suite if a workaround can be arranged.
Other perks include a $25 Google Play store credit, a year of Gogo inflight Wi-Fi (which has a potential value of up to $700 and could justify the Note Pro's purchase price for frequent fliers), a one-year free subscription to Business Week and 12 weeks free of the New York Times. There's also six months free of Cisco WebEx, three months free of Sirius XM Internet radio and 50GB of Dropbox cloud storage free for two years.
All this doesn't come cheap: If you want the Wi-Fi-only versions, you need to be willing to shell out $750 for the 32GB model or $850 for the 64GB model. If you also purchase the keyboard, mouse and cover that I used at WMC, it can add up to $170 more. At that point, you might be asking yourself: Why didn't I get a Chromebook for $320?
(If you need connections outside of Wi-Fi, Verizon offers the 32GB model with 4G LTE for $750 plus a two-year wireless agreement or with no prepaid contract for $850 with its More Everything wireless plans.)
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.