It’s more iPad than Surface
Many people have described the Galaxy TabPro S as a Surface Pro clone, but that’s not quite right. Instead, it more closely emulates the iPad Pro. Why? I believe that the Surface line’s signature feature is its kickstand, which lets the convertible stand on its own, without the need of a keyboard cover. So HP’s Spectre X2 with its built-in kickstand, for example, is more of a Surface clone in my view.
The TabPro S, on the other hand, is really a beautiful tablet with a clever keyboard case. That case connects using magnets and a set of pins on the bottom side, and when closed, wraps completely around the tablet. (It’s a nice touch for those who don’t like scuff marks on their device.) When open, the cover props up the tablet at either a 65-degree or, roughly, 165-degree angle. You can’t use the keyboard with the tablet laid flat (180 degrees), as the pins won’t make contact.
The TabPro S’s keyboard looks similar to the Surface Pro 3’s, in that all the keys sit flush with each other, but in actual use it’s a far different experience. The TabPro S's keys feel sloppy—they’re very loose and just a little too slow on the return. It’s also a bummer that the keyboard isn’t backlit. That feature used to be a luxury, but now it’s expected on high-end devices. (Heck, even the budget Surface 3’s keyboard cover has backlighting.)
It’s not all bad, though. The trackpad is quite usable, though still not as nice as what you'll find on the recent keyboard covers for the Surface Pro line. And Samsung has integrated an NFC reader into the keyboard (there’s also one on the back of the tablet). In theory, you can pair a Samsung Galaxy S6 or newer phone with the TabPro S to share the phone’s data connection over Bluetooth or unlock the tablet by using the fingerprint reader on the phone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test these two features as the app wasn’t ready during our review.
But it still competes with the Surface
Despite the Galaxy TabPro S seeming more like an iPad Pro, there’s still the lingering question of whether it’s the convertible that finally beats the latest in the Surface Pro line.
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