Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 review

The Tab Pro 8.4 is one of Samsung's finest tablets.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
is this Samsung's best tablet to date?

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Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is fitted with a 4,800mAh battery, which is of course significantly smaller than the 10.1-inch and 12.2-inch models. In fact, it's only half the capacity of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2's battery.

This led me to fear for the Tab Pro 8.4's stamina - after all, I've spent much of this review talking about how this device packs in all of the powerful components of its big brothers. Could it really operate satisfactorily on half the juice?

As it turns out, yes it can - even when it comes to performing continuous, intensive tasks such as playing HD video.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Review

In the standard TechRadar battery test, which involves running a 90-minute 720p video with the screen whacked right up to full brightness, the power dropped to around 78%.

That's pretty much average for high-end Android smartphones and small tablets, but it's also 6% better than I managed with the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.

This is likely down to the significantly larger display of the 12-inch model. The resolution might be the same, but it has to put out a lot more light. The Galaxy Tab 8.4's Snapdragon 800 CPU is also known to be very power efficient.

This is perhaps confirmed by looking at our results for the similarly-sized LG G Pad 8.3, which sports a 4,600mAh battery and the less power-efficient Snapdragon 600 CPU. This dropped to around the 70% mark in the same test.

I found the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4's decent battery performance to be replicated in real-world terms, too. After one day, 11 hours of moderate usage, which involved some light gaming, a little web browsing, dealing with emails and testing of the tablet's multi-window capabilities, I was only down to 40%.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 doesn't suffer for its high-end components, which is precisely what anyone shopping for a 'pro' tablet would expect to hear.

The essentials

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.4 operates much the same as any other Samsung tablet from the past 12 months or so, with a familiar selection of pre-installed apps and interface elements.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Review

Samsung's default keyboard is present and accounted for, complete with dedicated number keys and intelligent word suggestion system.

It's pleasant to use, though I understandably found it a little less accurate to use than those on Samsung's recent 10 and 12-inch efforts.

Of course, default keyboards are no great issue on Android, as you can always download a third-party alternative from the Google Play Store - including Google's own fine effort.

One bugbear of mine is Samsung's continued habit of doubling up on apps. You get two web browsers (Chrome and Internet), two music apps (Google Play Music and Samsung Music), and even two app stores (Google Play Store and Samsung Apps).

It's a baffling decision I seem to raise every time I receive a new Samsung tablet to test, but it only gets more annoying with each successive example. I won't repeat myself on the respective merits of each doubled-up app - suffice to say, the Google offerings are invariably superior to Samsung's own. And by some margin.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Review

Of course, when it comes to web browsing, Google technically supplies both web browsers. Chrome is the only one you need, though, with the other one belonging to a time before Google supplied a mobile version of its popular desktop browser.

Chrome continues to be one of the best mobile browsers out there. As always, the full TechRadar website is an excellent test subject for such a tool, as it's packed full of images and text to load up.

Here, it was rendered in a feature-complete and usable state in around three seconds, and loaded completely in around ten.

That's right up there with other high-end Android tablets, as you might expect given the popular Snapdragon 800 CPU at the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4's heart.

As for the actual web browsing experience, well, that's great too. True, viewing a full zoomed-out web page isn't quite the comfortably luxurious experience it is on the 12.2-inch models, or even the 10.1-inch models.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Review

Samsung e-Meeting is a useful app

But the increased sharpness and improved quality of the Tab Pro 8.4's screen, with its RGB pixel arrangement, means that text and images are rendered more crisply here than anywhere else in the Samsung tablet range.

We've criticised Samsung's duplicate apps, but the company has also supplied some worthwhile original efforts.

Samsung e-Meeting, for example, lets you set up a virtual meeting room where you can share content without the need of a network connection.

As anyone who's ever used a rented space for such a meeting will know, this is a useful tool for the roaming professional.

Cisco WebEx, meanwhile, allows you to conduct virtual meetings from anywhere there is a connection, complete with video conferencing and file sharing facilities.