Surface Pro 3 vs. Galaxy Note Pro 12.2: Battle of the note-taking tablets

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is one of the biggest tablets out there, but it certainly isn’t the only one. The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is another massive tablet that specializes in note taking. The Surface Pro 3 may be the more powerful of the two tablets, but the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 gives it a run for its money with its marginally lower price and built-in S-Pen. Let’s take a look at the specs to see which one of these giant tablets wins.

 

Surface Pro 3

Surface-Pro-3

Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

galaxy note pro 12 2
Size 7.93″ x 11.5″ x 0.36″ 11.64″ x 8.03″ x 0.31″
Weight 1.76 pounds 1.66 pounds
Screen 12 inches 12.2-inch LCD
Resolution 2,160 x 1,440 2,560 x 1,600
Keyboard and Stylus

Type Cover (optional – $130), N-Trig Stylus

 No, Wacom S-Pen
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro  Android 4.4 KitKat
Storage 64GB SSD 32/64GB
Ports 1x USB 3.0, Micro SD card reader, headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port, charging port 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack, Built-in speakers, dual microphones, Micro-SIM card tray (Wi-Fi + cellular)
Processor 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/octa-core Samsung Exynos 5 
RAM 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 3GB
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4400 Adreno 330
Cameras Front 5MP, Rear 5MP Front 2MP, Rear 8MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
Battery Up to 9 hours 9500mAh (Up to 9 hours)
Charger Proprietary Microsoft charger Micro USB
Marketplace Windows Marketplace Google Play Store
Price $799+ $750+
DT Review 3.5 out of 5 Stars 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Design and stylus

Both the Surface Pro 3 and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 are 12-inch tablets, but the Note Pro is slightly bigger at 12.2-inches. The Samsung tablet has a slightly higher display resolution, so images should appear slightly more crisp on than on the Surface Pro 3.  Still, in our review, we found that the PenTile display of the Samsung tablet left a lot to be desired. The physical dimensions of the Note Pro exceed those of the Surface Pro 3 by a small margin, but at 1.76 pounds, the Microsoft tablet is still a tad heavier than the Samsung, which weighs just 1.66 pounds.

The Surface Pro 3 does come with a built-in kickstand, which makes perfect sense for a tablet this large. The Samsung tablet doesn’t offer any form of support. This was one of our biggest complaints about the design of the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. However, Samsung offers built-in storage for its very slender S-Pen, while the Surface Pro 3 does not. If you decide to order the Type Cover for the Surface, you’ll get a small loop for your pen that attaches to the keyboard like a sticker. 

Samsung offers built-in storage for its very slender S-Pen. The Surface Pro 3 does not.

This is not an ideal situation. As any good mobile professional knows, laptops and tablets take a beating in our bags when we’re on the go, so it would be easy to detach the pen holding loop from the Type Cover by accident, or lose the pen all together. Providing a space for the stylus in the device may sound like a simple thing, but it’s actually a big deal. In this regard, Samsung wins.

However, when it comes to the stylus itself, Microsoft may have the edge. The Surface Pro 3’s pen is heavier, rounder, and thicker than Samsung’s diminutive S-Pen. It feels more like a regular pen to the touch and has cool functions like click to turn on the tablet and double click to save a document to OneDrive. It also writes very smoothly and the Intel Core i5 processor on our review model responded well to the pen’s input. 

That said, Samsung’s S-Pen, made by Wacom is also fully functional. When you pull it out of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 it automatically opens up a note-taking app. The Samsung tablet also responds well to stylus input and writes easily, but it doesn’t always keep up to pace with your writing. One huge advantage users of Samsung’s tablet and stylus combo will have is a wide range of drawing and note-taking apps from Samsung and Android geared toward S-Pen users.

The  competition between these two styli is fierce and really depends on your idea of what makes a perfect pen. However, the Surface Pro 3’s pen does write better and more quickly.

Power and performance

In terms of power and performance, the Surface Pro 3 has a clear advantage over the Galaxy Note Pro 3. Microsoft gave its tablet the top-of-the-line Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors along with a choice of 4 or 8GB RAM. Samsung’s Galaxy Note Pro 12.2  has significantly less power than it needs to be a true multi-tasking tablet like the Surface Pro 3. Depending on which model you get, the Samsung tablet has either a Exynos 5 octa-core or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor onboard and it always comes with 3GB RAM.

The Qualcomm and Samsung processors work well for most of the basic tablet tasks you’d want to perform with the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, but we found that whenever we had multiple windows open, the tablet became sluggish. The Intel processors on the Surface Pro 3 all but ensure that multitasking is a breeze. Naturally, that high-level of performance comes at a price.

The Surface Pro 3 starts at $799 and to have the full experience, you really have to buy the $130 keyboard, too. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is a bit cheaper, though not too much so, at $750. Admittedly, you can find the Samsung tablet for lower prices if you scour the Internet.

Product Review

Still waiting for a new Mac Pro? Corsair’s mini PC has all the power you'll need

With a modern 12-core Intel Core i9-9920X processor, Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti graphics, and 32GB of RAM, the Corsair One Pro is designed to woo creatives who demand more power from Apple’s Mac Pro. Like the Mac Pro, the best part of this PC…
Product Review

Without 4K or Core i9, the new Razer Blade Pro trades features for polish

Razer hasn’t updated its 17-inch gaming laptop for a couple of years, while showering most of its attention on the smaller sibling. The new Razer Blade Pro takes a lot of cues from the 15-inch model, stretching it out for the big screen.
Deals

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.
Mobile

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Mobile

Walmart drops a killer deal on the Apple iPad Mini 4 tablet

The Apple iPad still reigns supreme in the tablet market, and the pint-sized 7.9-inch iPad Mini is the perfect everyday carry companion. Now’s the perfect chance to score a deal on the last-gen iPad Mini 4 before it’s gone for good.
Mobile

Google Creative Lab’s new AR experiment helps you learn how to draw

Google's Creative Lab developed an experiment called Drawalong AR that could make it easier for aspiring artists to follow YouTube tutorials. The experiment essentially leverages Google's ARCore to create a virtual tracing paper.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best affordable phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget…
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Mobile

Solve a galaxy of problems with a simple reset of your S10

If your Samsung smartphone is acting up, then you may want to try resetting it. We'll show you how to overcome simple issues with a soft reset and also how to tackle bigger problems or prep it for sale with a factory reset.
Mobile

Step into Childish Gambino’s musical universe with the Pharos AR app

Childish Gambino seems to be on a mission to take over everyone's smartphones. Now you can experience his musical and visual universe through his new Pharos AR app, available on Android now and iOS soon.