final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Features Tablet has everything needed for a balance of productivity and media consumption. great!
  • Display The display is simply stunning. great!
  • Battery life So far no issues with battery but obviously driving a huge screen. good
  • Ease of use Touchwiz interface is useful out of the box but the magazine ui is strikingly inflexible. good
  • Storage capacity The card slot allows a total of 96gb on even the lowest capacity model. great!
  • Design and form factor For drawing and productivity the size is a huge plus. For reading the tablet can be heavy. But screen is physically the same size as a comic book great!
  • Portability (size / weight) Not the most portable. Carrying it around minus a case feels awkward. Its a 12" monitor. In use its fantastic. so-so
  • Durability Feels very sturdy. good
Detailed review
After a day test driving my 32GB Galaxy Note 12.2 I'm sold on its strenghts and able to deal with its weaknesses. For productivity, everything about the sheer size is a plus. Drawing and note taking are a joy. Software like Sketchbook Pro and ArtFlow feel like this is the device they were meant to be used with. Add a bluetooth keyboard and a stand for the tablet, and you have a capable 12" laptop.

If used primarilly at a desk rather than hand held, you'll love the 12.2. Even holding the device for reading / media isn't unpleasant once you get used to the weight. I'm holding the 12.2 anf typing this on it perfectly comfortably using Samsung's keyboard in split layout.

The S-Pen experience feels to me very good. I find it a very capable drawing platform. I wouldnt say it rivals the feel of a wacom cintiq, but the pen is perfectly reponsive for sketching and taking notes.

The screen is the size of a comic book almost exactly (actually slightly bigger) so reading comics is a great experience. No need for zooming much at all. Magazine and pdf viewing is great as well; the screen is the killer feature. Everything looks so sharp and crisp. Color is vibrant and accurate as near as I can tell.

The overall feel is very snappy, although touchwiz itself is predictably laggy at times. Infact, Touchwiz is probably my biggest negative. I find the Magazine UI layout useful enough out of box, but I am disappointed by how inflexible it is. I wanted to change some of the tiles to widgets of my own choosing but you can't really interchange them with third party widgets. Worse, as I began to rearrange the tiles and delete things I don't want, the changes get cascaded from page to page wrecking the overall layout. Trying to empty a page completely to use for one's own layout simply deletes the page. Samsungs selection of widgets to use with tiles is skimpy. I quickly got annoyed with how primitivly inflexible the Mag UI is, especially given the screen real estate potential.
Still, the stock look is slick and probably fine for most people. Tinkerers will probably install their launcher of choice. I switched to Nova and all is well.

The tablet was way pricey, but for a certain niche user it's worth it. For an emphasis on productivity with media consumption secondary, it can hardly be beat. Personally, my only other contender was the Surface Pro 2. But for mostly media and light productivity it would be hard to justify the price.