If you browse the tablets section in your local John Lewis (other retailers are available) you’ll notice a baffling array of Samsung slates on offer, coming in all shapes, sizes and configurations. Check out the Samsung website and it can be even more confusing with 19 models listed (many of which look almost identical).
If you want a Samsung tablet, but can’t work out which one, our whistle-stop tour should at least go some way to explaining the difference between a Tab Lite and a Note Pro; while also giving you in insight into rival brand alternatives.
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On the sofa with the Galaxy Tab
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the original Samsung tablet range. The Tab models (now complemented by Tab Lite versions) are fairly basic – think of them as the Tesco Value of the Samsung tablet world. There’s a choice of three screen sizes with seven, eight and 10.1-inch models available.
With a resolution of 1,024×600 on the seven-inch model or 1280×800 on the larger two, the displays are good but not the sharpest around. They come with decent dual core processors but the’re certainly not the speediest of the Samsung clan; looking a little sluggish compared to the Galaxy Note Pro and even Google Nexus 7.
The Tabs don’t come with a stylus and aren’t so geared up for work tasks as the Pro and Note slates. While prices begin at £109 for the seven-inch model, stopping at £209 for the full 10-inch version.
Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Note
Equipped with a stylus, the Galaxy Note range is designed with creative types in mind. You can use the stylus (or S-Pen as it’s also known) to highlight, draw or annotate directly on to the screen itself.
Within the Note branch of the family you will find both a 10.1-inch model and an 8-inch device. The larger Note has plenty of pixels with a 1,600×2,560 resolution display – that’s even more pixels than the iPad’s Retina technology as seen on the iPad Air, for example.
They pack a punch in terms of the processor as well; with the Note 8 powered by a quad core and the 10.1-inch version with an octa core chip. The Note 8 is available for around £300, with the 10.1 at £450.
Send in the Pros
Samsung offers either the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro (which has a 12.2-inch screen and a stylus) or a range of Tab Pro tablets available in various screen sizes without the stylus. Regardless of type, the Pro tablet line is the premium offering in Samsung’s hierarchy – the Tesco’s Finest variety as it were.
As ever you get a choice of screen sizes from the 8.4-inch TabPro to the 12.2-inch models. All have super sharp 2,560×1,600 resolution screens. They’re aimed at those who want a portable laptop replacement for working on the move.
You can split the screen to display up to four windows at once (depending on the screen size). They also come with Samsung’s productivity apps which give you the same kind of document editing options as Microsoft Office.
As you would expect with premium models such as these, they come with an eye-wateringly premium price tag. Expect to pay £349 for the smaller version, or up to £649 for the Note Pro 12.2.
Competes with – Apple iPad Air (£399) and Microsoft Surface 2 (£359).
So which to buy? – Which? expert’s view
The answer to this question is likely to be determined by your budget. If you’re after something cheap or suitable for kids the Tab range would most likely be the way to go.
For those who want something more suitable for really rolling up those sleeves and getting on with some work, then be prepared to spend a bit more on the Pro range.
Here at Which? we’ve argued before that that the Galaxy family has become unwieldy – but it does mean there should be something to suit nearly everyone. Just be sure to try the tablet out in a shop, and check our reviews of both Samsung’s tablets and its competition, before taking the plunge.
Jessica Moreton – Senior Researcher-Writer