Last week I flew around the country to visit some of Australia’s most interesting tech hubs and startups while simultaneously running Lifehacker — using only Samsung’s new 2-in-1 laptop. Naturally, that meant I also spent each night posted up in various hotel rooms with not a whole lot to do. Time to check out those entertainment features! I’m Chris Jager from Lifehacker, and this is the Roadtrip Challenge.
2-in-1 laptops are supposed to provide the best of both worlds. The ability to change into a tablet offers a level of flexibility that standalone laptops can’t match — especially if you’re frequently on the road. Last week, I put this concept to the test by travelling to Melbourne, Brisbane and then back to Sydney armed with nothing but Samsung’s Galaxy TabPro S. Along the way, I visited interesting Aussie tech hubs and startups to see how they work. And yep, Samsung is sponsoring this series under the agreement that I get to be completely honest with my experience.
In today’s diary: productivity on public transport.
The Samsung TabPro S is chiefly aimed at business users, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t know how to party. The tablet’s 2160×1440 pixel screen is a high-contrast Super AMOLED display — one of the best-looking laptop screens I’ve used. Perfect for movie playback and video streaming.
It’s also no slouch in the gaming department as far as 12-inch tablets go. Equipped with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor, 4GB of RAM, an Intel HD Graphics 515 integrated GPU and a 128GB solid state drive, it will be able to handle more games than the average 2-in-1.
Of course, you’ll need to invest in a USB adaptor and plug a mouse in first. While the included trackpad is perfectly suited to day-to-day computing tasks, games that require fast reaction times are another matter.
I didn’t bring a mouse on this trip and didn’t particularly feel like shooting things in my off-time anyway. Instead, I went down the predictable route of curling into bed and firing up Netflix. Very chill.
As you’d expect, video footage look superb on the TabPro S’s AMOLED screen; whether you’re watching an old standard-definition TV shows or the latest movie blockbuster in Full HD.
To test the video playback, I watched Ant-Man and a few episodes of UK comedy Peepshow with my my Galaxy S7 earbuds plugged into the TabPro S’s 3.5mm headphone jack. If you forgot to bring headphones, the speakers on the left and right edges of the tablet do an adequate job of filling up a room with sound. Cleverly, they’re also situated near the top of the device so you don’t accidentally muffle them with your fingers.
These days, most people get their entertainment fix via streaming — whether legal or otherwise. Our model’s 4G connectivity definitely came in handy here, as my hotel room’s Wi-Fi connection was rubbish. Naturally, you’ll want to ensure your data allowance is suitably beefy before you even think about streaming video via your SIM card. There’s no Ethernet port on the Samsung TabPro S which is stating the bleeding obvious — even with the keyboard attached, the unit is less than 10mm thick.
I elected to use the device in tablet mode which caused me to run into an interesting conundrum: by removing the keyboard cover I had also removed the inbuilt kickstand. This meant I couldn’t rest the tablet on my chest like a Microsoft Surface.
On the plus side, the TabPro S is a lot lighter and thinner than the Surface: it’s possible to hold the device for extended periods without getting tired arms. In short, both designs have their pros and cons. (I suppose if you really want the kickstand in bed, you can always keep the keyboard attached.)
In the next part of the series, I’m going to be taking a look at some of the Galaxy TabPro S’s security features, including Samsung Flow.
Lifehacker’s TabPro S Roadtrip Challenge series is sponsored by Samsung.