Track Tech: Verizon Wireless' Samsung Galaxy Note Pro Tablet

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During the month of July, I reviewed the Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy Note Pro. This tablet quickly became my go-to device for just about everything. Letting it go was not easy and I highly suggest picking one up if you are busy, on-the-go and would love to have one device to reference for not just personal life schedules, but staying organized and on task for professional purposes – particularly if you’re profession is not a desk job. The mobility and reliability of the Note Pro demands exactly what it’s name infers – that you take note of it! One of the lines Verizon uses when promoting this device is saying, “You enjoy work as much as you enjoy downtime.” I couldn’t possibly agree more.

LOVE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

One thing that anyone who knows me, can tell you about me, is that I always have a camera with me. Whether it’s a cell phone camera, my trusty Samsung digital or on a device like the Galaxy Note Pro, the ability for me to capture a moment or see the world through a lens is always an option no further than an arm’s length away for me.

The Note Pro’s outward facing camera is 8 megapixels which may not sound like a lot but the photo quality was actually pretty impressive as long as I had good lighting and didn’t try to zoom in too much. The 4x zoom feature on the camera made shots look grainy. I had better luck taking shots & then cropping them – however, as mentioned, unless they were very well lit subjects, the crop image would be grainy as well.

The tablet’s camera had multiple lens options and settings for taking photos. I used Auto the most – allowing the lens to decide what white balance, flash, and focus would be best for the shot currently in view.

Other image captures I enjoyed were HDR (high definition resolution):

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Panorama:

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Sound & Shot – you would capture a photo and then capture sound for up to 6 seconds afterwards that went along with the image. Two of my favorite examples of this were waves on Lake Erie & a festival at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Beauty Face – otherwise known as a “selfie”. It was fun to have such a big screen to see how we all looked before capturing the image. You can see me having a good old time in Victory Lane with another journalist, as we take a selfie with the Firestone Firehawk (screen caps from the NBC Sports broadbast of the Pocono IndyCar 500), using the Beauty Face option on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro – I’m the blonde:

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After taking photos out and about with friends at the race track or around town, sharing them on social media is usually the next logical step these days. I loved using the S Pen to write my name on my personal photos before posting them or even to write on photos and collages before posting them, giving them a “postcard” kind of look. It made my images unique and gave them a distinguishable look.

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Side note: another cool thing about the S Pen was being able to write notes by hand (almost like virtual post-it notes and to-do lists) and then having the option to leave those notes in my own handwriting or convert them over to text/basic font format.

TIME IS PRECIOUS

Another factual bit of knowledge about me is that I am always on the go. I burn the candle at both ends and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, because of my very scheduling itinerary, day-in & day-out, I need technology that I can rely on and a network that can handle everything I need to keep up with. The efficiency of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network in combination with the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro’s user friendly formats and it’s incredibly fast 2.3 GHz Quad-Processor, made connecting with the rest of the world from different race tracks quick and consistent. Honestly, it was something I just started taking for granted & didn’t really think about until I heard others commenting on issues they had with non-Verizon service providers. This was not only an occurrence at the track, but back around town at home & even in the office at my day job.

I however, didn’t have to worry about things posting in real-time. I had confidence that they were and also received immediate feedback & interaction on social media apps, further confirming that my work was quality, time-sensitive and reaching my audience in the allotted timeframe required.

Another great feature was Multi-Window. This allowed me to have multiple windows open at once which was incredibly helpful for someone like me, who wouldn’t know how to single-task if you paid her. I found this feature quite useful and even more convenient than the multiple tabs more of us are used to with our internet browser pages – especially because thi s multi-view was not limited to just web pages.  Apps, maps, and email were all equally accessible for tiling.

SMARTER & SAFER TECHNOLOGY

Imagine my excitement when I discovered the already-loaded Android/Verizon Messages app. This app allows the user to sync text messages from their personal phone line with the tablet. This made it so much easier to keep track of all interactions & networking on one device and I didn’t even have to go through the process of giving everyone another number. I couldn’t really ask for much more!

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When I did find something I needed to ask for though, I found asking with the voice-activation feature to be very convenient. Sometimes it was something as simple as asking what time the sunset was, so I could get to the lake shore in time to capture images like the one to the left.

And sometimes I used the voice/microphone feature for composing texts or emails without needing both hands or deterring my focus from other tasks needing my attention. This was particularly useful on busy days when I was writing a lot and trying to complete a piece of work as well as days I had very short lunch breaks and just needed to play catch up. (I tend to work more often than I eat on weekday lunch breaks!) For me, balancing four jobs and numerous responsibilities, every second of my day is valuable, so being able to take care of multiple things at once makes my time well-managed and keeps me incredibly productive.

A few other smart features I found handy and time-saving were the swipe keyboard, making social media updates & email composition so much faster. “Smart Sense” was great for power-saving, since it would fade the screen to black if I wasn’t paying attention. No, seriously… if the screen couldn’t detect my eyes, it would turn the screen off to save battery! How genius is that? “Here’s looking at you, kid!”

MOST USED APPS

Three obvious social media apps were the most common interactions for me – Twitter, Facebook & Vine. I loved how I was able to seamlessly transition between the two Twitter accts I was working at the time. I have to log in & off between the accounts on my laptop to tweet from each/check notifications, but with the Note Pro, I could simply toggle between accounts while being logged in to both simultaneously. This was a HUGE time-saver and the fact that I received notifications for both accounts so I didn’t miss anything…? That was priceless.

Google Hangouts was another app that provided time-sensitive notifications. Usually, I only see what’s going on in the Hangout when I log into Google + through my Chrome browser on my computer. It was so convenient to have Hangouts as an app – keeping me up to date with notices from my More Than a Fan team. It allowed me instant access to my fellow editors and my publisher if I had questions or had to stay on top of changes or issues that we were dealing with at any given time.

NOTE PRO SCREEN CAP HOME

The IndyCar 14 app – exclusively through Verizon Wireless – let me enjoy the pit crew transmissions from home for the Toronto race in the background while tweeting & watching the feed from my second Twitter account. Being able to handle those things on the tablet allowed me to tweet from personal twitter account on the laptop – providing constant updates & replying to notifications as quickly as possible. I also enjoyed being able to listen to the Driver’s Meeting on the app while I was out & about earlier that Saturday. I could stay up to date without having to pause my afternoon with friends & family – no laptop booting up, logging in and finding an internet connection – just simply open the app since I already had 4G LTE flawless connection and click on the LIVE coverage tile to listen in!

For the two races I was trackside for with the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, I utilized the SPG app – this is an app for the Starwood Preferred Guest program, a loyalty/incentive program through Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which I have been a member of for the better part of a decade. The app made things so easy in regards to verifying my check-in dates, check-out times, my current amount of points, and the Gold Member awards available to me at any given moment. Being able to book future trips from the app was also very convenient – I took advantage of this when deciding that I would be able to attend the Verizon IndyCar Series finale in Fontana.

Speaking of travel, the Google Maps Navigation (beta version) helped get me to Iowa without any issue for the Iowa Corn 300. I was driving overnight in the dark to a place I had never been before and there was a detour on I-80 that was not well-marked at all and may have caused me to get a bit lost had I not been using the Google Maps Navigation. It gave me turn by turn directions for getting off the highway where ramps were closed and got me back on the highway in a much quicker way than I could have found on my own. The app also helped me find restaurants close by when I got into Scranton, Pennsylvania for the Pocono 500. This was another city I had never visited and I had so much to do without a lot of time to play with. It gave me directions on how to get there and back, with options of fastest route or shortest route & even with the current construction issues around my hotel, the navigation was up to date and got me back without any crazy detours or taking me to roads/ramps that were closed at the time.

The Weather Channel app’s “follow me” feature gave me notification when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued and that I was driving directly into it. I ended up exiting at the next ramp, getting gas and grabbing food since I needed to fill up (my SUV and my belly, alike!) and I was able to safely be in my vehicle and off the dark highway as a torrential downpour moved through. It was short-lived and the radar looked clear afterwards so I finished eating and got back on the road safely!

MOBILITY, DIMENSIONS & BATTERY

The appearance of the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro is what makes it stand out from other tablets, off the bat. It demands attention. The 12.2 inch HD display makes you feel like you’re working with a laptop but with a clearer picture, thanks to 4 million pixels, and with a much lighter frame at only 1.7 lbs. I could easily put the Note Pro in my purse or any bag I was carrying, without it being inconvenient. The 32 GB on board memory provided plenty of room for me to take photos & videos without worrying that I would run out of room. The only specification that I didn’t find to be accurate, at least for my lifestyle, was the battery life. It was noted as having 15 hours usage time but I think this is truer if using the tablet on a minimal basis. I could not get through an entire grid walk, race & victory circle ceremonies without it being almost or completely dead. From point of unplugging until it shut down was usually about 6-7 hours with constant to near constant photo-taking, photo-sharing on Twitter, video sharing on Vine and interactions back and forth on Twitter.

As far as mobility, I liked being able to set the tablet down and scroll through feeds, prop it up and use it as a second screen at my station in the media center or even at my home office while watching the race. I liked being able to type on it like a regular keyboard since the screen dimensions provided a full touch-screen QWERTY. I’ve always preferred to do the majority of my work on a laptop simply because of the screen size and details I can see without things feeling cramped. Working on the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro was the first time I was able to do this with a mobile device and feel like I wasn’t missing anything.

Being able to pick it up and go without inconvenience was a serious perk to the Note Pro. One of the events I took it to here in my hometown was an Arts Festival in Downtown Willoughby. I had at least half a dozen vendors at the street festival ask me about the Note Pro. They loved the size of the screen and one of the first things I showed to each of them was a demo of it’s ease-of-handling. I asked them to hold their hand out and feel the weight of the tablet as well as well as the “grippy” backing that allows one-handed-holding with confidence. Each time they held it, I could see the surprise in their face and I usually got a reply of “Wow!” or “That’s crazy!” They asked a lot of questions and I felt very comfortable showing them features and telling them about the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network. It was kind of cool because I was coming to the event to buy things from them, but I think I ended up selling a lot of THEM on the product I had brought with me!

LASTING IMPRESSION

If you are a Verizon Wireless customer or planning on becoming one in the near future, you should always be prepared. Why do I say this? Well, with devices as cutting-edge and show-stopping as the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, you can’t be too surprised when others take note & want to learn more!  Have fun with your new device, learn about it, and take advantage of all the features available to you. Personally, I hope you go out and pick up a Note Pro – I promise you will not be disappointed and once you use it on a regular basis, you will not want to let it go. Take my word for it – I miss it like crazy!