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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - The Best Tablet To Land From The Korean Giant

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As with the original Samsung Galaxy Note, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes rocking an S-Pen, Samsung’s stylish name for its stylus. And despite similarities with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1’s spec sheet blows the Tab 2’s out of the water, with a quad-core 1.4GHz processor and double the RAM. On the flip side, it will also do your bank balance more damage.

There’s no doubt that on first glance the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 appear almost identical. The truth is that the Note’s dimensions are a little bit different, at 262 x 180 x 8.9mm, and a tiny bit heavier at 597g.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Android action.

“The S-pen works just like a skinnier more accurate finger”

There’s no Android 4.1 Jelly Bean action on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, we’re afraid – just a heavily modified version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The alteration comes courtesy of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, which will either delight or depress you, depending on your viewpoint.

Personally, we like Samsung’s Android overlay, and we were impressed with the raft of new tablet features afforded to the Galaxy Note 10.1. The first of these is the snazzy split-screen setup, which enables you to run two apps side by side when the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is in landscape mode, or one on top of the other in portrait mode. Not only does this enable you to get on with two things at once (with speedy multitasking taken care of by the healthy 2GB of RAM), but there are also a couple of funky actions onboard to make your life easier. You can drag and drop media from one app to the other in a fancy Mac-like copy and paste action, and you can switch the app positions around at any time. Currently, only certain apps are afforded an invite to the split-screen party (S-Pen, the web browser, video player, photo gallery and Samsung’s email client) but we’re hoping the likes of Twitter and Gmail are added to the guest-list soon.

“The S-pen works just like a skinnier more accurate finger”

“The S-pen works just like a skinnier more accurate finger”

Another multitasking treat is the pop-out video player. This enables you to play back video in a op-out, windowless player, so you also get on with other stuff. You can also resize and move the viewing window, so it’s easy to position it appropriately for whatever other apps you’re using.

In terms of the S-Pen, it works just like your finger – albeit a skinnier, more accurate one. It’s powered by stylus specialist Wacom, and Samsung states that it offered 1,024 degrees of pressure sensitivity. It’s not just for note-taking or drawing, either – combine a long press with a tap of its side button, for example, and you take a screenshot. Just removing the S-Pen from its slot brings up a sidebar of S-Pen friendly apps.

The 5MP camera offer smartphone-style options but on a tablet.

The 5MP camera offer smartphone-style options but on a tablet.

In order to get the most out of your Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, you’ll be making numerous visits to Google Play. You can download and install APK files if you wish, but we’d recommend keeping within Google’s app portfolio, or at least using reputable third-party app stores.

Nobody in their right mind would base their tablet buying decision on the quality of the camera onboard; for a start you’ll look like a bit of an idiot if you use a 10-inch slate as a camera when you’re out and about and the quality of the image and videos captured is usually pretty atrocious. Saying that, the quality of the 5-megapixel camera (with LED flash) on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is good. It’s no compact camera replacement, and nowhere near the brilliant level of the top phones, but it’s a marked improvement on its tablet rivals. The usual noise grain and blur associated with tablet photography is kept to a minimum and there are plenty of shooting modes on the custom Samsung camera UI. We particularly liked the Carton mode. Focusing is auto or macro; you can mess around with the exposure, alter the white balance, and change the ISO, set the scene mode and much more. In short, it’s a Samsung smartphone quality setup on a tablet, even if the images aren’t quite up to the same level.

Videos on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 are shot in 720p HD, and aren’t as impressive as the stills.

Videos on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 are shot in 720p HD, and aren’t as impressive as the stills.

Videos on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 are shot in 720p HD, and aren’t as impressive as the stills. They suffer from ta haziness that all tablets seem susceptible to, and moving images are a problem in terms of autofocusing. You do get an array of shooting modes to choose from, though.

Interesting innovations

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is not an iPad killer. Despite being priced similarly, Apple’s 10-inch tablet easily comes out top. But that’s not a decisive blow for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Not everyone buys into Apple’s walled ecosystem – many people want an Android adventure. And in this sense, the Note 10.1 doesn’t disappoint. Its S-Pen is brilliantly intuitive, especially when combined with arty apps such as Photoshop Touch, and Samsung has made some great alterations to Google’s mobile OS. Split-screen app viewing works well, and the pop-out video window is great for casual viewing when you need to also check your emails or do stuff on the web.

 
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a step up for Samsung, and is the best tablet to land from the Korean giant since the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 in 2011

The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a step up for Samsung, and is the best tablet to land from the Korean giant since the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 in 2011

Ultimately, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is a step up for Samsung, and is the best tablet to land from the Korean giant since the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 in 2011. It’s super-speedy thanks to the quad-core CPU, and multitasking is a breeze thanks to the generous memory. The price is perhaps a bit more than we’d have liked, and it’s not the game-changer we were secretly hoping Samsung had up its sleeve, but it’s still a great 10-inch tablet with a stylish-twist (or should that be stylus – twist?)

Details

·         Price: $671.95

·         Website: www.amazon.co.uk

Specification

·         Screen: 10.1-inch 1,280 x 800

·         Processor: 1.4GHz quad-core

·         RAM: 2GB

·         Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB

·         Cameras: 9MP (front), 5MP (rear)

·         OS: Android 4.0

·         Wireless: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

·         Battery: 7,000mAh

·         Connectivity: Micro USB, 3.5mm

The good

·         Split screen action, quad-core power, intuitive S-Pen

The bad:

·         Average display, mediocre camera, plastic chassis

Dimensions

·         Height: 175.3mm

·         Width: 257.8mm

·         Depth: 8.9mm

·         Screen size: 10.1-inch

·         Weight: 583g

 

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