Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - It Isn’t Quite The Perfect Fit

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The Note is not just pocket sized, the range now has a ten-inch version too

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung galaxy note 10.1


Some apps are capable of being used side-by-side. two at a time. The selection is limited, but it’s a nice idea

Fast and capable

With a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, this tablet seems to fly along


A stylus sits in a housing on the chassis ready to be popped out and used

Samsung’s Galaxy Note proved such a surprise hit that the company has not only produced a follow-up handset but also a spin-off in the form of a full-sized tablet. As a Note it does include a pen for scribbling on the screen, but other than that, it is not really a companion device to its smaller ‘phablet’ brother. While that is unique, the Note 10.1 has plenty of competition, not least from Samsung itself with the similarly specced (and much cheaper) Galaxy Tab 2. Has the company gone crazy by splitting its own market in this way, or is it ensuring that it has devices for every need?

Well, that rather depends on whether the Galaxy Note meets a need. We aren't so sure about that. For all the goodness of the pen-based input it is still limited, and we aren’t sure we’d actually use it a great deal after the initial excitement. Others will disagree, we’re sure.

The stylus sits in a housing on the chassis and you can use it all the time. Tapping icons with its nib has the same effect as patting them with a fingertip, and you can sweep with the stylus too, for example, on the unlock screen.

The stylus sits in a housing on the chassis and you can use it all the time

The stylus sits in housing on the chassis and you can use it all the time

Not all apps support the stylus, though. A sidebar showing those that do appears when you extract the pen. The list is small: S Note, S Planner, Crayon Physics, PS Touch and Polaris Office. These variously let you make notes, manage your diary, play a physics-based game, draw and edit images and create Office files. There’s handwriting recognition in the Notes app. You’ll find other pen supporting apps for download, too.

It’s all very similar to the Galaxy Note II, except that it runs a slightly older version of the software, including the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system rather than Jelly Bean.

There are a couple of other goodies on board. You can split-screen some apps, viewing two at the same time. But the selection is small. Web browser, video player, Polaris Office, gallery, email and S Note are the full set.

You can also take advantage of the same pop-out video player that we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S III. In this larger screen it is a much more interesting proposition.

Physically the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 are very similar to look at. They share the same front-mounted speaker grilles and silver outer frame. Samsung hasn’t worked really hard to make the Galaxy Note 10.1 look very different. Build quality is reasonable but there is a little flex in the backplate and its plastic might be prone to scratching, so a case will be necessary.

The screen delivers 1,280 x 800 pixels while others (eg the Transformer Pad Infinity from Asus) present 1,920 x 1,200, while the much smaller screened Note II has 1,280 x 720 and is much crisper for it. But it is bright and most definitely clear enough for everyday working.

The core specifications are strong, with Android 4.0 driven by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a very generous 2GB of RAM in support

The core specifications are strong, with Android 4.0 driven by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a very generous 2GB of RAM in support

The core specifications are strong, with Android 4.0 driven by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a very generous 2GB of RAM in support. That’s double the amount of RAM we've seen even in top-end devices, and it must be part of the reason the Galaxy Note 10.1 seems to fly. There is 16GB of storage, and a micro SD card for adding more. It’s irritating that there’s no HDMI output-you need to use an optional extra adaptor for the proprietary mains connector to get HDMI. And that connector also doubles as the USB link. That will no doubt disappoint people who have standardised to USB, though at least Samsung does provide the cable.

On the other hand Samsung includes an infrared port and an app, Peel Smart Remote, which lets you control IR devices such as yourTV. It’s an old fashioned idea being given a new lease of life.

Just as interesting as its own features is how the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 compares to the Galaxy Tab 210.1. We’ve noted the design similarities.

The 16GB non-3G version can currently be found online for around $600, while the non-3G Galaxy Tab II is marketed at around $460.

The Note 10.1 is Samsung’s best tablet yet, and a better product than the Tab 2, but with a not inconsiderable price difference it’s up to you to compare specs and consider whether you really need a pen with your tablet.

Stylus apps

A suite of apps is included specially for use with the stylus, and you can download more

Pop-out player

There’s a pop-out video player that you can always keep on top and resize as needed

Battery life

You ought to get through a weekend of mid-level use


Positively zips along - this is a fast and responsive tablet


As you would expect, nice design, solid build, pen well thought out


Plenty going on under the hood with some very nice software tweaks

Value for money

You pay a premium price for the stylus support - do you really need it?


Stylus support is rare, so this tablet automatically separates itself from competition. It’s nicely implemented too


·         Price: $625

·         More information :

Technical specs

·         Operating system: Android 4.0

·         Processor: 1.4GHz quad-core

·         Memory: 16GB storage

·         Dimensions: 257.8 x 175.3 x 8.9 mm

·         Weight: 580g

·         Display size: 10.1-inch

·         Display resolution: 1,280 x 800 pixels

·         Expansion slot       : micro SD


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