Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Review
Interface and Functionality
Considering that this is launching the same time as the Note 3, you’d think that it’s packed with all the same features, right? Strangely, it doesn’t have nearly the same features, as it lacks the Galaxy S4 and Note 3’s Air Gesture functionality – so there’s no waving of our hands to scroll web sites or flip through photos in the gallery. However, it does offer Air View, which is only accomplished via the S Pen. Sorry folks, there’s no finger tracking technology here.
Some minor, yet noteworthy extras like Air View, Smart Pause, and Smart Scroll are also present and you can learn more about them in our Samsung Galaxy S4 Review. Generally speaking, they all work and function in the manner we know them, but still, we would like to see their functions extended to other apps. For example, we can use the Air View function with the default email client, which enables us to preview messages by hovering the S Pen over the particular item, but it doesn’t work with the Gmail app. And the same thing can be said about the Smart Scroll feature with the default web browser – we can scroll with our eyes, but it’s not something we can do with Chrome.
So what’s actually new with the experience on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition that makes it different? Well, let’s explain them really quick below.
One of them, called Multi Window, takes great advantage of the phone's extra screen real estate. It allows one to have two apps open at the same time, each of them displayed in a window of its own. What's more is that on the Note 10.1, the same app can be opened twice, which means you are free to have two IM conversations open simultaneously. It’s what we like to call real multi-tasking, whereas it’s “task switching” with the normal Android way.
Another feature we quite like is My Magazine, powered by Flipboard. Think of it as a smart RSS reader for your news feed, but integrated into the UI. And by integrated we mean you can launch it with an upward swipe from the bottom of the home screen, just like you would trigger Google Now on a stock Android device. Visually and functionally, the app is diverse enough to be a one-stop hub for all our news/social networking needs.
Air Command is the new feature attached with the S Pen, which is automatically activated when the stylus is removed from its slot – or manually by hovering anywhere on the screen with the S Pen, and then clicking on the button on its body. Once activated, this fan looking thing pops up on the screen of the Note 10.1, thus, giving us access to yet five more functions – Action Memo, Scrap Booker, Screen Write, S Finder, and Pen Window.
Scrap Booker gives us more control in what we clip from the web browser, so that secondary details, such as web page URLs, can be attached to the content that we clip and put into the Scrap Booker. Additionally, we can also add tags and text memos into our scrapbook, which then allows us to search for them more precisely when we use S Finder.
Screen Write takes a screen shot of whatever we’re doing, and then allows us to draw on it afterwards. It’s nothing too extensive, but its functions are mostly basic with its cropping and sharing features.
If you’re the kind of person that writes a ton of notes, you’ll surely appreciate the S Finder feature of the Note 3. Seeing that it can recognize words that you personally write down, S Finder makes it super easy to look up notes that we might otherwise would have a hard time tracking down. At the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a search function for your notes.
And lastly, there’s Pen Window, which gives us “mini” version of certain apps that we use the most. It’s kind of has the same premise to Multi Window, but instead, these secondary apps are layered on top of everything. Drawing a square shape, these mini apps pop us and are accessible at any time. It’s useful , but the apps compatibility with this feature is pretty slim.
Processor and Memory
In being a true competitor in the landscape, this tablet is packing a considerable amount of heat under the hood. Like its sibling in the Note 3, the 2014 Edition Note 10.1 is powered by a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC coupled with a whopping 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU. With such an intimidating force behind it, the tablet performs smoothly with all operations – though, some evidence of choppiness and delayed moments rear their ugly heads every now and then. It’s not profound, honestly, seeing that it’s mostly seen when navigating around the homescreen when there are several widgets in use.
Available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, we’re grateful to know that the tablet flaunts a handy dandy microSD card slot to supplement its internal storage.
Higher is better
Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) 19172
Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 5479
Google Nexus 10 4446
Being a full-sized tablet, the screen size of the Note 10.1 makes it ideal for typing in landscape. With portrait, though, the process is slower seeing that stretching with our thumbs becomes a common practice. Although it might be perceived as overwhelming, especially with so many characters on screen, we still appreciate how everything is nearly accessible from the main layout. Of course, the Note 10.1 also offers us the ability to actually write things down with the S Pen, but the on-screen keyboard still proves to be the faster method.
Emailing isn’t a problem either, as the standard Email and Gmail apps perfectly adhere to our needs with their functions and layouts. However, as we’ve clearly detailed earlier on, the standard Email apps benefits from making good use out of the experience’s Air View functionality, which allows us to preview messages via hovering the S Pen over the display. Sadly, the love doesn’t extend to the Gmail app.
Considering that Note 10.1 is primarily focused with the note-taking experience and gives users organization, it’s without question the device that offers the most extensive and deep level of functionality with its core organizer apps. On the surface, all of its organizer apps function in the same manner we all know and love with Android. Nonetheless, the implementation of its various features, like Air View and Air Command, allows the Note 10.1 to be on a totally different level from its peers.
Internet and Connectivity
Thanks in part to its speedy performance and higher resolution display, this 2014 Edition is dramatically better in the web browsing department over its predecessor. Not only are we treated to peppy navigational controls and the sharp visuals of its display, but the S Pen enables us to interact with web pages more like a computer. Specifically, hovering the S Pen mimics the function of a mouse cursor.
At the very least, the tablet is available in Wi-Fi form, but for those who require a constant data connection, cellular enabled versions with support for 4G LTE connectivity will be made available as well. Beyond that, it’s outfitted with aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and an IR blaster. Somewhat of a bummer, it lacks NFC for quick content sharing.
2. Tinker-Bell (Posts: 10; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)
And it rank lower than Sony z tablets? Shame
3. _Bone_ (Posts: 1749; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Especially as it has double the processing power, GPU performance and on-screen pixels with better battery life and the awesome Wacom digitizer & pen, but let's not forget the IR control or the ability to watch your TV on the device.
This is hands down the best 2013 tablet.
8. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Still it cannot compete with the iPad 4 and Mini
10. ultimatebatman (Posts: 50; Member since: 04 Dec 2012)
Why? Because you're too foolish to realize how badly it trounces them? And don't give me the lack of apps excuse - that's just made up nonsense apple fanboys spew out. I owned a note 10.1 2013 and had every app I could ever need, including many that iPad will never offer such as Artflow with excellent pressure pen compatibility for artists, ADownloader for torrents and any file manager for easily getting files onto the device, which could be browsed easily afterwards.
I had to use iFunbox just to get files onto my ipad and into specific apps, and I couldn't even use folders or share files between apps.
While iOS is ok for a phone, it's pure garbage for a tablet.
13. DukeX (Posts: 323; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
Ignore him. Just typical ifan logic and denial. Oh btw this is apple month. Phonearena won't be to generous and give an android tab over 9. They need to keep apple happy. But anyway this note and the last one took a hot steamy dump on the ipad. Ifans just won't admit that the extra touchwiz features with the wacom digitizer works best on a tablet. Use this tab in front of a blind apple fan and watch the envious look on their faces when they see the multiwindow support. And notice John didn't mention the ipads screen when he talked about the Notes? Anytime you have a device with a better screen than an apple one they never bring up apple. But if it's not better they are quick to put it down and bring up apple. Pure bs by reviewing standards.
16. greathero1 (Posts: 402; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
See what the Verge had to say. I have to admit that I was disappointed with the Note 3 review but maybe the device is not as good as you might think.
17. DukeX (Posts: 323; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)
The device is not as good as i may think? So you're just going to put an opinion in my mouth like that? And the fact that you post an apple fanboy site as a link is.....lol wow. They are as bad as engadget. If you feel that way you should have read android polices review of the last note. It's funny most tech sites bash the note tabs but the actual users of it love it. And that's what matters the most. Not some dumb reviewer who can't see the appeal in a device like this. I looked at the preview john did on YouTube last week. Everyone in the comments bashed him for his views. People here at phonearena are sick of him.
18. greathero1 (Posts: 402; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
Calm down lol. I only stated because of your comment above which any logical person would imply that you think the features of the device are a cut above the rest. I mean was I wrong? I'm not even going to go into the Apple fanboy conspiracy theory sites this and that but just wanted to show that their are other reviewers who were a hell of a lot harsher than John V but I see how this works. I could have shown you anything and it wouldn't have mattered anyways.
24. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
Dude you put him in his place. Straight up! The iPoop Mini is a piece of crap with a display thats 3 generations old. What a fool MobileCrapper is. Another iShεεp IDIOT!
12. _Bone_ (Posts: 1749; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Sit down, boy. The iPad 4 is great device but for a keyboardless large screen device, the 10.1 2014 is just much better in productivity, not to mention multi-screen and pop-up view of apps, AirView and stuff. The SPen and split screen really gives the tablet form justice. It's definitely a great iPad 4 alternative.
27. oOps.. (Posts: 34; Member since: 26 Jul 2013)
most funny comment ever hahaha your comment just telling us you're 13yo.... :))
score should be more than 9.x
30. Windsponge (Posts: 89; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)
I bought I Pad mini and didnt like the color the screen looked cheep. Took back and bought this tablet. Samsung much better so if you dont own shut up! Also they gave 75 dollars in Apps and Movies and many other free things.
21. AnTuTu (Posts: 595; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
Hi guys it Johnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn VVVVVVVVVVVVV from iPhonearena.
Come on man why are you doing these reviews??
6. PapaSmurf (Posts: 4208; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Here we go with the expensive con again.
14. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
If you want the BEST then you need to pay a little more. Why is it that PhoneArena.com wants all the WORLDS BEST but in the mid tier price range?
Look at all it has YET they want it to be the same price a their Galaxy Tab line?
7. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 49; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Note after Note Phone Arena constantly missed the mark on the Note series and the market proved them wrong. As people use their cell phones more and more to surf to text and to reply to emails and myself to read the newspapers in the train and less and less to make phone calls, the size of the screen is critical. The Note is more practical than a large tablet and more useful than a cell phone with a small screen. From a business standpoint, S Pen and all, it is the phone that replaces the Blackberry. Big fingers can type on a Note. I have 2 Notes. I will be upgrading to the Note 3 that I saw in a store. I just wish they had a Hermes Jane Birkin version.
9. ThePython (Posts: 82; Member since: 08 May 2013)
Okay... John you are being silly. How in the world this awesome tablet (Apple fan here, but I love Samsung products, too) gets less then the iPhone 5c? Or hell, the iPad 4th generation. THIS is an evolution and you give 8.5?
25. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
Don't forget, this is iPhoneArena your talking about. The 5S is a great phone, but the 5C with one year old hardware and a cheap plastic body thats thicker gets the same 9/10 as the old alloy iphone5. Ya that really makes sense! GSMARENA said it best "the 5Cheap is a real step backwards for Apple and at that price it is more expensive than most other Flagship phones!"
11. adrianzka (Posts: 25; Member since: 25 Apr 2013)
You guys were complaining about the lack of software usage on the note 3 and now you're asking for air gestures which you say in s4 was a gimmick. What do you reviewers want ?
15. greathero1 (Posts: 402; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
Well, I thought it was going to get a better score but the Verge who tends to have much thorough reviews gave it an even worse score.
22. Jason2k13 (Posts: 427; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)
The verge usually gives Samsung products Bad scores. Here's a sentence taking from that review.
"The worst offender was swiping up to open the magazine-style feed, which sometimes took a full second or so to respond to my gesture."
Are you serious? It sometimes take a second? A second is not even long and the fact that it only sometimes takes a second is just harsh to give a tablet a bad score because of some apps opening in a second or less.
20. alaw.14 (Posts: 22; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)
it blows out most out most high end smartphones in benchmarks and guess what it gets an 8.5.That doesnt make any sense!
23. rodkurt (Posts: 128; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)
I don't even want to know what will be the rating of the upcoming iPad, I mean this high end device gets an 8.5? Expensive? ugh -.-
26. imkyle (Posts: 911; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
Everyone says there is lag. TW needs a revamping.
28. morozsean (Posts: 12; Member since: 04 Oct 2013)
Amazing tablet, beautifully-designed, amazing specs! :)
29. Taters (Posts: 1768; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
People seem to ignore the fact that wacom digitizers are expensive. Anyways, Samsung should just release a Tab 10.1 HD without the digitizer for $450. That would sell like hot cakes.