Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review
Looking beyond the usefulness surrounding the Galaxy Note 10.1's S-Pen features, the software experience isn't particularly new, as it's running the company's tailor-made TouchWiz UX interface on top of Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Honestly, it doesn't depart in the visual front from previous TouchWiz efforts that we've seen, however, it carries some noteworthy additions. Before we expand on them, the actual core Android experience is soundly intact – meaning, it coughs up the personalization elements we're accustomed to seeing.
Employing software features such as Smart Stay, Share Shot, Buddy Photo Share, all of which have been key items found with the Galaxy S III, it lacks the useful S-Beam feature – mainly because the tablet lacks NFC. As a whole, the interface is simply enough to navigate and comprehend, but its visual presentation is on the cartoony side. For those wondering, Samsung plans to have Jelly Bean ready sometime before the end of the year.
Once again, the Mini Apps tray makes an appearance, which offers some multitasking elements to the mix. Obviously, it's great that they are overlaid on top of whatever we're doing, but its limited selection is by far its biggest disadvantage. Sure, it's great we can browse the web while checking out email simultaneously, but how often are we going to be using the alarm clock, calculator, or task manager?
Multiscreen feature that's available to select applications – these include the web browser, Polaris Office, S Note, Video Player, Gallery, and Email. To tell you the truth, it's basically having the Microsoft Windows experience on the tablet, seeing that the screen splits into two, which allows us to interact with two specific apps simultaneously. Again, there are practical uses for this, but it tends to bog down the tablet's performance. Even more, the limited apps compatible to work with the Multiscreen feature prevents it from truly being a sought out must-have feature. Then again, it's still nice seeing it.
Looking through the usual barrage of organizer apps on board with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, like the Alarm, Calculator, S Planner, or Email apps, there's nothing terribly new found with any of them. Indeed, they're all optimized for tablet usage, as they employ typical paneled layouts that better increases productivity.
Interestingly, Samsung has opted to provide us with more options with the tablet's on-screen keyboard. Even though buttons may be a bit tiny in size with the full-screen option, we do appreciate its responsiveness and the extra row for numbers – though, we would've liked to see some additional punctuation thrown in with the main layout. Alternatively, we're also given the option to use either the floating or split style keyboards. Between the two, we find the split type to be more practical, as our fingers don't have to stretch as much to reach something.
To no surprise, the S Note application comes pre-installed on the Galaxy Note 10.1. After spending quite some time with the app, we can confidently conclude that is a versatile piece of software that is good for note-taking, but can actually come in handy in a much wider range of scenarios.
In addition to all the basic necessities like multiple brushes, color palette, and a variety of backgrounds, there is also a whole bunch of templates that can be used, depending on whether you are making a presentation, writing down cooking recipes, taking notes in math class, or just drawing random scribbles. Graphics can be imported from the image library or from the web by capturing a screenshot and cropping the image you need.
To make your work look even better, the app supports shape recognition, which can automatically detect hand-drawn lines or geometrical shapes and straighten them out. The feature can be quite useful when drawing tables and charts, or visualizing math problems. Speaking of math, there's also the formula recognition feature that does exactly what you'd imagine. The Wolfram Alpha database is easily accessible should you need a particular formula that you can't remember, kind of like a built-in cheat sheet. It goes without saying that S Note is a pleasure to use with the S Pen. Thankfully, the app is smart enough to ignore when your wrist is resting against the display.
With Adobe Photoshop Touch, which comes pre-loaded on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, one can manipulate images in a way similar to what the desktop version of the popular application allows. Sure, the capabilities of the software are limited, but for an app that comes bundled with the tablet's purchase, it gets the job done well. Most importantly, the added precision of the S Pen facilitates the process of photo editing. If you want to know more about the application, check out our Photoshop Touch review.
Processor and Memory:
Part of the tablet's delay is primarily due to Samsung's choice to outfit the Note 10.1 with a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor coupled with a whopping 2GB of RAM – whereas it was initially slated to offer a dual-core CPU. Although it pumps out some respectable benchmark scores, which are tops in many categories, we're still finding instances of it being choppy with its performance. Particularly, it's evident when navigating the homescreen in portrait or when we use the Multiscreen feature. Seriously, there's no arguing that it has enough horsepower under the hood, but we're once again wondering if TouchWiz is the culprit behind its less than desirable inconsistencies.
|Quadrant Standard||AnTuTu||NenaMark 2|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1||5479||12722||58,9|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1)||2711||4995||18,7|
|Asus Transformer Pad 300||3872||9551||47,1|
We can't complain that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, especially when we know it's also packing along a microSD card slot to supplement its storage.
Internet and Connectivity:
Of all the tablets out there, the significant thing that makes web browsing such a pleasure to experience on the Galaxy Note 10.1, is the fact that the S-Pen mimics a cursor. You know what we're talking about – such as being able to hover over drop down elements, without having the tablet registering it as an actual selection. Beyond that, the experience is naturally sound and sweet, since it maintains a high-level performance with even the most demanding of web sites.
For now, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is available in 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi only form; HSPA+ and LTE versions are expected to launched later in the year. Although it packs other modern connectivity features such as aGPS and Bluetooth 4.0, it actually lacks NFC. In Samsung's defense, they mention that it would interfere with the radios used by the Wacom technology.
4. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
i hate the fact that they said this
"it's more ordinary than anything else"
It's built in plastic but the design is better than anything else. Seriously, IMO, this design kicks iPad's ass.
"its design doesn't scream genius"
again, the design is great. What's wrong with it? Because it follows the previous tab design from samsung? Or because it doesn't really follow the iPad kind of thing design?
21. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)
The design doesn't kick the iPad's design or anything...
All tablets look alike to be honest. They're rectangular shaped and have a screen... I don't really care whether it's plastic or aluminum if it's durable.
38. Alphadan (Posts: 4; Member since: 19 Jul 2012)
lol, have you even bothered to watch AndroidPolice videos about this "ipad-kicking" design you are talking about? The back plate BENDS with the slightest of touches... Yeah, i'm sure s**te plastic is better than the aluminium body of the ipad.
VIDEO OF THE "AWESOME" DESIGN OF THIS TABLET:
$500 FOR A TABLET THAT MAKES THIS NOISE:
39. dblue45 (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Aug 2009)
I'd disagree with you! IMO the design is more of a cheap, bigger copy of the HTC Flyer.
2. khmer (Posts: 93; Member since: 21 Jun 2012)
I am waiting to see Galaxy Tab 11.8 on the same chassis and dimensions.
5. shuaibhere (Posts: 1672; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
Actually this tablet beat every other tablet in synthetic benchmarks almost in every aspect.....
This is the best multi taking tablet so far with some useful features.....
Worst ever review done by PA....
9. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
12. wendygarett (unregistered)
The hype has disappointed pa
6. ricodroid (Posts: 16; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
True ... i mean you could really tell as if they just wanna say it sucks no matter what .. not saying its the best .. it suits its own people .. i mean i expected more of it .. but still its gorgeous tablet .. a steap ahead for samsung ..
its quite relevant that Phone Arena reviewers are more devious to Apple .. s**t i read their review on the new ipad and its like .. (f**kING AWESOME DUDE f**k EVERYTHING ELSE) .. the new i pad is excellent yeah .. but it has many setbacks .. and these setbacks doesnt make it the best of all .. its makes it better in certain aspects
but when they reviewed the galaxy S3 .. i was like dude that is a s**tty gadget .. but it turns out no .. i have the S3 and its freaking amazing ... a phone of a unqiue style and perfection .. never had issues what so ever .. yet PA says its nothing quite big as it may seem
fair is fair .. but overreaction shuld be avoided if subjective opinion is to be demonstrated
20. shuaibhere (Posts: 1672; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
Sorry i accidently put u down....anyway +1 for u.....
24. ricodroid (Posts: 16; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
thanks .. and yeah that happens .. no undos are present lol
7. kalandershihab (Posts: 57; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
"Actually this tablet beat every other tablet in synthetic benchmarks almost in every aspect.....
This is the best multi taking tablet so far with some useful features.....
Worst ever review done by PA."
really?? even the graphics of the new ipad??
17. shuaibhere (Posts: 1672; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
i think you confused between screen and graphics......
I can make calls when i am browsing, can text while gaming, can take notes when class is goin on, and copy text from browser to note without switching between applications, can insert webpage in note and can edit and even insert maps in note, and can do art very efficiently with note 10.11...
What the heck can you do with your ipad....
Just go and stick with your 11 inch mp4 player.....
29. ngo2dd (Posts: 793; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
The note 10.1 does not have a better GPU then the iPad 3. You links has no iPad 3 benchmarks for the SGX543MP4. and benchmarks mean nothing when it lag. The Verge give is a 6.5
8. hateftotti (Posts: 146; Member since: 03 May 2011)
ipad got 9 with just a misleading screen but this tablet with plenty of cool features just gets 7!!!...
10. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
actually other sites also review this as average and not worth it.
so, no, I don't think it's a good buy. The S Pen functionality maybe good but it's not worth it. I'd rather stick with my prime, infinity or a new iPad, or probably GNote II.
11. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
If people here are mad about a 7 I strongly advise them to stay away from The Verge for awhile...
13. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
agreed. haha. anyway, I'd still give it a 7. this is still not Samsung's time. their tablet software still sucks bigtime.
come back when they have Exynos 5 and that 2560x1440 screen on a 7" device with a stylus, keyboard and phone features.... don't forget stock Android or a better touchwiz UX ughhhhhh heaaaaven... i'd give that a 10/10 even if I was the most Anti-Samsung site on the internet.
19. shuaibhere (Posts: 1672; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
That is cuz of it's plastic covering and low screen resolution....
otherwise it's best tablet in terms of functionality, processing power...
For me plastic suits very much....and that pixel density is enough for me cuz we use tablet from a distance...
23. glentomas123 (Posts: 70; Member since: 01 Jun 2011)
So this tech blog is concerned much more with form over function. Wow! Maybe they should write/review for the View with Woopie and that other man on there with the harsh voice.
* Note 10.1 has durable plastic that has no functional drawbacks. Looks decent enough.
* Screen resolution is the new Camera megapixel race. At what point does not matter people. Can you tell a real difference between the ipad2 and ipad3 screens? Most people can't.
33. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
Screen resolution is not a push factor for me. if its not too worse eg a 3.5 having 320x240........
Most of the time i don't care about the resolution. i want PERFORMANCE....
as they said- ''graphics doesn't make the game.(tablets and smartphones in this case)''
14. 1ceTr0n (Posts: 529; Member since: 20 May 2012)
Still getting paid under the table by Apple I see eh PA? I need to start hanging out at phandroid more I guess....
16. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Because Phandroid is so unbiased, right?
15. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Right idea, Samsung, wrong display. While I love the idea of the S-Pen stylus (if only to make ol' Stevie J. turn a bit more in his grave), I think Samsung's use of a 1280x800 screen disconcerting. It seems like they just took the OG Note's screen and stretched it out to ~4x its size. The S-Pen's advantage of precision and detail seems wasted on a screen where each and every pixel is clearly visible at any given time. To close the gap with a standard paper notebook (whose practical PPI is ∞) they should have at least utilized a 1080p screen, if not larger.
18. xtremesv (Posts: 238; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
This time I can't agree more with PhoneArena. 800p? All plastic and heavy? Choppy performance? $500? When major competitors have >1080p displays, nice looking aluminum bodies, great performance for the same price. I expected more from Sammy.
22. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)
I wish phonearena disabled comments on the whole. None of the are constructive and just people trolling about android. I think this site would be better with no comments.
26. shuaibhere (Posts: 1672; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
Just chill my friend...there are more fandroids in this site including me......
Just they are not present now....
PA comment section has more fun than any other website....
And this is considered as main part of website by viewers.....
34. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
thanks to the on going, unstoppable, unendable chat war with us fandroids and iFans.
30. ricodroid (Posts: 16; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
while i dont care if apple or samsung are profiting from their products .. i do hope really constructive reviews to be done about things . instead of overreaction ..
31. RomeoJDR (Posts: 242; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
Man, just as Apple has their share of fanatic sites, it look like this one is drawing in a lot of Samnsungnoids who can't bare hearing any criticism of their beloved phonesmith. This is a fair review pointing out the highs and lows. Sure, some people don't care about build quality, but their are some (like me) who do, so it is fair to point out Samsung's plastic build. Whereas, nobody is going to be put off buy an Apple's build quality or even most HTC's. Some people will favor another product because it looks and feels premium so its relevant to address those areas. Furthermore, relative to the polycarbonate plastic used by HTC and Nokia, Samsung's is cheaper. Just pick up one of those gadgets and the difference is readily noticeable by all who are not blinded by a particular bias. Read the reports of consumers complaining about small cracks in the frames of their S3s. Second, I was a skeptic of the relevance of all the hoopla Apple made over their display in the new iPad but once seeing the beauty of the images in person looking as though they are painted on and all of a sudden it became relevant. Third, this thing blows the benchmarks out of the water, so what was the reviewer smoking by not raving more what Samsung has done? My single core HTC Flyer doesn't stutter when witching screens and this reviewer pointed out that his review unit does. Simple tasks like that is what is called real world performance that will be recognized by the masses. How can such a trivial task cause such hesitation for a device packing such awesome hardware is beyond me, but the product should be graded on actual performance, not specs. Hopefully, a software update release will tackle that issue. On the flip side, I do feel the utility of the digital pen is downplayed and I'm not an artist. It opens up another level of versatility and isn't that what tablets are all about? Combine this tablet with an app like Lecture Notes and you have the best all around tablet for students, or for people who spend a lot of time in meetings, want to avoid printing-signing-faxing documents, photo editors and others of the similar interests. However, Samsung is not the pioneer in bringing the pen up-to-date for today's world as I don't see any difference than the tablets that have been out for awhile utilizing N-Trig tech. Samsung just might be the first to utilize their fanfare and marketing to bring it back to relevance.
32. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
A 7?! A SEVEN OUT OF 10?! COME ON! ITS GOTTA BE WAY BETTER THAN THIS!
40. u-suck-more (Posts: 529; Member since: 26 Aug 2011)
i think it is a fair review.. and what he said is true, take away e S-Pen, it becomes ur average tablet
42. DigitalMD (Posts: 226; Member since: 17 Feb 2010)
All tablets are over priced and disappoint. Ultrabook is the way to go. Why compromise?
44. mitchellvii (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Sep 2012)
Can we PLEASE stop comparing the IPad3 to the Galaxy Note 10.1? One is purely an entertainment toy and one is a productivity tool.
It's like comparing Apples and Potatoes. Sure an apple may be prettier and taste sweeter, but if you are making french fries, you want a potato. Taking notes on an iPad is a nightmare. On the Note 10.1 it is a joy.
Oh yeah, and with regards to the "build quality". I personally like the fact the back has a little give to it. The device doesn't feel cheap to me at all. Also, because of that flexibility you can drop this device and stand a good chance of not destroying it. Try dropping the rigid iPad3 sometime and let me know how that turns out for you.
45. mitchellvii (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Sep 2012)
"Take away the s-pen and it becomes an average tablet."
Ok, take away the iPad3's retina display and it become a below average tablet. Take away great pitching and the Yankees are a .500 ball club. Take away Joe Montana and the 49'ers never won all those Superbowls.
To paraphrase my personal friend Shakespeare, "The pen's the thing..."
46. jtown1394 (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Oct 2012)
Engadet did a better review on the Samsung Galaxy Note Tab 10.1 then P.A... Pretty Much P.A sounds like a Apple Fanboy -_-... I don't care who takes this comment personal.
47. rickybonnell (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)
I believe this review is a little bit biased. The reviewer complained about the tablet being too heavy and too thick. It is one of the thinnest and lightest tablets on the market. I currently own a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and before the upgrade to ics the lag was very frustrating. So I do think touchwiz slows things down a bit. Regardless however, it brings a world of functionality that no other tablet has. The reviewer is downplaying the upsides and exagerating the downsides. I have used the note 10.1 a lot because of the mixed reviews and I am going to buy it. This is an absolutely fantastic device and feels sturdier than most of the competition with the exception of the ipad which is the pinnacle of build quality. I would rate this tablet a 9 simply because I think touchwiz could be downsized and optimized a bit to improve fluidity. Obviously the power is there.
48. janssen (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
S-pen is really helpful, none can be compared.....The cpu is a beast, and seems to be the best amongst other tablets(benchmarkwise).....Added 2 gig so it's always a big plus unlike other conventional tablets stuck on 1 gig ram.....But the biggest attaction is the ability to do 2 things at the same time on the screen, imagine watching a movie while doing your math homework(precious!!!!!) or the really amazing copy/paste without interchanging screens. You can even take a picture of the web your at, or a page of a book your reading.....Owe, did I also mention this comes with ps touch?Try it and this feature stands out of the other tablets.....Also slim and light enough for my hands with bonus DLNA, IR blaster and optional additional +64 gig msd.....The screen resolution is just ordinary but bright enough with crisp contrast to be useful for multitasking.....
With exynos 1.4 quad, 2 gig ram, s pen and dual screen capability, this tablet is truly opted for creative minds......
Only downside is the screen resolution, but retina res is so overrated unless you can find a way for it to be useful other than watching/reading stuff(games, I rather play with my xbox 360).....Design and quality, well all I see is a rectangular screen same as the other tablets, the plastic back don't really bother me.....
Definitely 9/10 rating.....
49. garz_pa (Posts: 154; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
Why does PhoneArena takes the same photos (the chair, the desk, the street, the gameboy), videos the same street, and plays the same movie in all their reviews?
50. sprsk (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)
In your text, you wrote
" video-out functionality is available with the tablet, but you'll need to purchase the appropriate optional accessories to gain the feature...."
a) is this adaptor for a HDMi port ?
b) Can it gives and play 1080p signal , and if yes can it do it fluently ?
c) Do i need extra power source for the adapter ?
c) what kind of sound signal gives to the TV via the HDMi (or and other connection) ?
tnk u !!
51. franklinraj (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Apr 2013)
plz help me!!!!
Can I connect my reliance data card and seagate hard disk????
|Display||10.1 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels (149 ppi) Super PLS LCD|
Samsung Exynos 4 (4412), Quad core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
2048 MB RAM
|Size||10.31 x 7.09 x 0.35 inches|
(262 x 180 x 8.9 mm)
21.16 oz (600 g)