Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Review


After the success of its original Galaxy Note smartphone, Samsung decided to bring the features of this new smartphone to a tablet. It made sense, seeing that the tablet form factor is more ideal when it comes to replicating the paper & pen experience. Eventually, we ended up seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, a tablet that differentiated itself from Sammy’s very own Tab series, with its S Pen functionality. Being unique in the space, the tablet seemed to be underpowered in the specs department when compared to its rivals at the time – like the iPad 3 and Asus Transformer Prime.

Over a year later, we’re finally seeing its successor in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Seriously, Samsung didn’t mess around this time with the Note 10.1 2014 Edition, as it boasts an impressive specs sheet over its predecessor. Sporting a totally new design and one heck of a sharp looking display, the new Note 10.1 also sees some added functionality to its S Pen as well. However, it’s still going to compete against other prized tablets in the space right now – such as the Samsung made Google Nexus 10 tablet, which continues to be one of the tablets to beat.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • S Pen replacement tips
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Product Safety and Warranty Guide


Whereas the original Note 10.1 looked very much like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets, this 2014 version looks and feels entirely different – in a good way too. Gone is the glossy plastic casing from before, and instead, it’s replaced by a faux leather casing that gives it a more sophisticated look. On top of that, there are other design accents, like the stitching around the rear and the silver trim bezel, which complements the tablet’s overall design. As much as we appreciate the new changes in its choice of materials, it still feels rather plasticy at heart, and in a way, it doesn’t drastically depart from the traditional design characteristics we see constantly from Samsung’s camp nowadays. Regardless of that, it has all the elements to still make it an appealing looking thing – like its slim 0.31” thin profile and lightweight feel in the hand.

Not surprisingly, the Note 10.1 2014 Edition looks just like the new Note 3 smartphone, but a lot bigger in size of course. Knowing that too, it shouldn’t surprise people that it’s sporting the same flush home button as its sibling, which is surrounded by the usual capacitive back and menu keys. Above the display, we spot its light sensor and front-facing 2-megapixel camera.

Looking around the trim, it’s sporting the usual set of buttons and ports we commonly expect to find. Along the top trim, we have the slightly raised power button and volume control, which have subtle responses when pressed – while towards the middle, there’s an IR blaster that turns the tablet into a universal remote. On its left and right sides, we have its dual speakers, 3.5mm headset jack, slot for the S Pen, and microSD card slot. Finally, the microUSB port is smacked right on the middle section of the bottom trim, with a pin sized hole for the microphone not too far away. Around the back, there’s an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with an LED flash, which is enabled for 1080p video recording.

S Pen

In typical fashion, the Note 10.1 2014 Edition wields an updated S Pen stylus – something that continues to be unique amongst Android powered tablets. Appearing more pencil like with its shape, we’re able to sufficiently grasp onto it thanks to its lengthiness, and when it’s not in use, it happily gets tucked away discretely inside of its slot.

Just like before, the S Pen here with the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is pressure sensitive – enabling it to precisely know how much pressure is being applied. Therefore, strokes will have either more/less emphasis depending on how much pressure is applied. Additionally, the S Pen works in conjunction with the tablet’s various Air View functions – something that comes in handy with the web browser. Although it doesn’t entirely replicate the pen/pencil & paper experience to the teeth, it’s as close as we can get with a tablet.

As we’ve mentioned, there are some “advanced” functions with this update S Pen. First, the Note 3 recognizes when it’s removed/inserted from its slot. Secondly, there’s a new feature with the S Pen called “Air Command,” which then allows us to gain access to some additional new functions we’ll expand upon later in the review. And lastly, for those who somehow have a knack for losing stuff inexplicably, there’s also an alert that notifies us when we’re too far away from the S Pen – reminding us that the S Pen isn’t in its slot.


The display on last year’s Note 10.1 was disappointing to say the least, seeing that its resolution wasn’t terribly impressive. Fortunately, Samsung blesses the 2014 Edition with an amazing 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 Super Clear LCD display, which comes out to having a pixel density of 299 ppi – matching the Nexus 10 display to the teeth. This time, we have no complaints about details, as it produces plenty of sharp visuals with everything that’s put up on screen.

Furthermore, we’re somewhat taken back by the iridescent glow of this display. Honestly, we believed it was an AMOLED panel at first glance, seeing that colors have that over-saturated tone. Viewing angles are good, but we notice that milky tone with the color black at wide angles. Despite that, we’re happy to report that the screen is still visible outdoors when the sun is present. Overall, we’ll say that this is one amazing looking display – a staggering upgrade over its predecessor!



2. Tinker-Bell

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

And it rank lower than Sony z tablets? Shame

3. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 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: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

Still it cannot compete with the iPad 4 and Mini

10. ultimatebatman

Posts: 52; Member since: Dec 04, 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: 327; Member since: Aug 28, 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: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 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: 327; Member since: Aug 28, 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 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: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 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: Apr 16, 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: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 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: Jul 26, 2013

most funny comment ever hahaha your comment just telling us you're 13yo.... :)) score should be more than 9.x

30. Windsponge

Posts: 97; Member since: Nov 01, 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: 1621; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Hi guys it Johnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn VVVVVVVVVVVVV from iPhonearena. Come on man why are you doing these reviews??

4. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 2013

8.5??? O_o deserves a little more...

5. ebubekir26

Posts: 337; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

WTF ! it should be a 9.1 or someting

6. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Here we go with the expensive con again.

14. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Exactly.... If you want the BEST then you need to pay a little more. Why is it that 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? C'Mon!

7. GrosseFatigue

Posts: 209; Member since: Jul 27, 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: 902; Member since: May 08, 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: Apr 16, 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: 64; Member since: Apr 25, 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: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 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: 1471; Member since: Mar 28, 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: 427; Member since: Sep 10, 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: Nov 29, 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: 1116; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

Everyone says there is lag. TW needs a revamping.

31. andreluizg

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 15, 2013

Laggy and buggy..

28. morozsean

Posts: 13; Member since: Oct 04, 2013

Amazing tablet, beautifully-designed, amazing specs! :)

29. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

32. andreluizg

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 15, 2013

Not that great. I just bought one. It's a laggy and buggy device. I made all the updates (3 soon after turning it on). Nothing changed. I'm telling you, I'm the owner of a Galaxy note 2 and a g. note 8, and they are incrediable better, more faster and smoother. I'wasn't expect nothing else than worst than that. Is similar in buggy and laggy as the my fist galaxy S (three years old device), or worst. The screen is amazing, the battery life disapointed. Previously this tablet I had an Ipad 2, but I sold to buy this one... Even hating apple i'm missing it. In the end, I rooted, freezed a lot of apps, and installed a new launcher, to improve what samsung should do by itself...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)
  • Display 10.1" 2560 x 1600 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 8220 mAh(43h 3G talk time)

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