Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Preview

Wow, has it been six months already since the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was officially announced? Boy, how time flies! Feels like it was yesterday when we checked out the tablet's initial variant at MWC 2012. We said initial since Samsung postponed the device's release so that it could alter its design and specifications, in case you've forgotten.

Instead of the dual-core processor that was initially planned, the Galaxy Note 10.1 now boasts a powerful quad-core Exynos chip, the main camera has been bumped up to 5 megapixels, and last but not least, a slot for the device's S Pen has been added. Yup, you read that right! The tablet is tailored to work with the S Pen, which looks and acts kind of like a stylus, but it is actually a bit more advanced than those obsolete toothpicks. But more on that later!

Now, before we begin our preview, allow us to stress that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 that we have today is a prototype unit. Still, despite the kinks, it works well enough to give us a general idea as to how the finalized version of the tablet will behave, so without further ado, let us fire it up and see what it has to impress us with.


No surprises here, folks. Samsung has chosen to go with plastic for the construction of the Galaxy Note 10.1, which is why the device looks pretty ordinary and won't really make any jaws drop with its appearance. In fact, its design is more or less identical to that of the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), save for the addition of an LED flash for the camera on the unit's back and the slot for the S Pen, located on the device's bottom right hand corner.

On the top edge of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 we see the lock key and the 2-button volume rocker. They respond with a nice click when pressed, and since they are well exposed, one can effortlessly find them with a single finger. Also on top reside the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and the slots for the microSD and SIM cards, both of which are protected by easily removable plastic covers. Not to be forgotten is the IR blaster, which allows the tablet to be used as a remote control for TV sets or other home appliances. On the bottom side we see a microphone and Samsung's own proprietary port, which is used for charging and transferring data between the tablet and a computer.

The stereo speakers are located on the front side of the tablet, which is a design choice we quite like. Their placement allows for sounds to be directed at the user, so the upper frequency range is not lost as it is with tablets that have their speakers on the sides or at the back.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 weighs 600 grams (21.6 oz) and has a thickness of 8.9 millimeters (0.35 inches), which are figures typical for today's 10-inch tablets. Still, due to its weight and dimensions, the device has to be held with two hands during prolonged use, unless you have something you can rest it against. Even in portrait mode, the strain on the wrist is a bit too much to bear for a long period of time, which can be annoying if you are on the go and need to write something down using the S Pen.

S Pen:

The S Pen is what makes the Galaxy Note 10.1 special – special in a good way, that is. As we mentioned above, the accessory seems to act as an old-school stylus, but it is actually sensitive to pressure. The harder the S Pen is pressed against the tablet's surface, the bolder the strokes will be when drawing or writing. It may not sound like much, but it makes your digitized handwriting or artwork look a bit more “human”. Besides, Draw Something is much more fun when you have pen-like input at your disposal! There is a button that resides on the side of the S Pen. Holding it down and touching the accessory to the tablet's display takes a screenshot, and double-tapping opens the S Note application.


Samsung has chosen to equip the Galaxy Note 10.1 with one of its very own Super PLS LCD displays. Theoretically, this display technology is superior to IPS LCD due to the increased viewing angles and brightness output, not to mention that the panels are cheaper for Samsung Display to produce.

The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 measures 10.1 inches in diagonal and has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels (149 ppi), which is nothing out of the ordinary, and far from what one would expect to see on a flagship device. In fact, it is somewhat underwhelming to have a tablet that is meant to suit the needs of digital graphics artists, among other niches of users, and yet sporting a screen with such low pixel density. Nevertheless, when the tablet is held at a sufficient distance, things look smooth enough for the average consumer to be satisfied.



29. Briandb

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 19, 2012

Hi, i read that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will released in March, 2013. reference:,463301.html. please can anybody let me know if this is true?! Thanks a lot in advance & Rgds

28. SamsungIsLikeHeroin

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 19, 2012

Confused. Does this have a phone or not? (Not Skype but a real phone ap...and if so, why isn't it attached to a carrier? Can't seem to get a straight answer out of "Google Search"... thanx! SILH

27. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

I am waiting for touch sensitive buttons on the edge on these tablets. Something different than the iPad, so no companies will get accused for copying... something different please!

26. kingstandup

Posts: 30; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

This look legendary! I can't wait to get my hands on one!

25. ramoman

Posts: 18; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

please !!! what is your video camera you are using kind (the camera you use to make review videos)

24. ftyler223

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

raymond youre an idiot. how is this piece of s**t gonna vanish the ipad? the ipad is superior to this plastic toy. get it together and read the article. the ppi is extremely low. too low to compete with the ipad. you idiot!

23. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 2012


22. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

The note 10.1 could have been better if samsung went on with a 1080 display and a metalic back cover(even though most people use cases I would still prefer a metalic one as it is nice to hold on to). Looks like sammy made the front design a bit identical to the galaxy tab 10.1n to avoid hearing another thing from iSue...

18. aoikemono27

Posts: 177; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Oh great another "its a prototype and we aren't saying jack" preview. You know you can still comment on a prototype right? This was basically a spec and software rundown of things everyone already knew. Didn't even say jack about the quality of the PLS display other than talk about the resolution, which is just a spec rundown. If its suppose to be superior to IPS, is it or not? The prototype excuse doesn't fly for a prototype this late in the game. The display is not gonna magically get better one month before release, nor 3 or 4 months, because it is a hardware part that requires setup and manufacturing time. The only things of worth are the pictures and camera samples and video. I really would like reviewers to cut the BS about "these are not final images" crap. They are final images. It may change here or there with software tweaks, but 99% of the quality is gonna remain the same. The video isn't gonna change either. It even uses the same crap audio capture of the GS3. Anyone who has read prototype reviews, and especially written prototype reviews, should know by now that these late prototypes don't change much at all when it comes to the camera. If it was so screwed up late in the production cycle that the last spurt would dramatically change image quality, it would have to be software based since the optics were decided and sourced long ago, and that would be even more troubling because it would be like Samsung was building their very first camera phone or tablet, ever. Man I could have written this article without even having a Note 10.1.

16. Mr_Carter2

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Keyboard reminds me of the ios keyboard on the iPad. Seems like a good tablet though.

13. zekes

Posts: 230; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

for 200$ its a hit

12. ftyler223

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

Is a chunk of *

11. ftyler223

Posts: 140; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

Sonisoe so true. You're right. I've noticed the same thing. This tablet is chunk if crap! Sammy needs to step it up

8. sonisoe

Posts: 440; Member since: May 06, 2009

how's the Ui responsiveness despite its a preview unit... i've had hands on with a number of samsung tabs, i cant remember which ones as there're so many versions of 'em, but they all lag... homescreen, app tray just stuttery... the fact that people buy them (not as many as ipad tho) just baffles me...

15. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I think it is the operating system that is the culprit on the lagging not the hardware most of the time. The biggest culprit is usually the darn bloatware and the skins such as touchwiz and sense that do the lagging. I hope jelly bean does as good on these bigger tablets on lagging as it did with my galaxy nexus

19. aoikemono27

Posts: 177; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

You are aware this tablet is utterly useless if it weren't for the "bloatware" of S Pen applications and multitasking panels? If it can't fly smoothly with the basic suite of productivity apps built especially for the S Pen on top of Touchwiz, then it just goes to show that Android can't handle ANY sort of enhancements beyond barebones vanilla. If Android can't be enhanced by anyone else without it lagging, than the whole open platform thing is pretty meaningless, if you HAVE to have it lag-free that is. Because currently Android can't carry anything beyond its own weight, so it's really no better than iOS or anything else.

7. quryous

Posts: 106; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Well, the projects I had in mind would have greatly benefitted from a much higher resolution screen. I think I'll just keep looking until I find something actually suitable.

5. steelicon

Posts: 318; Member since: Apr 02, 2011

PhoneArena please don't forget to include in your video review the Native 3G Video and Voice call between capable Samsung devices and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 3G as well as VoIP Video and Voice call, SMS and MMS. Thanks! :-)

9. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

and if you can use other accessories like earphones (bluetooth etc) for calling and if it can be used as a daily driver phone!

3. itiswhatitis

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

How I wish i buy this instead of iPad!

2. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Why just a preview PA? Isn't the final unit out already?

4. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

Yeah it is they just wanted to waste time and preview (not review but preview) a beta version and skip the one that's going into production so they can let you know about a product version that never will be for sale. That was some early morning sarcasm. Lol

10. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

lol. anyway, I'm hoping someone would do a comparison between the Note II, Note 10.1 and S3 when they're all available... and which suits different persons best.

14. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

I am glad there are still people on this site that take a joke. You my friend are awesome. I bet that there will be a comparison like that. It is a good idea and there usually a comparison on every posesable combo on the high end models

21. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

a lot of people lost patience with the lawsuit. it turned them into warfreaks. :))

1. Mercenary

Posts: 61; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Video please...

6. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

That would be nice.

20. The_Godfather

Posts: 196; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

This is called awesomeness. You are the best Sammy :)

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

GALAXY Note 10.1
  • Display 10.1 inches
    800 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP (Single camera)
    Other front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 7000 mAh
  • OS Android 4.4
    Samsung TouchWiz UI

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