Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review

Perfection is something that most manufacturers strive to achieve with their products, and as we all know too well, Samsung isn't a stranger when it comes to delivering the goods. Has it really been 6 months since we first feasted our eyes on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 back at Mobile World Congress? Yes, and during the time, the note-taking focused tablet has received its redesign to better have it ready to take on the competition head on.

For a second though, it makes anyone wonder why they would even unveil something that wasn't up to the expectations of being a viable competitor. Whatever is the case, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is here in the flesh – freshly packing some upgraded internals, while presenting itself as the premier paper and pen replacement. Donning a $500 starting price point, it's sure to fit in nicely with the existing crop, but in a world where novel features are perceived to be tertiary things with consumers, it's going to take more for the Galaxy Note 10.1 to establish itself in the same premier class as its rivals.

The package contains:

  • USB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Start Guide
  • Health & Safety and Warranty Guide


You'd think this "high-end" tablet would brandish an equally "high-end" design to reel in prying eyes. Instead, it's more ordinary than anything else, as it sports the all typical Samsung design; it's an all-plastic affair once again. Strangely, there's a great deal of weight (21.16 oz) and size (0.35" thick) attached to the tablet, which makes it rather cumbersome when compared to Samsung's previous efforts with the Galaxy Tab series. When first impressions make a whole lot of difference, the conventional look of this tablet might prove fatal, as consumers might seemingly overlook it in favor of something else more attractive.

Since the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 shares many of the design elements of the Galaxy Tab series, it doesn't surprise us that most of its buttons are found towards the top edge. Specifically, these include the power button, volume control, microSD slot, 3.5mm headset jack, and IR blaster. With the latter, it's been increasingly commonplace with Samsung's line of tablets of late, which essentially turns it into a universal remote – a great addition to find, of course.

Finally, the bottom side of the tablet is home to the microphone and proprietary dock port, which allows for data/charging connectivity. However, you'll need to purchase an optional adapter or dock accessory to gain video-out functionality.

Perched above the display, a 2-megapixel camera sits ready and waiting to shoot self-portraits and the occasional video chatting session. Along the sides, the tablet's two speakers are directed towards us – allowing for better dispersion of audio.

Flipping it over, the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash is smacked directly towards the middle top-side of the tablet. When 1080p recording is becoming the standard, some might be flabbergasted to know that this is pacing 720p recording.


Considering that this tablet targets individuals who are big into photo-editing, it's unfortunate to find its display flaunting WXGA 1280 x 800 resolution – underwhelming to say the least. Nevertheless, it's adequate enough for most case uses, such as being able to distinguish fine details with no problems. Furthermore, the 10.1" Super PLS LCD display has enough pleasing visuals, such as a high contrast and a natural looking color production, to make it pleasing enough to look at – though, its viewing angles are a bit weak. Essentially, we notice it washing out when tilted, and when you combine that with outdoor viewing with the sun present, it still requires some shielding for proper viewing.


Just like the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone, the standout feature of the Galaxy Note 10.1 is none other than the included S-Pen. Employing Wacom technology, which enables the tablet to distinguish various degrees of pressure sensitivity, it's undeniably the most precise and accurate thing for touch input. Simply put it, the S-Pen dishes up the most natural process for handwriting and drawing. Depending on how much pressure is applied, you can obtain faint or dark strokes – thus, giving us complete and utter control with our movement.

In its attempt to emulate the pencil and paper experience, the S-Pen is fashioned so that it has the distinct look of an actual pencil. Therefore, our fingers comfortably wrap around the S-Pen with little fatigue or irritation after prolonged usage. With the redesign of the tablet, there's now a slot in the rear to accommodate the S-Pen when it's not in use.



1. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2362; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Oh phone arena.....

4. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 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: Dec 12, 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: 8; Member since: Jul 19, 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. Review: VIDEO OF THE "AWESOME" DESIGN OF THIS TABLET: $500 FOR A TABLET THAT MAKES THIS NOISE:

39. dblue45

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 26, 2009

I'd disagree with you! IMO the design is more of a cheap, bigger copy of the HTC Flyer.

2. khmer

Posts: 95; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

I am waiting to see Galaxy Tab 11.8 on the same chassis and dimensions.

3. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012


5. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 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: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

27. easymomo

Posts: 91; Member since: Jul 04, 2012


12. wendygarett unregistered

The hype has disappointed pa

6. ricodroid

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

@Shuaibhere 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: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Sorry i accidently put u down....anyway +1 for u.....

24. ricodroid

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

thanks .. and yeah that happens .. no undos are present lol

25. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

PA should concern

7. kalandershihab

Posts: 57; Member since: Mar 09, 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: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Yup.... 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: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 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: 233; Member since: May 03, 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: Jul 15, 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: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 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: Jul 15, 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: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 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: Jun 01, 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: Apr 06, 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: 549; Member since: May 20, 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: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Because Phandroid is so unbiased, right?

15. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 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: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 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: Nov 28, 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.
GALAXY Note 10.1
  • Display 10.1" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / Other front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 7000 mAh

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