Today we bring you the review of Samsung’s tablet flagship, the Galaxy Note 10.1, which with 4.1.1 Android OS and a 1.4 Quad Core CPU and 2 GB of RAM is one of the most powerful tablets available on the market (at the time of this review).
In the Note’s box you will find all the accessories you would expect from Samsung’s flagship.
Of course the Note’s box is as minimalistic as all of the other Samsung boxes we have received so far, making its size only big enough to fit the Galaxy Note 10.1.
In the box you will find the following:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
- Charger Adapter
- Usb Cable
- Replacement tips for the stylus
- Rubberized earphone tips replacements
- Quick starter guide
- Accessories guide
Take a look at the Note’s unboxing bellow:
Design and Ergonomics
The Galaxy Note 10.1 follows the design brought by the Galaxy Tab line, and is available in white and a silvery blue.
Right from the start you will notice the silver band around all corners of the device, which gives it an enterprise look and feel. Then you will notice that the weight of the device is perfect for a 10.1 tablet, not too heavy or too light.
The Note 10.1 has stereo speakers on the front of the device, on each side f the screen, just as the Tab 2 10.1 has, which give good stereo rendering when listening to music or watching videos. This is a major improvement over the single speaker at the bottom of the Tab 2 7.0 and other devices we have tested so far.
On the top of the device, you will find the volume rocker side by side with the lock/power button and the 3.5 mm phone jack. You will also notice the SIM and micro SD card slot are accompanied by an infrared receptor also on the top side of the device.
The left and right side have no protuberances whatsoever which allows the user to grab the device firmly when playing a game like NFS for example, without having to worry about accidentally hitting a button.
The bottom has the cable slot that allows the user to charge the Note 10.1 and connect it to a computer.
The back has no rugged surface to facilitate grabbing the device and has only two features that are worth mentioning, first the camera and LED flash on the top, and, on the bottom right, the slot that holds the stylus.
The screen has great color contrast and great brightness, this is key for a great media content viewer. The viewing angles are great also and allow you to watch a movie with the device laying flat on a table with no problems whatsoever.
Outside you will not have to worry about being able to see what is on the screen, since the luminosity sensor pushes the brightness to the max and allows you to see what’s displayed. Although it could use more brightness, you can still make use of it outside with almost no issues.
There are a lot of good things to say about the Note’s stylus. First the weight and size make it perfect for handling as if it was a real pen. Then you have the slot for it on the back of the Note which allows you to always have it on hand when you need it, which didn’t happen on LG’s VU, for example.
The most impressive thing about the stylus is it accuracy, which joined with the S Note’s and Photoshop capabilities will allow any user to make the most impressive drawings they could possibly imagine.
Performance and Software
The Galaxy Note 10-1 comes with 4.1.1 Android OS covered with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface that, in the Note’s case, allows the user to take the most out of their device.
When it comes to the basic interface, you are presented with 5 homescreens with the possibility of cutting them down to only 1, or adding them up to 7. You are also able to switch the default homescreen and organize their order in anyway you desire.
Samsung also added a icon next to the menu on the bottom that allows the user to access some applications quicker than having to access the application menu, and allowed these applications to be opened in window or full screen mode, enabling the average or advanced user to have more than one application opened side by side increasing productivity.
Another helpful addition made by Samsung was the side menu that pops up whenever the user removes the stylus of its slot in the back of the Note. This menu presents you with all the applications that make use of the stylus. You can customize the applications that appear on the menu and their order or disable the menu altogether.
Now on to the proprietary apps, as has been known by all of us, and Samsung device owners, Samsung has an habit of filling their devices with pre installed applications. Here’s a list of all the Samsung applications that come pre-installed in the Note 10.1:
- Samsung Apps
- Smart Remote
- Video Editor
- Game Hub
- Group Play
- Music Player
- Video Player
- Music Hub
- My Files
- Paper Artist
- Polaris Office
- PS Touch
- S Note
- S Planner
- S Suggest
- S Voice
Some of these are a new addition to Samsung’s devices and we provide a small description of each of them below. If you are interested in an application that we don’t describe below, take a look at the review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, or 10.1 as we have already described them there.
Allows other Galaxy Note 10.1 owners to share contents with your Note 10.1 without making use of a Wi-Fi connection.
This application was also seen in the Galaxy Camera. It enables the users to take pictures and then add effects to them, making them more fun to share and to keep for future remembering.
This was announced a few weeks back, when we had the Note 10.1 with us, so we were excited to be able to test it. This is basically Photoshop but touch friendly. Given the complexity of this software it comes with a good amount of tutorials that will allow newcomers to use it wisely and easily in order to make new and exciting images and effects.
This is similar to Asus’ Supernote and LG’s Notebook. It is an application that enables Note users to take notes, whether they are students or CEO’s in a company meeting, they need just take the Stylus out and start taking notes. It is also useful to make sketches if you are an artist and need to carry your portfolio around with you and always keep it up to date.
The S Note has many enhancements that leave simple note taking behind, for example the formula mode allows the user to write a mathematical formula and the S Note captures it and translates it into readable characters in order for other people to understand it.
This is similar to Apple’s Siri voice interface. I had a few test runs with it and even though English is not my native language, the S Voice captured everything I said perfectly. This feature has many different capabilities, like looking things up in Google, calculating a route in Google Maps and most useful, taking memos.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have the time to take out the stylus, simply open S-Voice, or activate it, and Say “Memo” and follow it with what you want S Voice to write. S Voice will then save a memo with what you said as if you had written it yourself. Overall the S voice is a really useful application on a daily basis.
The Note 10.1 performed admirably whether in simple tasks with only one application opened, game or not, whether with multiple applications sharing the screen. Performance never disappointed us and you can take a look at the benchmarks, which prove our flawless experience.
The issue that existed with the keyboard of the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and 10.1 no longer is noticeable in the Note and neither is the flaw with the wireless network equipments.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The wireless adapter of the Note 10.1 has great speed capabilities and browsing web sites went along quickly. The tablet was very responsive and load times were near the fastest we have experienced so far. You can take a look at the SpeedTests we took in order to get an ideia of what we dealt with.
Battery life was great, and the 7000mAh battery kept going for more than 24h with constant use of the S Note and keeping the wireless connection always active as well as playing an occasional game here and there.
We wish we had more time with the Note in order to make more detailed tests regarding its battery life, but well, well leave it to the next device.
The Note 10.1’s back 5 MP camera and its companion LED flash did a good job as you will be able to see by the indoor and outdoor video samples.
The rear camera did a good job in low light environments as well since the grain in the pictures is barely noticeable, on contrast with some other devices we have been testing.
The 1.9 MP front camera did good as well, both on video recording and picture taking. It is definitely better than what will be needed for video chats or meetings through Skype or Hangout.
Outdoor Video Sample Rear Camera:
Indoor Sample Video Rear Camera:
Indoor Sample Video Front Camera:
The Note is the best Samsung device we have tested so far and that is saying a lot considering the tablets we have tested in the past. The Note is definitely a device to consider if you are looking for a you can be sure that the Note 10.1 will be able to respond to all of your requests with its 1.4 Quad Core CPU and 2GB of RAM.
With a price tag around 500€ for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, the only competitors on the tablet market will most likely fall to Asus tablets but none of them are equipped with a stylus as precise as the Note’s stylus.
Review by: Cátia Sofia @ Android Emotions