Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 full review
Review updated: 14th September 2012
You'd be forgiven for confusing the Galaxy Note 10.1 with the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, reviewed, as both look extremely similar. Both are 10-inch Android tablets, and both come in grey or white.
What's unique about the Note, just as with the original 5.3in Galaxy Note, is its stylus. The screen responds to your fingers as usual, but also works like a Wacom tablet when you write with the pressure-sensitive stylus. Whether you need a stylus or not is debatable, but there's no doubt that if you need to annotate documents, draw or use a stylus for any other reason, it's something no other 10in tablet offers.
When you remove the stylus from the bottom of the Note 10.1, a shortcut bar appears where you can launch, among other apps, Samsung's own S Note app. This is probably the best of all the extra apps Samsung preloads and allows you to write notes, sketch and even write formulas. Text and equations can then be converted to editable text.
The pen is highly responsive and relatively comfortable to use. There will be other styluses available to buy, which are both longer and thicker. The standard pen, though, beats any capacitive stylus.
Inside the Note is a fast 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM - more than any other tablet we've seen. This version has 16GB of storage, but a 32GB model is also available. There's built-in GPS, Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi direct for sharing photos and other files with compatible devices. The equivalent 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model costs £499.
The screen is a mixed bag. Despite having the same 1280 x 800 resolution as the Galaxy Tab 2, it's sharper and has more vivid colours. Viewing angles are good, too. Next to a new iPad, though, it looks inferior.
We like the front-firing stereo speakers which are surprisingly loud and are well positioned for holding the Note and watching videos. HD clips look great, too and motion is crisp. There's no USB in or HDMI out, but a micro SD slot lets you add up to 64GB of extra storage and, oddly, an infrared emitter means you can control your TV.
Samsung has heavily customised Android with mixed results. In general we like the changes, especially the keyboard with a dedicated number row - particularly handy for entering complex passwords. There's also the innovative Multiscreen, which allows you to have two (Samsung) apps on screen at once. Technically you can copy and paste between them, but this involves taking screenshots and is a fudge.
Next page: second opinion on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1