Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Design 7.0
Features 9.0
Performance 8.0
Battery 8.0
Value 6.0
Distributor: Samsung
Review Date:
September 2012
Reviewer:
James Wright

7.0


Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Welcome to the next generation of Tablets and Samsung attempt to throw all the bells and whistles into their latest tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1. From a stylus to split screen applications (e.g. real multitasking), the Galaxy Note 10.1 definitely has it when it comes to features. It even comes with Adobe Photoshop Touch, the ability to share your streaming to multiple devices plus excellent performance thanks to the 1.4Ghz quad core processor and even FULL HD playback, this my friends may be the future of tablets. However all these features do come at a cost in terms of some performance and design issues. But before we jump into our review, let's have a look at all the features and specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

Features

Network

  • HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
  • EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

Processor

  • 1.4GHz Exynos Quad-Core Processor

Display

  • 10.1" WXGA(1280x800) LCD

OS

  • Android™ 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

Camera

  • Main(Rear): 5 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash
  • Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel Camera

Video

  • Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, VP8
  • Format: 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM
  • Playback/ Recording: 1080p Full HD@30fps, 720p HD@30fps

Audio

  • Codec: MP3, Vorbis, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB),
    MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac
  • Music Player with SoundAlive
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack

Enterprise Solutions

  • Exchange ActiveSync
  • On-Device Encryption
  • Cisco VPN(Virtual Private Network)
  • uniper Junos Pulse VPN

Sensor

  • Accelerometer, Digital compass, Light, Gyroscope

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth technology v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support)
  • AllShare Play / AllShare Cast
  • Kies / Samsung Kies air
  • USB 2.0 Host, Samsung
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi Direct
  • Wi-Fi Channel Bonding

Memory

  • 16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM)
  • microSD (up to 64GB)

Dimension

  • Dimension : 262 x 180 x 8.9 mm
  • Weight : 600g (3G), 597g (WiFi)

Battery

  • Standard battery, Li-ion 7,000mAh

Value-added Features

  • S Pen Experience(6.5mm S Pen, S Note, S Planner etc.)
  • Multi Screen
  • Adobe® Photoshop® Touch
  • Pop up play
  • Smart Stay
  • Samsung TouchWiz
  • Video Wall
  • Samsung Apps
  • Samsung Hub
    Readers Hub*/ Music Hub/ Game Hub/ Video Hub*
  • Samsung S Suggest (App recommendation service)
  • Samsung ChatON mobile communication service
  • Google™ Mobile Services
    Google Play™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Maps™,
    Syncing with Google Calendar™, Google Search, Google +
  • Polaris office
  • A-GPS(3G version)
  • S-GPS(WiFi version)
  • Glonass

As you can see from the features and specifications, Samsung have definitely crammed in as much cool features as possible. It basically comes with everything you need to get the most out of your tablet and then some. Design wise, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 looks like your non-Apple tablets and is an okay designed piece of technology that measures at a tiny 262x180x8.9 millimetres and the 3G model only weighs 600 grams. The only unfortunate aspect of the design is its plastic build which does border a little on cheap, more so, the back of the tablet.

On the bottom of the tablet, there is charger port and on the right, there is a place for your S-pen which is basically the stylus. On the top, there is a headphone jack, IR Blaster (which allows you to use the Tablet as a giant remote control), MicroSD slot (very cool), volume button and a power button. The speakers are located on the front of the tablet which produces some excellent sound quality and front facing speakers are definitely the way of the future, especially when it comes to quality and loudness. To power up the device, you simply hold down the button and it boots quite fast. Likewise to turn off.

In terms of handling the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, it does feel a little strange, especially the back of the tablet which is a little on the cheap build as mentioned. The back feels a little squashy, nothing something I would want on a tablet. I'm hoping that some third party accessories (e.g. cases) will rectify this slight problem. This also includes the S-Pen which is a joy to use, however the overall build is somewhat lacking and extremely light. Once again third party accessories should rectify this issue.

The S-Pen does work well for paint programs or programs that allow you to write. The pressure sensitivity of the pen is well balanced and I only found a few issues of my hand resting on the tablet which caused a few conflicts. You can even turn on handwriting recognition which for the most part worked well. Samsung state that the S-Pen can recognise 1,024 levels of pressure which is definitely handy for those users who want to draw.

The screen resolution on the Note 10.1 supports a resolution of 1280x800 with the original Apple iPad being 1024x768. Unfortunately when compared to other tablets, it's actually quite low and unfortunately doesn't come close to the New iPad's awesome retina display of 2048x1536 which is extremely sharp and clear. It does the job but when you know there are better resolutions available, the Note 10.1 is more on par with the original iPad opposed to this next-gen tablet. The battery included with the Note 10.1 is a 7,000mAh battery which boasts some strong performance in terms of battery life which would last around 8 hours of constant use. Charging is also quite fast.

The operating system of the Note 10.1 uses Android or more specifically the Ice Cream Sandwich O/S which is basically version 4.0 of Android, however Samsung have implemented their fair of their own software onto the tablet. This does make things confusing and unfortunately it does not make this device at times not very user-friendly. It's a little too messy. What I did like about the O/S is the split-screen option which is rather impressive, although a little slow for some apps.

The Touchwiz is great for splitting apps and displaying them at the same time like watching a movie, checking e-mails or writing a note. Just be warned that not all apps support this feature. Hopefully there will be an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean soon which is the latest O/S for Android based tablets.

Multitasking on the Note 10.1 works well and I like the implementation of the Task Manager which allows you to see all your processes running. The Task Manager even allows you close these processes in order to free up memory. With the 1.4Ghz Quad Core Processor and 2GB of RAM, the Note 10.1 should run faster than it should which is due to the Clock, Media Hub, Game Hub and Music Hub that do slow things down. . If these are disabled, the Note 10.1 considerably speeds up.

The camera of the Note 10.1 supports a 5MP Rear Camera and a 1.9MP Front Camera. Both cameras do an acceptable job, however don't expect anything to come close to standalone digital cameras. Whether you have a mobile phone or an Apple iPad, digital SLR's are still the way to go for real quality. Nonetheless, they do the job, especially when it comes to video conferencing of Skype.

In terms of pre-installed apps, the Note 10.1 comes with a plethora of programs that include Alarm, AllSharePlay, Calculator, Camera, ChatON, Contacts, Crayon Physics, Downloads, Dropbox, Email, Gallery, Game Hub, Gmail, Google+, Internet, Latitude, Local, Maps, Messager, Music Hub, Music Player, My Files, Navigation, Play Books, Play Movies, Play Store, Polaris Office, PS Touch, S Note, S Planner, S Suggest, Samsung Apps, Search, Settings, Smart Remote, Talk, Video Maker, Video Player, World Clock, YouTube, Story Cloud, Channel Ten, Magshop, Mathletics, Movies & TV (Quick Flix) and the Reading Egg. That's pretty darn impressive, especially compared to what Apple gives us. You basically have EVERYTHING you need to get started and there's lots of free programs available from the Android store and of course... paid apps.

One of the best preinstalled apps is PS Touch which is a cut down version of Adobe Photoshop but still boasts a healthy amount of features to the end user. There are even tutorials and help files to assist the user in mastering PS Touch and to get the most out of your photos. When combined with the S-Pen, it creates this amazing experience that really makes photo manipulation quite good. Sometimes I wish I had a tablet for my PC. Movies look and sound good on the Note 10.1 and gaming is quite quick. Just be warned that if you have too many programs running the background, some games may be effected. There are also plenty of widgets but once again, they can and will slow down the Note 10.1.

Conclusion

On paper the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 sounds brilliant, however in reality Samsung have tried a little too hard to create the perfect device. The tweaking of the Android O/S with the Samsung apps makes the tablet a strange hybrid beast that doesn't work as well as a native Android tablet. The screen is on the lower end of the resolution and the device does suffer from lag at times. There are some nifty inclusions however like the S-Pen which for the most part works well and the ability to split applications. Price wise, it's a little high for the overall build quality, especially when you compare it to Apple's New iPad which is my experience is a far superior product. However both products have their pros and cons but for me, Apple are still winning. If you want a non-Apple product, then you should still check out the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

 






 
 



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