Even though users couldn’t use their favorite iPad case with it, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5.3 tablet was a surprisingly big hit in the growing tablet market. The company has now added the Galaxy Note 10.1 to its range of offerings, a 10.1 inch Android tablet with a customized version of the Google Android 4 OS, a stylus and an integrated Wacom digitiser.
At least at first, the Galaxy Note 10.1″ seems to differ very little from the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1″ tablet, including its chrome speaker strips. While the design may be similar, the Note 10.1″ is likely to disappoint consumers expecting something as flashy as the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity 700 or the iPad. Its plastic casing isn’t likely to wow anyone and unfortunately, it’s also easily smudged.
The newest Galaxy Note’s 1280 x 800 screen also leaves something to be desired when compared to the Transformer Infinity or the Acer Iconia A700’s HD displays. To be fair, however, the display quality is very good, with a 828:1 contrast ratio, wide viewing angles and maximum brightness of 414cd/m2 for vivid color reproduction.
While the design and display may not blow competing tablets out of the water, the Note 10.1 does have something which sets it apart: the S Pen, the Note 10.1’s sophisticated stylus and stylus interface, Touch Wiz UI. Simply remove the stylus from the bottom right corner of the tablet and the Note’s custom lock screen appears; a brush from the stylus or finger launches TouchWiz.
If the stylus is removed while the tablet is on, a quick launch menu appears which includes Samsung’s S Planner and S Note apps, as well as Polaris Office and Adobe Photoshop Touch. The customized Android OS which the Galaxy Note 10.1 is easy to use with a stylus and the S Pen itself is very well designed and comfortable to use, which is ideal for painting and graphic art apps. The Note 10.1’s built in Wacom digitiser provides a level of sensitivity and control which outperforms capacitive styli in every way.
Samsung’s customized OS also includes native multitasking, including simultaneously running apps to be positioned freely in their own floating windows. However, the Galaxy Note 10.1’s multitasking capabilities are limited to a selection of its pre-installed apps including Video Player, Internet, Email, Gallery and Polaris Office. The multitasking feature can also be a little less than smooth at times, which is surprising given that the Galaxy Note 10.1 has a 1.4 Ghz quad core processor and 2 GB of RAM.
As good as the S Pen stylus and its user interface are, there are some flaws which users will notice. For instance, the handwriting recognition feature works pretty well, but it can be a little more difficult than users would like to correct mistakes. Users may also find themselves annoyed by the fact that they’ll have to switch back and forth from writing mode to scrolling mode frequently.
Battery life is one area where the Galaxy Note 10.1 delivers. With brightness set to half and power saving mode on, the Note 10.1 can play video continuously for over 9 hours, which is pretty impressive compared to competing tablets.
With the Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung has introduced some innovations which definitely merit further development in future models and it is a truly impressive tablet in some ways. However, the latest addition to the Galaxy Note family has enough flaws, both minor and serious, which are likely to turn off users. It’s a fascinating concept, but one which Samsung seems to have been somewhat less than successful in pulling off, at least this time around.
About the Author: