Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet Review – A Hit And A Miss

Perhaps the hottest tech products in the market today are tablets. It has become a weekly occurrence where we hear about the next latest and greatest tablet, or tablet technology to grace our newsfeeds.

The reason is simplicity. Here is a device that is bigger than a smartphone, smaller than a laptop, and brings a convenience and efficiency level somewhere in the middle.

Tablets can do a lot more than smartphones, but still do not have the productivity level of a laptop or traditional desktop. Much of this is primarily due to the two dominating mobile operating systems: Android and iOS. Indeed both, and handheld mobile devices in general, are regarded purely as consumption products rather than productivity contraptions.

Cue the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 inch tablet, which brings two concepts for dealing with the productivity notion: the S Pen stylus and multitasking. Glancing at the spec-sheet, the Galaxy Note 10.1 seems like the perfect device; a powerful quad-core processor, Wacom-designed S Pen stylus with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and a 10.1 inch size that allows a lot of screen real-estate perfect for multiple apps side-by-side.

Tablets, especially Android tablets, have tried time and time again to incorporate these concepts, ultimately resulting in failure. Let us see then if Samsung, one of the few companies capable of developing these ideas into working products, can follow-through with their promise using the $499 Galaxy Note 10.1 as the canvas.

PACKAGING AND EXTERIOR

Starting from the box, the front and back are clean and professional. There is vast amounts of data all around, which is nice to look at. Taking the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 out of the box is simple and hassle-free.

The accessories that come with the tablet are somewhat lackluster. You get a quick-user guide, adapter power brick, and the USB data/power cable. There are also extra stencil tips and installer tool in case the one present in the S Pen gets damaged or stubbed. I would have loved to see extra dongles, cables (such as HDMI), or a microfiber cloth to clean the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Those familiar with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 will notice the exact same design shared by the newer Galaxy Note 10.1, rounded corners and all. The sleek, professional looking form is present in both, but the Galaxy Note does have a few slick changes here and there. It comes in a predominantly pearl white mix (similar to the Samsung Galaxy S3), which is used in this review, as well as another pearl grey offering that looks just as pleasing.

As great as the Galaxy Note looks (as the Galaxy Tab 2 before it), it is deceiving. The material of the Galaxy Note 10.1 is made of plastic throughout and is not metal-based as the pictures may suggest – a bad omen for a flagship product. Unfortunately, it feels a bit cheap, a sentiment shared by everyone that I have asked to critique it. As far as first impressions go, it is not a very good one as the plasticy feel is naturally the first notable negative about the Galaxy Note 10.1.

Since we are already looking at it, let us start with the back of the tablet first. Of course the aforementioned S Pen and back camera can be seen. More importantly, the plasticy build shows its ugly self. The design allows the Galaxy Note 10.1 to be quite light for a 10.1 inch tablet, even lighter than the new iPad; the fact is though it is just too clumsy in its own design.

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Pedro Madeira
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Pedro Madeira

Project RoadRunner was confirmed to be an hoax.

Garrett Shaw
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Garrett Shaw

what tablet gives you dongles?? Or HDMI cables??? Consumer Reports rates this as one of the best tablets on the market. This reminds me of movie reviews, the professionals always get it wrong. They say bad movie and it great, they say great and its bad. I sit in meeting all of the time with IPad owners starring while I’m writing and drawing with my hand on the tablet. I have seen 5 people switch out the Ipad 3 for the same functionality.

Deepak Sharma
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In my brief stint with tablets, none, but just because they don’t doesn’t mean they can’t include dongles. I never said the Note 10.1 is a bad device, nor did I say that it’s great. The tablet was literally the first one I ever used, and I am lucky enough to know people who own a Transformer Prime, Nexus 7, and iPad to compare it with, because I spent a lot of time on every tablet that I mentioned. I’m giving an honest unbiased opinion of what the Galaxy Note 10.1 has to offer when compared to other tablets because… Read more »

Garrett Shaw
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Garrett Shaw

Oh, one last thing you can handwrite in any application, not just a few applications Simply change the keyboard to handwriting.

Deepak Sharma
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Thanks for the tip.

Sandellyo Kauba
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Sandellyo Kauba

I received over 6,000 on the Quadrant Standard test, did you closed all the apps and turn off bluetooth, GPS, and only leave only Wifi on? Owners of this device, love it! See the Amazon reviews of the people have both this and the new iPad, yet prefer this one. The battery life on this device is amazing, even with the full phone features on the GT-N8000 3G. A quad-core CPU with 2GB of RAM is worth than a screen resolution higher than any TV on the market. It is amazing how people have brought in this higher resolution gimmick… Read more »

Terry Barker
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Terry Barker

it’s a good tablet and you are right screen resolution doesn’t really make a huge difference if it’s a smaller screen watching videos. but i notice a huge difference between viewing photos on the asus Tf700 infinity compared to my last asus TF201 prime. the higher resolution makes images very sharp and they pop. also if your like me i plug my tablet into my projector and samsung smart tv, that added resolution makes things look better comparing it from the 1280 x 800 of the prime. i wanted to compare what hd movie playback would look like from both… Read more »

TonyM
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TonyM

Only prints to Samsung printers? Are you kidding me? I appreciate Samsung making a tablet that rivals Apples but making you use their printer is just way too much like Apple! Get real and fix this! I love everything about this new tablet but even my Motorola Razor prints on any wireless, come on guys get your heads on straight. People buy your products because they work, you don’t need to use Apple’s cheap tricks for forcing sales of your other products.
Signed,
Not so happy customer.

Deepak Sharma
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Could you elaborate on that? I was using Brother’s print and scan app from the Play Store to print my documents, and never used Samsung’s UI. Thanks.

TonyM
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TonyM

I installed hp e print so I can print files and photos stored on the tablet but am not able to print directly from apps like email or the browser. My new Razor phone which runs Android 4.04 can print directly from almost any app, a real time saver. Please tell me if I am missing something. I really do like this tablet and all the functionality it offers, I just think they missed the mark on the printing if you can only use a Samsung printer when I know it’s not a limitation of the Android OS. I am… Read more »

Deepak Sharma
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I understand what you’re saying – it’s universal printing integration in (almost) every app/setting, and it’s a documented case on other Galaxy tablets as well. It’s not a limitation of ICS itself, just Samsung’s modified version running on the Note 10.1. I remember seeing it in the settings menu, but personally it never was/is an issue for me, so I didn’t report on it considering printer manufacturers have their own apps to do it. I also used Chrome/GMail with Google Cloud Print in conjunction with the Brother app, which made everything simple. I do like the fact that Samsung added… Read more »