Great display, neat photo and illustration apps that utilise the stylus, quad-core chip and 2GB RAM.
Glossy, slightly creaky chassis; S-Note is responsive but of limited use
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 4G proves itself a powerful media device with superfast, supersmooth performance and lots of creative and useful features.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet from Samsung was a delight for creative types, thanks to its responsive S-Pen stylus and clever software. Now Samsung has brought out a device that adds the benefits of 4G into the mix, so that you can quickly upload your masterpieces or stream films and music with no stuttering.
It’s no surprise that the 4G version of the Note 10.1 looks pretty much like its predecessor. It a little longer and thinner than the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and with its glossy body looks pretty much like a premium device. In fact it’s one of the best looking tablets around, the Apple iPad excepted. Its shiny white chassis is lovely and there is a silver rim (well it’s plastic) that is home to the speakers.
Try to bend the tablet and you do notice a bit of flex, but it’s nonetheless one of the better-built devices from Samsung. It’s quite weighty though – at 600g it weighs the same as the iPad – and if you have smaller hands holding it one-handed may be difficult unless it’s in portrait mode.
It’s annoying too that Samsung has seen fit to make the charger port a proprietary one, so you can’t just slot in a handy Micro USB cable to charge up the tablet. That said, the SIM card and MicroSD memory card slots are positioned on the top of the tablet, so are easy to access, with covers that can be prised open quickly.
Ready for 4G
The SIM card slot is one of the key differences between the Note 10.1 4G and the previous device – it means you can now pop in a 4G SIM card and stream HD videos, upload photos and zoom around the web at the fastest speeds available.
The signal around London was strong, but you’ll need to check out the coverage web page from EE to make sure there is coverage in your area before signing up to a pricy contract.
As you’d expect from a Samsung device there’s a brilliant screen – the 10.1in LCD display has a 1280x800 resolution that offers vibrant colours and truly clear images.
Place the device next to an iPad with its Retina display and you can see that they both handle colours in a very different way. The iPad’s colours are more realistic, while the Note’s images boast artificially brighter and more vibrant colours. It doesn’t really make much difference in the general run of things, but if you are going to use your tablet for design work, for instance, it may be a point worth bearing in mind.
The iPad screen also wins the prize for sharpness – but not by much. The 333dpi screen has a higher resolution than the printed page, although the Note 10.1 4G screen is far brighter.
But what really makes this device stand out is the responsiveness of the S-Pen stylus. It picks up your every gesture instantly and is totally accurate, and the operating system – Android Jelly Bean 4.1 – runs beautifully and smoothly. It would have been easy to make the S-Pen a useless gimmick – but thanks to the creative apps loaded on the tablet, it is anything but.
One of those apps is S-Note, a digital notebook for jotting down notes and ideas or for creating illustrations using a selection of brush and pen types. The S-Planner, meanwhile, is a calendar app that can also sync with Microsoft Exchange and Google calendars – and you can import places and times that you’ve scribbled in S-Note. Plus there’s a great range of art packages for the creative types among you.
Away from the delights of the S-Pen, the ‘real multitasking’ toolbar, which sits at the bottom of the screen, is also worth mentioning. It lets you open another window on top of the task you’re in the middle of – so, for instance, say you were watching a movie, and wanted to find out who the actor was – bring up a browser window and you can go and check it out. The only pity is that there is a limited choice of apps for the second window – and things like Gmail are not included – although Samsung has included the standard email app.
There’s also a nice choice of mini-features from Samsung – things like Smart Stay, which means the tablet won’t go off if you are still looking at it. This is a limited feature though, as it won’t work if the device is tilted slightly.
There are two good snappers on board – a five-megapixel model, which is a tad slow but which produces decent images, and a 1.9MP front-facer. Lots of editing and sharing options have been included and the resulting images can be saved on the 16GB of onboard storage. You can expand this using the MicroSDo memory card slot, which should leave room for thousands of snaps.
Samsung’s original Galaxy Note 10.1 was a wonderful creative device – the addition of 4G connectivity has just made it future proof. It’s speedy, runs smoothly, and has all kinds of creative features and neat touches including near-professional photo tools. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 4G is a joy to use, packed with power, and has excellent battery life. It’s a great all-rounder.
|Type of device||Tablet|
|Operating System||Android 4.1 Jelly Bean|
|Dimensions||262 x 180 x 8.9 mm|
|Processor speed||1.4GHz quad-core|
|Screen size||10.1 inches|
|Display type||16 million colours|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||1.9 megapixels|
|Special camera features||Flash|
|Music player||MP3, Vorbis, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB)|
|FM Radio description|
|Video player||MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, VP8|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||Charger|
|Battery life multimedia||5.5 hours|
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