The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with a 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos 4 chip and the Mali-400MP graphic processor. This is the same chipset as the Samsung Galaxy S III, which is a good recommendation when talking about this tablet’s speed. With its 2GB or RAM, it is clear that you can do anything you want without glitching, stopping, or waiting.
Synthetic benchmarks — all of them — show that the Note 10.1 is convincingly the fastest tablet on the market. With a 162890 score on BrowserMark, it is much faster than Nexus 8 (132477) and the new iPad (104222), as well as current Galaxy Tabs. The same results were marked by AnTuTu and SunSpider.
The tablet comes with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) which will soon be upgraded to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The TouchWiz UI which is layered on top brings a practical step forward in relation to competitors’ models; widgets of various, but standard, sizes pop up in the forefront with this user interface. Like legos, these can be arranged in several desktops. Similarly, TouchWiz UI brings the most detailed notifications panel, and it is possible to quickly set up many options on the tablet here.
S Pen and S Apps
What makes Galaxy Note 10.1 different from all other tablets is the S Pen, a passive stylus like the one Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note II have, which brings many new functions to this device — ones that are typical for other tablets. It is true that HTC Flyer also comes with S Pen, but it is on a whole different level.
The S Pen is rectangular with slightly rounded edges, which makes it feel natural when held in hand. There is a button near the tip which can be pressed in order to perform certain tasks, i.e. gestures while working with the tablet. The tip is made from rubber and the user can press the display with it rather strongly, without fearing it might be damaging it. Naturally, the device detects how much pressure is being used, which comes in handy while drawing or creating notes, as well as performing many other tasks.
Also, just like with the Galaxy Note II, the S Pen does not have to touch the display — the device will know that you have brought it near. This is very useful while using applications like YouTube for precisely replaying or forwarding videos, Adobe Photoshop Touch for precisely positioning the cursor, or any other application which includes high precision when touching pixels. I also love the fact that the tablet ‘knows’ when you are resting your hand on the screen while using the S Pen and ignores this type of touch.
Writing and drawing excluded, S Pen is a great alternative to a finger for using the tablet. Pressing the button on its tip while moving it to the left equals the back option, moving it downwards opens the context menu, while double-clicking it starts the S Memo application. Pressing the button and holding it creates a screenshot.
S Memo is a mini application that enables creating notes in various colors and of different pen thickness, with the option of adding images, maps, and similar objects. Thus, S Note enables the user to create advanced documents that can be exported as JPEG or PDF with several pages.
There are other applications suitable for using the S Pen. S Planner is a calendar that allows users to write notes in different modes (year, month, week, day etc.). It can be synchronized with other calendars, like the one on Facebook.
Of course, the most attractive application is Adobe Photoshop Touch, which comes pre-installed. Users can edit photos with it nearly as detailed as with the desktop version of Photoshop. The S Pen is really useful here, and going back to the mentioned ‘real’ desktop Photoshop seems like a step back. Adobe Ideas also comes with the Note 10.1; this is similar software, but far more elementary. It enables sketches, adding existing images, etc.
Regardless of the excellent hardware and design, the Galaxy Note 10.1’s most important element is the S Pen, and you need to pay attention to this detail while deciding on the purchase. If you need a tablet for drawing and creating notes, the Note 10.1 is the perfect choice. If you do not plan on using the S Pen often, then buying this tablet is not that justified.
When it comes to selection, there is little difference when comparing this model’s collection of apps to that of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series. Still, the tablet has the unique option of working with two applications at the same time on a divided screen, but not with any two apps — Video player, Polaris Office, S Note and the web browser are all supported.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 has a 7000 mAh battery which cannot be taken out. In practice, there will be no need for a spare battery, given that this built-in one provides exceptional battery life, and it is possible to use the device actively for several days, even with a wireless connection. This is an area in which Samsung is standardly consistent, and one in which it has successfully thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors, ever since its first tablet.