Look and Feel
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 4G looks identical to the old Note 10.1, with a glossy white chassis that feels a little creaky but looks smart. It’s a heavy beast at 600g.
Ease of Use
The 10.1-inch touchscreen is spacious and beautifully responsive, and can be easily used with both your fingers and your S-Pen stylus.
The 5MP camera isn’t the best, but the front-facing lens is great for Skype calls and Samsung has packed the Note 10.1 4G with all kinds of excellent creative apps and features.
With a powerful quad-core processor on board, plus 2GB of RAM, the Galaxy Note 10.1 4G can power through any task you throw its way.
You can work all day on one charge or stream video for 5.5 hours, a commendable effort considering the bright, large display.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,1/29/2013 4:07:10 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Brilliant display, cool illustration and photo apps that can make use of stylus, quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM make it great for movies and games for time to come
Plastic build is very glossy and a little bit flexible, S-Note as your digital notebook is impressively responsive but of limited use
Samsung’s Note 10.1 tablet is a creative masterpiece, thanks to the brilliant and responsive S-Pen stylus and imaginative software. Now you can upload your masterpieces or stream media with no irritating buffering, thanks to the LTE-compatible Note 10.1 4G version.
As you’d expect, nothing has changed as far as looks are concerned between the standard and 4G versions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. It’s a tad longer and slimmer than the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, at 262 x 180 x 8.9 mm. The glossy sheen of the chassis gives off premium vibes, making this one of the better-looking tablets we’ve seen lately (even if Apple’s iPad is still the best bit of eye candy). The silver rim that houses the speakers is clearly plastic rather than metal, but the shiny white body is still gorgeous and we’d be proud to whip this out on the tube.
Admittedly there’s a small amount of flex to the tablet, but it’s certainly one of Samsung’s better builds. At 600g it’s as heavy as the iPad however, and smaller hands will find an awkward balance in mono-handed use, so will have to hold it in portrait mode. We’re also irritated by the proprietary charger port on the base, which means you can’t just slip in a spare Micro USB cable to charge the Note 10.1 4G. Still, the MicroSD memory card slot and SIM card slot are on the top and easy to access, with covers that can be quickly prised open.
That SIM card slot is the main difference between the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 4G and the standard Note 10.1. You can slot in a 4G SIM card now and enjoy uber-quick mobile broadband, streaming HD videos with ease or uploading your latest photos or creations to social sites in just a second. Around London we had a consistently strong signal, although we recommend checking EE’s coverage webpage to see if your area is supported before handing over the hefty monthly subscription.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 4G packs the usual brilliant display we’ve come to expect from Samsung. The 10.1-inch LCD screen with 1280 x 800-pixel resolution produces crystal clear images and impressively vibrant colours, which bounce off the screen straight at your eyeballs.
It’s unavoidable at this point to do a side by side comparison with the iPad and its Retina display – and the way the two displays handle colours is very different. The iPad’s IPS panel displays more accurate and realistic colours, while the Note displays artificially brighter, more vibrant colours. For your viewing pleasure, the difference (particularly without two devices side by side) isn’t of note, but it’s worth considering if you need a tablet you could also use for design work. As for sharpness, the 333dpi Retina display wins by a shade – it’s higher-res than the printed page - though the Note 10.1 4G reaches much higher levels of brightness.
However, it’s the responsiveness of the touch-screen – in combination with the bundled S-Pen stylus – that is truly phenomenal. Every gesture is picked up instantly and accurately, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean runs with a beautiful and satisfying smoothness. The S-Pen could quite easily feel like a pointless gimmick, but Samsung has loaded the Note 10.1 with a ton of creative apps to make full use of it.
For instance, S-Note is a sort of all-encompassing notebook where you can jot down ideas and even create elaborate illustrations with a beautiful range of pen and brush types. Then there’s S-Planner, which is a standard calendar app that can sync to Google and Microsoft Exchange calendars, but has the added feature of importing times and places that you scribble in S-Note. Not forgetting the fantastic range of feature-packed art packages.
Another noteworthy feature, which doesn’t involve the mighty S-Pen, is the ‘real multitasking’ toolbar at the base of every screen. First seen in the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, this allows you to open a second window on top of whatever you’re currently doing – so you could, for example, continue to watch your movie while bringing up a browser window, to check who that actor is – Bill Pulman or Jeff Daniels? Unfortunately, you’re limited to a set of pre-selected apps for this second window, with the likes of Gmail not included (although the standard email app is).
And as with Samsung’s Galaxy S III, you get the usual cornucopia of patented mini-features, like Smart Stay where the tablet doesn’t go off if you’re looking at it - though as in the Galaxy S III, this feature is of limited use, since it doesn’t work if you tilt the tablet even slightly.
On top of the impressive S-Pen, the Galaxy Note 10.1 4G packs two very respectable cameras – a 1.9-megapixel front-facing one and a five-megapixel rear camera, in case you’re one of those tourists who takes photos with a tablet. The rear camera is a little slow to take shots but the results looked fine, and there’s loads of ways to edit and share your snaps as usual. Our review sample came with 16GB of built-in storage and could be expanded via the MicroSD memory card slot, giving you enough room for thousands of photos.
Under the hood, a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor and 2GB of RAM – double the standard tablet amount - allow the Galaxy Note 10.1 4G to keep several high-intensity programs open at once, and run them with buttery smooth ease as well. Gamers can blast through the latest titles, and we doubt the Note will struggle for some time to come.
Best of all, the battery life goes well into the night, despite the hyper-bright display, and constant Wi-Fi and media use. We estimate a good 9 hours on a single charge with moderate use, while streaming HD video over Wi-Fi gives you five and a half hours of life.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 4G adds speedy network connectivity to the original tablet, and turns a fantastic creative device into a future-proof one. It’s fast, smooth and packed with features from almost-professional photo tools to tiny gimmicks that make the Note 10.1 4G a joy to use. Factor in the blistering horsepower and commendable battery life and this is an incredible all-rounder of a tablet.