Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 review: Flying first class
Lightweight, agile and simply affordable, seven-inchers did, at one point, seem capable of pushing ten-inch Android tablets out of business. Even Samsung, with its device-for-every-taste approach had to admit defeat. The Koreans all but threw in the towel with the Galaxy Tab line, consciously relegating it to the midrange.
The Notes are a different breed though - one we can't see Samsung giving up on any time soon. Of course, it's always the phablet enjoying most of the spotlight and the Note 3 has already had several occasions to emphatically prove that it deserved every bit of it.
But the ten-point-one that follows closely could turn out to be the even more impressive device in terms of the scope and depth of upgrades it brings to the table.
The new Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition comes in three different flavors sharing a quite similar design to the Galaxy Note 3 phablet. There is a Wi-Fi-only version and a 3G-enabled model, both powered by Samsung's own Exynos 5 Octa chipset, as well as an LTE-capable tablet with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 800 chipset ticking inside.
The one we're reviewing is the Exynos 5 version and here goes the spec sheet.
- 10.1" 16M-color Super Clear PLS capacitive touchscreen of 2560 x 1600 px resolution
- Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7, Mali-T628MP6 GPU; Exynos 5420 chipset
- 3GB of RAM
- Android OS v4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UX UI
- S Pen input and great software backend
- One of a kind split-screen multitasking and pop-up mini apps
- Quad-band GPRS/EDGE/HSPA and hexa-band LTE connectivity cat.4
- Voice calls (on 3G and LTE models only)
- 16/32/64 GB of built-in memory
- 8 MP autofocus camera, 3264x2448 pixels, geotagging
- 1080p video recording @60fps (LTE model) / 1080p video recording @30fps (Wi-Fi and 3G models)
- 2MP front-facing camera; 1080p videos
- Side-mounted stereo speakers
- Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Direct, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
- HDMI TV-out (adapter required), USB host (adapter required)
- microSD card slot
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Infrared port
- GPS with A-GPS support; GLONASS, digital compass
- 1080p XviD/MKV video support with subtitles
- Accelerometer, three-axis Gyroscope sensor
- Polaris Office 5 document editor preinstalled
- 8,220 mAh Li-Po battery
- No NFC
- No DivX and AC3 codec support
- Air view works with S-Pen only, no thumb support
- Notification area not optimized for the large screen
The latest in processing power is not a bragging right - more a necessity really - considering there are more than a handful of potential competitors powered by either Snapdragon 800 or Tegra 4. And not Androids only, the likes of the Lumia 2520 and the Surface too. The iPad Air certainly doesn't come underpowered either.
But the choice of chipset(s) isn't the only lesson learned from the previous Note 10.1. This time around, the screen resolution too is at the top of what's currently available in the tablet segment. Samsung have also thrown in a massive 8220mAh battery in a body that's more compact, slimmer and weighing less than the predecessor's. The 2014 Edition Note 10.1 couldn't have hoped for a better start and the praise the Note 3 is getting will put even more wind in its sails.
But is it going in the right direction and what kind of journey will it be? Follow us on the next page where we begin to find out, starting as usual with the design and build.
Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 review: Flying first class