Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review: Second time lucky
The gallery does well
The Galaxy Note 10.1 gallery is a pretty standard Android affair in terms of functionality, feeling pretty comfortably on the large screen. Naturally, your Picasa web albums are automatically synced with your tablet.
There is one difference between the Honeycomb and the ICS gallery - the latter offers bigger album thumbnails.
You can sort your images by album, date, location or tag. You can also choose between displaying images, videos or both.
The upper left corner holds the sorting options while the right one has the shortcuts to the camera, and some extra settings (like the option to make Picasa albums available offline).
When you are browsing a specific album/date/location/tag the shortcuts change a bit - the camera shortcut is replaced by a button that starts a slide show. The icon in the very top left corner becomes active and clicking it brings you back to the full gallery view.
The gallery app of the Galaxy Note 10.1 displays the images in full resolution and a double tap zooms to fullscreen.
There is one more fancy way to zoom in and out using multi-touch. Just place two fingers on a picture and tilt the tablet up or down to zoom in and out.
Great looking music player
The Galaxy Note 10.1 has the custom TouchWiz music player, which is more functional than the stock Android app, but lacks the cover-flow-like browsing.
You can now sort your tracks by album, artist, genre, folders, composer or year. Playlists are enabled too: the most played and recently added lists are automatically generated. Naturally, there's also a search option, which will be appreciated by those with large music collections. It gets activated by pressing the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner.
When you select a specific album (or a group of tracks based on any filter) the interface splits into three screens - the filters on the left, the album in the middle and the now playing track on the right.
Tapping on the song name brings you to a dedicated now playing screen where you have a repeat (one or all) and shuffle options, as well as a setting to add the currently playing track to favorites.
Equalizers are available too, along with various sound effects like concert hall, clarity etc.
Finally, if there is a track playing in background a dedicated row appears in the notification area showing its name along with the usual music shortcuts (something missing on the Honeycomb 3.1 version on the bigger Galaxy Tabs). There is also an option to shut down the music player directly from this menu.
Pretty great video player
Stock Android doesn't have a dedicated video player app, but Samsung always provides one for its Galaxy slates.. Allowing thumbnail, list and folder view modes, it's a pretty capable application. There's also search enabled so even if you fill that ample storage with short clips you should be able to find the one you need.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 supports DivX/XviD/MKV files out of the box. Even high-res videos are handled trouble-free - the tablet played anything we tried, including 1080p videos. Subtitles are also available and there is rich codec support. There was nothing the Note 10.1 wouldn't play.
There are several full-screen options too - normal, fill and stretch.
Audio output is excellently clean
When connected to an active external amplifier, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 gets amazing scores all over and if it wasn't for its average volume levels it would have been perfect.
With headphones plugged in, the output is still impressively clean. The stereo crosstalk does go up, but the rest of the readings are barely affected, adding up to a very solid overall performance. Sadly, volume levels are only average.
Check out the table and see for yourself.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1||+0.03, -0.04||-89.9||89.9||0.014||0.018||-90.8|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (headphones attached)||+0.05, -0.03||-89.6||89.6||0.012||0.063||-64.4|
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.