Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review: Second time lucky

GSMArena team, 17 August 2012.
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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.

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The Galaxy Note 10.1 image gallery is performing nicely

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.

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Checking out a single image

The gallery app of the Galaxy Note 10.1 displays the images in full resolution and a double tap zooms to fullscreen.

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Image details can be checked from the tablet itself

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.

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The home-baked music player

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.

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The now playing interface • equalizers

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.

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The video player is quite good

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.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1+0.03, -0.04-90.290.20.00830.0017-91.3
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.04-88.688.60.00720.085-73.6
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1+0.03, -0.05-90.490.40.0130.027-91.8
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (headphones attached)+0.11, -0.04-90.390.30.00970.102-54.3
Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7+0.04, -0.07-90.389.30.00430.065-87.7
Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7 (headphones attached)+0.19, -0.07-89.488.70.00780.152-43.4
Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus+0.04, -0.07-89.588.80.00430.066-83.1
Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (headphones attached)+0.04, -0.07-89.188.90.00420.066-32.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1+0.03, -0.04-89.989.90.014 0.018-90.8
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (headphones attached)+0.05, -0.03-89.689.60.012 0.063-64.4
Google Nexus 7+0.03, -0.11-69.870.50.0240.069-72.1
Google Nexus 7 (headphones attached)+1.39, -0.28-86.467.90.0110.723-52.9
Apple iPad 3+0.02, -0.12-90.990.90.00190.0095-92.7
Apple iPad 3 (headphones attached)+0.02, -0.12-90.990.90.00200.0095-46.4

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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