Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) review

T3 4
  • Tablets have been getting snazzier and more powerful. The earlier Samsung Note 10.1 has been snazzily updated as the company aims to outdo Apple

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) review

    Love

    • Gorgeous screen
    • Useful S Pen stylus
    • Fast processor

    Hate

    • Divisive back cover design
    • Not cheap
    • TouchWiz looks dated

    Samsung's been making big tablets for some time, including moonlighting as the maker of the Google Nexus 10, which stood out thanks to a screen that roundly beat the Retina display of the iPad Air for high resolution.

    But some found the plastic back of its earlier tablets too, well, plasticky and looked for something a little les low-rent. Here it is. The new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (replacing the original Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1) has incorporated the design found on the popular Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung's phone-tablet hybrid with a 5.7in display.

    True, the faux-leather design of the Note's rear cover, complete with details such as an edge designed to look like leather stitching didn't please everyone either, but this is definitely a classier tablet. It's not cheap, but that's one of its few issues.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Size and build

    But the design changes don't stop there. The scooped edges of Samsung's earlier tablets and even asymmetric finishes on some models are all gone, talking the same design language as the Samsung Galaxy S4. Straight lines, solid bars of metallic edging and a gloss front all contribute to a more serious, grown-up feel than some previous models. It's easily Samsung's best-looking tablet yet.

    It feels solid, too, without being heavy - the plastic back keeps the weight down, though it is heavier than the iPad Air. It weighs 540g against 469g for Apple's flagship and measures 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.9 mm.

    This means that it's 3mm longer than the Air, but the width and depth are almost the same - the iPad Air measures 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm. It also means it's noticeably shorter on its longest side than Samsung's latest tablet.

    This hardware looks light and appealing - something Samsung has always been good at. The Note 10.1 2014 edition comes in black and white options. Black looks more sober and business-like, but white is brighter-looking and inviting.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition has not only been given a workout but also now sports an updated screen and specs

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) review

    Love

    • Gorgeous screen
    • Useful S Pen stylus
    • Fast processor

    Hate

    • Divisive back cover design
    • Not cheap
    • TouchWiz looks dated

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has been unveiled at IFA 2013 alongside the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear boasting a higher-res screen and a specs overhaul.

    With tablets like the Xperia tablet Z and the Apple iPad all looking to claim the same market share Samsung will be hoping that its newly updated Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition will be able to sway users to their way of thinking.

     

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Size and build

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition has been given a serious workout with the new edition now just 7.9mm thin over the previous Galaxy Note 10.1 which measured in at a frankly chunky 8.9mm.

    Elsewhere the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 has been given a new design with a sleeker lighter frame measuring in at 535g over the previous model which weighed in at 600g.

    The style is very much in line with the Galaxy Note 3. the main change from the older Note 10.1 being the soft, faux-leather back, which - it has to be said - is very comfortable in the hand. A small thing that should be noted is the stitching - it's a small thing, but the detail is nice and reflective of the much improved build quality on offer.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Features

    This is Samsung's most powerful tablet yet with the 3G/WiFi version getting a 1.9GHz Octa-core processor whilst the 4G/LTE edition will come with a beefy 2.3GHz quad-core chip.

    You'll also find the same 3GB RAM configuration found in the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which should make heavy multi-tasking and gaming a breeze.

    Samsung have updated the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition with a completely revamped S Pen and S Note functionality boasting easier multi-tasking and the ability to throw content from one app to another using Multi Window.

    Only certain apps will work for either of these functions. Multi-tasking is available to around 10 apps -including mesages, email and maps - which are accessible via the left hand side bar. Tapping an app will open it full screen, whilst dragging it to the top or bottom of your display will open it in a half-screen window. Any of the apps can be run alongside each other, and dragging the border in between the two will re-balance your screens if you need more space for one.

    Pen Window is available to even fewer apps (more accessories than apps, like calculator). Draw a window on your screen and select the app you want, and it'll open up in the window. Simple.

    You also get access to all the features of the new Air Command - opened by hovering the S-Pen over the display and holding down the button on the side of the Pen. You can then select from functions like Action Memo, which lets you take quick notes and then automatically recognises what you've noted; Screenwipe, which lets you take a screenshot and edit it; and S-Finder - a powerful search function for your phone, which will find anything from apps to files and folders.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Camera

    On the back there's a 8MP camera which features a BSI sensor, Auto Focus with LED Flash and Zero Shutter Lag. On the front there's a 2MP camera for video-calling.

    A brief test of the camera yielded surprisingly good results, for a tablet. The rear camera takes clear shots, and the front camera is more than capable of a decent Skype call. We'll have more news on this when we get a unit for a full review.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Screen

    One of the biggest upgrades comes in the form of a newly revamped 10.1-inch WQCGA 2560x1600 Super clear LCD display which boasts four times the pixel density over the old Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet.

    The screen takes up most of the front, with a very small bezel around the outside. In terms of looks, it's very very clear, with good viewing angles and really crisp detail. All in all, it's impressive.

     

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Battery

    To make sure the new Note 10.1 doesn't run out of juice anytime soon Samsung have given it an impressive 8,220mAh battery, a sizeable update over the 7,000mAh battery found in the old Note 10.1 tablet.

    Of course having only had a few moments with the new Note 10.1 it'll be impossible to tell how this actually translates into the real-world so stay tuned for the full review.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014): Verdict

    Upgrades to the screen, S-Pen functionality, and features make this a significant improvement over the original Note 10.1. The combination of multi-tasking functionality and incredible power under the bonnet already make this exciting.

    We're particularly glad that Samsung seems to be listening to concerns over the overly-plastic nature of it's flagship devices. The Note 10.1 2014 is markedly more solid, with nice detailing. All in all, we're very excited. Samsung's feature-rich approach to mobile devices has never been in question, but the improved build quality and processing power really make this Note a potential winner.

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  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

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