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09 Apr 12 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (Dual-core Processor 1.4GHz; 10.1-inch display)


CNET Asia First Take

Reviewed by:

Vincent Chang
Reviewed on:

April 9, 2012

While Samsung’s Galaxy
Note

“phabet” straddles both the tablet and smartphone space, its upcoming
sequel, a 10.1-inch model toting a similar S-Pen stylus, is
unambiguously
a tablet. Announced
at Mobile World Congress

earlier this year, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 cannot make phone
calls. With its large form factor, we don’t believe that was even being
considered. Here’s what you can expect from this Android 4.0 tablet.

Upside

For the Galaxy Note 10.1, it’s all about the stylus or the S-Pen as the
company calls it. The stylus on this tablet is thicker and appears more
comfortable than the version on the original Note. However, either
stylus will work on both Note devices, as they are based on Wacom’s
technology.

Samsung’s custom S Note app, designed to take advantage of this input
method, has been improved with a Formula Match feature that the company
claims is better
at recognizing and converting handwritten formulas. This makes it even
more useful for students as a learning tool. The company has also
supplemented its own apps by preloading copies of Adobe’s Photoshop Touch and Ideas apps that have been
optimized for the stylus.

Of course, the biggest difference from the 5.3-inch Note is simply the
screen size–the larger canvas is so much more conducive for pen
inputs,
be it an idle doodle or taking notes at a meeting.

While the Note 10.1 was announced with a dual-core 1.4GHz processor, it
is reportedly getting an upgrade to a
more powerful 1.5GHz quad-core version. If this happens, it
would ensure that the Note is competitive with Apple’s latest iPad,
which despite having a dual-core processor, has doubled its graphics
hardware.

The tablet comes with the latest version of Android (Ice Cream
Sandwich) installed, though with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on top,
less tech-savvy users may not even notice the difference. 

Downside

There’s no slot on the Note 10.1 for the stylus. Yes, you heard us
right. Despite the fact that even the original Note made space for
storing the pen, there’s no allowance for that on the 10.1-inch model.
It means that users will have to buy a separate case to store the pen
or risk losing it.

With the Apple iPad and other upcoming tablets sporting
high-resolution displays
, the 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution on
the Note 10.1 may appear inadequate. Samsung is also using a PLS LCD
screen on the Note that has a lower contrast ratio than the Super
AMOLED Plus display found on its Galaxy
Tab 7.7
.

The Note’s hardware is fairly typical for a 10.1-inch tablet. There’s a
front 2-megapixel camera and a 3-megapixel version at the back. 3G and
Wi-Fi options are available and the maximum amount of onboard storage
is 64GB. You could say that the stylus is the main difference between
this device and other slates. In fact, at 8.9mm thick and weighing
583g, this tablet is a slight step backward from the Galaxy
Tab 10.1
when it comes to being slim and lightweight.

Outlook

Besides the Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung has a similar Android 4.0 tablet
in the form of the upcoming Galaxy
Tab 2 (10.1-inch)
, which is also available as a 7-inch
version. We aren’t sure that offering that many variants is a good
move–there’s a case to be made that Apple’s streamlined product lineup
is a reason for its success. On the other hand, the success
of the original Galaxy Note
may help convince consumers that
they need a stylus and that the larger Note is the best (and one of the
few) options out there.

Samsung hasn’t revealed the pricing for the Galaxy Note 10.1 yet, but
if the 10.1-inch Tab 2 does start at US$399 as rumored, we’d expect the Note to
cost even more, especially with its stylus, preloaded apps and possibly
better processor.

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