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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

A closer look at the now quad-core tablet from Korea

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a new flagship tablet from the Korean company that offers quad-core processing and an intuitive interface thanks to its S-Pen stylus.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel

View full specification

For

  • Split screen action
  • Quad-core power
  • Intuitive S-Pen
  • Photoshop Touch pre-loaded

Against

  • Average display
  • Mediocre camera
  • Plastic chassis
  • Bloatware galore

There's no Android 4.1 Jelly Bean action on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, we're afraid - just a heavily modified version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The alteration comes courtesy of Samsung's TouchWiz UI, which will either delight or depress you, depending on your viewpoint.

Personally, we like Samsung's Android overlay, and we were mightily impressed with the raft of new tablet features afforded to the Galaxy Note 10.1. Obviously, the S-Pen control option is at the forefront of the tablet's existence, but we'll come back to that, since there are a couple of nifty features we'd like to deal with first.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

The first of these is the snazzy split-screen setup, which enables you to run two apps side by side when the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is in landscape mode, or one on top of the other in portrait mode.

Not only does this enable you to get on with two things at once (with speedy multitasking taken care of by the healthy 2GB of RAM), there are also a couple of funky actions onboard to make your life easier. You can drag and drop media from one app to the other in a fancy Mac-like copy and paste action, and you can switch the app positions around at any time.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

Currently, only certain apps are afforded an invite to the split-screen party (S-Pen, the web browser, video player, photo gallery and Samsung's email client) but we're hoping the likes of Twitter and Gmail are added to the guest-list soon.

Another multitasking treat on the tablet is the pop-out video player - similar to the one we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. This enables you to play back video in a pop-out, windowless, player so you can view footage while getting on with other stuff. You can also resize and move the viewing window, so it's easy to position it appropriately for whatever other apps you're using.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

In terms of the S-Pen, it works just like your finger - albeit a skinnier, slightly more accurate one. It's powered by stylus specialist Wacom, and Samsung states that it offers 1,024 degrees of pressure sensitivity. It's not just for note-taking or drawing, either - combine a long press with a tap of its side button, for example, and you'll take a screenshot. Just removing the S-Pen from its slot brings up a sidebar of S-Pen friendly apps.

Using S Note, for example, there's a handwriting recognition tool, and other S-Pen delights such as shape match and formula match, which both work well.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

Thanks to the quad-core CPU, app loading is quick and response times are great - we noticed hardly any lag when switching between programs. Menus appear quickly and there's no issue with unrecognised touches or swipes.

The keyboard is a customised Samsung one with a Swype-like option onboard as well. The spacing of the keys is great, and there's a nice "pinch to change" option that enables you to switch between a standard QWERTY layout, a floating keypad or a split keyboard. The auto-correct engine could be a tad annoying at times, but this isn't a problem that's exclusive to Android, and it can be switched off.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

In terms of home screens, there a five on offer - each of which can be loaded with app icons, shortcuts, widgets and wallpapers as you see fit. You simply need to press and hold and you're presented with a gallery of customisation options. The lock screen features the same "human touch" water effect that we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S3 - complete with an array of shortcuts to jump straight into apps.

The boot-up time is pretty quick, at around 25 seconds - on a par with similarly specified Android tablets - and is punctuated with neon blue Samsung logos and the occasional odd sound.

Battery life and benchmarks

Battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is OK - we managed around five hours of intensive punishment (streaming and looping an HD video on full brightness). This equates to around six to seven hour of regular use.

The battery onboard is a 7,000mAh Li-ion one. One minor quibble is that the battery takes an age to charge. Overnight seemed to be the only way to hit the magic 100 per cent.

When it came to benchmark scores, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 scored well above the Nvidia Tegra 3 mid-range posse of the Toshiba AT300, the Asus Transformer Pad 300 and the Acer Iconia Tab A510 proving that the Exynos processor, combined with that 2GB of RAM, is packing quite a heavy punch.

Benchmarks
Antutu - 12,727
SunSpider - 1,230.4
PeaceKeeper - 666

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Green CompliantYes
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerARM
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
GPSYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA+
Product FamilyGalaxy Note
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Brand NameSamsung
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Processor TypeCortex A9
Screen Size25.7 cm (10.1")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)580 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
DigitizerYes
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height175.3 mm
Width257.8 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelGT-N8000
Product NameGalaxy Note GT-N8000 Tablet
Product LineGalaxy Note
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N8000ZWABTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and discover the new way to set your creativity free. It's portable, yet offers multitasking like a PC thanks to its large 10.1-inch screen. Meanwhile, the intuitive and precise embedded S-Pen makes it so simple to take notes, draw, sketch and express yourself perfectly. With S-Note, your note-taking is full of rich possibilities which you can easily put together into a story. Shape Match even lets you visualise your ideas and turn them into quickly into graphs and other finished items you'll be proud to share.

Multiscreen Real multitasking on the portable 10.1" screen
Now, you can do 2 things at the same time. For example, what if you want to see an actor's profile while watching a movie you recently downloaded? Just use the "Multi screen" button and open the internet browser or the S Note. You don't need to stop the movie or the browser so that you surf web or make a note. If you want to copy the image? Just capture and drag it to the S Note opened right next to the web page.

Embedded S Pen: Real Pen-like feeling for a natural writing experience
Precise versatile S Pen enables you to get a premium experience for note-taking, sketching, drawing, and other forms of creative expression.

S Note: The easy-to-use creation tool
7 Templates to express life's every detail. Make your own story by selecting one of the S Note templates. S Note makes your note-taking and creation rich and neat. * 7 templates: Note / Idea note / Meeting Note / Magazine / Diary / Recipe / Travel.

Shape Match
Visualise your ideas better by turning squiggly shapes into neat organised figures. The Shape Match will automatically corrects the lines and shapes.

Formula Match
Easily recognise complicated formulas to text and even find detailed and visual solutions.

Adobe® Photoshop Touch: Free embedded creation tool
Now, everyone can create more with ease. You can make fascinating image artworks or edit your photos.

Allshare Play & Cast - Seamless Sharing
Connection to other tablets, laptops or TVs lets you share and experience multimedia together, wherever you are.

Fast & Powerful
You will enjoy the best performance from a very fast and powerful 1.4GHz quad core processor that delivers the most seamless, enjoyable mobile experience. Everything from navigating UI to multitasking to web surfing is made faster and easier; indulge in multimedia on the go without a second thought. Large battery capacity means less frequent recharging because your power lasts longer for more sustained usage.

HSPA+ 21 & Wi-Fi Channel Bonding
Revel in mobile multimedia without restraint or delay with impressively fast transmission speeds that allows you to get your files so much quicker. HSDPA+ is three times speedier, thereby reducing your wait time to a third so you can enjoy your multimedia even sooner. Wi-Fi Channel Bonding also boosts wireless data transmission rates by efficiently using two bonded channels instead of one so you can access web-based content such as movie downloads, music files and games in half the usual time. Wait less, enjoy sooner -- it's as simple as that.

Best Multimedia Experience on a Large Screen
1080p Full HD Playback on a larger screen promises to intensify your viewing pleasure. Whether you're watching downloaded videos, catching the latest viral sensation on YouTube or live streaming, you'll be able to see everything in bright, crystal clear high definition. Cross-platform compatibility with multi codec means you'll never be frustrated by blocked or incompatible files in your downloads, viewing and transfers for a seamless mobile experience.

Package Contents
  • Galaxy Note GT-N8000 Tablet
  • AC Adapter
  • S Pen