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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 review

The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is the Swiss Army Knife of tablets

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is the Swiss Army Knife of tablets, offering a slightly compromised tool for almost every job you could imagine.

Product features

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

View full specification

For

  • Great screen
  • Improved design
  • Decent camera
  • S Pen a genuine plus

Against

  • Doesn't feel premium
  • TouchWiz UI is ugly
  • Should feel snappier
  • Expensive

Camera

It might sound like damning with faint praise when I say that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014's camera is good for a tablet, but it's not meant to be.

Tablet cameras are typically awful, and this 8MP unit is far from that. In fact, I found it to be about as accomplished at taking pictures as a current upper-mid-range Android smartphone.

Camera

Give the camera plenty of light and it can produce some genuinely decent results, with sharp edges and vibrant colours. The autofocus is generally decent, reliably picking out the area you're trying to capture. A quick tap elsewhere on the screen will adjust the focus accordingly.

In lower light conditions, things aren't quite so impressive - though again, for a tablet the results are pretty good. There's even a flash here, which is not always the case with tablets, and it's reasonably useful if the subject is nice and close.

There are also the usual issues with dynamic range, with bright skies tending to appear bleached out. But that's a problem that even the best camera phones tend to face, and there's always the dedicated HDR mode to help counter that.

Camera effects

Also impressive is the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014's camera interface, which is up to the standard of its smaller smartphone brothers. You get a wide selection of shooting modes, which include the aforementioned HDR, as well as Panorama and the auto-enhancing Beauty mode, among others.

You also get a full range of settings and tweaks, including a burst mode, face detection, metering and more. You can even set up voice control, so that you take shots by saying 'capture' or something similar. After all, have you ever tried taking a proper selfie (none of that front camera nonsense) with a tablet? Tricky.

Shots are set to 6MP by default, with a 16:9 or widescreen aspect ratio. Increasing this to a full 8MP creates somewhat square-looking 4:3 shots, but at least this will come in handy when it comes to whittling down those Instagram-bound snaps.

Talking of Instagram, you can apply Samsung's own filters to your shots via an always-present pop-out menu situated along the bottom of the display. These incorporate 12 filter effects, including the likes of Sepia, Vintage, and Fisheye, and each provides a neat live preview.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 doesn't do anything to convince me that taking pictures with a tablet is a good idea, but that didn't stop me from coming away quietly impressed with the quality of its snaps.

Video capture is perfectly adequate, with full 1080p pretty much a given in tablets these days. Footage was clear enough, but the video stabilisation mode didn't seem particularly effective at cutting out the shakes when I tried shooting while walking along, for example.

While video in low light was predictably grainy, the addition of the flash means that you can at least do something about it in a pinch. It also adjusted quickly to rapid changes in light levels.

Battery

Battery life for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 was, in normal conditions, pretty much par for the course. In mixed usage - a fair amount of web browsing, some light gaming, and some S Pen doodling, as well as infrequent email checks - the tablet lasted through two days comfortably.

Samsung has replaced the 7,000mAh battery unit from last year's model with a significantly larger 8,220mAh, and it's easy to see why. Double the screen sharpness means a much higher battery drain.

Battery

I only really saw signs of strain during my standard video test. This involves playing a 90-minute 720p video, with the screen set to maximum brightness and all push notifications on, then recording how much juice is left at the end.

From this, I got a disappointing average of around 65% - a good 15% lower than most tablets with lower resolution displays.

Lower that brightness to around half, however, as is perfectly feasible without a massive hit to your viewing experience, and you might well get close to Samsung's projection of 10 hours video playback.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Green CompliantYes
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerARM
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
HDMIYes
Product FamilyGalaxy Note
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
ColourDeep Gray
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
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height257.8 mm
Width175.3 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelGT-N8010
Product NameGalaxy Note 10.1 WiFi
Product LineGalaxy Note
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N8010EAABTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing InformationNote, the new way

  • The perfect creative tool at your fingertips with the S-Pen
  • Super efficient multi-tasking with unique multiscreeen
  • Enjoy specially designed apps and exclusive content
  • View all your content on a large crystal clear 10.1" screen
  • 3G & Wi-Fi versions available

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.

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 10.1 WiFi
  • AC Adapter
  • Stylus