Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

Some clever touches and we like the stylus, but it's an expensive tablet and the screen is low resolution compared to the competition

Our Rating 
3/5
Price when reviewed 
399
inc VAT
Buy it now for 

Specifications

10.1 in 1,280x800 display, 597g, 1.4GHz Exynos 4 Quad, 2.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Android 4.0

The original Samsung Galaxy Note was something of a breakout success, with its large 5.3in screen and stylus setting it apart from the slew of other Android handsets and tablets. For the Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung wants to replicate this success, but with a model that's the same size as a traditional tablet.

From a quick look, it's easy to confuse the Galaxy Note 10.1 with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, as both have the same case, down to the silver bezel that holds the speakers. We're not convinced that it's a good idea to use this chassis more than once, as it looks rather cheap.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 front

The silver-effect bezel doesn't look great, but the tablet is well made

It's a shame, as the build quality is actually rather good and the tablet feels pretty tough, even though it's relatively light, weighing 50g less than the new iPad. Using pure white plastic for the entire case would have been a better plan, as silver-effect plastic never looks good. Samsung also sells the Galaxy Note 10.1 in a drab-looking grey case, but this isn't any better looking.

It's easy to forgive looks, somewhat, if a tablet's got what it takes, but the Galaxy Note 10.1 is a curious mix. Take the 10.1in widescreen display as a case in point. Its resolution of 1,280x800 would have been fine when the tablet was announced earlier this year, but since then we've seen Full HD tablets, such as the Acer Iconia Tab A700, and the new iPad with its stunning 2,048x1,536 resolution.

What it means in practice is that there's less space on the Galaxy Note 10.1's screen for web browsing and applications, while text just doesn't look quite as sharp as on tablets with higher screen resolutions. That's not to say that it's bad, just that you can get better for a similar price.

In terms of screen quality, there's a lot to like. Whites are clean and bright, while blacks are inky and dark. Viewing angles are brilliant and it's always easy to see what's on the screen, no matter which orientation you have the screen in or the angle the tablet's being held at.

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