Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 review
10.1 in 2,560x1,600 display, 540g, 1.9GHz Exynos 4 Octa, 3.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Android 4.2
If you want to use your tablet as a digital sketchbook, Samsung’s Galaxy Note range has been pretty much your only choice for a while now. The pressure-sensitive S-pen stylus is unique to Samsung, and it keeps gaining new features with every new device. For this 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1, Samsung has overhauled its scrapbook app, added floating apps and carried over the multitasking abilities last seen in the 5.7in Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 10.1 (2014) DESIGN AND FEATURES
The new Note 10.1 also borrows heavily from Samsung’s big smartphone when it comes to design. In case the name wasn’t enough of a clue, the faux leather finish on the rear, complete with fake stitching around the edges, makes it painfully clear the tablet is being pitched as a digital notebook. Both the metal-effect trim around the edges and the glossy white screen bezel are made from plastic, which is disappointing – Samsung has priced the Note 10.1 to compete with Apple’s iPad Air, but hasn’t matched it in terms of build quality or materials.
At 7.9mm thick and weighing 535g, the 2014 edition is both thinner and lighter than last year’s Note 10.1, with rounded corners that make it comfortable to hold. There’s not much in the way of connectivity around the sides, but the microSD card slot is a welcome addition. You also get a Micro USB port for charging and data transfer, and a 3.5mm audio jack, but no video output. The tablet does support Miracast screen mirroring, but you’ll need a compatible TV or computer monitor.
The stereo speakers have been squeezed into the sides of the tablet, so you’re unlikely to muffle them when holding it. Volume is reasonable, but sound quality is merely average – YouTube videos were clear but finer details were lost when listening to many music tracks. For films, catch-up TV or music, you’ll want to use headphones.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 10.1 (2014) DISPLAY
The display itself is a 10.1in, 2,560x1,600 resolution panel that rivals the iPad Air, Nexus 10 and Kobo Arc 10HD for pixels. It’s incredibly sharp and ideally suited to showing off photos or watching Full HD video. We were impressed with its colour accuracy – our test shots appeared natural, with lighter shades and whites showing no signs of tint from the backlight and brighter hues looking realistic rather than overly vibrant. There is plenty of contrast to bring out the detail in darker images, even at half brightness, and reflections from our overhead office lights weren’t an issue once we turned the brightness up to full. It’s about as close to the iPad Air in terms of display quality as it’s possible to get on an Android tablet.
Samsung is one of the only tablet manufacturers to still insist on using physical buttons, rather than the onscreen ones Android supports. These are are squeezed in underneath the display. They're awkward if you use the note 10.1 in portrait mode, but anyone familiar with Samsung’s custom Android interface will feel right at home.