We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Android tablets Reviews
15,597 Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

Around £500 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Samsung

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

With pen input and a highly customized version of Android 4.0, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 distinguishes itself in a crowded market. Here's our Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review. Updated: 14th September 2012

Review updated: 14th September 2012

You'd be forgiven for confusing the Galaxy Note 10.1 with the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, reviewed, as both look extremely similar. Both are 10-inch Android tablets, and both come in grey or white.

What's unique about the Note, just as with the original 5.3in Galaxy Note, is its stylus. The screen responds to your fingers as usual, but also works like a Wacom tablet when you write with the pressure-sensitive stylus. Whether you need a stylus or not is debatable, but there's no doubt that if you need to annotate documents, draw or use a stylus for any other reason, it's something no other 10in tablet offers.

When you remove the stylus from the bottom of the Note 10.1, a shortcut bar appears where you can launch, among other apps, Samsung's own S Note app. This is probably the best of all the extra apps Samsung preloads and allows you to write notes, sketch and even write formulas. Text and equations can then be converted to editable text.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

The pen is highly responsive and relatively comfortable to use. There will be other styluses available to buy, which are both longer and thicker. The standard pen, though, beats any capacitive stylus.

Inside the Note is a fast 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM - more than any other tablet we've seen. This version has 16GB of storage, but a 32GB model is also available. There's built-in GPS, Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi direct for sharing photos and other files with compatible devices. The equivalent 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model costs £499.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 back

The screen is a mixed bag. Despite having the same 1280 x 800 resolution as the Galaxy Tab 2, it's sharper and has more vivid colours. Viewing angles are good, too. Next to a new iPad, though, it looks inferior.

We like the front-firing stereo speakers which are surprisingly loud and are well positioned for holding the Note and watching videos. HD clips look great, too and motion is crisp. There's no USB in or HDMI out, but a micro SD slot lets you add up to 64GB of extra storage and, oddly, an infrared emitter means you can control your TV.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung has heavily customised Android with mixed results. In general we like the changes, especially the keyboard with a dedicated number row - particularly handy for entering complex passwords. There's also the innovative Multiscreen, which allows you to have two (Samsung) apps on screen at once. Technically you can copy and paste between them, but this involves taking screenshots and is a fudge.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 multitasking

Next page: second opinion on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Add Jim Martin to your Google+ circles and follow Jim Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Expert Verdict »
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 WiFi 16GB Scores 8.9 out of 10 based on 291 reviews
CPU speed: 1.4GHz Dual Core
Platform: Android 4.0 ICS (Ice-Cream Sandwich)
256.7 x 175.3 x 8.9 mm
583g
HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100 (3G Version Only)
EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900 (3G Version Only)
Memory
64GB User memory + 1GB (RAM) / microSD (up to 32GB)
10.1” WXGA (1280x800) PLS TFT
Accelerometer, Digital compass, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Connectivity: A-GPS (3G version)
S-GPS (WiFi version)
GLONASS
Bluetooth technology v 3.0 (Apt-X Codec support)
USB 2.0 Host: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Channel Bonding
3.5mm Ear Jack
3 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash (REAR)
2 Megapixel (FRONT)
Video: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, WMV9, VP8, 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM
Playback/ Recording: 1080p Full HD@30fps, 720p HD@30fps
Audio: MP3, OGG, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB), MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac
Battery: Li-ion 7,000mAh
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 9 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Granted, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 lacks the one competitive spec that other top-tier tablets—specifically the Acer Iconia Tab A700, Apple iPad, and Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700—have at the same or lesser price. Samsung's rendering enhancements help lessen the sting of this omission somewhat, but the difference is clear, particularly with text-heavy content. But, when you factor in the handy stowaway S Pen and Samsung's pen-optimized software, and suddenly the Note 10.1 gets an edge all its own. Throw in the Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi tablet's solid performance, and the Note 10.1 is squarely back in the mix.

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£240
£249
£249
£330
£339
£339
£349
£353
£363
£400
£430

IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs iPhone 5S comparison review: Metal smartphones fight

IDG UK Sites

Gateway to your kingdom: why everybody should check and update their broadband router

IDG UK Sites

Fonts review

IDG UK Sites

Best Mac? Complete Apple Mac buyers guide for 2014