What do you do when your bizarre cellphone / pill instrument will get vastly fashionable and sells 10 million devices? In case you’re Samsung, you turn that bad boy into a proper 10.1″ tablet. So was born the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, a rather dramatic upsizing of the 5.3″ Samsung Galaxy Note, complete with the same “S Pen” active digitizer stylus.
In terms of specifications, the Galaxy Note is pretty solid. There’s the same quad-core processor running at 1.4 GHz as you’d find in the heart of the considerably more expensive Samsung Galaxy S
III, a full 2 GB of RAM, 16 or 32 GB of internal storage bolstered with microSD support and plenty of connectivity options – 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4 and a proprietary 30 pin USB connector. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is thin too
, with the 0.35″ frame limiting the battery to a capacity of just 7,000 mAh. The display is last-generation standard, 10.1″ diagonal at a resolution of 1280 x 800. Happily, the OS in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
However, according to a review by The Verge the Note 10.1 doesn’t live up to its internals. Multitasking support is incredibly laggy and even swiping back and forth on the TouchWiz home screen could be improved – something the Galaxy S III, with less RAM, a similar screen resolution and processor absolutely nails. While this might be fixed in the future (either in a Samsung update or just the jump to Jelly Bean and its Project Butter), at the moment the 10.1 is far slower than you’d expect given its internals. Battery life and the display also aren’t ideal.
The big draw here is expected to be the stylus, and it is good – but the supporting apps are few and far between, with only Samsung-made apps being aware of the difference between the stylus and your finger. The rest will get confused if you try to use your finger and the stylus at the same time, making using the apps frustrating at best.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 seems to have a lot of promise, but it isn’t quite there yet. The tablet might be improved with a switch to Jelly Bean, whether that comes via an official Samsung update or some enterprising xda developers, but at the moment it probably isn’t worth the $499 that it costs. It’s pretty sad that this is the case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, as I was quite looking forward to it – maybe next time, Samsung.