Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

A closer look at the now quad-core tablet from Korea

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We mentioned the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1's striking similarities to the recently unveiled Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 in our introduction, and there's no doubt that on first glance they appear almost identical.

The truth is that the Note's dimensions are a little bit different, at 262 x 180 x 8.9mm, and it's a tiny bit heavier, at 597g. Despite the slightly different tale of the tape, though, there's no escaping the fact that we're dealing with a white plastic tablet, complete with silver trim and front-facing twin speaker grills.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

And while the Pearl White finish is somewhat aesthetically pleasing (a Pearl Grey offering is also available), there's no disguising the slightly disappointing design. We're not saying the build quality is anywhere below par, but we'd have much preferred an aluminium chassis, or at least a textured plastic or rubber.

Like the Samsung Galaxy S3, the white finish looks nice from afar but up close it's a tad too flexible for our liking, and it you'll find it's covered with fingerprints and smudges after only a short play - a crime the silver mock-metal trim is also guilty of.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

Talking of that silver trim and, front-facing, it is penetrated on the top side edges by the dual stereo speaker setup. This is a feature that, once again, was also part of the Tab 2 10.1's design, but it's one that we're fond of, since it produces a much more natural audio experience.

The port and button action is all found across the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1's top edge. From left to right you'll find the power button, the volume rocker, a microSD (flap-covered port), an infrared receiver and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's a distinct lack of an HDMI port, so you'll need a USB adaptor for wired HD TV action.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

On the bottom are the little slot where the S-Pen slots into - which we'll come back to later - and the Micro USB port that is used for disk mounting and charging.

The silver trim curves into the front edge nicely, although there is a noticeable lip where the silver reaches the white bezel. There's also a distinct black trim around the LCD display, and we can't help but think that Samsung could have done a better job of seamlessly integrating the panel into the design.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

And yes, you read that correctly - it's an LCD display. A TFT one, in fact, with an awfully underwhelming 1280 x 800 display. Yes, we know that's still an HD display, but in a tablet arena now being dominated by Full HD 1080p displays (not to mention the iPad's 2048 x 1536 display), and Samsung being a display panel specialist, we can't help but feel a little short-changed. The original 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note boasted a Super AMOLED display, after all.

Grumbles aside, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 still has a vibrant display with great viewing angles, and more than does the job of making HD footage stand out. It just lacks that wow factor that we've come to expect from Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

The processor onboard is a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos one, backed up by 2GB of RAM. While rivals go down the Nvidia Tegra 3 route for their quad-core engine rooms, Samsung is able to keep things in-house.

The huge RAM option is a nice first for an Android tablet as well - comfortably blowing the 1GB Transformer Pad Infinity, as well as the iPad, out of the water in this respect.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

As mentioned, the onboard storage is 16GB, and this is expandable by up to 64GB more by using the microSD slot. Samsung mentions 32GB and 64GB options on its website, but there's no word of these versions landing in the UK yet.

We had no issue transferring stuff from our microSD card to the internal storage, or running digital media directly from it. Our review model was the Wi-Fi-only version, although for £100 (around $155) more, 3G connectivity (HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100, EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900) is available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 1 review

Weighing a shade under 600g, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is light enough to hold, even for long periods of time, and the curved, shiny design makes it pleasing in the hand. There are no physical buttons up top - long gone are the days of an Android home button (despite Samsung still putting one on its flagship smartphone).

The battery is a 7,000mAh Li-on one - we'll let you know later on how we got on with it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Green CompliantYes
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerARM
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA+
Product FamilyGalaxy Note
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
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
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height175.3 mm
Width257.8 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Product ModelGT-N8000
Product NameGalaxy Note GT-N8000 Tablet
Product LineGalaxy Note
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N8000ZWABTU
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

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.

Shape Match
Visualise your ideas better by turning squiggly shapes into neat organised figures. The Shape Match will automatically corrects the lines and shapes.

Formula Match
Easily recognise complicated formulas to text and even find detailed and visual solutions.

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, viewi

Package Contents
  • Galaxy Note GT-N8000 Tablet
  • AC Adapter
  • S Pen