Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 review

The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is the Swiss Army Knife of tablets

Galaxy Note 10.1 review
The shiny and new Galaxy Note 10.1

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Samsung has improved its premium full-size tablet considerably in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014, with a notably lighter and slimmer body and a vastly improved HD display.

It's still not what you'd call a desirable piece of kit, though, with a number of cheap looking (and feeling) design touches. Given that it tops the uber-stylish iPad Air on price, that's a bit of an issue.

Still, this is a seriously capable Android tablet, and Samsung's impressive S Pen technology finds its most natural home here. If you're after a virtual notepad with well-integrated stylus support, this is the best tablet you're likely to find at the moment.

If you're not a fan of Samsung's over-egged and under-optimised software, however, you might want to stick with the stock Android Nexus range, which remains far better value.

We liked

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 2014 is a seriously well-specced Android tablet, with a class leading quad-core processor and a superbly sharp 10-inch display.

Samsung's S Pen stylus feels perfectly at home with this stunning screen, turning the tablet into a sketchpad, a notebook, a virtual scrapbook, and much more beside.

Some of Samsung's custom UI features are well conceived too, such as the ability to run two apps side-by-side simultaneously.

We disliked

Samsung's throw-everything-into-the-mix approach continues unabated, and this makes for a slightly overwhelming, unintuitive experience. Many of these additional features and apps are just plain unnecessary.

The TouchWiz UI really is starting to look dated and clunky now, and the thought of the cleaner, slicker, and faster stock Android OS ticking along underneath is slightly maddening.

Also, that faux leather back and faux metal rim are not what you expect to see in a premium tablet. I know Samsung is cautious about aping Apple these days, but a similar respect for aesthetic values would not go amiss.

Final verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is a bit of a Swiss Army Knife, in that it offers a slightly compromised tool for almost every job you could imagine.

If you demand supreme flexibility from your full-size tablet above all else, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is pretty tough to beat. Not only is it light and powerful, but the S Pen will prove extremely useful to those who still struggle to be truly productive on a finger-operated touchscreen.

However, if you're a couch surfer or a more general tablet user, Samsung's somewhat undesirable hardware design and overly fussy software mean that the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 lags quite far behind the likes of the iPad Air and even the Nexus 10.