Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Galaxy Note 3 may be getting all of the play here at IFA 2013 in Berlin, but the company’s new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet is worth getting excited about. The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) is the most powerful version of the Note 10.1 yet, sporting a 2560 x 1600-pixel WQXA Super LCD and a 1.9-GHz octa-core Exynos processor (on Wi-Fi and 3G-only models).
The new slate will be available in black or white, and will be powered by Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with a Samsung TouchWiz overlay. The rear camera will offer an 8-megapixel BSI sensor with auto focus and LED flas. And on the front will sit a 2-MP shooter.
In addition to its improved hardware, the new Note 10.1 also gains the same enhanced S Pen features found on the Note 3. So is the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) the best Samsung slate yet? We went hands-on to find out.
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The Note 10.1 (2014 Edition)’s new 2560 x 1600 WQXA display proved exceptionally brilliant during our brief hands-on with the slate. Images appeared to jump off the screen, while colors looked splendidly vibrant. Text was also extremely sharp thanks to the display’s increased pixel density. Samsung says the 2014 Edition get four times the pixel density of the original Galaxy Note 10.1. The display also proved extremely responsive as we swiped across home screens and opened and closed apps.
Inside, the Note 10.1 gets either a 1.9-GHz Exynos octa-core processor or a 2.3-GHz quad-core chip and a whopping 3GB of RAM. What CPU you’re Note 10.1 comes with depends on the type of connectivity option you choose. Go with the Wi-Fi-only or 3G model and you’ll get the octa-core chip. Opt for the LTE model and your 10.1 will come with the quad-core CPU. The decision likely has to do with the need to keep battery life relatively strong on the LTE model. With an octa-core chip and LTE connectivity, you can be sure the 10.1’s battery would call it quits in short order.
Stylistically, the Note 10.1 follows the same design language found on the Note 3. The rear panel has a soft-touch faux leather, complete with stitching. The slate’s edges also get the same beveled design meant to simulate a notebook’s pages on the Note 3.
As with the Note 3, the Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) features Samsung’s improved Multi Window mode, which allows users to open two windows for one app at the same time. During our hands-on we opened two browser windows and navigated to two different websites. You can perform the same task for any Multi Window app. We were also able to shortcuts for our favorite Multi Window app combo.
Like the Note 3, the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 features Samsung’s S Pen Air Command complete with five new functions including Action Memo, Scrapbooker, Screen Write, S Finder and Pen Window. Action Memo, as Samsung puts it, makes your notes actionable. That means the app can read your handwriting and use it to complete certain tasks. Jot down a phone number and a contact name, and the app can read your handwriting and save the information to your contact list. Similarly, the app can read an address you’ve written and locate it using Google Maps.
Scrapbooker lets you select items using S Pen ranging from videos and photos to audio and text and save them to your device’s clipboard. The feature also pulls in meta data from websites, so you can visit the Web page from which you grabbed video or audio at a later date. Screen Write provides a basic screen capture and memo tool, while S Finder offers device-wide and Web search functionality.
One of the best features of Air Command is its Pen Window function. Using the feature, you can draw a square or rectangle on the Note 10.1’s display and, within it, open one of eight apps, including YouTube, ChatOn, Dialer and more. You can also shrink Pen Windows into small circles reminiscent of the Chat Heads feature found on Facebook’s Home interface.
We were happy with what we saw from the Samsung Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). The display is beautiful and its multitasking functionality is off the charts. That said, we’ll wait to pass our final judgement on the slate until we can perform our full review.