The Galaxy Note 10.1 arrives in slim, fairly simple packaging. For now, Samsung is selling a WiFi-only version in a 16GB model for $499 or a 32GB model for $549. The tablet measures 10.32 by 7.1 by 0.35 inches and weighs 1.3 pounds. The newest Apple iPad measures 9.5 by 7.31 by 0.37 inches and weighs 1.44 pounds.
Samsung hasn't discussed the Galaxy Note in terms of being "inspired by nature," as they say about the Galaxy S III. But the image and sounds that greet a user and unlock the devices are the same.
Samsung smartly gave the S Pen angles, instead of making it round, so that it wouldn't roll off of a table. A criticism, though: One can insert the Pen quite far into its hole in the tablet before realizing it's not oriented properly, leading to more turning and pushing and turning and pushing.
While Lenovo topped the stylus on its Tablet 2 with a distinctive, ThinkPad-red tactile dot, the S Pen fits so snuggly and flush inside a bottom corner of the Note 10.1, it's easy not to notice it. The tablet responds equally well to finger navigation.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 ships with three rubber tips and two plastic ones, so users can find the writing experience that works best for them. (The tablet has handwriting-recognition software, which is intriguing, if not yet perfect.) In addition to the tips, a user can choose from a number of settings to personalize their writing or project. Also, like a real pen but unlike other styluses, the harder one pushes, the darker the line.Â
Samsung and Adobe created a special version of Photoshop for the Galaxy Note 10.1. It offers users features once left to the professionals, like the ability clean up a photo by removing background images.
There are also a number of sillier or more creative options.
A user can choose what apps and widgets sit on the home screen, and what gets pulled up and when, but there are key apps, such as the calculator, that one always wants quick access to, said a member of Samsung's product team. A tap on the arrow brings these up at any time.
On the top of the tablet is a headset jack, an "infrared blaster," a microSD slot that can support up to 64GB, volume keys and the power key.
With the Note 10.1, it's possible for two apps to run side-by-side—here, the photo gallery is open alongside the Internet browser. The capability could be useful for taking notes on a text or a video, or watching a video and listening to music while cleaning out an inbox. For now, the capability only works for five apps.
Accessories for the Galaxy Note 10.1, sold separately, include a Book Cover that protects the tablet and doubles (or rather triples) as a stand.
Magnets enable the Book Cover to strike two helpful poses.
Universal Desk Dock
A Universal Desk Dock—the charger goes in from behind and plugs into the wall—is an option for desks, kitchen countertops and elsewhere, allowing the tablet to be charged while in upright use. The fit of the tablet into the dock, however, might be described as not satisfyingly snug.
The above-referred-to infrared blaster makes it possible to use the Note 10.1 as a giant remote control.
The Note 10.1 comes in white or dark gray. It has a 5MP camera on the back and a 1.9MP front-facing camera optimized for video calls.