Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition review
An excellent tablet in all departments – pricey for an Android tablet, but the best in the market right now
Review Date: 14 Feb 2014
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £333 (£400 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Samsung has a bewildering array of tablets and smartphones out at the moment, but there's nothing confusing about where the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition sits. It's the Korean firm's top-of-the-range consumer tablet, and it's designed to rival such products as the Nexus 10, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in, Sony Xperia Tablet Z and Apple iPad Air. See also the 11 best tablets of 2014
It certainly has the price and specification to match those aspirations. It costs £399 inc VAT, boasts a 10.1in high-DPI 2,560 x 1,600 resolution screen, a 1.9GHz Samsung Exynos octa-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera and – as with all the Note products – a pressure-sensitive stylus, which slots neatly into the top-right corner of the tablet.
Other notable features include an infrared transmitter that turns the tablet into a universal remote control for your TV and set-top box, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Surprisingly, there's only 16GB of built-in storage, but there is a microSDXC slot for adding more.
The design is reasonably high-end, too, with a seamless strip of chrome-effect plastic surrounding the edge and a white plastic rear, imprinted with a leather-effect pattern. If this sounds cheesy, it doesn't come across so in the flesh. The Note 10.1 doesn't wow like the iPad Air or the Xperia Tablet Z, and isn't particularly light at 535g. However, there isn't anything cheap about its design. It's certainly a big improvement on the first Note 10.1, which was bulkier and heavier.
Fire it up, and the good impressions continue. The screen – as is typical of Samsung's flagship devices – boasts a bright and fully saturated look, and with a pixel density of 299ppi, it matches the Nexus 10 and outdoes the iPad Air. It's a magnificently crisp display.
Resolution isn't everything, however, and on the quality front, the Note 10.1 also scores highly. Measured with our colorimeter, the display hit a maximum brightness of 367cd/m2 and a contrast level of 798:1. It isn't as bright or quite as colour-accurate as the iPad Air – it crushes greys into blacks a touch more, and whites are a shade yellow – but again we're splitting hairs here, and fine ones at that.
Performance, battery life and camera
With an eight-core SoC inside, it looks well up to the job of keeping Android 4.3 running smoothly, too. In fact, the Note's Samsung Exynos 5 Octa comprises a pair of quad-core processors: one clocked at 1.9GHz for demanding tasks such as games, and the other clocked at 1.3GHz, which kicks in when such high power isn't required – watching video, for instance, or listening to music. In addition, there's a sizeable 3GB of RAM, and a six-core Mali-T628 GPU for gaming.
In benchmark testing, we found it to be quick, but not quite as rapid as the iPad Air. In the GFXBench T-Rex HD test run at native resolution, for instance, the Note 10.1 gained an average of 14fps; the Air scored 21fps. Its SunSpider result is a touch more impressive at 612ms, but again it lags behind the iPad Air's 391ms. In Geekbench 3, its scores were excellent, with 931 and 2,602 in the single- and multi-core tests, but behind the Apple tablet once more.
Things begin to look up when you begin to compare it with its Android rivals. Overall, the Note 10.1 2014 Edition is on a par with the superb Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in, and faster than the Nexus 10 and Xperia Tablet Z. It's as fast an Android tablet as you can buy right now, and lacks for nothing when it comes to responsiveness and overall feel. There's no discernible typing lag when entering text with the onscreen keyboard, and menus and homescreen animations are generally stutter-free.
Still Apple Fanboys.
You still go on & on about the Ipad, yet it's completely inflexible when it comes to transferring files (music, pictures etc) by Bluetooth, that's what has always put me off buying and Iphone & Ipad.
Apple is just too restrictive for me and so I have bought Android for the last couple of phones & now a tablet.
I have just imported one of these tablets albeit a 32Gb, 4G/LTE version from HK and I paid just over £450 for it fully inc. That's not bad considering I paid for express service & VAT too!
The nearest price I could get in the UK for a 4G/LTE one was £545-547 inc. delivery and that's only a 16Gb one.
By SKINHEAD1967 on 14 Feb 2014
Oh & I forgot that this review is of the Wi-Fi only version, not the 3G/4G LTE version, which will give you more flexibility on the move.
By SKINHEAD1967 on 14 Feb 2014
You can use itunes wifi sync to move your own content to an ipad. You have photostream too which avoids the need to move images between devices. Finally you have airdrop which uses a combination of Bluetooth and wifi for ad hoc transfers.
By krislord on 15 Feb 2014
You need Airdrop.
So you need Airdrop to do it, this Galaxy Note doesn't.
By SKINHEAD1967 on 15 Feb 2014
One diasppointment with the Note (and all Samsung Android devices) is that they have HDCP permanently active on the MHL/HDMI connection.
We use Elgato's excellent Game Capture HD to record our apps for reviews and presentation purposes. This works fine on our iPad and iPhone, they only turn on HDCP when transmitting protected content.
The Samsung's on the other hand (Galaxy S3, S4, Note 10.1 2013 Edition) all encrypt the signal, whether protected content is being sent or not!
Luckily we had an employee with a Moto Xoom, so we could use that for recording our apps, as it does not use HDCP as standard.
By big_D on 17 Feb 2014
You could root the phone/tablet and change rom.
Ive seen an option in my cyanogenmod on my tablet in the dev options to never check.
and £400 for an android tablet is just not worth it.
The nexus devices are cheaper and dont come with the bloatware that fills eats up the storage.
Samsung do overfill their OS with nonsense.
By r1sh12 on 17 Feb 2014
Nexus has a major achilles heel, in that you cannot expand the memory.
What it comes with is what you've got, this tablet can accept a MiSDXC card, mine has a 64Gb card in now & I'm just waiting for it to charge up.
Also I have the SM-P605 LTE version so I can logon to email & use the web without having to use tethering.
£465 delivered from Hong Kong. UK retailers don't do this model or the 64Gb of any description.
You could go for the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, but gawd knows when the 3G/4G/LTE of those will turn up.
By SKINHEAD1967 on 17 Feb 2014
Very good phone I like this Samsung Galaxy Note
By lawwale on 18 Feb 2014
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