Battery performance was excellent on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 as well. Despite being powered by a quad-core SoC that clearly outperformed competing tablets, the Note 10.1 also offered the best battery life of any Android-based tablet we’ve ever tested. Getting a full day out of the Galaxy Note 10.1 with light to moderate use should be no problem and stand-by time is exceptional. The Galaxy Note 10.1 can sit for days with minimal effect on its battery.
Our experience with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was mostly positive. Samsung has done some very good things with the Galaxy Note 10.1, which unfortunately had some unwanted side effects. On the plus side, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is an excellent performer, in terms of a speed and responsiveness and battery life. The device offers a smooth user experience, apps are quick to load, web browsing is very good, and battery life is well above average. The combination of a fast, quad-core SoC and 2GB of memory in the Galaxy Note 10.1 result in a high-performing device that competes or surpasses the best Android tablets currently available.
The front-mounted speakers on the Galaxy Note 10.1 also offer some of the best sound we’ve heard in a tablet. When consuming content on a tablet, you’ll most likely be holding the device in landscape mode, at arm’s length. In that configuration, the Galaxy Note 10.1 projects sounds directly at your ears, which results in a better audio experience versus tablets that project sound from the sides or back. The front-mounted speakers, however, also forced Samsung to wrap the metal bezel on the Galaxy Note 10.1 around the front of the device, which has a side effect of placing a raised seam under your fingers. It’s not a huge issue, but versus the perfectly flat and smooth surfaces of other tablets, holding onto a raised seam detracts from the experience slightly.
The screen on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is also a point of consideration. The image quality is great, with good viewing angles, brightness, contrast, and color saturation, but the 1280x800 resolution is somewhat of a disappointment in light of the 1920x1200 and 2048x1536 resolutions offered by the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T and latest Apple iPad.
The 16GB Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 we’ve shown you here retails for $499, which puts it right in-line with many other high-end Android-tablets in its class. Although priced on par with competitive offerings, there are trade-offs with the Galaxy Note 10.1. If you’re shopping for a tablet in this price range, you’ll have to ask yourself what’s more important: display resolution or Samsung’s proprietary features. If the S-Pen, Multi Screen tech, excellent battery life and performance, and front facing speakers outweigh the drawbacks of its 1280x800 screen, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a great device and it's for you. If, however, Samsung’s S-Pen and other differentiating features aren’t particularly interesting to you, the same money can get you a similarly performing tablet with a much higher resolutions screen.
Ultimately though, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is another solid product from Samsung that’s worthy of consideration and it shows that the company is actively trying to advance the tablet form factor with innovative features designed to enhance productivity and user experience. Samsung should be commended for their innovation, even if the end result may be less than perfect.