It’s only been a week or so since the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) arrived at my place, and already I’m getting a handle on the device. As a Samsung phone user (Samsung Galaxy S3 followed by my current daily driver, the Galaxy S4) the look and feel of the device physically as well as the software behaviour was very comfortable to me as soon as I turned the tablet on.
The traditional “helpful” behaviour of Samsung’s Touchwiz UI was there and as predictable as usual. I found it interesting that S Voice seems to have a few tablet based quirks that either weren’t present or I didn’t pick up at the time I was doing the Galaxy Note 8 review, but there were some pretty hefty downloads required to get S Voice and some of the other UI features fully functional.
One thing that did strike me early is that some of the apps I use regularly on my Galaxy S4 don’t work on the new tablet despite being from the Samsung Apps Store: Foxtel Go and Plus7 being the main offenders at the moment, which frankly is a little disappointing for a flagship device that has such a nice screen.
Without going into the full detail of the device which will be in the review, the important points are:
- Quad Core Snapdragon 800 Processor
- Micro SIM with LTE support
- 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.9 mm
- Weights 547g (LTE version)
- 2560 x 1600 10.1 inch display @~299 ppi
- MicroSD Support
- Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, Infrared connectivity
- Android 4.3 out of the box
- 8220mAh Battery
So far it’s not blown my mind, but it’s certainly keeping me happy and the performance is very impressive! That reliable and snappy performance is something that we’ve come to expect from Samsung, so this wasn’t a huge surprise to me. Even when multitasking with YouTube video and working in other applications I didn’t have any noticeable lag issues or any other serious performance degradation.
The battery life of the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is pretty impressive, when you take into account the fact it’s a powerful piece of hardware that has a 10.1″ screen and quad core processor it’s near on staggering given the background apps I have running pretty much 24 x 7 and the fact I was streaming HD media for several hours. Needless to say; not just the battery life but the general performance of the device has impressed me greatly and I can unfortunately see myself trying to find a way to justify purchasing one to my wife in the near future.
Hardware and aesthetics
I make no excuses for it, I personally believe that Samsung make good looking hardware. They evolved their look to be modern (at times edgy) but still safe enough that their devices can be sold as a mainstream product. The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is no exception to this, it’s pretty but familiar in it’s look, feel and behaviour.
What I really like so far is the physical feel of the faux leather back, continuing the image of the Galaxy Note range with the Galaxy Note 3 that was released only a few months ago. So much so that I’ve taken it to a couple of meetings with me in my paid employment and the tablet has aroused a lot of interest from other attendees at the meetings, particularly when I’ve produced the S Pen and begun to take notes during the meeting; it’s not just functional it’s eye catching.
One of the features I thought was nice, but now I see that it’s actually really well delivered is the camera. It doesn’t match the 13MP camera in the Galaxy S4, but the 8MP camera in the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) delivers a really nice picture that could easily be mistaken for a photo taken by a higher quality camera rather than tablet. This only adds further weight to the regular discussions on the Ausdroid Podcast that Megapixels don’t make the camera, the optics and driving software do!
So far while not completely mind blowing, my experience with the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) has been very pleasing and I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with it over the next couple of weeks and putting a full review together soon after.
Are you in the market a new or replacement tablet in the new year? What will it take for the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) to be on your short list?