Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review
Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 aims to be all things to everyone, but ends up painting itself into an S-Pen niche.
- Fine-tuned S-Pen experience
- Smooth performance
- Multiscreen function allows for true, simultaneous multi-tasking
- Build quality feels cheap
- Unimpressive screen resolution
- A little too pricey
Consider it the fallout from a decade-plus of reality TV, but our made-by-the-masses approach has expanded into new territory: technology R&D. Or so Samsung's very public handling of the Galaxy Note 10.1 would have us believe. Thrust into an American Idol-like spotlight at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the still-unfinished slate, a follow-up to the pen-enabled Galaxy Note phone, was forced to perform for hordes of skeptical insiders. Sure, there was raw talent on display and we could see the promise of this 10-inch contender (we said as much in our exhaustive preview), but it was also clear the company was testing consumer waters, fishing for a vote of confidence before continuing down the development track.
Does this make Samsung's latest flagship the Kelly Clarkson of the tablet category? It's an apt analogy, if you think about it: Kelly wants to be country, the Note 10.1 wants to be a pro-designer tool, but neither are allowed. Why? Well, simply put, products sell better when they're made more palatable for a wider range of tastes. Which is why the company used MWC to gauge popular opinion before molding its untested product into something wth a broader appeal. Ultimately, that meant a drastic makeover: since MWC, the Note 10.1 has received a slot for that S-Pen, streamlined software, a quad-core Exynos 4 chip and two storage configurations: 16GB / 32GB, priced at $499 and $549, respectively.
So it now has more horsepower under the hood, that much is assured, but is that chip enough to boost the Note 10.1's mass appeal? Will savvy shoppers be able to forgive that relatively low-res 1,280 x 800 display? Will its Wacom digitizer elevate this slate past its more generic Android and iOS rivals? Or will that feature hamper its widespread appeal, attracting mainly creative professionals? Meet us after the break to see if the Note 10.1 can succeed as the multitasking everyman's go-to tablet.