Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, review

One faces the analysis of this Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition with the same feeling as with other products in the same category: while Android on tablets grows and grows non-stop, it seems as if the high-end continues to resist it.

Samsung itself is sweeping the market with the Tab range, all the more reason that the Note 10.1 2014 edition is an excellent touchstone to discern if we are a translation of the debate on mobile, in which Android does work in high-end but avoid the reformulated iPhone size with respect to the price variable versus iPad. Let's see

Video review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition

First of all we are going to see the device in all its glory

The renewal of Note 10.1: technical characteristics

One of the biggest criticisms of the previous Note was that its commitment to the high range was unsuccessful when it came to the screen and its resolution. Being Samsung as it is - its listening to criticism and "feedback" from users and analysts is very active - in the 2014 edition if there is a feature that stands out in the proposal is that of resolution (WXGA 2560 x 1600), something in which we will stop later.

It also stands out for being equipped with an in-house eight-core processor for the Wi-fi version - in our case, the tests have been done with the LTE model governed by a Snapdragon 800 at 2.3 Ghz - and its three gigs of RAM.

In size and weight we have a competitive proposal for the 10-inch range: 171.4 x 243.1 x 7.9 mm and just 547 grams. It is not heavy or thick, accepting that we are dealing with a tablet of that screen size, although it should be noted that both in weight and thickness it lags behind Xperia Z or iPad Air.

There is a fact in any case that has caught our attention. In this product they have maintained the USB 2.0 connection, instead of going to 3.0 as they did with the Note 3 phablet. And we have been more intrigued since one of the aspects that we liked the least about this Note 10.1 is the exasperating slowness to the time to charge, something that in theory USB 3.0 improves but that seems to have been difficult to integrate into the tablet range.

On the more positive side we find Samsung's usual strengths such as the possibility of using a micro SD card to expand memory. This is something that is sometimes undervalued but that can help us save when buying the product: if we already have a microSD card it is reasonable to go for the 16Gb version and save us the price premium of the 32 Gb. To this they add that the tablet comes with infrared - to use it as a TV remote - and in the absences section we note the NFC.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition screen TFT LCD 10.1 inch Resolution 2560x1600 (WQXGA), 399dpi Processor Version analyzed: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz 4 cores; Wifi only version carries 1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad Exynos Graphics processor Version analyzed: Adreno 330 MP; version only Wifi ARM Mali-T628MP6 RAM 3GB RAM Memory 16, 32, 64 GB. Allows microSD up to 64 GB S.O. version Android 4.3 Connectivity GPS + GLONASS, WiFi (802.11 a / b / g / n / ac), BT4.0; in the analyzed version also LTE Cameras Rear: 8 MP with LED flash / Front: 2 MP Dimensions 243.1x171.4x7.9mm Weight 547g grams the version analyzed with LTE; 540g Wifi only version Official starting price From 619 euros for the WiFi 32 Gb only version or 749 euros for the LTE model. We have found it already

489 euros Wifi version 16 gigs.

With the largest Note in hand: design and finishes

On the back and sides of the Note Samsung the proposal that we already made on mobile with Note 3 is reaffirmed: a simulation of skin very pleasant to the touch and capable of transmitting that "professional and high-end" point while allowing them to continue using polycarbonates - plastics - with a slight exception of part of the frame that is metal.

I am one of those that this proposal from Samsung has convinced. It suited Note 3 very well and it suits even better this Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, even in the white color with which I thought it would fit worse.

On the weight and thickness side - two fundamental variables in a tablet of this size - Samsung has improved significantly compared to its predecessor but it is still one step behind the leaders in these aspects of the category. In weight it is more than 70 grams compared to iPad Air, in thickness one millimeter compared to the Xperia Z tablet.

The arrangement of the volume keys - if we take it horizontally, at the top left - next to that of the speakers - on the side - also indicates that the idea of ​​use expected is that: a lot of multimedia horizontally. In fact the permanence of the physical button next to the capacitive ones in the frame make the interaction when we have the tablet in vertical mode complicate excessively.

We could not forget one of the key features such as the S-Pen. Again, what worked in Note 3 is insisted - it is plastic with a simulation of metal on the side opposite the tip that gives it an apparently more solid air - leaving the hole in the upper right as we take it horizontally. Very handy for right-handers ... not so much for left-handers.

A superlative screen

It was striking that the tablet with which Samsung had set the highest bar had come out with another brand, the Nexus 10, which has been around for a year and a half. The 2,560 x 1,600 pixels of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition come to put things in place bringing this tablet to a pixel density of 298.9 PPI. The result is outstanding.

The image quality is, as we could expect from the specifications and from Samsung's last year, magnificent. Even issues that have always been discussed on Samsung screens are very well resolved: blacks are very black (although it does not reach the experience that AMOLED gives for example in the Note 3) and the outdoor experience is quite good, although there they certainly have still room for improvement (or perhaps it is that one is becoming very demanding after going through the screen of the 1520). The viewing angles also touch the excellence on the screen of the Note 10.1 2014

Finally, as it has been the norm in Samsung, there are different screen modes. Whoever likes the image very contrasted and a bit saturated, the dynamic mode will do very well, it gets a lot of impact (it is the one with which we have taken the photos); for day-to-day use my option is the "film" mode which achieves, in my opinion, a much better color fidelity.

In any case, whoever values ​​the screen above all else will find in the new Samsung tablet a priority option in the tablet market.

Battery and performance

The 8220 mAh seems to be a promise of a very high battery life, but on the other side of the scale is the consumption of this screen, which is not negligible at all. In intensive and continuous use (navigation, video, a diversified app like games and reading) with the screen half-brightness we have gone to seven hours. Not bad, but it remains below the best in the category, something that perhaps the version with Soc Samsung Exynos would have given us.

On the subject of autonomy, I would like to underline a poorly resolved aspect of the product, such as the speed of loading. It is true that it is a battery of a considerable size, but not having opted for USB 3.0 squeaks more with this circumstance.

As for performance, the device is fluid at all times, it moves the games that are pleasing and in the benchmarks it gets excellent notes, as is the case with Antutu. In all this the Snapdragon 800 along with the three gigabytes of RAM are noted. It should be noted that the Wifi model - which brings Samsung's Exynos Soc - may offer a different performance, probably somewhat lower in power and fluidity and it is possible that giving the device longer battery life

What we have had is an occasional crash, something that can happen on any device, but that has happened to us several times during the testing of this Note. It is a defect that, at least, it is plausible to think that it can be corrected by updating the system (it is short on CPU or RAM, it has no fix on a tablet).

Antutu Note 10.1

Finally it is time to talk about the camera, an aspect that we usually leave in the background when talking about tablets and more if they exceed ten inches. The one of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is only correct and gives an acceptable use - which would give a terminal between low and medium range today - for what makes sense in a tablet: an emergency measure when we have nothing else by hand. We leave you some image

Good behavior in daytime photo

Night photos choking him

Software. From the S Pen to the Samsung interface through Android on tablets

After carrying out several analyzes of the Note range, one is afraid of repeating itself. About the software associated with the S Pen, I almost prefer to refer to the analysis of the Note 3 and underline something important: the whole writing part and, above all, the multi-window make more sense the larger the screen.

I already liked all this part of Samsung's proposal in the Note 8 analysis and it does it again. It is true that the value you find in the product depends on how much you are going to use the pencil, but once you are one of those who use it - I am not overly intensive but in some contexts in which I really appreciate it - the Note experience is very well accomplished.

With the multi-window we have a similar scenario. The more screen, the more sense it makes. In fact for me it has been a joy to have a book or a video on the one hand and to be taking notes on the other ... although it must be stressed that not all applications are supported and my beloved Kindle is not among them.

Then we "have to talk" about Touchwiz, Samsung's interface on Android. There is a positive aspect and that is that with the power of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition the slowness and the lag that this caused at some moments have disappeared as it has done in the high-end of Samsung; then we have that, although there are small details in which it gives me a lot of value such as the issue of quick access to configuration - one is not anti Touchwiz -, the feeling that it needs a strong update is palpable.

We will see that they show with Galaxy S5, what we have seen of the future Pro range yes that we have found promising. The addition of "My Magazine" as an integrated version of Flipboard is still there, but it only makes sense for the less advanced user since Flipboard as a solo application continues to give a better experience.

Finally on Android on tablets: the notifications part, which seems to me the best on mobile, can get very saturated on a screen where suddenly you have 20 icons / attention calls. And then we have a developers are optimizing very little for tablet, there are millions of applications, but designed for the experience of a Note 10 screen much less.

Xataka's opinion on the Note Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition

Can Android be competitive in the high-end of tablets? With products like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, of course it does. Remarkable in design, excellent on screen and with a differential value in terms of integrating the pen into the experience.

The bet from "the guts" has been to load it with the best that Samsung has at hand and that shows in the user experience. The biggest objections that we put to it as a product is that there are several aspects in which there are better products on the market (weight, thickness, autonomy) although the Note does not disagree, to that we must add that the load is slow and that in the section software is missing a powerful Touchwiz update and that Android developers truly believe is worth optimizing for tablets.

Finally we have the price, which from the start and how it is usual in high-end Samsung, is compared to the competition. Officials point to 619 euros for the WiFi only version or 749 euros for the LTE model, both with 32 Gb. Too much for a market where iPad starts lower, Surface too and there are quite a few solvent bets with Android in the mid-range.

In any case, whoever buys it is going to get a very good product, like everything Samsung is doing lately in the Note range.

8,5

Design8.5 screen Performance9 Software8 Autonomy8

In favor

  • Spectacular display
  • Design and back "skin simulation"
  • Great pencil experience

Against

  • Touchwiz is getting outdated
  • Occasional blocking
  • Very slow charging time
  • In size and weight there are those who go ahead

The tablet has been loaned for testing by Samsung. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

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