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back to article Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet review

Remember your first touchscreen? If it was a personal organiser or satnav, chances are it used a pressure-sensitive, resistive screen. If it was a Palm, you probably had a stylus to pick out letters onscreen. The arrival of capacitive screens that responded to human touch certainly made an impression and now account for nearly …

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Pictures

...Please.

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Anonymous Coward

Here we go again

It's plastic, has an average screen, decent battery life and a stylus.

Up to that point I would be interested but then I read the deal breaker...

It comes with Ice Cream Sandwich, with a PROMISE of the Jelly Bean upgrade.

Another android tablet, another promise of an update, but no date set in stone.

Left to the whim of the manufacturer. Not again thank you.

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Sorry i jumped the shark.

I can see the pics now.

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Re: Sorry i jumped the shark.

I had accidentally added "reghardware" or whatever to my content blocker, oops!

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Headmaster

Re: Sorry i jumped the shark.

I think you meant "Jumping The Gun", unless you're trying to tell us that your posts are going to get worse from now on?

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Happy

Re: " ......unless you're trying to tell.................."

Now that would be an example of painful honesty!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sorry i jumped the shark.

No, he would of used that phrase, but the trademark system has now allowed "Jumping The Gun" as a mark covering all areas of writing and as such, dear sirs, you now owe us, well lets just say, your soul.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sorry i jumped the shark.

would HAVE used......

Colonial are you?

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Linux

"So, really, is a stylus enough of a difference to make you choose this tablet over another?" -- The speed and power are enough to turn heads away from the Galaxy Tab 2, most people will leave the stylus thingy in it's slot or use it as an anti-smoking aid.

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Meh

Stylus performance?

But what of the stylus accuracy? On my note the sensor appears far up in the pen, so if you write with the pen slanted (and who doesn't???) you actually end up writing 1-2mm away from where the nib actually is. A bit annoying, and especially affects left-handers for some reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stylus performance?

A bit annoying, and especially affects left-handers for some reason.

On a similar note, I see in the last screenshot that in the split-screen mode the writing area is on the left. Is that configurable? Because as it stands it would mean that for right handers (ie, the majority of users) you'd be obscuring whatever you're taking notes on. If you can put the notes are on the right, I wonder if the bezel on the RHS is actually wide enough to allow you to rest your hand on it? It does seem weird to think that the bezel might be too small on a tablet, though.

As you might guess, I think that the stylus + tablet idea is pretty neat. I've always felt that stylus input via a graphics pad was lacking real usability since you're not drawing directly onto the image and lots of pads have "click" buttons that are really fiddly and tiring to use. I certainly think that if stylus input is going to work anywhere, it's with the tablet form factor. I especially like the little touches here (no pun intended) like ignoring your hand impression when you're writing.

Ultimately, though, I still wouldn't buy this device. Although the CPU makes it look very attractive, it's severely let down by the screen resolution. For all its warts (lack of availability being a major one) I think I'd rather spend my dosh on a Nexus 7. Sorry, Samsung... not this time.

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Can you calibrate the stylus digitizer to your preference?

That should give you relief, I think. Or, alter your pen-holding style just for this case - I don't know if that will appeal.

I use Witndows Tablet PCs with a stylus, but my favourite mode is to push the cursor around with the pen but use a Bluetooth mouse, with the bottom taped over, to click on what I'm pointing at, which somehow is more accurate and reliable than tapping.

Th[re seems to be no news of the Fitaly on-screen keyboard in an Android version, except that if anyone can make the Palm emulator for Android (and iOS), StyleTap, work with Fitaly, athen I'll be very interested. However, I may stay with using my original Samsung Galaxy Tab phone, and Android 2.3.3.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Stylus performance?

"On a similar note, I see in the last screenshot that in the split-screen mode the writing area is on the left. Is that configurable? Because as it stands it would mean that for right handers (ie, the majority of users) you'd be obscuring whatever you're taking notes on. If you can put the notes are on the right, I wonder if the bezel on the RHS is actually wide enough to allow you to rest your hand on it? It does seem weird to think that the bezel might be too small on a tablet, though."

My first thoughts on seeing that picture were similar - except my thinking was more along the lines of whether it can split screen in portrait mode, with the video at the top and the writing area below. This seems more logical to me because of the aspect ratios involved.

Paris, because I have it on good authority that she's made a video or two.

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Joke

Re: Stylus performance?

Since Samsung has been declared a copier of Apple, does that mean "you're holding it wrong" is now a valid excuse for Samsung products as well? :)

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Coat

Re: Stylus performance?

On my note, the mark showing where the pen "is" lines up if I hold the pen at the right angle. If I hold it vertically, it is to the left of the real position. As for lefties, that's probably why there is an option to say you are left-handed in the settings. Also, have you turned on the option to see where it thinks the pen is (this option only appeared with ICS).

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Re: Stylus performance?

Well, I was looking at the high-performance helo... Reminds me of Airwolf.

As for the Note 10.1, I wish the speed graphic also included the TGab 10.1 (first one). Can you go back and add it just for model lineage?

I am tempted to buy this to replace my Tab 10.1, just for the stylus. I'm sick of the Belkin stylus because it is too fat and keeps my crappy Belkin cover from closing fully. But, the Belkin rubber is flexy and conductivity/pressure-good on the screen. Anothere brand, sold by Lotte, is utter crap. The rubber tip is too dry and takes spit or lube to conduct a good transfer across the screen. Worse, slight friction pops off the rubber scribing tip. But, it has an ink pen, and has a smaller diameter than the Belkin.

Better yet, this Note 10.1 has its speakers on TOP of the bezel, not off to the sides, and moreover, it has the IR port AND a microSD card slot if I am recalling correctly.

But, IIRC, the Note 10.1 CPU is less than my Tab 10.1. Also, my GTab has the DMB antenna. I have to look again at a Samsung or Lotte store to find out whether or not the local Note 10.1 comes with DMB. But, also, the keyboard/docking system is also different, I think. So, there goes the original Samsung keyboard.

I just wish they'd include firewalls so I don't have to root the f*cker or carry around a portable firewall and run the wi-fi path through that device.

Question for Sammy: When can we get it in Black? Seems you're doing a reverse-of-apple: ip4 fans wailed and begged for the iP4 in white.

Good luck on the sales, Sammy!

Question to other users: Is anyone out there having to twice use the copy/paste and URL click process? I am. Does it mean I've been rooted and am going through some dodgy/half-baked overlay inserted by a trojan?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stylus performance?

What dya expect from Samsung? they throw in any gimmick to try to have another feature on the spec sheet but if the execution is poor why bother?

Will this be the return of the calibrate screen as seen on Windows Mobile when that was popular?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can you calibrate the stylus digitizer to your preference?

"Or, alter your pen-holding style just for this case"

You're holding it wrong!!!! :)

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Anonymous Coward

Priced too high

Surely at £30 for each S-Pen replacement Samsung has a Gillette-style business plan in their hands.

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Anonymous Coward

Not bad looking kit, I am seriously tempted.

I am looking for a replacement to the ipad rubbish I have been using for a tablet..

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Man, you'll be so disappointed. I used this the other day. The whole back of the devices flexes like a margarine lid and the split screen apps run poorly. I find it odd neither was mentioned.It's fine to want to get rid of the iPad but you can do much better than this. I know everything is made in China but this FEELS like it was made in China.

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FAIL

Read the Android Police review and be alarmed

From memory: 'Build quality was so bad I felt I might get cancer from spending too long near it'

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Re: Read the Android Police review and be alarmed

I read that after I ordered mine. Think they got a duff one or got out of the wrong side of the bed as relieved to say mine is nice and solid and doesn't creek and flex.

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Meh

Hmmm, don't quite see all the fuss about a stylus... This one seems to work fine with an iPad and all of its various apps including freehand drawing thingies. It'd presumably work just as well with any other capacitive screen tablet.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005V11D3Q/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00

Seven quid inc P&P, or probably less if you search around a bit. No pressure sensitivity of course, though an app could perhaps detect the contact area of the squishy tip and behave accordingly.

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I guess...

... that having the stylus natively supported by the software makes the whole experience better.

Some people prefer trackballs over mice, or ThinkPad nipples over trackpads...

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Accuracy is the key

The pen provides accuracy - this is the big difference from the capacitive pens.

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Trollface

I'm curious. How does does the ipad know when you are just hovering over the screen (for example to open the menu option "My ebay" on the famous tat bazar to select searches), compared to actually pressing a link?

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Headmaster

not that kind of stylus

This stylus is the "active" kind, not a sausage replacement for capacitative screens. It is akin to what wacom uses, that is to mean almost all computer graphics artists use.

I wonder how good the palm rejection thing works though. disabling/enabling finger interaction off a menu would get tiring quite soon.

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Meh

Build Quality

There's no mention here of the build quality, other than stating it's made of plastic and therefore light.

Other reviews have been extremely forthright in their crticism of poor, flexible materials used for the casing and I was hoping to find at least some comment passed on this in the Reg review one way or another. This review also seems to skip over the limitations of the split-screen functionality (gmail app not included in list of apps available in this mode, etc) mentioned elsewhere.

I usually find I get the detail I need from Reg reviews, but this doesn't seem to commit either way on some of the big questions being asked of this device elsewhere.

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Megaphone

Re: Build Quality

Agreed. Almost as if the reviewer just looked at the pictures and specs and decided to write a review based on that. In fact, none the issues that you would notice in real world use were mentioned in the review. Maybe El Reg has finally figured out how to remote reviewing, or ESR (Extra Sensory Reviewing).

What's next, I wonder? A review of the iPad 4? As you clearly don't need to have access to the device anymore, and reviews mostly concern themselves with rumours anyway, simply state how well it performs, especially with regards to the new Samsung Galaxy Spaceballs Ultra Deluxe IV which as we all know would have been the most amazing phone ever if only the designers hadn't been shackled as a result from that trade dress lawsuit in 2014.

How about "Ten quick holiday get-aways on Mars"? Use Google Mars to scour the surface, but fail to mention that breathing could be a bit hard. Oh, and mention that due to the difference in gravity, the HTC Boondoggle Admire Admiral Zod III is actually a bit lighter that the (new new new new) iPhone, so clearly Apple is full of shit. Again.

How about renaming the site to "El Nostro", biting the fictitious hand of tomorrow's IT.

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Re: Build Quality

Well, if you don't live too far from a store, justt pick one up and handle it. I felt one in Busan, and it seemed okay to me. The one in Shanghai/Pudong seems okay, too.

But, whatever you do, be mindful of any accessory cables you buy. Regarding my GTab 10.1, the Samsung cable seems to be very proprietary -- it shows Linux the hard drive, but I cannot connect without the right drivers. When I connect the free, tossed-in Belkin cable the Samsung store threw in, it won't show the SD card to Linux, but instead, it shows the device's camera. And, under native win 7, weird things happen, too. I wish LinDroid/Andux would f*cking play like it's Linux-to-Linux, dammit. Imagine if two different Linux kernels in a net refused to connect when the Admin needed to transfer files.

Also, I am not certain, but I think the Belkin cable recharges the GTab 2 slower than the native Samsung cable. So, I suspect different pin-outs. For whatever reason, Belkin is either not using the same pin-outs, or something else is going on.

Interestingly, too, the Samsung Korea power adapter modular tip works in Shanghai without the China adapter between Sammy and the power strip.

If you're traveling to China or to Korea, and want Chinese on the device, you might not get it in Korea. English, Korean, and "romantic" languages are in the Korea and Android keyboards, but no Chinese input is possible by keyboard, tho one can speak. So, that means no stylus input of Chinese script when attempting to make notes or such. Even the downloadable Chinese script from Google Play seems unable to get Chinese into the Korea model. The China model, however, is expectedly okay, and IIRC it has Chinese, Korean, and, IIRC, Japanese.

So, play with the thing good and hard. One thing that is pissing me off is that, as with my HTC, when typing, texting, or using web-based input boxes, the fracking cursor won't neatly go to where my finger commands it. I almost always have to finess the bitch to the end of a block of text to prevent it from jumping back. I was thinking it was a Samsung thing, but for over a year my EVO 4G has had the same damned problem. I don't know if other tablets have this.

I was tempted to walk up to the Shanghai iPad sales guy and say, "My iPad has a problem", but I don't wanna tempt fate, hahahaha. I might drop my GTab trying to remove it from the Belkin case.

But, in coffee shops, when I see iPadders near me, I certainly do remove my iP... Umm, GTab from the sleeve and fondle it and insert it into the keyboard dock. When they look up, they can clearly see "SAMSUNG", not the letters they hoped might indicate a stolen or lost iPad5 prototype, hehehehe....

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Re: Build Quality

BTW, for those who DO buy the GTab or Note 10.1, make the sales reps walk you through the Samsung site via the device so you know what apps are available for download. That might take care of things like input language options, Korean language tutorials, and remote kill/wipe tools, etc. The store may have it's model in "Demo Mode" using the store's account.

Sammy's docks and stylish cases are not cheap, either.

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Pint

May I congratulate El Reg's subbies on the excellent strapline. There have been a few good ones of late, but 'stylus over substance' is pun-tastic.

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Trollface

Not different enough

Apple will get this banned on the grounds that it has a screen (which it invented), icons (which it invented) and of course, that greatest of sins, it exists (Apple has patented existence as well).

This is a flagrant copy. End of.

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Coat

@ _RCH_ - Re: Not different enough

You make it sound as if Apple was the Spanish Inquisition and Samsung a bunch of Cathar heretics: Buuurrrn them! Kiiilll them with fiiiiiireee!!!11!

coughcough, hack. Erm.

Of course you are right, albeit for the wrong reasons:

It will be banned because it is a competing product. From a foreign (worse even, gook*) company, endangering the well-being and prosperity of the valiant and diligent American worker who is constantly exceeding his limits to bring you the best product you could want. An Apple product.

You might hear or read different reasons from the news, but these are put forward to explain it to the people out there that don't really need to understand the truth and think that fairness can win a war. These people have to be protected by the vigorous defenders of the right way, the lawyers and judges, for their own good, otherwise they might succumb to the communist propaganda and buy non-American goods.

Phew. Sorry. Forgot to take my dried frog pills this morning.

I'm better now.

But seriously now: I think you're right, unfortunately.

* Korean, Chinese, Vietcong, Khmer Rouge, doesn't matter really, all the same: thieving commies the lot. And they shot at the glory boys in Da Nang. Can't trust them.

[I hope reg readers enjoy sarcasm ;-)]

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I like the split screen option

Any chance of Samsung adding the function to the Tab2?

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Pen Improves Productivity

I've had a Note 10.1 for a few days, and find the pen really useful and accurate (it uses Wacom). As well as making notes in Evernote etc the pen is handy for remote desktop sessions and fiddly dropdown menus on websites (the pen allows mouseover/hover events that you can't get on a normal capacitive only screen). I had always held back from buying a tablet as I felt that 'fat finger syndrome' on capacitive screens limited its usefulness. So far so good with the Note 10.1.

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Re: Pen Improves Productivity

Draenog,

Does this do handwriting recognition? Or is the pen for pointing and freeform notes/drawing only?

That's what I miss about Windows tablet edition. I personally find handwriting to be more 'natural' and comfortable on a tablet, as well as something you can do while standing up. One hand typing slows you down even more with onscreen keyboards. Although personally I'm faster writing than with both hands on one of those.

I found it perfectly comfortable to hold the pen in my hand, most of the time. Usually using my fingers to interact with the screen, and only the stylus where required - which was more often on Vista than you'd expect with Android.

Being able to annotate screenshots (possible but not so easy on Vista) should be really useful. As you can pull up a website or document and scribble all over it. Would be amazingly useful for product datasheets and site drawings for me. Being able to take someone's CAD building services schematics, doodle on them, and email straight back in a few seconds would be amazing.

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Re: Pen Improves Productivity

I ain't Sparticus,

Yes, it does handwriting recognition, and seems to do a pretty good job of it (the pen makes it easy to make corrections as you can accurately move the cursor using the pen). It can be used instead of the onscreen keyboard so can be used in all apps needing text input. I find I can enter text quicker using the handwriting than the onscreen keyboard (hopeless at typing).

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Re: Pen Improves Productivity

Thanks. Now I want one.

I can touch-type at getting on for 100 words a minute, and I hate onscreen keyboards. I guess it's the frustration of not being able to go as fast as on a real keyboard. Whereas writing is pretty much the same speed with stylus on tablet or pen and paper.

I'm really pleased Samsung have brought this back. Sadly it's no on the Microsoft RT tablet though. The pen's only on the more expensive Intel version.

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"There’s also an audio recording option so you can record what’s being said at a meeting, .."

There's a good reason why a meeting has a nominated secretary. It's to prevent the 'umm's and 'ahh's and muttered swearwords and rash promises, (withdrawn after a minutes thought) from being recorded anywhere.

I'd be keeping quiet and offering to 'get back to you later with an e-mail' if audio recording was used in a meeting I attended.

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Happy

Split screen...what next...

I find all of this talk about "split screen" pretty amazing, think about the logical progression whereby you may want something small, like a calculator app to appear over the top of a word processor?

How, could you achieve this? Maybe by allowing the app to be resizeable and ... moveable...maybe something similar to "Old Windows". Isn't it laughable that as MS try to make everything full-screen to mimic tablets here is a tablet getting closer to mimicking Windows!!

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Facepalm

Re: Split screen...what next...

You must be right because Windows 8 doesn't do split screens at all and doesn't have a desktop environment where you can pile the windows as high as you like.

Except that it does. So your comment is... stupid? Yeah, let;s go with "stupid".

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Re: Split screen...what next...

Even in Metro mode there's a 2/3rds of screen for main window with another taking up 1/3rd of the screen option. Plus of course the desktop legacy mode, where you can do what you like.

I suspect in testing that MS have found most people simply don't use (don't know how to use?) multiple windows side-by-side, and so would be better served by a better task switcher than the desktop currently provides.

But it will be interesting to see what wins out. Doesn't the Galaxy III allow a ridiculously tiny picture-in-picture mode? Although you might argue that smartphone screens are growing at such a fast rate, they'll be the same size as desktop screens in 3 or 4 years...

So will tablet OSes become windowed, desktops full-screened, or some sort of GUI gooey mess?

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Re: Split screen...what next...

"they'll be the same size as desktop screens in 3 or 4 years...So will tablet OSes become windowed, desktops full-screened, or some sort of GUI gooey mess?"

They could be as big as you can fold them, and you won't need a backpack, since you'll be able to unravel and manipulate them from your pocket.

And who's R&D'ing this actual stuff instead of patenting squares? Guess...

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WTF?

Re: Split screen...what next...

Here here. I can't wait until they've got the technology perfected, and then generously and selflessly hand it over to all of their competitors to profit from their hard work; no doubt refusing to accept even thanks in return. Truly, they are heroes to us all.

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But for the same price you could get an iPad

I don't get it, why get this when you can get an iPad?

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Stop

Re: But for the same price you could get an iPad

well if you're gonna troll...

why get an ipad when all people do on them is browse the internet, go on facebook and play some crappy games?

Get a cheap nexus 7, or upcoming winRT thing. iPad's are for people with more money than sense who just think it's cool to have an half eaten apple on their technology.

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Re: But for the same price you could get an iPad

Should resist from responding, but can't. Its the same price as the new iPad but you get a Wacom digitiser & pen (not cheap), and micro SD slot for expansion. Add the digitiser & pen to an iPad, call it an iPad Pro and people would be drooling!

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