Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Reworked and Revitalized

The New Galaxy Note 10.1: Software Additions & Conclusion

Note-taking Made Easy

Tablets are usually made for on-the-go multimedia, such as watching videos, playing games and the occasional web surfing. The Samsung Note 10.1 however, like its namesake, specializes in providing users with easy editing and note-taking options. The improvements on the new Galaxy Note 10.1 are clearly made to further enhance this experience, as you will see in detail below.

S Pen Stylus

On removing the S Pen from the tablet, a pop-up toolbar intuitively emerges with relevant note-taking shortcuts. If you prefer for, say, the PS Touch app to open immediately, that can be easily configured by selecting the edit icon at the bottom of the bar. Alternatively, navigate your way to Settings.

Yep, that's right. There's a section under Settings dedicated to the S Pen, including actions to take after detaching the pen. From what we saw, these options include opening S Note, S Planner, Crayon physics, PS Touch and Polaris Office. Do note that only one app can be mapped to this action; for multiple shortcuts, you can select the Shortcuts toolbar as an option (see previous picture). 


S Note Productivity Tools & More

The S Pen is of course, incomplete without Samsung's S Note app. There's a lot of unique note-taking features that users can take advantage of and that includes Formula Match, Shape Match and Multiscreen. To add on, the tablet will come pre-installed with a free copy of Adobe Touch, an app that costs almost S$14 on Google Play. Here's a quick video of the software highlights on the new Galaxy Note 10.1.

The S Note gives users the ability to combine notes and sketches with other digital content in ready-to-use templates.

 Select from three unique Productivity Tools (as seen on the floating toolbox) - Formula Match, Shape Match and Text Recognition. Formula Match identifies the formula you have written down on your tablet and allows you to search it on the web. Shape Match automatically converts your ugly hand-drawn geometric shapes into accurate digital representations. Lastly, the Text Recognition digitizes your handwritten text.

The Text Recognition feature can analyze handwritten text in other languages. Specific regions will have specific language packs; in this case, Singapore comes with support for the SEA region and can't be added with language packs for different regions. The support for Japanese is not finalized yet but is said to come soon.

With a simple pinch gesture on the keyboard, users can easily switch from three different keyboards, the regular QWERTY, floating and split. The floating keyboard is especially useful if you are working in Multiscreen.

Long press on the floating keyboard to move it around on the screen. With the S Note opened on the right and a web browser on the left, the Galaxy Note 10.1 provides a cohesive note-taking experience.

Overall, the experience on the Galaxy Note 10.1 was fluid and seamless - all thanks to its quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM (yes, you read that right). The pen to paper experience is very closely emulated on the Note 10.1 and the screen responds smoothly to the S Pen. Previously at MWC, we found it to be slightly laggy, not just in terms of screen responsiveness but also in navigation. The learning curve is admittedly rather steep for users new to S Note but once you get used to it, there is much the tablet can do for the note-taking enthusiast or the average student/businessman.

While we wanted to get our hands on Learning Hub to give users a rough idea of what to expect, the app wasn't finalized on the prototype model that we were testing out. Not to worry though, it would be available on the device when it's officially launched.


What's in Store?

There's no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 will make its appearance soon in Singapore, given that its alleged official unveiling in New York on August 15th and the fact that it will be available in global markets including Korea, Germany, the US and the UK starting in August. However, no details are available at the moment, with regards to local date of availability or pricing. We reckon that it would come with a price tag of S$800 to 900, one that is similar to its 10.1-inch sibling, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

Unfortunately, the device will only come with Android 4.0 - Samsung cannot comment on when or whether an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update would come to the Galaxy Note 10.1. Unlike Apple, who is planning to bring Siri to the new iPad in its iOS 6 update, Samsung cannot confirm at the moment whether S Voice, an S III exclusive, would make its way on the Galaxy Note 10.1. Likewise, Samsung cannot quite comment on whether the new S Note features would be brought to the Galaxy Note smartphone.

Of course, there are certain details that we know of, including the fact that the it would come in three connectivity options: WiFi-only and the WiFi-and-3G HSPA-Plus connectivity versions will be available at launch, while the WiFi-and-LTE version would be released later this year (availability in Singapore will be confirmed at a later date). The 16GB edition will be available at launch first; 32GB/64GB capacities will follow based on Samsung's evaluation on local demand. Official accessories such as docking stations, cases and spare styluses will make its way here as well, be it at launch or later.

Well, that's it for now. But keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 at HardwareZone.