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A Guide to Buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung has released its latest tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, but can it provide competition for the Apple iPad?

As the 1.4GHz quad-core device hits the shelves, here are 10 things to know about it if you’re considering buying one.

What is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1?

The previous Galaxy Note device was a five-inch cross between tablet and smartphone. But there’s none of that product confusion here. This is a tablet computer pure and simple with plenty of power thanks to its quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM for comfortable multi-tasking.

It’s available in both 3G and Wi-Fi versions allowing you the choice of an always-on mobile connection through a SIM card or an ad-hoc wireless one when connected to your router at home or Wi-Fi networks around town.

It comes with its own pen!

Although you can buy a stylus for the iPad, it was designed for use with fingers and thumbs. So Samsung’s inclusion of the S-Pen for the Note 10.1 sets it apart from the rest of the tablet computing competition in a bid to create a true electronic paper experience.

Many reviews have praised its ease-of-use and accuracy allowing users to draw, design and take notes through specific applications. It lives inside the device and can even instantly launch compatible program when removed such as S Note, S Planner or Adobe Photoshop Touch for image editing. The latter comes exclusively pre-loaded on the Galaxy Note 10.1.

Open multiple screens at once

You’d have to squint to see anything on the original Galaxy Note if you had more than one window on screen at a time. But the 10inch display here allows you to view documents side-by-side or watch videos while doing work. You can even drag things between windows but can only have two open at once alongside each other. Only certain apps will work for multiscreen right now though.

It’s running Android

No real surprise there because it’s very, very unlikely to be using Apple’s iOS but the Note 10.1 runs on Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich. However, that has just been replaced by the newer Jelly Bean operating system and it could be a few months at least before the device is updated over-the-air to that OS. The Note also takes advantage of the Android browser for surfing the internet.

You can use it as a phone

OK, you might look a bit like Dom Joly walking down the street talking into this but if you have the 3G version it will work for calls and texts. Obviously you might be better restricting speaking through it indoors, away from the windows, and talking on a VoIP service such as Skype.

Students are welcome to enrol

Samsung seems to be making a play for the student market with the Galaxy Note 10.1, an area the iPad is already popular in thanks to Apple’s iTunes U content for pupils and teachers.

You can write directly to an eTexbook while using multi-screen to research and Samsung has created a Learning Hub, optimised for the Note 10.1, with video lectures, coaching, books and performance monitoring.

Get snapping from front to back

Two quality cameras on the Note 10.1 allow owners to take pictures to their heart’s content. There’s a five-megapixel one on the back with autofocus and LED flash as well as a 1.9MP front-facing camera for video-calling or recording yourself.

There will be plenty of apps available

As well as apps and content created by Samsung, the Galaxy Note 10.1 will naturally have access to the Google Play store on Android.

Bespoke apps include a musical creation game, spot the difference to keep the kids happy, a sync program for importing a range of files from iOS devices and a drawing game that can upload your masterpiece to Facebook to compete with others in a public gallery.

Driving game Need For Speed Hot Pursuit from EA is also a free download while technology and science magazine Wired is creating free editions specifically for the Note in October, November and December 2012.

Other nifty tricks include…

Samsung say its Smart Stay technology will ensure the screen always stays on and doesn’t go into standby as long as it is being looked at. It can track the user’s eye according to its makers.

You can also play video in a pop-up box anywhere on the screen and it can be easily connected with Samsung’s HD TVs, laptops and other products using the AllShare connection. There’s also a program called Polaris Office built-in for all your document and spreadsheet needs.

And it has an infrared LED to be used as a Universal Remote Control or Smart Remote around the house for many of your gadgets and devices.

It could well be 4G compatible

With the news that Orange and T-Mobile company Everything Everywhere is set to launch super fast 4G mobile broadband before the end of 2012, the news that a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available as a Wi-Fi+LTE model later this year is exciting.

LTE is the technology behind the 4G networks being rolled out in Britain in the next 18 months and it gives download speeds around six to seven times faster than current 3G, with those expected to rise to 20 times faster by 2020.

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