Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet (preview)

Samsung's S-Pen makes its debut on a 10.1 in tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung's Galaxy Note has proven to be more popular than most expected — the company has already sold five million devices globally and aims to double that figure to 10 million by the end of 2012. That popularity appears to be the prime motivation behind the company's latest tablet, the S-Pen equipped Galaxy Note 10.1.

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Not to be confused with the original Galaxy Note, which Samsung declares as a new category of device that sits in between a smartphone and a tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is purely a tablet. It is based primarily on the design of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 but with one major difference: the Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with Samsung's S-Pen which allows users to draw, annotate and write notes on the 10.1in screen.

We've long complained about Android tablet makers producing more of the same boring slabs but we think Samsung deserves some credit for the idea behind this product. While the Galaxy Note 10.1 doesn't push any boundaries when it comes to specifications, the Wacom-designed S-Pen gives it a distinct advantage over most other tablets on the market. It was a genuinely impressive feature on the Galaxy Note and is unlikely to be anything different on this tablet. It includes features like pressure sensitivity, the ability to act as a pointing device complete with an on-screen cursor, and even has a white tip on the top that acts as a handy on-screen eraser.

Samsung hasn't just slapped the S-Pen onto the Galaxy Note 10.1 and left it at that. The device comes with a range of software specifically designed to work with the S-Pen including Samsung's own S-Memo, S-Note and S-Planner apps. Preloaded Adobe Photoshop Touch and Adobe Ideas apps are both compatible with the S-Pen, while a range of third-party apps are present too, including Touch Retouch, Makeup, Zen Brush, Omni Sketch and Hello Crayon. Thankfully, the Galaxy Note 10.1 will run Google's latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android (4.0) out of the box with Samsung's now familiar TouchWIZ UI overlay on top.

The hardware of the Galaxy Note 10.1 looks similar to the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 but there are a couple of key differences, S-Pen aside. The Note 10.1 is 8.9mm thick compared to the 9.7mm frame of the Tab 2 10.1, is slightly lighter (583g vs. 588g), has a faster Exynos processor (1.4GHz to 1GHz), a better GPU for graphics and boasts a 2-megapixel front facing camera compared to the VGA snapper in the Tab 2 10.1. The Galaxy Note 10.1 can also record full HD 1080p video, compared to 720p HD on the Tab 2 10.1.

Most other specifications remain identical, including the 10.1in PLS screen with 1280x800 resolution, 1GB of RAM a 3-megapixel rear camera and a microSD card slot for external storage. Like the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Samsung has produced two models of the Galaxy Note 10.1 — one Wi-Fi only and the other Wi-Fi and quad-band 3G. It's not yet known if one or both models will be released in Australia but given Samsung's history in the tablet market, it seems probable that we will get a 3G version at some stage.

Curiously, recent rumours in the tech world suggest the design and specifications of the Galaxy Note 10.1 may change before the device hits the market. Samsung hasn't yet announced if or when the Galaxy Note 10.1 will launch in Australia. You can see the tablet in action in Samsung's promotional video below.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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