Taking the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 for a spin
Before I even talk about this device, I have to say something about its name. I know many journalists were bitching about model names being reduced to something like “GT-I9500” or “SM-P600” as being very confusing. That might be true, but “Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition” does not exactly roll off the tongue either. While I might have some issue with the name, I generally can’t find any issues with the device itself – except for the battery. As far as tablets I’ve used recently (including the new barrage of iPads), it’s probably my favorite large tablet.
You can’t even begin to talk about the Note 10.1 2014 without mentioning the screen. It’s a sexy IPS running at 2560×1600 which at 10.1″ means it’s running ~300ppi. So it’s “retina” or whatever you want to call it, more important the screen looks nice. The colors are bright and vibrant and is everything you’d hope to see in a device designed for media consumption. The exact differences between the screen of the SGN10.12014E and other similar tablets (like the iPad Air) elude me, however I think it is that the Samsung’s screen is a bit more saturated which happens to be something I like quite a bit. Beyond the screen you’ll find a small collection of miscellaneous accessory features. The S-Pen is a nice feature of the larger Samsung devices. I started with HTC devices running WiMo 6, all of which were Stylus based — what can I say, I just love the accuracy. The speakers are nice in so far as you’ve got one on each side of the device (in landscape mode) – gives it more of a TV like feel. A microUSB and microSD are par for the course. The last small item of note is the IR blaster on top.
I could tell you that the device is fast (1.9/2.3ghz), has lots of RAM (3GB) so it feels snappy and is surprisingly light (1.18 pounds)… but Wikipedia can tell you all that. There is one feature that needs to be noted specially, and unfortunately in the negative, and that’s the battery. While 8,220 mAh is a respectable amount of battery (the iPad Air has ~8,800 mAh), it just doesn’t do it for the Note (really, there is just no way to easily abbreviate this device, clearly). I found myself with nearly completely run out batteries after about two days of on and off use. Originally my suspicion was that the device pulls a lot of power while in idle, however the Note ran for 6.5 days on a full charge (completely unused) which is fairly respectable. At the end of the day, that sexy screen just pulls a ton of juice.
Telling you if I will keep the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition around for myself, isn’t quite fair. This is, by far, my current favorite tablet. However I’ve discovered that I have absolutely no use for a tablet these days (which is another post for another day). Would I recommend it for someone else? Yes. Like all tablets in the 10″ area, it’s for media consumption (and in the case of this Note, with an extra battery along for the ride), so hopefully that is your use case. Though at $550 ($50 more than the iPad Air), it’s not a small investment.