One of the more interesting stories in the evolution of Android tablets has been the development of Samsung’s popular line of pen-enabled Galaxy Note tablets and smartphones. It started in mid-2012 with the debut of the first Galaxy Note smartphone, which was quickly followed by the Galaxy Note 10.1—a highly impressive full-size tablet with a 10.1-inch screen that brought all sorts of firsts to the Android slate market. (“Full-size” tablets, by our definition, have 8.9-inch or bigger screens. Slates with smaller screens are “compact” models.) One of those big firsts was Samsung’s unique stylus implementation, dubbed the “S Pen.”
That was July 2012, and our take on the Galaxy Note 10.1 at the time was that, while the S Pen had lots of potential, it had a ways to go in terms of overall functionality. We did like a whole bunch of other stuff about that tablet, though, starting with the design. This first Galaxy Note tablet was snazzy-looking, befitting its premium price; it had a gorgeous screen; and it introduced several nascent multitasking features, such as the ability to run apps side by side or in floating windows (with the ability to drag-and-drop data between them). That kind of multitasking functionality was simply unavailable on most other Android tablets.
With the subsequent debut of the smaller-screened Galaxy Note 8.0 (back in April 2013), not only had the S Pen made tremendous strides in overall usability, but the multi-window, multitasking apps had also become more robust and, well, useful. In addition, as shown in the image below, Samsung overhauled the surface look of the Android operating system, making it much more colorful and attractive than the standard Android user interface (UI), and much more conducive to multitasking and stylus support in generalâ€¦
This brings us to Samsung’s latest member of the Galaxy Note line, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). We find it interesting that though released in 2013, the “2014” in the name suggests that Samsung thinks this unit will be good for a while. This 2014 Note takes up where the Galaxy Note 8.0 left off, with further-refined S Pen support and more robust multitasking. Indeed, nearly everything else we liked about the Galaxy Note products to begin with has been improved. We’ll delve deeper into the new features and enhancements over the course of this review, but suffice it to say here that, as with the previous iterations of the Galaxy Note hardware and software, we were impressed, and, like its predecessors, this Note is well deserving of our Editors’ Choice nod.
You can buy this new Note in either black or white, as shown in the image below, and choose between one of two storage-capacity options: 32GB (which costs $549.99 list) and 64GB ($599.99 list)…
This is a $50 increase over last year’s 10.1-inch models, but for good reason: With the price boost, you also get double the storage space, compared to 2012’s 16GB and 32GB versions.
At first glance, $550 to $600 for an Android tablet may seem a little steep. (Apple, for one, offered the still-compelling Apple iPad 2 at this writing starting at $399.) But as we said about the Galaxy Note 8.0, these Note slates are not your everyday “me too” Android slates. Nothing, from the heavily (and, we think, effectively) skinned interface, to the highly workable multitasking apps, as well as the nicely integrated S Pen and pen-enabled apps, suggests that the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) is your average Android tablet. It’s a premium product with a premium price, and, as we’ve said about its predecessors, well worth the extra cash.
While the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) may not be for everybody, it’s one of the most practical Android tablets available if you want to use an Android tablet for real productivity work. Whether you use it for work or play, it’s a sheer pleasure to use.
Read full review at Computer Shopper.