Tech Review: Galaxy Note 10.1

What it is: Samsung’s new tablet offering (available in pearl white or grey) looks just like the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 with its rounded edges, but comes with the S Pen and a host of cool, work-friendly features.

Specs: 10.1-inch LCD, 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16/32GB flash storage. 262 x 180 x 8.9 mm, 600 grams.

The good: It holds its own in terms of speed—it runs on the fastest processor we’ve ever seen on an Android tablet—so 3D gaming and movie watching are a breeze. The home screen allows large and medium-sized widgets and a right-hand-corner pop-up reveals shortcuts for you to switch to power saving mode, control screen brightness and toggle your music player. What we like best: the Multi Screen feature, where you can use two different applications side by side, simultaneously. Like in the S III, you can also watch videos in a floating window while you’re working on other stuff, such as sending an email or reading one of the textbooks in the Samsung Learning Hub. The Note 10.1’s cameras, both front and back, are stable and shoot well in low-light conditions.

The bad: It looks good—really sleek and clean, especially the white—but the fact that it’s made almost entirely out of plastic can be a bit of a turn-off. With the new iPad’s retina display and the ASUS Transformer Prime’s bright-as-the-sun Super IPS+, you’d have thought Samsung would go for the 1080-pixel resolution minimum, but it’s really a small gripe considering the Note 10.1’s super-sensitive digitizer.

The verdict: As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is really a working tablet. The build quality and screen resolution are a tad iffy, but if you’re always sketching or doling out research findings, this is probably your best option.