04
Sep
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Besides the Galaxy Gear and Note 3, Samsung has made official a new "2014 edition" Note 10.1. While, if its name is anything to go by, the 10.1 has long to go before release, Samsung gave us some early hands-on time with the tablet.

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The Specs

First up, let's talk about what differentiates the Note 10.1 from its 5.7" counterpart the Note 3 and from its predecessor.

  • 3G/Wi-Fi Models – 1.9GHz Octa-core processor
  • LTE Models – 2.3GHz Quad-core processor
  • 10.1" Super Clear LCD display at 2560x1600
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • 8MP rear camera (with flash) and 2MP front shooter
  • S Pen
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16, 32, or 64GB internal storage expandable with microSD slot
  • 8220mAh battery
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0
  • 243.1x171.4x7.9mm body at 535g

The tablet is, like the Note 3, slightly trimmer than its predecessor, with clear spec enhancements that make the overall experience much better. Dimensions aren't the only thing new about the new Note 10.1's hardware though.

What it Looks Like

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The Note 10.1 2014 Edition has a rather unsurprising design. Samsung is obviously dedicated to their design language, primarily the hardware home key and soft menu/back buttons centered at the bottom of the device.

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Further changing up the design from its predecessor, Samsung has moved the Note 10.1 speakers to the side of the band that runs along the device, rather than leaving them on the front. The difference in sound movement seems minimal, but many users enjoy having speakers directly on the front, and it can be a nice aesthetic element (as with the Nexus 10).

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Elsewhere, the Note 10.1 is much the same as the Note 3. Same leather texture back with fake stitching, same bands running around the outside, etc.

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The Note 10.1 is still using a micro USB port, unlike the USB 3.0 Micro B port on the Note 3.

The Display

It should go without saying that what you're really looking at on the Note 10.1 is the display. The 10.1" 2560x1600 display appears to be just like the one on the Nexus 10. It's crisp, bright, and super clear. It's my opinion that Samsung's TouchWiz UI doesn't necessarily show off the true clarity and detail of the display, but it was very evident using the tablet for only a few moments.

Build Quality

One of the biggest downfalls of the original Note 10.1 was its build quality. Shiny glossy plastic along with a creaky back and somewhat shaky feel didn't make for a great overall experience, but Samsung seems to have solidified the tablet since then. The whole devices feels quite solid and weighty for how big it is, and the leather texture (despite its "stitching") goes a long way toward making it feel like a better-made device than its predecessor. It's still plastic, but it's a much different feel.

Software Features

One of Samsung's big focuses with the launch of the new Note line is unification between devices in the family. They want to unify not only the hardware design but the overall user experience. This means a lot for software. Essentially, the software experience on the Note 3 is just the same on the Note 10.1, but on a much larger screen.

The S Pen still makes use of all its new tricks in just the same way, and apps like Scrapbook and My Magazine are still there and still used in the same way.

For a full look at all the new features, check out our post on the Note 3.

Final Thoughts

The new Note 10.1 is definitely worth a second look. It improves on the original with a (much) better display, more S Pen functionality, and a more solid build quality. We don't have word on when it will be released just yet, but from the name we can guess sometime in early 2014.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Danny Holyoake

    Video?

  • sourabh

    Specs look beastly
    but,those physical buttons look ugly

  • Fryxi

    I don't get it, why is everyone so obsessed with Samsungs phones..? Especially Americans..

    • Thomas’

      Good marketing and sales division. They aggressively pushed their devices into every store and the minds of people. If you just choose a device without much research, chances are high you'll end up with a Samsung one.

    • Pascal

      I dont get it either. I dont like their phone design, and some parts of TW looks like from gb.

    • ProductFRED

      - iPhones suck, and so does their obsessive fanbase (I'm talking about the fanatics)
      - HTC puts out a million flagships and updates maybe half of them regularly
      - LG is still mid-tier and copies Samsung a lot, but is slowly rising (OG Pro is great)
      - Motorola's only good, recent device is the X, and carrier-exclusivity nullifies that

      - Samsung devices are updated regularly
      - They are consistently available on all carriers
      - They offer the same core experience on all carriers
      - Great marketing (they spend even more than Apple)
      - Established brand
      - You know there will only be 2 flagships: S-series and Note-series
      - Flagships are revealed yearly instead of every few months like with other OEMs
      - Tons of accessories
      - MicroSD card slot (yes, this is still important for a lot of people)
      - Etc, etc

      • New_Guy

        Bravo. Great synopsis. Agree on all points, especially on micro SD slot. i would add removable battery to that list as well.

      • faith

        So true.
        I especially love how Samsung is great at updating older devices. That's how you make loyal customers. I have a 2 year old Galaxy S2 that's rocking jelly bean 4.1.2 with a potential upgrade to 4.2.2 in the future.

        People also buy Samsung because it's a status symbol like Apple. No other brand carries that cache. Simple as that.

        • Steve Michael

          This actually drive a point home of why I don't like Android. Understand that I own both Apple and Samsung devices, but one Major gripe is what you use as a "good point". You mention you have a phone that is only two years old and you are hoping to get the latest OS. This is just sad that Google didn't demand that they control the OS and updates.

          • DanP

            unless I missed something faith said her Galaxy S2 was rocking jelly bean 4.1.2 and may get an upgrade. The IPhone never rocks its OS and is trying to catch up to the features already available in older Android OS's...Just sayin ;)

      • Matthew Apostolou

        An absolutely perfect summation! All the important points are in there. Bravo!

    • spydie

      because we are not apple fanboys like you?

  • Colin Kealty

    Physical buttons on a tablet just seems wrong :/ phones, I don't care one way or the other, but I feel tablets just need the virtual buttons. Also, is it 2560x1600 ? I could have sworn during the press conference they said 1080p and i was a little disappointed but it's possible they mispoke

  • Wazzifer

    Why not released till 2014. WHY.

  • Phill_S

    Its always a shame when Samsung releases a product that is so damn awesome but not quite perfect. No comment on the back texture cos I havent felt it to be able to judge but the three buttons underneath the screen in a 10.1" tablet is all kinds of meh.

    Btw I would bet they release it earlier than 2014, it undoubtedly will ship before Xmas. Its just named the 2014 so it doesnt seem outdated in three months time.

    • Arjay Bustos

      Lol I hope not. They said clearly it will be released end of Sept anywhere aside from US. Then October for US markets. Unless they lied on a live event seen worldwide.

      They also mentioned old Samsung devices (S4, Note 2 and S3) will get software update this October to make it compatible with Gear. Didnt hear old Note 10.1:(

      I wonder if that update is 4.3.

  • Goldenpins

    Man, they should have made it partially metal. the plastic turned me off instantly.. I will say it does look nice.

  • Karan O

    10.1 without on screen buttons looks SUPERB ! i mean it's FULL 10.1 screen JUST FOR YOU!

    i may buy this and galaxy gear if their price going to be reasonable and keep my S4 i'm not a samsung fan but all of them look very COOL!

  • Leonardo Farage Freitas

    That status bar on the top.. rly?

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Why couldn't they put hardware buttons to the side bezel, near volume rocker, like proper noname Chinese manufacturers do on their $100 tablets? Those buttons look ugly and awkward.

  • Matthew Fry

    uh. The big hardware button is fugly.

    • Adam

      LOVE the hardware button.

      Human beings shouldn't rely on all touch. There's a reason why the power and volume buttons are still physical.

      It's not like there's 2, 3, or 4 buttons on the front. Having ONE button provides a lot more benefits than negatives.

      • Matthew Fry

        I'd prefer 4 buttons on the front over 1 giant one.

        • Adam

          I wouldn't mind 4 buttons either. Still, that 1 button is elegant.

      • UniBroW

        I don't mind the physical button, it's got its benefits. What I cannot stand isn't hat dumb menu button. If an app hasn't been updated to the new Android guidelines I'd much prefer to hold home for menu than recent apps. Having to hold home down to switch apps just kills the app switching flow for me

    • Vince Longman

      I'm more disappoint that they removed the front facing speakers

  • Ivan Myring

    This or the Asus TF701T?

    • Adam

      This. Asus is infamous for questionable build quality.

    • Anfronie

      I'm in the same boat..decisions decisions

  • Dyelon

    I have a question. I really want this tablet, I love the S-Pen. But I am a big modder (I'm still using a Motorola XOOM for gods sake), is it possible to have my cake and eat it too? Does current note modding preserve S pen use? I'd be down to get the tablet with ROMs to come out for it in a few months time....

    • EH101

      On my Note 2, I was able to keep all my S-Pen functions by using 3rd part apps. (this one, I think, is the one I settled on https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gmd.spencontrol ) I found that the AOSP ROMs ran poorly on my device so I left and haven't tried them again. (This was just after launch, so they just hadn't had enough time to get the bugs out)

      I'd say the 10.1 would likely work just as well with the above app, and at the very least, you could probably find an AOSP-themed TouchWiz ROM to get the look you desire while maintaining functionality probably shortly after release.

      • Dyelon

        Thanks so much dude. Knowing I can probably load up an AOSP rom at some point after I get the tablet really makes me lean toward it. You think it'll be possible to put Softkeys on it to? Then it would basically be perfect for me. My biggest peeve with it right now is the stupid effing home button and even stupider capacitive buttons

        • EH101

          AOKP, ParanoidAndroid, and most unofficial CM builds should all be able to give you soft keys. At the very least, you could always get Pie Control (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jun.ace.piecontrol&hl=en ) or any similar app to get on screen keys. It's not the same as stock soft keys but better than nothing. Some devs like to put soft keys into TouchWiz roms too, so you'll probably see a bit of that. Also, there is a mod for the Note 2 where we just have to modify a line in the build.prop or some such file to get stock soft keys working. That should be possible on any device with hardware keys. Might be worth researching.

          When the 10.1 does launch, you should wait a week or two to make sure devs will be able get root going and will be able make their roms/mods work on it. As soon as the first AOSP rom comes out (maybe a week or so), you'll know it's good to go development-wise. Honestly, they'll probably be able to figure out most things within a couple of days, but you never know what might've been done bootloader-wise until it's actually in a dev's hands.

          Since it's a Samsung, it'll probably have a good dev scene so I don't think you have anything to be worried about, really.

          • Dyelon

            Thanks SO much for the complete response, my friend. This is really good to know and makes me very happy. It sounds like the hardware and especially the display will be top notch for Android tablets. That, along with the S-Pen, is just an all-around great sell for me. Add in the fact I probably can ROM the hell out of it, and it's a grand slam.

            My main wonder now is the price, obviously. Do you think it would be worth it to wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales for a basically brand new device? Even fifty bucks or so would be a great discount in my eyes by November if this is releasing at the end of this month.

          • EH101

            No problem at all.

            And I've never been able to catch a good sale for Black Friday or Cyber Monday so I can't really help you there. I suppose it would be worth a shot and if you don't get a good sale, oh well, you still get the tablet you want, just maybe a little later than you thought.

          • Dyelon

            Yeah, good point. At least I'll know I tried. And by then there will be better dev support for it.

            Good chatting with you dude

          • EH101

            Good chatting with you as well. If you think of anymore questions, you know where to find me. Lol. Otherwise, good luck with your tablet.

  • sguyx

    Horrible button in front of the tablet! I have original Note 10.1 (3G) and it's beautiful - not gonna change it to this ugly one.

    • Wazzifer

      Your logic is so damn flawed.

      • sguyx

        Older one looks much better without that ridiculous button on the front side: http://www.digisecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/GALAXY-Note-10.1.jpg And have speakers in the right position!

        In new Note 2014, speakers are in wrong position - you probably may have problems with your hands covering them. The front button looks like Samsung went couple year backs in designing!

        • Wazzifer

          I think you just like to bitch about things that's all.

          • Algopyryn

            I've had the note 10.1 for almost a year now, and I'm more than satisfied with it. I am also concerned about the button layout on this new model. Speaking from experience, when holding the tablet with two hands it seems like you might not be able to reach them as easily as you can the current controls on the bottom left corner. I would have to try it out to be sure, but other than that I really do like the new desing. Although I too would prefer a 12.2 version.

    • Arjay Bustos

      Lol! Well if the damn button is more important for you than the new screen resolution and new hardware then no one is forcing you to buy it. Stay with your 10.1 with poverty 1280x800 res.

      • sguyx

        Actually the button is a big deal. Bad design = no interesting at all.

        And yes im going to keep my current Note 10.1. I dont need to change this one, i like the current resolution too. I dont see why 1280x800 is a problem, it's a good pne for a size 10.1.

        If im going to change this one, it would be the Note 12.2" then - unfortunately it seems to have that retrobutton aswell. Hopefully they will remove it! BUT the reason even to consider to change to it, it is the larger size of the screen. I have realized that 10.1 isn't large enough to have couple windows open side by side and doing real work. It isnt only the resolution but the actual size of the windows and the working space on the screen. So I think I will skip the Note 2014, not only it looks ridiculous but it doesn't offer much more than my current Note have.

  • firesoul453

    how much does it cost?

  • Wazzifer

    Nobody mentioned the fact that they changed the charging port from the older one (unless I'm blind).

    • Guest

      Not blind, the port is a µUSB. Unfortunately, it's still a USB2, not a USB3, which is... quaint... to say the least..

  • Zappy

    According to the Samsung press release it's launching Q3 2013 which ends at the end of this month http://www.samsungmobilepress.com/2013/09/04/The-New-Samsung-GALAXY-Note-10.1-Delivers-Unparalleled-Tablet-Viewing,-Productivity-and-Mobility-1

  • Wisarut Prhomkotara

    Physical buttons might not make much sense on most tablets, but it's definitely a great change from the old note 10.1 . I can't remember how many times I've been writing on my note 10.1 and have my palm accidentally hit the virtual home button by accident. That's very annoying and I'm glad they opted for a physical button instead.

    • sguyx

      A very good point! Never happened to me, but a good opinion!

      I still don't like the physical home button. It doesnt look nice, looks abit retro. But im more concerned about the position of the speakers. When keeping my current Note 10.1 on my hands, my hands are exatcly on the same position where the speakers are in a new Note 2014!

  • RaptorOO7

    So the GN10.1 2014 Edition isn't launching in October as I read elsewhere (or thought I did). Seems odd, and fairly stupid to delay it for 3-4 months given the holiday's just around the corner. Certainly it must be shipping sooner. After call this could be the new trend for tech like automotive sales, 2014 launches in the fall of 2013 so they get a year plus out of the life cycle.

  • bryan

    As a student who takes notes in class on my Note 10.1, I have to say that I would get one of these just simply because of the notifications bar being moved to the top.
    Basically, all the quick apps, notifications, and home buttons at the bottom are a daily nightmare if your hand lifts at all for any reason while writing. Hell, I just have to run my hand diagonally over something to get it to activate. Such a poor design issue keeping the device from being great. I had to make a special palm guard for my wrist out of a microfiber cloth to keep the insanity during lectures down to a dull roar.

  • Dennis

    Good luck with the speakers on the side. Lets see how well it sounds with your hands covering them or even a case. Fail!!!

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