The Galaxy Note 10.1 sees Samsung bringing the "S Pen" technology developed for the original Note to a 10.1-inch Android 4.0 tablet. The Note 10.1 isn't the only tablet boasting stylus connectivity these days, but it is the only one to use Wacom technology, which results in smoother, more precise input. Besides the pen input, Samsung has bumped the CPU up to a 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos chip, and introduced some new software enhancements, including apps from Adobe.
Join us after the break for our first impressions of the Galaxy Note 10.1, along with an initial hands-on video.
YouTube link for mobile viewing
Physically, the Note 10.1 is very similar to the Tab 10.1 N developed for the German market -- the front of the device is punctuated by the silver trim, which houses tablet's stereo speakers. The edge of the Note 10.1 is home to the usual charging and headphone connectors, and there are also removeable tabs covering external SIM card and microSD card slots. Around the back there's little besides the 3MP rear camera, which unfortunately hasn't been upgraded since the Tab 10.1.
The Note 10.1 doesn't quite match the Tab's weight and thinness, in part due to the extra hardware required for Wacom functionality. But it's still easy enough to hold with one hand, and doesn't feel particularly bulky compared to other Android tablets. The S Pen, of course, returns in a slightly larger (and redesigned) form. It's bigger and a little heftier than before, which makes it easier to grip. And the notch on the side of the control button makes it easier to find without too much fumbling around. Unfortunately, though, there's no way to tuck the Pen away inside the tablet when it's not in use, which was one of our favorite features of the original Note.
With the Note 10.1 in one hand and S Pen in the other, it's really easy to navigate around the ICS tablet UI at great speed, thanks to the lack of friction between the two. This is also a good way to avoid gunking up your screen with finger grease, if you're a little on the obsessive-compulsive side. But the S Pen really comes into its own when used with the suite of pre-loaded drawing apps. Samsung's S Memo application returns, and the inclusion of Adobe Ideas and Photoshop extends the device's usefulness beyond simple note taking. During our brief time with Ideas, we were impressed with the range of brush effects and other features on offer. If Samsung builds on this type of functionality in the right way, it could make the Note 10.1 an indispensable tool for artists.
There's no word on pricing or availability for the Galaxy Note 10.1 just yet, but we're looking forward to seeing more of it in the run up to release, and of course we'll have a full review just as soon as it's out.
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