August 15, 2012

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Came To The Party With A Stylus

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

We´ve been expecting this day for a while, and it´s finally arrived.

Samsung will begin selling their next 10.1 tablet – The Galaxy Note 10.1 – in the U.S. starting Thursday. This new tablet offers specifications like expandable memory, quad-core processing and 2 GB of RAM.

The entry level 16GB, WiFi only version will start at an iPad-competitive $499. A larger, 32GB, WiFi only version starts at $549, just $50 cheaper than Apple´s similarly equipped tablet. Of course, there is one very controversial difference between Apple´s iPad and Samsung´s Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet: That damned stylus.

This new stylus, dubbed the “S Pen,” has reportedly been improved from the first Galaxy Note introduced last year. Now, the pressure-sensitive pen is said to offer more “natural and accurate” writing than its predecessor.

This S Pen stylus has been a point of pride for many Note users, brandishing the antiquated analog with a smile as they take notes, sketch ideas or even work in Adobe Photoshop Touch, an app available for the Galaxy Note and Note 10.1.

"The S Pen offers both active content creation as well as passive content consumption," President of Samsung Electronics America Tim Baxter said in a statement.

Of course, there´s more to a tablet than a stylus. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is the first Android tablet capable of running two apps side-by-side, a feat largely dependent on that quad-core processor and extra gig of RAM. Users will be able to, for example, surf the net on one side of the screen while taking notes on the other side, a handy feature for students, says Meritz Securities´ technology analyst Lee Sei-cheol.

"I think the video on the left and note-taking on the right half of the screen can be widely used for educational purposes," said Sei-cheol.

So far, reviews for this new Note 10.1 seem mostly positive, yet come up just shy of the iPad or even other Android tablets.

Chris Velazco with Tech Crunch, for instance, entitled his review “So close to greatness,” saying, “If it weren´t for a few shortcomings, the Galaxy Note 10.1 may well have been the Android tablet to beat.”

“I´d wager very few people would consider buying a niche device like the Galaxy Note 10.1 solely because its got a nifty processor, or because it´s slim and light. In the end, the deciding factor is going to be the S-Pen. If you´re a fan of the gimmick (or just a general Android fan), then the Galaxy Note 10.1 is definitely worth your consideration.”
Harry McCracken with Time´s Techland seems to agree, saying, “if you´re smitten with it, and can live with Android´s limitations, you should be tickled with the Galaxy Note 10.1.”

After praising the specs, the S Pen and the split screen functionality, McCracken says, “Until the Android tablet-app situation brightens considerably, I can´t give an unqualified thumbs-up to any large-screen Android tablet.” Niley Patel with The Verge asks, “Is a stylus all we ever really needed?

Later, Patel wraps up his review with a slightly deflated, “a pretty good pen system built on top of a disappointing Android tablet still makes for a disappointing Android tablet. There´s just no reason to suffer through it: the Nexus 7 costs less than half as much as the Note and is without question the best Android tablet available.”

Overall, it seems Android and Samsung fans finally have a follow-up to the Tab series, though users who are looking for the best performing tablet rather than a specific brand name might want to do some more research.