Samsung's new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet is now available for £435. So far, reviews of the new Samsung slate have been mixed. We called the Note 10.1 a solid performer with wide-reaching appeal. However, others have called the device disappointing and a tablet overstuffed with features.

If youre in the market for a new tablet that's not the iPad, then the Note 10.1 might be the tablet for you. But before you run down to your local electronics retailer or login to Amazon to get one, here are a few things you should know about Samsung's latest tablet.

Specifications

Samsung's new Note tablet features a 10.1 WXGA display with 1280-by-800 resolution, a 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB onboard storage, microSD card slot (supports up to 32GB), 5 megapixel rear-facing and 1.9MP front-facing cameras, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 port, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and an IR blaster. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and comes with a Samsung S Pen stylus. Samsung says an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean upgrade is in the works.

Preloaded apps and deals

The Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with a free copy of Adobe PhotoShop Touch ($10 on Google Play), 50GB of free Dropbox storage for two years, Polaris Office, Kno e-textbook platform, and the Barnes & Noble Nook reading app.

S Pen

Apple may have set back the idea of adding a stylus to a touchscreen, but Samsung is slowly helping the lowly pen input make a comeback.

A stylus may not make much sense on a smartphone screen, but a stylus for drawing and note taking is a popular option for tablets, even on the iPad. You can use the S Pen for taking notes via the S Note app or editing images on PhotoShop Touch. And most critics, even those who didnt like the Note 10.1, are saying the stylus is very responsive.

Samsung first included an S Pen with the 5-inch Galaxy Note 'phablet' released in the US in February.

Multiscreen functionality

You dont have to fill up the new tablets 10.1-inch screen with just one app, Samsung has added a Windows Snap-like functionality, called Multiscreen, that lets you see two apps side-by-side. The downside, however, is that it only works with a limited number of apps including the web browser, S Note, Video Player, email, Gallery, and Polaris Office. So you can use the new feature to copy and paste data between apps, or do research in the browser and take notes with S Note.

The Note 10.1s video player also has always on top functionality called Pop Up Play that you can overlay anywhere on the screen.

Battery life

Tests were able to squeeze 8 hours 24 minutes out of the device during video playback with a brightness of 200 candelas.

Hardware

The Note 10.1 is fairly thin and light given its size, especially compared to the iPad. Samsung's new tablet weighs about 1.32 pounds and is just 0.35-inches thick, compared to the iPad's 0.37-inch profile and 1.44-pound heft. But that thinness comes at a price; our review dinged the 10.1 for a plastic chassis that felt inexpensively made. Both The Verge and The New York Times said the plastic back flexes when you hold it. And the Times' David Pogue even said he could feel the back flex against the tablet's circuit board. Bottom line: you might want to see how this thing feels when you hold it before making a purchase.

Samsung's new Note tablet sounds like it may have a few downsides, but overall, its at least worth checking out if you want a new tablet that's not the iPad.