This latest Samsung offering joins the esteemed ranks of the Note series, which has been largely responsible for the phablet craze of the past two years. The main thing that distinguishes this 10in tablet from its brethren Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the inclusion of the S-Pen stylus and accompanying software.
To save you losing the S-Pen Samsung has included a neat slot in the upper right hand side of the case. You might think this would result in a thick, or at least bulbous, device but the Note 10.1 is decidedly slim in the hands. It's reasonably light too thanks in part to the predominantly plastic construction.
An excellent 10.1in 2560x1600 IPS screen adorns the front, surrounded by slim bezels and the now standard three button controls. Framing the chassis is a metal, grooved band which also holds the volume & power buttons, dual speakers, S-Pen, Micro SD and Micro USB slots. On the rear is a plastic/faux leather cover with pretend stitching all around the edges. You'll either love this or hate it: we think it cheapens the device, making it look dated and a little daft.
There's nothing silly about the internals of the Note 10.1 though. Samsung has installed its beefy 1.9GHz Quad-core Exynos 5, and 3GB of RAM. This results in a speedy tablet that loads and runs apps quickly. We did see a few examples of lag in the interface, but on the whole it's a very nice unit to use. The Touchwiz interface that Samsung layers on top of Android 4.3, still feels overly complicated when compared to vanilla Android, but it does allow the Korean giant to promote its various services. These include the Samsung Hub through which you can purchase various media, although the Google Play Store is also included. There are also plenty of default apps from calendars to a magazine style news feed.
The S-Pen is a lot of fun for doodling or annotating notes. Excellent palm cancellation means you can rest your hand on the screen while you do so. How useful you'll find it is questionable, but if you really want a stylus then this is the one to buy. Otherwise save some money and take a look at the Tab 10.1 instead.
Cameras are very good, capturing impressive images and coming replete with a raft of cool modes, plus the battery life of nearly nine and a half hours makes this a solid performer.
Touchwiz and fake stitching aside the Note 10.1 is a very good tablet with the added S-Pen feature for those who want it.