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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1: Reviewed and Compared to iPad 3, Nexus 7

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Galaxy Note 10.1.jpgSamsung have released their latest tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (GT-N8000). Designed to take on Apple’s iPad 3 and Google’s Nexus 7, the new tablet incorporates the stylus functionality previously seen on the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note smartphone into a 10.1-inch Android-powered tablet. The tablet also introduces split-screen multitasking to Android and adds much of the smart functionality Samsung introduced on the Galaxy S III handset.


In this article, we take an in-depth look at the Galaxy Note 10.1 and look at how it compares to the iPad 3 from Apple and the Nexus 7 from Google.


Galaxy Note 10.1: The Key Numbers


The Galaxy Note 10.1 was originally introduced at Mobile World Congress in February. Then featuring a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, the tablet has since been redesigned and upgraded and now features a quad-core processor and 2GB RAM. A slot for the S-Pen stylus has also been integrated into the tablet.


The final version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 now sports a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, a 10.1-inch TFT display and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. A rear-facing 5-megapixel camera and front-facing 1.9-megapixel camera is also included. The tablet comes with 16GB of internal memory with the possibility of adding an additional 64GB storage through the micro-SD slot.


S-Pen Stylus


S Note.jpgOne of the unique selling points of the Galaxy Note 10.1 is its support for the S-Pen stylus. The S-Pen is intended to allow your tablet to replace some of the functionality of pen and paper. It allows for free-form idea input throughout the device. For example, the pen can be used in the “S Note” application for sketching, drawing and making handwritten notes in a form factor that loosely resembles an A4 piece of paper. Handwriting input and handwriting recognition is also supported throughout the device and can be used as a replacement to the on-screen keyboard. Finally, graphics artists can make use of the bundled Photoshop Touch application which supports S-Pen for precise input.


It is worth noting that the S-Pen differs from a standard capacitive stylus. The S-Pen uses active digitiser technology from Wacom. This means the pen provides greater precision, supports 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and works even when you rest your palm on the screen.


10.1-inch TFT display: Large display, low pixel density


The 10.1-inch display on the Note 10.1 is slightly larger than that of the Apple iPad which has a 9.7-inch display. However, its lower resolution may disappoint some punters, especially those switching from the iPad. Whilst the new iPad has a “Retina” display with 2048x1536 pixels (263 pixels per inch), the Galaxy Note 10.1’s display only features 1280x800 pixels (149 pixels per inch). This means that text appears to be blocky and grainy on the Galaxy Note 10.1 when compared side-by-side with the iPad.


Google’s Nexus 7 also features a 1280x800 display. However, as these pixels are packed into a smaller area, the Nexus 7’s display has a substantially higher pixel density (216 pixels per inch). This means the display on the Nexus 7 is substantially sharper than on the Note 10.1.


Multitasking: Split-Screen Applications, Pop-Up Play & Mini Apps


Compared to laptop computers, one of the key limitations of tablets is that it is slow and difficult to multitask. Whilst other tablets such as the iPad 3 and the Nexus 7 allow you to switch between applications through a multitasking menu, you are still limited to seeing one application on the screen at a time. This makes it time consuming to conduct tasks such as summarising research on the internet.


The Galaxy Note 10.1 differs from other tablets in that it is the first to support split-screen multitasking. This allows two compatible applications to be displayed on the tablet side-by-side. Compatible applications include the web browser, office suite, note taking application, video player, photo gallery and e-mail application. It’s worth noting, however, that standard Android applications won’t work with the split-screen multitasking feature. This means you’ll need to stick with Samsung’s built-in apps to use the split-screen multitasking feature of the Galaxy Note 10.1.


The Galaxy Note 10.1 supports split-screen multitasking between compatible applications.


Another multitasking feature of the Galaxy Note 10.1 (and other tablets with the Samsung TouchWiz user interface) is the pop-up “mini applications”. “Mini applications” float above your normal applications and allow you to do things such as checking your e-mail, performing calculations and taking notes without leaving the application that you’re in. This multitasking feature is compatible with all standard Android applications.



Tablets running Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface come with support for “mini applications”. These applications can float on top of your normal applications.


Galaxy Note 10.1: Comparison to Apple iPad 3 & Google Nexus 7


As Samsung’s flagship tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is bound to be compared to Apple’s new iPad and Google’s Nexus 7. The iPad 3 leads the field in terms of a high resolution Retina display and the large ecosystem of iPad applications. Whilst the display on the Galaxy Note 10.1 pales in comparison to that of the iPad 3, it makes up for it in terms of processing power, multitasking capability and ‘S Pen’ support. Finally, the Google Nexus 7 provides a low-cost and more portable alternative to both tablets. Whilst it features lower specifications, it comes at less than half the price of the Galaxy Note 10.1 and iPad 3.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 compares to the new Apple iPad and Google Nexus 7 as follows:



Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Galaxy Note 10.1.jpg

Apple “iPad 3"
New iPad.jpg 

Google Nexus 7
Nexus 7.jpg


1.4GHz quad-core processor

Dual-core Apple A5X chip

1.3GHz quad-core processor


10.1-inch TFT display

9.7-inch TFT display

7-inch TFT display

Screen Resolution




Pixel density

149 pixels per inch (ppi)

263 pixels per inch (ppi)

216 pixels per inch (ppi)

Operating System

Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich + Samsung TouchWiz

Apple iOS 5.1

Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean


16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory & up to 64GB micro-SD card expansion

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory

8GB/16GB internal memory


1.9 megapixels front
5 megapixels rear

0.3 megapixels front
5 megapixels rear

1.2 megapixels front
No rear camera

Video recording

720p, 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second

720p from front camera











11,560 mAh (10 hours use)

4,325mAh (10 hours use)

Text Input

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

On-screen software keyboard





Approx. price

£399 for wi-fi
£499 for wi-fi + 3G

£399 for wi-fi
£499 for wi-fi + 3G

£159 for wi-fi

SIM card size

Standard SIM

Micro SIM

N/A, 3G support not available


Your thoughts…


What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1? Were you a fan of the stylus capability of the original Galaxy Note? Is it a useful addition to have a stylus on a tablet or is it simply a big gimmick? Would you buy the Galaxy Note 10.1 as your next tablet or do you prefer another tablet such as the iPad or Nexus 7? We’d love to hear your thoughts: please drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!


Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.

intresting thanks!

really interesting! Thanks for the work!

It'll always be the iPad for me. Thanks for the useful comparisons.

Nice comparison thanks.


Perhaps flatters the Nexus 7 a bit price-wise (not that it needs flattering) - the 16GB comparison point would be more relevant? (£199.99 of course)


I'd go for the nexus, looks pretty decent

Ipad seems better in terms of components but you cant beat nexus for price

i prefer nexus..


Good review. All of them have their plus points and negative points. Interesting.


id go with the Ipad 3 aswell Smiley Happy even tho its only dual core.

the nexus is really cheap, i wouldnt mind getting one as a spare tab... lol.   to mess around with.  hahaSmiley Happy

It is disappointing that the resolution is no better than the 5.3" screen used on the phone. You would expect it to be scaled up.