Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Product Review - Samsung Note 10.1 tablet

by +Alexa Rankin

Wow!! Thanks to all the nice people who helped me get a new Samsung Note 10.1, especially the one really generous person (you know who you are). I can now write my STP posts on the go and without waiting 20 minutes for my ancient desktop PC to boot up. It was a mere 6 months ago that I wrote this post asking for help to do a product review, and now, here it is.

Thank You Note 10.1
A 10.1 inch Thank You Note
As you can see, I am still trying to adjust to using the S-Pen to write on the screen. Now that I am over the shock of getting a new tablet and I have spent quite some time including some sleepless nights playing and learning, I feel confident that I can share a reasonable product review, not from the perspective of a tech geek or an android power user but from an everyday woman who has not fully embraced technology. Before I go any further, I want to thank my brother Ed and STP's own +Brad Naylor for being my tech support system.

I have used a tablet before, Ed has an iPad 2 and he let me use it briefly on a couple of occasions so I was not entirely new to using my finger instead of a keyboard and mouse, but I was not prepared for the aforementioned S-Pen, a pressure sensitive stylus which slots neatly away into it's own little cavity on the bottom right corner of the body of the Note 10.1. To a beginner like me, the stylus tip slides strangely across the screen without the familiar drag of a pen on a notepad.

S-Pen Slot
S-Pen Slot (reverse view)
The S-Pen, however is a lifesaver for a person with long fingernails who requires any kind of accuracy when touching the screen. I am sure it's just an adjustment, but selecting a single link from a group was tough when you need to angle your finger to touch the screen without your nail impeding. I wonder if they make capacitative nail polish for this scenario.

Out of the box, my Note 10.1 did need to upgrade to the latest Android OS and some pre-loaded apps were out of date, but I am told that most phones, consoles and computers will need that so it didn't bother me.

As a Blogger user, I already had a g-mail and Google account, so that part of the setup was smooth and easy and I was guided by the on screen instructions. Integrating other social apps is also simple, so long as you have your accounts and passwords handy.

One of my favorite features so far is the Peel app which uses the IR blaster ??? to change the TV channel simply by pressing the relevant icon on the guide displayed on the Note 10.1. (BRAD - The Note 10.1 has an infrared (IR) transmitter on the top edge which simulates any and all of your in-house remote controls. It allows the Note 10.1 to be used as a multi room universal remote) I can set it to give me reminders for when Days of our Lives is about to start so I never have to miss an episode.

android vs apple vs windows
I am not planning on making a comparison with any other tablet or OS since I don't have enough experience with other models to make it fair. Plus, there are enough fanboys out there arguing the case for each OS without me adding by 37 cents. I think the Note10.1 looks better than my brother's iPad 2 and, as a 'Noob', I find it easier to navigate and understand. 

Other apps included in the setup are Polaris, a microsoft compatible office suite and Nook, the Barnes and Noble e-book app so you can still read all those trashy romance novels without having to re-buy them through Google books.

I would love to give the more technically inclined reader a whole bunch of stats about speed and size, but that is beyond my capacity, and besides if you are that technically inclined, then you can always use Google to figure it out for yourself.

To sum up, I am very happy with my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. The screen is large enough to watch Netflix movies comfortably and small enough to snuggle up in bed with. The S-Pen stylus is a huge bonus for precision work, and I am yet to use it with the preloaded Photoshop Touch (a photo editing program). I like that the setup was quick and smooth and I was getting email and facebook almost within minutes of taking it out of the box. On the flip side, the supplied charging cable was short, but amazon.com fixed that for $10 and it does look awfully fragile without a case (thanks again amazon.com, $20)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Freedom

Yes, this costs the same as an average laptop or a basic desktop, but the portability is great for someone like me. A laptop is just too bulky for me to carry around and takes up too much space on a table at Wendy's when I need to quickly check my email. (Yes, I work at a Wendy's and I have access to free Wi-Fi) I am not sure the Note 10.1 will entirely replace my desktop PC for everything, but I can get so much done (angry birds) while I wait for my dinosaur to wake up. I can also get things done away from home because now I have the freedom that William Wallace was fighting for.

Click here to buy one

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet
Penguin Rating
5 penguin footprints signifying 5 stars
For more product reviews click HERE

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