Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 10.1 in India, slightly rebadged as the Galaxy Note 800. We had a chance to play with the device at the launch event, and here are some initial observations about Samsung’s new flagship tablet.
1. Yes, the Galaxy Note 800 has an all plastic build. There are those who have criticized it saying that an expensive tablet like this needs more metal on the exterior. Alternatively, there are those who support that by claiming that it is the weight that needs to be kept in check. However, our question to Samsung is very simple – how will the customers on the shop floor decipher any comparisons between this and let us say the Apple iPad (read our review) or even something like an Asus Transformer Prime (read our review)? After all, the Note 800 has been priced at Rs. 39,990.
2. It is interesting to note (pun unintended) that the Galaxy Note 800 looks very similar to the previous 10.1-inch tablet from Samsung, the Tab 750. We had said back then that while the material used is plastic, it has been put together well. Something similar can be said for the Galaxy Note. However, Samsung could have done a bit better with the way the materials were put together, particularly the rear panel that does have some flex in it.
3. The 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The quality, even under pretty bright spotlights, was excellent. Yes, it has certain reflective tendencies, but is a very bright display, so that is pretty much taken care of. Colour reproduction is brilliant, and the crispness stares at you in the face!
4. Speaking of crispness, the S Pen feature works very well on this rather precise display. Preloaded are S Pen compatible apps like S Note, Adobe Photoshop and Polaris Office. The S Note app that we had a chance to use for a while allows for even a new user to get used to the experience – multiple templates that you can start with, or a blank note that you can start sketching on. Within the app, you have multiple nifty features – formulas can be deciphered via an online search via Wolfram Alpha or even make any drawings like a square or a circle straighten out to look like a professional drawing!
We will have a video of the detailed demo of the S-Pen on our website very soon. We can assure you that the demo will show some very interesting features and implementations of the Pen feature.
5. The Galaxy Note 800’s interface is something that we have grown quite used to with Samsung devices, and full marks for the familiarity bit. The TouchWiz UI has been redone for the bigger screen, allowing for multiple side by side widgets, but the range of the widgets will be similar to what we saw in the Galaxy S III (read our review), with the additional S Pen app widgets.
This is the Galaxy Note 800, front on, in landscape mode. This device is meant for use in landscape mode, as you can notice with the logo placement as well as where the front facing cameras are. On the two sides – the silver borders, if you may, are where the speakers are placed. Usually, speakers are on the rear panel, but this will give a more up-close feel to any audio played back on the device.
These are the specs of the Galaxy Note 800. A quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos 4412 processor and 2GB of RAM power it. We had been saying for quite a while now that any device with a quad core processor deserves at least 2GB of RAM to fully realize its potential. Probably, this is why this can multi-task so well. You can have an HD video playing in a smaller window on one edge of the screen, while you can continue opening and working on any other app without any stutter.
The TouchWiz UI is a very similar to the one we saw on the Galaxy S III. The variety of widgets is very similar as well, with the wider display allowing for more side-by-side widgets.
The Galaxy Note 800’s app drawer has the look we have seen traditionally on Android ICS tablets. There are the tabs for the apps and the widgets, and the app list has the horizontal scrolling nature.
As it rightly should, the Galaxy Note 800 comes with Android ICS out of the box – Version 4.0.4 to be precise. No info yet on the Android Jelly Bean update, but we expect this tablet to be somewhere near the top of the list of devices getting the updates.
We had seen this tap-to-open dock on the earlier Galaxy tablets as well, and that has been carried forward to the Note 800 as well.
If you are using the Galaxy Note 800 in landscape mode, then the power key, volume rocker, card slot as well as the SIM card slot will be on the top spine.
The rear of the Galaxy Note 800 has an enamel white finish, slightly shiny but will not catch smudges or fingerprints.
This is the S-Pen, about to get into action with the S Note application.
The Galaxy Note 800’s an extremely slim tablet – you can see that the pencil is faring slightly worse in this comparison!
The Galaxy Note 800’s slide up notification bar, traditional way Android ICS handles notifications.