Samsung on Tuesday launched the Galaxy Note 10.1 in Singapore, where I got an up-close look at the device.
The original Galaxy Note is a smartphone with a supersized 5.3-inch screen and an S Pen stylus for data input. Along those same lines, the Galaxy Note 10.1 also comes with mobile voice and text messaging capabilities, but with a 10.1-inch display.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (Photo: Paul Mah)
The Galaxy Note 10.1 runs on Android 4.04 Ice Cream Sandwich and incorporates a 1.4GHz quad core processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, which can be upgraded up to 32 GB via a micro-SD slot. The speedy processor made using the Galaxy Note 10.1 a breeze with no noticeable lag. Other nice hardware upgrades include Bluetooth v4.0, an IR LED, 2.4GHZ, and 5GHz Wi-Fi wireless.
There are two models of the Galaxy Note 10.1 as of this writing: Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G. Both models will be available in Singapore on August 25 with the former priced at SG$798 and the latter at SG$998. (An LTE version was mentioned, but no release time frame was given.)
Multi Screen enhances multitasking
One feature of the Galaxy Note 10.1 that immediately caught my attention is Multi Screen. The new feature allows two apps to be displayed side-by-side for true multitasking use. For example, users can view photos on one half of the screen while sketching with the S Pen on the other half, or write an email message on one app and use the browser app to reference the Web.
Multi Screen is a proprietary Samsung feature that is only enabled for six apps as of now: the Internet browser, Video Player, Polaris Office, Gallery, Email, and the S Pen app. A Samsung representative was unable to tell me if the company intends to eventually open up this capability to other third-party developers.
S Pen experience refined
Not much seems to have changed from the S Pen that debuted in the Galaxy Note, though the experience feels more refined on the Galaxy Note 10.1. I tested the smaller Galaxy Note when it was available in December 2011, and the larger area of the Galaxy Note 10.1 makes writing easier and more intuitive.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a full-featured forerunner on the Android front. I can envision the Galaxy Note 10.1 being a PC replacement by employees who only need to access the company CMS or ERP system and email. With Multi Screen, these employees can work in the Web browser without missing their email.