Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) Review: Big, Powerful and Versatile

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a flagship tablet from the Note lineup. This means we get the signature S Pen with the device. The original Galaxy Note 10.1 was released in 2012, but this is the 2014 version. However, this device was originally released in September of 2013. One of our friends bought this new 2014 Edition device, so we are reviewing it. Galaxy Note 10.1 has a massive screen, high resolution, S Pen support, giant battery, fast processor, and lots of features. This device is a productivity king with all the power it has. We are reviewing the 4G model with Exynos octa-core processor and not the Snapdragon version. Both have different processors, so that performance will vary.

Galaxy Note is famous for its powerful and big smartphones with a stylus. As the name goes, we also get a stylus with this Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. This tablet has a giant screen and supports S Pen. Only the stylus alone adds a lot of features. Single S Pen makes a powerful media consumption entertainment device into a productivity house. This tablet has a fast processor, tons of storage, plenty of memory, and a massive battery. So the performance and experience are good. But the S Pen makes Note 10.1 productive using the ability to take notes, drawing, sketch, multi-tasking on the go. A lot is going on with this device, and here is our full review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Specifications and Overview

  • Display: 10.1 Inches LCD Screen
    • Resolution: 2560×1600
  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (Quad-Core)/ Exynos 5420 (Octa-Core)
    • CPU Details:  2.3 GHz Krait 400 (Snapdragon)/ 1.9 GHz Cortex A15 and 1.3 GHz Cortex A17 Quad Core sets (Exynos)
    • GPU: Adreno 330 (Snapdragon)/ Mali-T628 MP6 GPU (Exynos)
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32/64 GB eMMC 4.5 Internal, 64 GB micro SD card support
  • Battery: 8220 mAh Lithium Polymer
  • Back Camera: 8 Megapixels
  • Front Camera: 2 Megapixels
  • OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (TouchWiz)
  • Connectivity and Sensors: micro USB 2.0, MHL TV-out, Accelerometer, Gyrosensor, Compass, Proximity

Build and Design

This is a premium flagship device, and it has great looking build. Note 10.1 (2014) is made up of good quality materials. The front side houses a massive screen with a camera and buttons. At the top, we see Samsung branding, selfie camera, and proximity sensor. At the bottom, there is a home button and touch capacitive buttons for navigation. The side rail of the Note 10.1 has a chrome finish and holds a volume rocker, power button, and stereo speakers on two sides. This device has a more boxy and rectangular form factor instead of the pebble design Samsung usually has. The edges are rounded quite well and look nice. The back of the tablet is non-removable and has textured plastic with a faux stitching design. We can also find an S Pen silo and a camera on the back.


Also Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

Core Hardware and Performance

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) Edition comes with two chipsets. This makes the two models very different. The first variant has Exynos 5420 octa-core processor, and the second one has Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. We are reviewing the variant with the Exynos chipset. It is Samsung’s own chip, so they have put the best processor they have. Exynos 5420 has 8 cores with two quad-core sets. One is ARM Cortex-A15 1.9 GHz, and another is ARM Cortex-A7 1.3 GHz. This processor was introduced with Galaxy Note 3, and it allowed 4K recording. This means we are getting a flagship powerful chip that can give a lot of power.

The memory on this tablet is 3GB DDR3 RAM, and there are 3 different choices of storage options. We can find 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB versions in the market. We can also install an external micro SD card up to 64 GB to expand the storage. This gives plenty of storage options with Galaxy Note 10.1. It gives a lot of room to store games, apps, photos, and videos. Now for power, we get an 8220 mAh battery, which is pretty big. However, it is necessary to power the processor and the 10.1″ screen running with high resolution. Thanks to the battery, we can use photo editing, designing applications, and play hardcore games for a long duration. Taking notes in longer class sessions, drawing, sketching and doodling is also fun with a big screen and a big battery.

The Exynos Octa-core processor of this tablet is superb. We tested many games and applications simultaneously. It can deliver top-level performance with ease. All games such as Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5, GTA San Andreas, and GTA Vice City ran smoothly. There are no hiccups, and the device only gets a little bit hot while gaming at the top settings. Web browsing, YouTube sessions, movie watching are all fantastic on this Note device.


Display and Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet has a 10.1″ screen with a resolution of 2560×1600. This size is the reason why the name comes to be there. The resolution is very sharp, and it is larger than FHD. The screen is actually having a 16:10 aspect ratio and 299 PPI pixel density. These things make it an amazing display for work and entertainment. Big screen is fantastic to use, but we have to admit that it is a heavy device weighing more than 0.5 Kg. This screen also supports Samsung SPen, and that makes it more special and productive. It is very smooth and easy to use the stylus for drawing, taking notes, doodling, and editing.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Review

For the camera, there is an 8 MP sensor at the back that can shoot 1920×1080 videos at 30 FPS. There is a 4G LTE model, and that can shoot 1080p videos at 60 fps. We have compared the experience and details of 30fps vs 60fps in videos and games in one of our articles. Having the power to shoot in 60 fps is very good, actually. On the front, there is a 2 MP camera that can also shoot videos at 1080p 30fps. This tablet can provide good video quality for teleconferencing and online chat.

S Pen and Work

The biggest attraction of Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is the S Pen. Without the stylus, it is just another tablet. But with the pen, it is a lot more. Samsung TouchWiz has many features dedicated to the S Pen. There are Air Command for easy use and a lot more. It is a very good experience to use this big note device to draw, take notes, and doodle. We can take it to college and take down notes easily. Writing, erasing, and modifying are all straightforward. It is just a truly fantastic experience taking notes and sketches on a big canvas. The stylus gives better control and adds more value to the device, according to our experience. We do recommend putting it down and writing it because it is cumbersome.


Software, Features and Experience

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was launched with Android Jellybean and TouchWiz UI. But now the company is rolling out the Lollipop update. The software actually has many built-in extra features. Most importantly, the features are S Pen specific. This big tablet also has multitasking power with a multi-window feature. It means we can use two apps at the same time. This is a great use of that powerful processor and big screen. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition supports MHL TV-Out using dedicated cables. It means we can use cables and mirror the tablet contents on a TV.

This is a full-fledge flagship device. Therefore we are having all the sensors like proximity, gyrosensor, accelerometer, and compass. These help to get the best experience and features while using different apps and games. One of the best experiences of Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is stereo speakers. Two speakers are on opposite sides of the device. So, we can get an amazing stereo sound effect while watching movies and playing games. This thing helps to make this device a perfect entertainment and work powerhouse.


As a review, let’s talk honestly about it. It is a very expensive device. It can cost up to $700 in some markets. The weight is about 540 gm, which feels a bit heavy. But the powerful battery and high-resolution big screen make up for that. The build quality is also really great, and the texture of the back cover is wonderful. It would have been nicer if the cover was removable and the battery was also user-serviceable. The S Pen works great for drawing, modeling, and taking notes. We found it to be the most productive element. Some people may use S Pen a lot, while some may forget it.

But if you are not utilizing the S Pen, you are not fully utilizing Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Samsung’s Note Lineup phone is also popular for the same thing: a stylus. This Galaxy Note 10.1 offers a faster octa-core processor, plenty of memory, large storage, and good software. If you want to digitize your life, become more productive, and have some huge cash, this tablet is definitely a good choice. You can also add a wireless or wired mouse and keyboard set to take your work to the next level. Using a cover with a keyboard can make it great for office tasks as well.


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About the Author: Abhishek Chand

Structural Engineer by profession. Computer and smartphone enthusiast. Tech-savvy blogger and former Gadget reviewer of AP1 HD TV and TechnoNepal.

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