- Built-in pen expands how you can use the tablet
- Software has some useful custom enhancements
- Display lacks high-pixel density resolution
- Plastic chassis feels inexpensively made
With the release of Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi tablet, the venerable stylus takes center stage, setting this innovative slate apart from the tablet masses. On Wednesday, Samsung officially announces this Wi-Fi-only 10.1-inch tablet with prices that start at starting at $500 up to $550. The table goes on sale Thursday. For the past few days I've been testing the Galaxy Note 10.1 Wi-Fi. Though the tablet has some rough edges and one glaring omission as configured--it lacks a high-pixel-density display--Samsung has put together a solid performer with wide-reaching appeal.
The standout feature of Samsung's latest offering is the S Pen, which opens a new dimension of functionality and creativity, thanks to Samsung's preloaded software and Android tweaks. Since the tablet was introduced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Galaxy Note's specs have changed. Six months ago, Samsung said that the Note 10.1 would pack a dual-core CPU and 1GB of memory, and have internal storage of up to 64GB. For its final release, though, Samsung has bumped the Note 10.1's processor to a quad-core Samsung Exynos with 2GB of system memory, making it the first shipping tablet I've tested with that much RAM. Gone is the 64GB internal storage option; instead, the Note 10.1 comes in 16GB ($499) and 32GB ($549) versions, expandable by up to 64GB via MicroSD card.
DesignThe Galaxy Note 10.1 has a distinctive but not especially high-end look. It ships with either a white or dark gray plastic back and matching bezel, with silver plastics accents around the edges. It's neither the thinnest nor the lightest tablet on the market, but it compares respectably on these specs to other slates in its size class. It measures 10.3 by 7.1 by 0.35 inches, and it weighs 1.31 pounds--the same weight as the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 but noticeably less than the third-generation Apple iPad (1.44 pounds).