Customer Review

92 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best tablet not because of S-pen nor multitask (compared to transformer infinity), August 19, 2012
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (32GB, Deep Grey) (Personal Computers)
============= Updates ================
9/15/2012
Final Decision - I ended up choosing Infinity. Please see updated conclusion section. Also updated Battery section to Tie because I finally got transformer dock and had to change my mind of what I said before.

9/3/2012
Week 2 update
1. S-pen - So I still don't use this feature, but just for fun I tried. Quickly, this is the closest to paper as it can get. See the updated section of "handwriting".
2. Windows 8 Tablets - Since recent IFA Berlin showed several upcoming Windows 8 tablet, I have decided to give a quick comparison to them.
3. Future Potential - During IFA Berlin, Samsung announced the Jellybean update on the Galaxy Note 10.1 is coming "very soon (changed from this year)." & showed many cool features of upcoming Galaxy Note 2 (handheld) device features, which most likely be included in the Galaxy Note 10.1 as well. See Future potential section for detail.

8/24/2012
After one full week of use, here is quick update.
1. Stability - The stability of this system is amazing. I had only a single crush of stock browser, which at this point could even be my error of clicking pushing button by accident. Even on the iPad 2, I still had at least 1 or 2 freeze/crush every other day or so. So this is actually the most stable tablet/system I have ever used.
2. Lack of HD Screen - After 1 week of use, I had hoped that I would forget about my experience with HD Screen on Transformer Infinity. Unfortunately this isn't the case. Whenever I browse and open a web page, I simply have to zoom in to be able really read things, which again wasn't the case with HD screen. So yes. it is really noticeable.

At this point, I can say basically Galaxy Note 10.1 is pretty much superior to transformer infinity in every aspect except HD screen. However, the screen is one of the major point so the choice still remains to be a bit hard. But once experiencing the stability & speed of Galaxy Note 10.1, I don't think I can go back to infinity or any other android tablet that gives us freeze or crush every hour.

============= Vs. Upcoming Windows 8 Tablets ============

I was actually hoping with IFA, at least one of windows 8 tablet announced be my dream system i.e. customizability & flexibility of android, solid 8+ hours battery life, portability, stability, speed and full HD screen.

In short, no system met this criteria. The major systems are ASUS Vivo series and Samsung ativ series. Among these, only Samsung Ativ Smart Pro is the only one has full HD screen that Galaxy Note 10.1 lacks. However, this system like other full Windows 8 edition tablets are much heavier, battery life is mere 5 hours DVD play time, and price is over $1100.

Other tablets that are portable, and has good battery life are usually Windows RT versions. Given how stable Android OS on Galaxy Note 10.1, stability is no longer comparison point. Just like iOS vs. Android, it becomes applications. Windows RT edition only runs Metro specific applications. Though they will certainly grow, it will likely to take sometime. Given the rapid change in the technology, if you decide to buy a system with a hope that the application will come, you may end up not enjoying your system as by the time applications flourish on the metro market, there may be better spec systems with cheaper price. Furthermore, it appears no Windows RT based system have stylus support.

So in conclusion, though windows 8 tablet are not inferior by any means, there is no upcoming windows 8 tablet at this point can say "absolutely better" than the Galaxy Note 10.1 or even Transformer Infinity. Both tablet have still their own places and target audiences.

============= Original Review Below =====================

Quick background of myself, I had recently purchased transformer infinity as upgrade from my ipad 2, and Samsung galaxy 10.1 4G. It was a great tablet of its own, but had couple major negatives for the purpose of my use. So I had to seek for alternative. Given my relative unhappiness with Galaxy 10.1 original and 4G, I was a bit skeptical about Galaxy Note 10.1 but decided to give a chance. The result after 3 days of use is "amazing." This should be the flagship/standard of Android tablet.

In the review of Transformer infinity, I have discussed about iOS ecosystem vs. Android ecosystem. In here, I am actually going to focus on comparing to the transformer infinity, which is by many major review sites rated as the best android tablet. And I see several people are considering this vs. the infinity.

WARNING: Do not trust some reviews you read on the websites. I just do not experience/see the issues what some reviewers are saying.

============ Summary ===============

Compared to transformer infinity

Strength
+Stability
+Speed
+Audio/Speaker

Weakness
-No HD screen
-Samsung's very slow software update
-UI

Tie
*Battery Life
*Build Quality
*Overall hardware spec
*Future potential

Note: I did not mention S-pen nor multitasking here because I personally don't use S-pen, and multitasking is good but you can do pretty much the same with applications on the market on any android device.

Conclusion:

Do you want android tablet?
Are you ok with not having HD display?
Can you afford the price?

If yes to all three, then this is the tablet to get.

=========== Detail Review ================

1. Stability

This is in fact the biggest selling point of this tablet. I was always under the impression that by choosing Android ecosystem over the iOS, one thing we have to give up is the stability. So when I initially got the infinity, I had a hope but the hope of stability quickly went away. Browser crushed/froze every hour or so. Other applications also froze and crushed. In android world, I guess it's called application not responding (ANR) error. I don't think infinity had any more of ANR than the my old Galaxy 10.1 but definitely did not seem less.

To my surprise, Galaxy Note 10.1 is actually extremely stable. In fact, I have used so far approximately 20-30 hours and have not encountered a single ANR nor crush. Having stable Android system is just an amazing.

Winner: Galaxy Note 10.1

2. Screen

If you have never used HD display tablet such as New Ipad, transformer Infinity or ACER Iconia A700, you would probably not notice. But after using them for awhile, the sharpness of text produced by these high definition screen are certainly noticeable. With infinity, i can load a page and without zooming in, I can basically read entire page because resolution is so good. But with Galaxy Note, everything look somewhat blurry so I have to zoom in to really read.

This is a huge disadvantage of Galaxy Note. And perhaps, the reason why every other aspect on Galaxy Note is better than Infinity because it does not have to drive HD. If you need HD screen android tablet, you have to go with transformer infinity. Even there is not much HD specific applications right now, you will notice the difference on every day use.

Winner: Transformer Infinity

3. Speed

After doing some custom tweek on my infinity, browsing on infinity became much faster (at least so it seemed). When it is at maximum speed, infinity and galaxy browser loaded pages in equal speed. I tested this by simply going to the same site at same time for couple pages. But after couple hours of use, infinity browser always seemed to slow down or crush. This does not depend on which browser I used stock, chrome, opera, firefox beta, dolphin beta etc. The benchmark sort of show this. Sunspider benchmark of infinity was decently fast so browser should be fast, which again it was when working. But Galaxy Note 10.1's sunspider result is simply in another dimension. It's even faster than new iPad. Since stock is so well on the Galaxy Note, I have not really tried much else on galaxy note.

Another example is I use Mantano Reader for my ebook reading. With infinity, I could not open couple files. One was 50MB, the other was 400MB. It simply took forever and gave me ANR. If lucky and got it working after awhile, it only showed couple pages and then crush. I sent email to Mantano asking for fix as I could not believe with such high spec on the Infinity can be an issue. In fact, some files larger than 50MB opened fine on the Mantano. Furthermore, other PDF applications such as Repligo, Adobe Reader opened these files fine as well. So I had good reasons to blame on application itself. But the same file opens instantaneously on Galaxy Note and obviously no crush or ANR.

So despite infinity being fast system on its own, I have to give this one also to Galaxy Note.

Winner: Galaxy Note 10.1

4. Audio/Speaker

Speaker on the infinity was simply a weakness. So any system can win over this. I am not expert on sound system, so all I cared was whether I can hear sound loud enough. With infinity, some of my video files were only barely audible even with maximum sound setting if there are any background sounds. This was different from any other tablet I owned. Galaxy Note 10.1 is just like others I have no problem hearing sounds. It is what I expected.

With infinity I had issue on listening to video file that was on the microsd using headset. Every minute or two, I hear small but definitely noticeable "beep beep." This was fixed by copying files locally to the device. But this sort of defeats the purpose of microsd... This issue is not there with Galaxy Note. So I can keep video files on microsd.

Winner: Galaxy Note 10.1

5. Software Update

No one can beat ASUS. Their reputation on the software update is the best of all android tablet maker. In fact, they have already released jelly bean on one of transformer line. So it probably won't be too long for infinity either. This will for surely be true for OS after jellybean as well. In addition, Nexus 7 is made by ASUS and has very similar specification to transformer prime, so future proof in terms of software update on infinity is the best on the market.

In comparison, Samsung is one of the worst in terms of software update. One main reason is that they make their own touch wiz customization. The original samsung galaxy 10.1 just recently got ice cream sandwich. Samsung announced that Galaxy Note will be getting Jellybean by end of the year, so we will get it but I don't count on the time. As far as the OS after Jellybean, who knows we may get it but that would be even further down the road and it may even become irrelevant at the point.

Winner: Transformer Infinity

However, there is a catch on this. If the actual software is working perfectly, do we really need/care newer OS? I was looking forward to Jellybean when I had infinity because I thought it would make the system faster, and possibly more stable. However, Galaxy Note is already extremely fast, and perfect stability. So I am not sure if I am much to look forward to in Jellybean.

6. User Interface

Transformer Infinity uses near stock interface. Their widgets are very clean. I loved their transparent weather, and date widget. Touch Wiz on the other hand, I don't think as pretty. Samsung Weather widget just don't fit well. This may be personal preference though.

Winner: Transformer Infinity

7. Build Quality

The actual external appearance of the tablet goes to infinity. The metallic Zen design is really great. It does look like expensive tablet. On the other hand, Samsung has plastic and I even had my port plastic broken one time on my Galaxy 10.1 4G. Clearly, it is not common place for accidental damage as it is simply so hard to break the piece by intention. But Samsung totally refused to fix it and asked for $100 to fix this even though I only had the tablet for 5 months. So I am skeptical for the durability of plastic tablet.

However, quality assurance seems better on Samsung. I had to try two Infinity. Both had light bleed, one had loose screen i.e. I can get click sound by pressing corner, sticking button (first one was volume, second one was power). According to XDA forum, this was very prevalent issue and pretty much most people had one or other. Galaxy Note I have none of these, and seemed like forum is also pointing to the same direction with very minimal complain on these matters.

Winner: Tie

8. Battery Life

This is one feature I could not tolerate initially with infinity. It lasted 5 hours if I use browser. If I play game, it lasted only 3 hours. Watching video or reading ebook without any browsing is the only way to get close to 9.5 hours documented on the specification. But in reality, I always surf net, so generally I could never get more than 6 hours from 100% full charge. Galaxy Note's battery life is amazing. Over 6 hours of screen time I was still at 50% one time. Second time 9 hours of screen time including 2 hours of gaming, 3 hours of constant almost pure browsing, 2+ hours of local video, and rest are ebook reading, I still have 30% battery left. This will undoubtedly gives me 10+ hours of browsing time. In fact, I am guessing this can even give 12+ hours easily unless I play game. Even with gaming probably 8-9 hours.

Some review claims battery hours on this much shorter, or even compatible to infinity. My guess on this is they only either compared video play not included browsing but even then the number won't much. So most likely explanation is they used 3G version of Galaxy Note 10.1.

In any event, battery life on Galaxy Note is simply amazing. When comparing tablet to tablet, without a question Galaxy Note is better. However, this becomes a bit more complicated with Infinity's selling feature which is extra battery containing docking station. I did not realize the power of docking station until I actually purchased one. But if I do not want to carry around extra-weight, I can simply think the docking station as a battery charger. I can do something like use as tablet at work, then connect to dock when get a chance/want to use as laptop/watch video. Even while I use the tablet recharges from the dock's battery. As I drive back, the tablet continues recharge from the dock. So by the time I go back home, I am ready to use the tablet for night time reading. All I need is recharge the dock and essentially I can completely eliminate the time to wait for tablet getting charged though with Galaxy Note's extra long battery life, this may not be frequent issue.

Winner: Tie

9. Overall Hardware Specification

This is technical aspect. No matter what the specification is, in the end user experience is everything; however, hardware spec can definitely affect the experience. Generally speaking two are similar with one better on one regard but other on the other.

CPU: Tie - Atuntu scores are basically the same.

GPU: Samsung Galaxy Note - Galaxy Note has the best GPU in any of Android tablet on the market right now. Still not up to the level of the new Ipad. Given it has to push less pixels compared to infinity, stronger GPU further makes difference. Having said this, I don't think there is any application on android market currently that pushes to their graphical limit. So not sure if extra GPU power make much difference.

I/O: Samsung Galaxy Note - Supposedly I/O issue has been discussed on transformer series before infinity. But infinity still has it. It had improved with the latest firmware, but not solved. There is speculation that this is indeed hardware level of issue i.e. can go only so much. The speculation is coming from XDA developer who tested running things off of highspeed SD card gave much boost in the function when compared to local storage i.e. Flash storage is the conundrum. This is reflected on the benchmark. The infinity had RL benchmark score of 80-90's with the latest firmware (originally like 120's). Galaxy Note has 20's. This actually does affect daily use as you save file, access file all requires reading and writing from flash drive. Obviously, infinity is not 4 times slower than Galaxy Note but this may be reason why my PDF file opened fine on Mantano with Galaxy Note but not on Infinity.

Memory: Samsung Galaxy Note - 2GB. Since most tablet still has 1GB memory, we won't likely to see anything that require 2GB memory for awhile. So it is only helpful when opening multiple applications i.e. you may be able to cache more application than before but otherwise, I am not sure if this helps much.

Screen: Transformer Infinity - See above.

In any event, both hardwares are the best in the market right now. If these two system cannot handle any more update, application etc. then pretty much nothing else on the market can handle them any more either. So as far as hardware goes, both are relatively future proof.

10. Future Potential

ASUS, the maker of Infinity, makes Nexus 7 and again it has similar spec as the infinity's ancestor transformer prime. So it should have good support from Google as well as future application makers. Furthermore, recently ASUS became of the playstation partner. So you will likely to see playstation games on it.

Galaxy Note 10.1 on the other hand is made by Samsung, who makes one of the most popular smartphone Samsung Galaxy Series. Since Galaxy Note and SIII etc. uses Exynos CPU design and the number of unit sold are so high, android software developers will/should continue support them and hence, also supporting Galaxy Note 10.1.

Update (9/3): Samsung just recently announced it is bringing Jellybean to Galaxy Note 10.1 "very soon." No solid time here, but compared to "this year", this sounds much more imminent. Only the time will tell, but it would be interesting how quickly Samsung can make the update to change its reputation here.

More interestingly, Galaxy Note 2 (handheld) device was just recently officially announced by Samsung. This device is very similar to the Galaxy Note 10.1. So new features coming to the Galaxy Note 2 is highly likely to be added to Galaxy Note 10.1 as well. If you are interested in seeing what these features are, search for [GALAXY Note II] First Hands-on Video by Samsung on Youtube. These features appear very unique (at least to me).

Winner: Tie

11. Handwriting

For those of you who thinks S-pen is just another stylus, it is not. You can never write as small on iPad, or Infinity because simply technology is different. So those who wants to have closest to the real pen and paper experience, you need inductive pen device like Galaxy Note.

Updated 9/3/2012
Coming from the background of looking into tablet PC when still relatively new (back windows XP era), one thing I can say to test whether stylus/pen on screen truly work or not is write as small as you can and see if the tablet can recognize your writing. The conventional touch screen tablet like iPad, most of android tablet including transformer infinity, you will quickly notice the smallest you can write is not so small. You have some applications to convert your bigger drawn handwriting into smaller text, but it certainly is not same experience as you were to write on the paper.

Since I had time with this tablet, I had a chance to try this. Well, the smallest the tablet recognizes is the smallest I can write. So in this sense, Samsung did phenomenal job. Perhaps, this may be the reason why they could not include full HD screen.

Winner: Galaxy Note

============== Other less important features =================

Other things that I personally don't think much important are followings:

1. Split Screen

There are many applications on the Google Play that already allows you to watch video, browse web, take note etc. while opening other window. So it is nice to include as a free feature and emphasize such feature exist, but Galaxy Note's built in applications are limited to certain applications. For instance, I cannot use built in browser to watch flash movie while I read ebook. However, if I buy overskreen I can do that. And overskreen is supported on transformer infinity as well. So I don't think split screen should be decision maker for anyone.

2. Keyboard dock

This is mainly the feature of transformer series. But samsung does make keyboard dock. Galaxy Note 10.1 version is not out yet, but it is in process. The difference is that Galaxy Note one (probably) won't have extra battery. But I don't think it needs that as by tablet alone it can last so long and probably even longer than Infinity with dock. Form factor goes to the transformer as it attaches and closes like laptop. My personal opinion about this is, it doesn't really make difference. If I need keyboard I can still carry it. The total weight is the same. So another factor, I don't think should be decision maker.

=============== Conclusion ==================

Update 9/15/2012

Galaxy Note 10.1 is phenomenal device with its stability, speed, and extra function of S-pen.

Galaxy Note and Transformer Infinity are definitely two of the best Android tablet on the market at this time. Though all the major reviews only giving credit to Infinity, if you use Galaxy Note 10.1 you will know its power, speed and stability, which are even better than that of Infinity. However, I have ended up choosing transformer infinity. Because even when Galaxy Note is superior in pretty much every other aspect to Infinity except the screen, the full HD screen turned out to be such an major feature that infinity has(=note lacks). I read ebook, surf web, and watch videos. Basically, every second that I look at screen for these tasks I noticed the difference in screen resolution. Though not to the level of the Note, with tweaks I got my infinity browsing speed faster, and system more stable. After these tweaks, these difference are only wastes several minutes a day of my time in the end i.e. accumulation of 10 seconds difference in loading flash heavy site, system force close/ANR 2-3 times more than Galaxy Note add up extra time of waiting for page to load and relaunching applications.

It is not easy decision to make. You just need to weight what is important to you.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 20, 2012 11:32:31 AM PDT
Hi, very good review...how is the screen resolution? I dont know which one im going to buy, the asus infnity or the note 10.1, im not sure because this one dont have a Full hd display... what can you recommend? how is the screen on galaxy note? is much the different? Thanks...

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 9:01:28 PM PDT
leoniter says:
Must go with the infinity.. am not saying that the note is a bad device. If u want to draw cartoon and other stuff than note is good choice for u. And if u want a hd screen and keyboard with a sexy design than infinity. U also get a ultra book feel with it also comfort to type. We all know samsung is plastic master. Which usually use to make toy. So the choice is urs that u go for the note only for that Sss pen or the other facilities for infinity..

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 9:03:44 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 20, 2012 9:05:49 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 9:20:10 PM PDT
Thanks for you answer but I don`t care to much for the keyboard because samsung is going to release a keyboard for the note but not with extra battery and usb port... about the HD screen is important but most people say that is not a big different because the screen size don`t need to much resolution... so Im keep confusing, I dont know which one to buy, I think the S pen is very usefull for my university classes and if i want a keyboard samsung is going to release the keyboard for the note and I have the adapter for USB...Im from Venezuela sorry if I don`t have a perfect english

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 9:31:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2012 9:36:03 PM PDT
HoushaSen says:
Thanks,

It is definitely difficult decision to make. Both are great but neither are perfect.

If you absolutely need HD display, you have no choice but go with infinity. I won't even consider ACER A700 there. But with that choice, you have to be ok with seeing occasional application crush, freeze which are not too infrequent for some people's standard. Battery life is also very short again with gaming only 3 hours, with web browsing only 5-6 hours, but watching video only you can get to 8-9 hours.

As far as whether HD display is noticeble or not, if you have used it for at least hour or two, it definitely becomes noticeble. If you just used someone else's system for couple minutes you may not be as shocked, or affected. Galaxy Note is not HD, and no matter what some people say, non-HD is non-HD. You can never get as good resolution as HD.

Personally, I truly wanted to have HD but relative instability and poor battery life of infinity just did not fit my daily use.

You mentioned S-pen so I will tell you this. Infinity with stylus or any other tablet in that regard simply won't match with that of inductive stylus used in galaxy note. So if you need that capability, you have to go with Galaxy Note.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 9:31:56 PM PDT
leoniter says:
From ur point of view u prefering the note for u. And also u pointing the screen, if u not useto with a new ipad or tf700 than the note screen not gona bother u as much.. if u use a tf700 for 3days u will not get back to note only for the screen. If u feel the s pen can help u a lot for ur daily purpose than go for it u will not regret cause note is a good device

Posted on Aug 20, 2012 10:02:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2012 10:05:12 PM PDT
I recently had the TF700 and returned it..To many problems with it. It stutters here and there. The performance was horrible..One thing Samsung it superior to other Android OEM..Optimizing the software. I think the Tegra 3 is crap and cannot handle the resolution or PPI of the TF700. Samsung is working on a new Galaxy Note tablet with insane resolution. But whats the point when most Android developers are to lazy to update their apps to HD...Then all apps will look like crap on HD screen.

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 2:03:43 PM PDT
when is samsung going to release the accessories for the note 10.1?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 12:28:37 PM PDT
Just a heads up, and I am also an Asus owner, I ordered the only TF700 on Amazon that arrived dead and reset and still had to return, just a bad unit. However, I have had my other Asus in for repairs twice. Never a Samsung, you might want to watch this video, and the strange thing is, during this video, the TF700 had a screen defect show up during the smack down.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y6m7ZLetMo
I two was going to pass on the Galaxy Note tablet, I do have the GN phone and it is soo over the top for display. When I found out that Samsung was using the Tab 2 10 screen, I was not pleased. However, it appears that Samsung did some digitizer magic, there is even a screen adjustment section. Samsung does seem to defy the math when it comes to displays.
I did a test last night for someone on our Galaxy Note discussion and I was really almost shocked on how well the GN 10 displays 1080p out to our Samsung plasma 8000 series 3D 60: flat screen. I am used to my Asus tablet rendering a darker picture to the flat screen and even having the voice out of sync when transferred. It was flawless. I have my GN 10 screen set to "Movie" because the XDA guys said it gets better blacks, which was important to me. I set the wallpaper to the live with the blue squares and I have to say, I smile ever time I boot up the new GN 10 tablet.
You are welcome to visit our forum if you want to see what the members are saying about their experiences on the GN 10.
file:///C:/Users/Florida%20Boy/Desktop/Amazon.com%20%20Customer%20Discussions%20%20Is%20the%20new%20Galaxy%20Note%2010.1%20Tablet%20Right%20for%20You.htm

Posted on Aug 26, 2012 8:36:46 AM PDT
Darion says:
I am choosing between these two. I need advice because I am at a cross roads.
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