on December 10, 2013
I have now had the Note 10.1 2014 for 2 years and 8 months, and am still buying accessories, because it's in regular use. I've never considered owning a different device and try to take extra special care of my Note 10.1, because I would hate to not be able to replace it.
Encryption - Top Performer
I have been encrypting the device since mid 2014, and it has never taken a performance hit. The same cannot be said for all of the cell phones I have gone through in the last two years - many of which I dumped due to encryption caused performance issues. The Note 10.1 2014 has stood the test of time when it comes to handling encryption like a pro.
The are only two downsides I've encountered:
S Pen Design
One is the S Pen, in that it's size and the location of the button eventually grew rather obnoxious. I still use the S Pen and it functions flawlessly, but I never fail to hit the button when I don't want to, which can cause some serious issues when I'm in the middle of a fast-paced meeting and trying to take notes. I've recently ordered a larger S Pen stylus from Samsung that I have rather high hopes for. I would really like to go back to using this device in my work day.
SECURE Note Taking Apps
The other downside is app related. I've had some set backs in finding a note taking app that I felt comfortable using for my work tasks. I had been using EverNote for a while in my previous work, but when I found they were collecting a great deal of information (location, etc.), I grew weary, as privacy and confidentiality is important for my current work - hence the encryption. Since I had that experience with EverNote, I have been hesitant to use a cloud note service, which has greatly limited my ability to use the Note 10.1 2014 like I had been. Instead, I took to taking notes in emails, which was a work-around, but never was a solution. I'm still looking for a secure note app or option that I can have confidence in. I fear I'm too far ahead of the game on this issue and will have to wait a few decades to see this concept come to fruition.
I still use the Note for Netflix and other video watching or for other entertainment purposes. Since my experience with the Note, and it's handling of encryption, I've switch to Samsung for my cell (Note 4), and my husband has also switched for his cell (s7). Samsung has really won us over.
I have now had the Note for 5 months. I have been using it almost daily, especially in my work life. Samsung has finally pushed out the KitKat firmware update and all my lag-type issues are now gone! I am THRILLED. I knew it being a new product when I purchased it that there would be some issues to work out. Samsung has come through like I hoped they would. I have left the rest of my review as it was originally. However, please note, I would not want to give it 4.5 stars any longer. Samsung's amazing product and it's follow-through with firmware updating has definitely earned it a full 5 star rating!
I have had my Note 10.1 2014 for two weeks now and it is everything that I wanted it to be, and more. I had been waiting to buy a tablet, because I wanted one that would help me go paperless. I didn't want one just to surf the web, watch video, or to do all the things on it that I can already do on my smart phone. I wanted more from a tablet, and specifically that was paperless ability. If that is what you want in a tablet, this is the one for you, too.
Other key requirements for me were multitasking ability and stylus usability. The multitasking works pretty well. I'm a huge picture-in-picture fan, and now I can do it on my tablet. Phenomenal! There is no better stylus than one that is fully integrated into your tablet like the SPen is with the Note(s). You can use the stylus instead of typing on the (horrible like all others) tablet keyboard, to write instead of type and have your writing converted to text. This is by far my favorite thing about the Note. I *hate* using tablet keyboards, and now I don't have to!
I take all my notes for meetings, calendar entries, phone call messages, everything that I would have previously used a pen and paper for, now on my Note 10.1. It has required a lot of trial and error to figure out what app I wanted to use the most, which worked best for my needs.
Learning curve for the device:
I have been spending a lot more time on Android forums, specific to the Note 10.1 2014, finding out features I was not figuring out on my own. I watched a lot of youtube tutorial videos when deciding on whether to get the note, and knew there were features used in those videos that I could not figure out. There is a learning curve with this device. You have to be willing to put in some effort to really get everything out of it.
Not pure Android:
I also used forums to discuss changes that have occurred since updating the tablet upon arrival (Android 4.3, Kernel 3.4.39-2040736). Some features are lost or glitched after updating the device, and while that sounds bad, it hasn't been a huge issue. The awesome Ripple Effect that was present on the default lock screen when I first got the Note is now gone and no longer an available feature. This is a disappointment, because it was a neat feature that, simply put, made the display look amazing when unlocking the screen. Obviously, this is just cosmetic. Another issue I'm having is with unsetting a default that I accidentally set. When you navigate web pages or apps sometimes you're prompted to use another app, say for viewing a photo outside your browser for example. The Note will ask you if you want to "always" use the app you choose or if you want to use the app "just once". I found out the hard way that "just once" is the better option, because if you choose "always" for an app, that can cause some issues that no "Default app cleaner" app can fix. This is also not a huge issue, because in my situation it's causing another cosmetic detail issue (I can't change which app I use to crop wallpaper or lockscreen wallpaper photos now), but it is still a minor annoyance and could cause other more irritating issues had I not learned the lesson quickly and on a minor thing. All of these things are software update bugs that should or will probably be worked out over time.
Other things related to this not being pure Android is the relative slow loading speeds. I wouldn't call the device 'laggy', but there is a noticeable delay whenever you try to load anything. And I do mean anything. It's the norm, and a lack of delay is the rare exception. These days, this is not something people tolerate well. I have been using computers for almost 20 years, and have experience with days when systems were *extremely* slow. I think I have more patience for a slower system that others do, which is part of the reason why I went ahead with this device. I knew and expected it to be a little slower. You should too, or you might find yourself a little irritated. It isn't an extreme thing, but it is noticeable.
These issues are always a risk you run when you get away from pure Android. If you have any concerns about software bugs like this causing you too much frustration, you should consider a Nexus or an iPad, as they are 'pure OS' experiences. This is Android with the Samsung software slapped on top of it. There's going to be a few bugs along the way. Not to mention it just came out two months ago. As an IT professional, I should have known not to update so quickly after getting the device, but also I am more tolerant, because my expectations are rational.
If I could give the Note 10.1 2014 a half a star less, making it 4.5 stars, I would purely for the slower functioning and glitchy updates, but I went into the purchase expecting those things, and for that reason I gave it a full 5 stars, because it is meeting all my expectations and exceeding them in other areas. Anything more than what I've got right now would be perfection, and we all know that's not realistic!