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THE Tablet for Students, but Great for All
on August 18, 2012
Review updated 2/5/2013. I ordered this tablet immediately when Amazon posted it with 1-day shipping and as of 7/20/2013 I haven't had any issues as a few users seem to have reported. Don't get discouraged if you get a lemon; just return it for another - Amazon has free returns/replacements in such cases.
* Hand Written Notes
- S Notes - Exports to PDF and also JPG. It has templates for various types of productivity. My favorites are the ruled paper, the meeting template (date, time, attendees, meeting notes) and the recipe template (I can imagine this being very useful for the kitchen, propped up in a case).
- Papyrus Beta - This free application is very nice and similar to S Note but has normal paper templates such as College Ruled, Wide Ruled, Narrow Ruled, Blank and 4 different Graph Paper types.
- ezPDF - Costs $3 and is what you'll probably want to make annotations on lecture slides and whatnot.
- MOST applications allow you to rest your palm on the tablet while writing, others are not as well written. This all depends on the author of a specific app.
- SOME applications have nice erasers. Some times you can press the button on the S Pen to erase instead of write and some times you can just use your finger to erase while using the S Pen to write. This all depends on the author of a specific application.
* Hand Writing Instead of Typing - The default keyboard has an option that lets you hand write in any input field instead of typing. Long-press the settings (gear) button on the keyboard to select the T button which enables hand writing. Please see the User Images of this product for a good example of this.
* Multitasking (updated 2/5/2013) - Within the past week I've noticed a number of apps I use get multi-screen support so it's much less limited and a gimmick, now. I can easily be taking notes on one half of the screen while browsing or chatting or whatever on the other half. With more apps supporting the feature now it's a much larger factor in whether or not to buy.
* GPS - Fast and accurate. I am currently on the first floor of a two-story apartment building about ten feet away from the outer wall (sliding glass door) and Google Maps had my position within 40 meters almost instantly after turning on the GPS receiver. Within 35ish seconds it had my position accurate to 10 meters.
* S Pen - Comfortable to hold (I'm a 5'10" tall guy and have normal sized hands). There's an odd button on the side which adds extra functionality with certain gestures. I have no idea how it works because I'm pretty sure the S Pen isn't powered in any way, but it's more than just a stylus.
* Screen - Very sensitive. I've been taking notes for half of my classes on my tablet and it works well. I usually have the brightness set to 10-15% or slightly less in classrooms or at home because that's all I really need but also to conserve battery life.
* Battery - While leaving it on all the time, wifi off when not using it, I manage to only charge my Note 10.1 once a week. Standard usage includes notes during seven hours of lecture each week and using it periodically throughout the day or in the evening.
- To really stretch your battery life you'll need to disable some apps. I disabled Google+ and some of the default/Samsung apps that come with the device in Settings->Application Manager. As of 2/5/2013 I'm still getting ~7 days out of one charge with moderate usage.
* Build Quality - Standard Samsung quality. The case has a lot of plastic and the back gives a little if you push on it but it definitely feels solid. Now that it's in a case the build quality doesn't matter any more.
- Very smooth. I updated about 10 apps at the same time in the market, an operation which would nearly cripple my Galaxy S until it was done, and I couldn't tell any difference in the smoothness of the Note 10.1. While I was exploring I ended up having 15-20 applications open at the same time but again I couldn't tell any difference.
- Coming from a Galaxy S phone and hardly ever using a tablet before, I'm amazed by how fast this thing boots/restarts.
* Wifi - No complaints. It connects quickly and hasn't had any issues.
* Sound - Good, loud and scared my cat when I started something on Google Play. She looked around like she does when our surround sound is on because she doesn't understand what was making such a noise. I can't tell any difference in quality between it and my laptop when watching the same video on both (the laptop was ~$1700 before a coupon).
* Rooting Friendly - Check out the forum for this tablet on xda developers for info. This device already has developers that say they'll work on it and I'm sure more will sign up because the Note 10.1 stands out among the crowd.
* Universal Remote / IR Blaster
- Works well enough. I'm going to sell my Logitech Harmony One universal remote because the Peel application works but could be nicer. With my Harmony One I could set up custom activities like Listen to Radio on my Onkyo receiver but the Peel application only has standard actions like Watch Bluray. I can still set it to play the radio but it's buried in the menus.
- Great cable TV interface. We don't watch/have cable, but if you tell it what service you have it'll tell you what is currently playing, what will be playing and provides customized content based on the preferences you specify. It works with DVRs so I imagine you can manage all of that from the Peel application as well.
* Cameras - Amazon removed the images I posted for some reason so just take my word that the cameras work well. Both the front 1.9MP camera and 5MP camera fully live up to their specs.
* The Wife - Now that I've set it up the way I like it she won't put it down. You may not want your not-so-techie spouse to love it, but at least my wife won't be complaining that I spent $550 on it and then another nearly $100 on accessories =)
* SwitchMe App - When set up properly, if your tablet is rooted, this free application will give your Android device multiple profiles. Normally an Android device can only have one primary Google account to use with Google specific applications and whatnot, but this allows you to have separate profiles with separate accounts and separate applications.
Note: If you're going to use the SwitchMe app, DO NOT clone one profile to create another. Just set up a completely new profile.