Pricing for the U.S. version of the tablet falls in line with the competition. The 16-GB model will cost $499--same as Apple's iPad--and a 32-GB version sells for just $50 more. (Apple charges $100 more for the same storage jump.) The Galaxy Note 10.1 goes on sale August 16 from a number of electronics retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, H.H. Gregg, Office Depot, and TigerDirect. It ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but will be updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean later this year.
The Note 10.1 uses the same form factor and screen size as Samsung's previous 10-inch tablets, but adds an active digitizer layer to the touchscreen so that it can be used with a stylus. Combine stylus support with Samsung's S Note software, and you have a fairly powerful device.
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Any hardware changes from the previous generation Samsung tablet are barely noticeable, so similar is the design. The Note 10.1 is a wee bit thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but the screen includes the same 1280 x 800 resolution. The processor has been improved to a quad-core 1.4-GHz engine with 2 GB of RAM, and support for microSD cards up to 64 GB.
Samsung is making the Wi-Fi-only version available first. It supports 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS. A version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 with LTE 4G will hit store shelves--including those of AT&T and Verizon--later this year.
The Note 10.1 has a 5-megapixel main camera with a flash and fixed-focus lens, 1.9-MP user-facing camera for video chats, a bevy of ports for connecting to other gear, and a huge 7000-mAh battery to provide for all-day productivity. Last, it contains an accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, and ambient light sensors.
At the introduction, Samsung spent plenty of time going over the powers of the stylus, which it calls the S Pen. Remember, the S Pen first came to market with the Galaxy Note, a large smartphone that went on sale from AT&T earlier this year.
The Note smartphone was the base Samsung used to develop the S Pen, S Memo, and the other related stylus apps. Together, these tools let owners of the Note smartphone--and now the Note 10.1 tablet--use the stylus for text input, taking screen shots, scribbling notes on top of documents, websites, and images, and a wide array of other functions.
Samsung has said that third-party software developers are working to create S Pen-compatible apps, so hopefully the functionality of the Note 10.1 will improve over time.
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