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Camera, Display, And Speakers

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Review: Wi-Fi Vs. LTE
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While we don't like to use tablets to take pictures or record video, there are folks out there who don't seem to mind the awkwardness of holding a big device up in front of them. Thankfully, those who do can rest assured knowing that the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014's camera is decent. While it isn't going to rival a DSLR, point-and-shoot or, probably even the camera on your current smartphone, it produces stills and video that most people would find satisfactory.

With 8 MP still-image and 1080p video capabilities, the camera on the Note 10.1 2014 doesn't bring any new technology to the table. Colors on stills is fairly accurate, noise is tolerable, and sharpness is OK. For 1080p video, motion blur is surprisingly low, and sound is recorded at a quality slightly below that of flagship smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) Video

Overall, if you absolutely insist on using the camera on the Note 10.1 2014, it does a fine job. However, as mentioned, you're going to get better results using a smartphone or purpose-built camera.

While Samsung does have a love affair with AMOLED displays, the company certainly makes it clear that it isn't averse to using other display technologies. This is the case with the Note 10.1 2014, which comes equipped with a TFT LCD panel. The million-dollar question for many people is whether it has a PenTile screen. The short answer is yes; but it isn't the PenTile you might be used to.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is equipped with a RGBW display. In the past, older AMOLED displays had the RGBG arrangement, meaning that there were two subpixels for every pixel, rather than the three in RGB. With the Note 10.1 2014's LCD, the RGBW display also sports only two subpixels for every pixel. But this time, it introduces a white subpixel every other pixel instead of having two greens per pixel. The goal is to increase luminosity.

This isn't the first time we've seen a PenTile RGBW display, which was on the Motorola Atrix 4G. While we weren't fans of the PenTile arrangement then—and, in some ways, still not this time around—the brute force of almost 300 PPI makes the odd aliasing on past AMOLED screens (especially around greens) almost unnoticeable.

I would have preferred a regular RGB LCD IPS display, but the Note 10.1 2014's screen provides a respectable experience for watching movies, looking at pictures, and browsing the Web. It features rich colors, wide viewing angles, good brightness, and surprisingly dark blacks for a TFT LCD display. Just load up a 1440p video on the 2560x1600 screen and it becomes easy to overlook the screen's faults.

We're extremely happy to see the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 equipped with dual stereo speakers, which is something we haven't seen on Samsung smartphones yet. However, while competitors are now touting this as a big-ticket feature, Samsung pioneered front-facing stereo speakers on tablets. But unlike previous Galaxy tablets, the Note 10.1 2014's speakers are side-firing, rather than the more optimal front-firing kind. With that said, we're still pleased with the output quality. The speakers are smartly placed to avoid getting covered as you hold on to the tablet.

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  • -3 Hide
    blackmagnum , July 8, 2014 1:05 AM
    The only possible way Samsung mobile devices can be a worthwhile alternative to Apple is when they ditch the every-man Android and create their own tightly controlled/ managed OS like Apple. Do that and consumers might not feel like they're just buying the Samsung for the hardware.
  • 0 Hide
    Farrwalker , July 8, 2014 8:33 AM
    On page 7. Results: CPU Core Benchmarks:
    Your bar graph "MobileXPRT 2013" seems to be in error.
    For example, the text says, "Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Wi-Fi leads with 300 points . . ."
    but the bar is the shortest and indicates less than 150 points.
  • 0 Hide
    blueer03 , July 8, 2014 9:30 AM
    You need to proofread this big time. From page 9:
    Samsung's Exynos-based Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Wi-Fi holds its own against the Tegra Note 7, while the LTE version of the Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) again falls significantly behind its Snapdragon 800-powered Wi-Fi counterpart.

    And this happens all throughout. The LTE is a Snapdragon, the Wifi is an Exynos. Keep repeating that to yourself as you re-write the descriptions and it will make this easier to read.
  • 1 Hide
    Kevin Harrelson , July 8, 2014 9:54 AM
    We got one of these for my son (age 13) to help with his school work. We got it from Best Buy and got the extended warranty. Both sound dumb, but it was actually a good move! The backlight has gone out on this thing TWICE. I happen to think that it is a lovely little tablet, but the backlight is a major reliability issue.
  • 1 Hide
    adamovera , July 8, 2014 10:48 AM
    Quote:
    On page 7. Results: CPU Core Benchmarks:
    Your bar graph "MobileXPRT 2013" seems to be in error. For example, the text says, "Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Wi-Fi leads with 300 points . . ." but the bar is the shortest and indicates less than 150 points.

    This benchmark's sub-tests produce scores in seconds (lower is better), and the overall score is given as a typical higher-is-better score, so the lowest bar indicates the fastest completion. Sorry about the confusion, I'll look into other ways to represent this test.
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , July 8, 2014 10:51 AM
    Quote:
    You need to proofread this big time. From page 9:
    Samsung's Exynos-based Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Wi-Fi holds its own against the Tegra Note 7, while the LTE version of the Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) again falls significantly behind its Snapdragon 800-powered Wi-Fi counterpart.
    And this happens all throughout. The LTE is a Snapdragon, the Wifi is an Exynos. Keep repeating that to yourself as you re-write the descriptions and it will make this easier to read.

    Good catch, thanks! Fixed.
  • 0 Hide
    Tomtompiper , July 8, 2014 1:30 PM
    The 2014 is almost 5 months old and has been superseded by the Amoled screened Galaxy Tab S 10.1 which wipes the floor with the opposition. http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_tab_s_105-review-1097.php Do try to keep up!
  • 3 Hide
    adamovera , July 8, 2014 2:06 PM
    Quote:
    The 2014 is almost 5 months old and has been superseded by the Amoled screened Galaxy Tab S 10.1 which wipes the floor with the opposition. http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_tab_s_105-review-1097.php Do try to keep up!

    Actually, you'd think this has been phased out, but it's the current 10-inch Galaxy "Note" product, meaning it has the S Pen. The Galaxy "Tab" S does not - still unclear to me what makes the "S" stand out. I believe Samsung is literally attempting to offer an alternative product to every single other device in existence - complete mobile domination. I lost count of their current "Galaxy" line at 11 products, and that was awhile back.

    The duo of Note 10.1 (2014)'s came in very handy both as comparison data in other articles and as testbeds for compiling our benchmark suite. Unfortunately, the article had to be pushed back several times, but the huge hardware difference between products carrying the same name was always something we wanted to illustrate, initially for the chipset-vs-chipset angle, but later for the optimization aspect as well. We're currently working through a small backlog of mobility articles, but each will be more timely than the last. My apologies.
  • 1 Hide
    Blazer1985 , July 8, 2014 6:22 PM
    I really wish Samsung could help the end user distinguish what they are buying. The 2 Note are classified as "LTE" and "WIFI ONLY" which sounds like 2 equal devices except for the sim card slot while they actually have a totally different soc.
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , July 8, 2014 9:03 PM
    ... and Samsung prices are now on par with Apple's. others are okay. Will wait for Asus and other competition. Should be cheaper though...
  • -2 Hide
    Ninjawithagun , July 9, 2014 6:53 AM
    These benchmarks are fundamentally flawed. No where is there mention that both the Nexus and Apple iPad Air use lower resolution displays, which dramatically reduces the overall load on the CPU and GPU vs. the Samsung Note devices. The benchmarks are completely useless since an "apples-to-oranges" comparison is not a valid methodology for comparing these uniquely different tablets. And why was the new Samsung Tab S used instead of the year old 2014 Edition versions? Another "fail" on behalf of the author.
  • 0 Hide
    godnodog , July 9, 2014 11:23 AM
    As a user of the Note 10.1 2012, I have to strongly disagree with the new multitasking sytem, as it is clearly a step backwards from what it used to be, now you can ONLY have 2 windows opened, as I, by not installing the update, can have 4 / 5 / 6 opened, obviously I don´t have them opened, but I frequently have 3 windows opened simultaniously, wich now I can´t have. Also it apperars that the multitask is no longer floating, agains mine that still does. I have experienced no problem whatsoever like you described "were slow, unresponsive, or just plain bad".
  • 1 Hide
    wiltjk , July 10, 2014 7:18 PM
    A key point of your review is that this is about a "pen" tablet. Not having used a physical keyboard since 2003, I am pleased to see some alternatives to the Intel/Windows dominated offerings.

    It is a good review for apples to apples on the Samsung hardware options.

    Would you suggest that this is "as-good-as-it-gets" for the few who prefer pen-based tablets? Any foresight in other pen based tablets?
  • 0 Hide
    Zarathvstra , July 11, 2014 2:23 AM
    Quote:
    These benchmarks are fundamentally flawed. No where is there mention that both the Nexus and Apple iPad Air use lower resolution displays, which dramatically reduces the overall load on the CPU vs. the Samsung Note devices. The benchmarks are completely useless since an "apples-to-oranges" comparison is not a valid methodology for comparing these uniquely different tablets. And why was the new Samsung Tab S used instead of the year old 2014 Edition versions? Another "fail" on behalf of the author.


    Ninjawithagun,
    Tablets are not modular like a pc... whilst it may have been good for the author the resolution issue with these benchmarks, an apples to apples comparison of the individual components would NOT help the user decide which unit as a whole is the fastest as indeed, they are NOT modular.
  • 0 Hide
    Ninjawithagun , July 12, 2014 8:46 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    These benchmarks are fundamentally flawed. No where is there mention that both the Nexus and Apple iPad Air use lower resolution displays, which dramatically reduces the overall load on the CPU vs. the Samsung Note devices. The benchmarks are completely useless since an "apples-to-oranges" comparison is not a valid methodology for comparing these uniquely different tablets. And why was the new Samsung Tab S used instead of the year old 2014 Edition versions? Another "fail" on behalf of the author.


    Ninjawithagun,
    Tablets are not modular like a pc... whilst it may have been good for the author the resolution issue with these benchmarks, an apples to apples comparison of the individual components would NOT help the user decide which unit as a whole is the fastest as indeed, they are NOT modular.


    Not true. Most (not all) tablets are in fact modular in that the CPU and GPU operate independently of one another. Case in point, the Apple A7 uses a dual-core 64-bit SOC processor and PowerVR G6430 graphics chip. The Samsung uses the Exynos 5 Octa processor with a Mali-T628 MP6 graphics chip. Your definition of modular is fundamentally flawed in that you think it pertains to physical ability for individual items to removed/replaced. Modular infers to the actual architecture of the system in that several different parts from different manufactures are integrated together to function as a whole unit.
  • 0 Hide
    Zarathvstra , July 12, 2014 6:04 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    These benchmarks are fundamentally flawed. No where is there mention that both the Nexus and Apple iPad Air use lower resolution displays, which dramatically reduces the overall load on the CPU vs. the Samsung Note devices. The benchmarks are completely useless since an "apples-to-oranges" comparison is not a valid methodology for comparing these uniquely different tablets. And why was the new Samsung Tab S used instead of the year old 2014 Edition versions? Another "fail" on behalf of the author.


    Ninjawithagun,
    Tablets are not modular like a pc... whilst it may have been good for the author the resolution issue with these benchmarks, an apples to apples comparison of the individual components would NOT help the user decide which unit as a whole is the fastest as indeed, they are NOT modular.


    Not true. Most (not all) tablets are in fact modular in that the CPU and GPU operate independently of one another. Case in point, the Apple A7 uses a dual-core 64-bit SOC processor and PowerVR G6430 graphics chip. The Samsung uses the Exynos 5 Octa processor with a Mali-T628 MP6 graphics chip. Your definition of modular is fundamentally flawed in that you think it pertains to physical ability for individual items to removed/replaced. Modular infers to the actual architecture of the system in that several different parts from different manufactures are integrated together to function as a whole unit.


    This does not argue to the point. Here's a fact and the crux of the matter... An apples to apples comparison of gpu's and processors does NOT tell the user how apps will perform on tablet x when constrained by their other components be it amount of ram, screen res, gpu, cpu etc.

    i.e. benchmarks are not "fundamentally flawed" (nor is my understanding and use of the term modular)
  • 1 Hide
    apertotes , July 14, 2014 4:36 AM
    I think it is deceiving to not point out on the table on first page that memory can easily be expanded with a cheap microsd card. It is not 16/32 gb, it's 16/32+128 gb.
  • 0 Hide
    szalkerous , July 16, 2014 9:21 AM
    At first I thought there was something new, and I realized this is a review for a tablet I bought last year.

    FYI, the KitKat update makes the SD card practically useless. Rooting these tablets is frustrating at best, and the KNOX system is the most terrible idea Samsung ever came up with.

    Looking back, I should have gotten a Nexus.
  • 0 Hide
    apertotes , July 16, 2014 10:06 AM
    Quote:

    FYI, the KitKat update makes the SD card practically useless.


    How can it be useless having 128 gb for music and videos/pictures? Maybe you can afford spotify and paying 15 dollars every month for an upgraded dropbox account, but many people don't, or even if they do, they do not have a reliable LTE signal 24/7.

  • 0 Hide
    SoPhat VaThana , July 17, 2014 1:29 AM
    good
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