Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 did a great job of combining a brilliant, high-definition display, a powerful processor and that all-important stylus into a just-about pocketable size. If you want even more screen real estate for Web browsing or watching movies, the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note might be just the thing for you.
It packs a whopping 2,600x1,600-pixel display, a supercharged processor, Android 4.3 software and the stylus for hand-writing notes, or sketching when you're bored.
At £399, it's far from cheap, and it's going head to head against the newly updated Apple iPad Air, which also costs £399 for 16GB of storage, with Wi-Fi only. Is the addition of the stylus enough to make the plastic-bodied Note a worthy purchase over the sleek, metal iPad?
Design and build quality
Samsung has given its 10-inch Note tablet the same visual updates as the Note 3. The glossy back has been tossed out, replaced with a leather-effect back panel, complete with fake stitching. The effect is fairly convincing when you see it in pictures, but up close, it's more obvious that it's just plastic masquerading as luxurious dead cow.
While the Note 3 phone has a slight rubberised feel to it, the Note 10.1's back is plain plastic that feels scratchy and cheap to hold. It's not unattractive, however, and the silver edging is stylish enough. Its plastic construction certainly doesn't look or feel as sleek as the iPad Air's skinny metal body though.
As a 10-inch slate, you won't be able to hold it up in one hand for any length of time, but it's comfortable enough to hold in two hands whilst watching Netflix without getting terrible wrist ache. It's marginally heavier than the iPad Air, although you'll easily be able to chuck it into a bag and whisk it off on your travels.
Around the edge you'll spot a volume and power button, stereo speakers on either side (powerful enough for tunes in the kitchen but they won't power your party), a 3.5mm headphone jack and an infrared blaster to control your TV. There's also a microSD card slot to expand the 16GB of internal storage.
The Note 10.1 comes with a 2,560x1,600-pixel resolution, which is a whopping amount of pixels to shove into a screen. By comparison, the previous model had a 1,280x800-pixel display, so there's been a significant improvement. The iPad Air has a slightly lesser 2,048x1,500-pixel resolution, but side by side, you won't be able to tell the difference.
Icons, small text and high resolution photos all look brilliantly crisp. The tightly-packed pixels make it a great screen for reading ebooks on, although if that's all you want it for, you could save yourself a bundle and just buy a Kindle.
It's bright though and has very vivid colours. Colourful apps like Angry Birds are extremely vibrant and the deep blue skies in my favourite test video Art of Flight looked deliciously bold. At times, it bordered a little on the oversaturated, which did make some of my own photos look a bit unnatural. There are selectable colour profiles though, which I advise you make use of if you prefer more realistic colours.
Overall, it looks great and will cope brilliantly whether you're editing spreadsheets in QuickOffice or watching Breaking Bad on Netflix.
S Pen stylus
Like the rest of the Note range, the 10.1 comes with a little stylus, tucked into its right hand edge. The Note's S Pen, as it's known, is specifically designed for the display and has a very fine tip, unlike third-party styluses, which use wide, spongey tips to be compatible with any display. The S Pen therefore has much greater accuracy.
As such, it's very easy to write notes in Samsung's S Note app or sketch out doodles or rude drawings in AutoDesk's Sketchbook. I personally find it an extremely useful tool, particularly when using the slate as a work device, making notes in meetings.
Including its note-taking app, Samsung has thrown in a few software tweaks to help you make the most of it. Removing the stylus will bring up a wheel, which allows you to write a phone number, email address or a search term in a box, then select whether to call, text, email or search for what you've written.
There are a host of tasks you can perform with the pen. I found I didn't really use them much, mostly because it was difficult to even remember they existed, but you might find them more helpful in your own use.