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As I’ve said before, there are a lot of tablets out there to choose from, and today Samsung added another contender to the bunch. Earlier this year, Samsung debuted the Galaxy Note smartphone, a device that seemed to be a cross between a smartphone and a tablet (a "phablet," if you will, as it was dubbed in the industry) with a large 5.3-inch display screen. Despite relatively low expectations, Samsung sold a whopping 10 million units, so it should come as no surprise that they’re continuing to build on the Galaxy Note brand. Today, the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet went on sale at the Union Square Best Buy store in New York City, and numerous other retailers will have the product starting tomorrow.
Unlike its predecessor, this baby is tablet all the way. The 10.1-inch screen is more or less in line with the iPad and other larger-display tablets on the market.
The Galaxy Note Tablet is available in a $499 16 GB version, which comes in dark gray or white, while the step-up 32 GB model (only available in gray) retails for $549. For now, the devices sold in the U.S. are Wi-Fi-only, but Samsung is expected to bring out a 4G LTE cellular model later in the year.
With this latest tablet, Samsung brings over some of the favorite features from the Galaxy Note phablet, including S Pen to draw shapes and craft handwritten notes.
The new 1.3-pound Note boasts some impressive specs, including a 1.4GHz Quad Core processor and 2 GB of internal memory. It's also got a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.9-megapixel front-look camera. The (1280 x 800) screen is sleek and capable of delivering full high-def playback and recording.
Samsung says the tablet can produce roughly 9 hours of battery life. To help conserve power, the Note 10.1 borrows the Smart Stay feature found on the Galaxy S III smartphone, meaning the screen will dim accordingly after a specified time interval.
Critics have said its new multiscreen feature may be the most impressive aspect of the device. At the tap of a button, you can display two apps on the screen side by side or by changing the orientation of the screen, one on top of the other. Pretty cool! But for now, only a half-dozen apps can exploit the multiscreen feature: Email, Browser, Video Player, S Note, Gallery, and the supplied Polaris Office app, which you can use to create and edit Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint slides, and Excel spreadsheets. Samsung plans to open up the multiscreen feature for more apps soon.
So far, limited reviews of the product have been pretty positive. I’ve been hoping for a new tablet (hint, hint to my husband, as my birthday is this month!) and would definitely consider the Note, but would probably prefer to wait until the 4G LTE model is out. The biggest complaint I have with my current Nook is the limitations of Wi-Fi – which I don’t have at home – so I’m not looking for another Wi-Fi tablet.