Naming scheme aside, you won’t have to wait until next year to check out Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). The 10.1-inch tablet and stylus will go in sale in the United States on October 10, starting at $550 for a 16 GB model.
Samsung actually announced the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) — I’m just going to call it the “new Note 10.1” from here on — at a press event last month, but the news was somewhat buried by the reveal of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 handset and Galaxy Gear smartwatch. It’s a fairly substantial upgrade over the original Note 10.1, which launched about a year ago.
For tech specs, the new Note 10.1 has a 2560-by-1600 resolution display, for double the pixel density of last year’s model, and a faster 1.9 GHz quad-core Exynos processor. RAM gets a boost from 2 GB to 3 GB, which should help with the tablet’s side-by-side app multitasking. Other specs include an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2 megapixel front camera and a microSD card slot. The new Note 10.1 weighs 1.18 pounds and measures 0.31 inches thick, so it’s thinner and lighter than the current iPad. (We’ll see what happens when Apple refreshes its iPad line, probably next month.)
As with last year’s model, the new Note 10.1’s standout feature is its included “S Pen” stylus, which has an active digitizer for palm rejection and pressure sensitivity while writing. Samsung has built more software features for the pen, such as “Pen Window,” which lets you draw a little frame on the screen, and open certain applications (such as notepad) within that space. The tablet’s “S Note” software allows for searchable handwritten notes, and you can turn hand-drawn data into charts and graphs with a feature called “Easy Chart.”
Interestingly enough, Samsung is releasing the new Galaxy Note 10.1 at a higher price than the original. Last year’s model cost $500 at launch — the same as a 16 GB iPad — so the 2014 edition will be $50 more expensive. The 32 GB version will cost $600, the same price as a 32 GB iPad.
Perhaps there’s a trend in the making. Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet is $30 pricier than the first-generation, and Amazon’s 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX is $80 more expensive than the debut price of last year’s version. It makes sense in a way; although the iPad is losing market share, it remains the most-used tablet by far, especially in the United States. In the long run, it behooves tablet makers to create better products that people actually want to use–even it means higher prices.