My three year old first-gen iPad just doesn't cut it anymore. Actually it stopped cutting it a long time ago, but I've finally given up. I still don't know what i use it for in the first place, but when you're feeling down and stressed there are two kinds of tablets you can take: so went I out and got the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.



side note: I was wondering why that DirectD shop in Subang Jaya opened till 11pm; who goes out to buy gadgets at that hour? I got the answer when I reached there: me and about a hundred other people.


First impressions:

If you can tolerate IOS, get an iPad Air. I can't, so I'm here. As nice as the 16:10 ratio is for watching videos and doing side by side windows, it just feels awkward to hold. It feels off balance in portrait mode, and so you really will just end up using it in landscape mode most of the time.

I haven't got a case (yet), so it's mostly been used held in my hands, and typing, especially IM, is made worse due to the long width.
More irritating is that the tablet is also wide enough that when holding it with two hands, you can't easily reach the menu and back buttons.
I suspect, as with most initial rants, after a week or two, these issues will not bother me so much.

If you're just browsing YouTube or surfing the web or watching movies than those are not really big issues, and most of the time the tablet will be used for that. For actual typing, I'll probably use it with my bluetooth StowAway keyboard so it just needs a stand or case to prop it up at the correct angle.

Otherwise, it's great as an android tablet. It's fast, especially when I popped in my Maxis SIM and ran it on LTE. I didn't experience any of the lagginess that people seem to complain about (except for a slightly long linger when waking up the screen), but then mine came with the firmware already updated, so I guess it was just an issue with the release firmware. It could also be because within 20 minutes I installed the Nova launcher and said goodbye to touchwiz.



It works as a phone too, though you really want a bluetooth headset to use with it. This feature would be useful when travelling as I would not need to carry a second phone when using a local SIM.

The screen is really nice at 2560x1600. It's not an AMOLED though, and there is some bleeding from the lights around the bottom edge when in a completely dark room. Not an issue most of the time.

I've not used the S-Pen yet 8-). Why bother with a Note then, as I could get a Nexus 10 for less than half the price, or wait for the new Tab Pro. Well this has a micro-SD slot that the Nexus 10 doesn't, and the Tab Pro is 2GB whereas this is 3GB. I want as much RAM as I can get my hands on. I guess I'm just going for the hardware here. CyanogenMod might be a good option some time in the future.

I can finally play games I'd previously bought but could not really enjoy as either the screen was too small or I didn't have enough storage space.

Real Racing 3 is gorgeous on this. I've been playing it on my Galaxy Note 3 phone. The game seems to have also stepped up on the graphics on the Note 10.1; all the cars have individual decals and are very detailed and the action feels smother. Not sure why though as the CPU is the same as on the Note 3, and there are more pixels to push on the Note 10.1.

Google Drive also shines on a 10" tablet. With the Stowaway keyboard and a small bluetooth mouse (the microsoft wedge mouse looks nice), it's enough for a mobile office, especially if you already have all your documents organized using it.

I'll be doing a bit of travelling soon and will leave my laptop behind. I'm even tempted to leave my Note smartphone behind, just to see how much I can get done with just this.