Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 will be more useful than an iPad

Features Paul Briden 16:17, 6 Aug 2012

We take a look at what features will make the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 a genuinely useful tablet

Samsung just announced the Galaxy Note 10.1 will be landing in shops by the end of August and with that announcement is a promotional video showing all the clever stuff you can do on it.

We’ve previously written at length on the productivity element of its smaller cousin, the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note smartphone, but there are a number of new features in the 10.1-inch slate which make it an even better device for those looking to get things done on the move.

In this article we’ll break down some of the most interesting and useful features built into the tablet.

Multiscreen multitasking

One of the most significant changes is something we haven’t seen on Android before. Samsung has clearly been watching Microsoft’s Windows 8 announcements while thinking about how to maximise the potential of that vast 10.1-inch display.

For starters, the Note 10.1 will be running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0 at launch, complete with the built-in fast app-switcher carousel function.

This means that just like any other device running ICS or Jelly Bean you’ll be able to jump between running and recently opened apps quickly, as well as close them with a swipe.

However, going one further than that, Samsung has added a multiscreen function to the Note 10.1’s build of the TouchWiz interface, which allows you to divide the screen space between two apps, where you can run them and interact with them both simultaneously.

Better still, Samsung has brought in its Pop-Up Play video feature from the Galaxy S3, which means you can play video in a moveable box that can be moved anywhere on the screen and which stays over the top of running applications. The Pop-Up Play windows can be expanded and shrunk with a pinch gesture too.

One particularly interesting addition is that the touch keyboard can be pinched to shrink down to half-screen size and then shifted across into one of your two open applications – a neat little trick to give you much more flexibility.

As with the original Note smartphone you can still bring up S-Notes and S-Memos over any running application with a double tap of the stylus, allowing you to make notes and grab content from your other windows.

Added S-Pen and S-Memo functions

Samsung has added some more nifty features to the S-Pen’s capabilities.

These were also added to the existing Note smartphone in the last update which brought it up to Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but they’re still worth mentioning here simply because no other tablet has them.

You can now select ‘shape match’, a mode where any line you draw will be automatically straightened out, ‘formula match’ which detects and neatens up written formulae, or ‘handwriting-to-text’, a mode where written text is automatically converted to a typed font.

As before, you can set the pen to a number of different modes including a brush or a highlighter and also adjust the line thickness and colour, but now you can also save these settings as a custom preset which is a tremendously useful addition.

Selecting, cutting, copying and pasting seems to be more streamlined even than on the updated Note phone, which is a welcome and much-needed change.

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