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Samsung Note 10.1 (2014) 4G Review (P605)

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Mussels, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    Got this little? puppy second hand but unused since some silly boy bought his apple fangirl fiancee something that dared not have iTunes support, and figured - what the hell, so few people know of its functions and capabilities, lets do a little mussels style review of where high end android tablets are at these days.

    One disclaimer:
    Americans think that 4G and LTE are different technologies, but they are not. HSDPA was 3G, HSDPA+ was mislabeled "4G" due to marketing hacks in the USA, and 4G and LTE are the same thing.
    If i mention 4G or LTE in this article, they're the same thing. H+ is the connection i get due to my carrier, and will be referred to as 3G in most cases.

    The looks!
    Sorry for the lower quality in some of these, using the flash just created blinding reflections.

    Tablet and glass screen protector visible
    [​IMG]

    Button layout is exactly the same as S3/4 and note series, but the charging port seems oddly placed for a tablet.

    [​IMG]
    Headphone port and one speaker on the left, Spen and other speaker on the right.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Upside down photo of micro SD and SIM card ports. Since you cant remove the back panel like on the phones, this makes them easier to access, but also easier to be stolen if you're wary of that.
    [​IMG]


    Lots of icons fit on screen, but feels a little spacious. Alternate launchers can adjust the spacing if you want more, or larger icons. The spacing is a compromise so they still look correct if you rotate the device.
    [​IMG]

    Excuse my manly fingers, covered up some contact names. Phone calls have a dialer, but due to extra space contacts and such appear on the side.
    [​IMG]

    The notification drawer on this device has a few little extras due to the size. you can always see what app is running in the background either side, but you're also given brightness and volume control and a few hot-key toggles (you can edit what ones appear here in the settings)

    The hardware:

    In a strange twist, this device is actually a Phablet. This variant not only does data over 3G or 4G, but calls and text as well, although only via headset or speakerphone mode. I tested this briefly, and the person on the other end was not aware of any changes in quality - he said it sounded just like a phone on speaker mode, due to hearing the background noise around me.

    This thing is a beast. the 4G model (P605) has the exact same internals as the galaxy note III - a 2.3GHz quad core processor, 3GB of ram and an Adreno 330 GPU.

    Topping that off is the insane 2560 x 1600 pixel, 10.1 inch LCD at ~299 ppi pixel density. Since its not Super AMOLED like the note III or S series phones, there are a few differences in quality and visibility.
    Primarily you wont get the purple 'smear' on low brightness with black images as the pixels turn off and on, but as a downside its common to get some LCD backlight bleeding near the home button.

    Comes with the S-pen, which is a special stylus that only works on samsung note devices due to the integrated wacom panel inside the devices. Mostly used for making handwritten notes or drawing penises on peoples faces after you take photos of them. The S-Pen does have a button which works when close to the screen, and brings up a small command overlay with various options related to the pens functionality.

    The pen can be used over the screen without touching it, and it shows a little indicator of where the touch will occur. Some apps can be updated to support the S-pen, certain remote desktop apps treat is as a mouse cursor with taps as clicks.

    Interestingly enough this uses a 5.3v charger and not the 5.0v every other Australian Samsung device uses. I hear that the US specific versions of Samsung devices have used the 5.3v for some time, but its unusual on the 4G model, which is normally the international variant of Samsung devices


    My Accesories:

    Official Samsung book cover case. Boring, simple, but very good at what it does. Got mine for $25 shipped, but RRP is a fair bit higher.

    Has a lot of various methods to stand up with, for different purposes.
    [​IMG]

    an 'upside down' mode that works well for watching videos, and leaves the USB port free for accesories. good mode for gaming with a wired device.
    [​IMG]

    side view of my couch, carpet, and the gaming mode above.
    [​IMG]

    "Typing mode" - best used flat on a desk for things like facebook, gives you a full sized keyboard to work with. Doesnt collapse under the pressure of typing or using the screen.
    [​IMG]

    This one i refer to as skype mode - lines the front camera up nicely for video calls, and can be used for media playback as well. There are rubber feet on the base of the case for use in this mode, on my wooden desk, it grips nicely and doesnt feel like it will fall over at all in use.
    [​IMG]


    Glass screen protector from eBay. Far superior to the cheap plastic ones, but more expensive. Highly recommended. Visible in many earlier pictures, its thicker than a regular screen protector but doesnt affect usage of finger or S-pen at all.

    Bonus application guide:
    Best application method is to use window cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean the screen off leaving no dust or fingerprints behind, then place the screen protector down, and line it up perfectly. Use tape on the bottom of the protector to make sure its lined up exactly how you want it, or risk triggering your OCD with it placed on an angle, or covering the camera lens.
    Lift it up from the top, remove the backing from the glass protector and starting from the bottom near the tape, gently place it onto the tablet. Air bubbles can be pressed out - use a plastic tool to lift a corner up gently to allow larger ones to leak out if needed.

    I've got MHL 1.0 cables which work up to 1080p/24, or 720p/60. An MHL 2.0 cable or newer will allow 1080p at 60FPS. These MHL 1.0 cables work just great on my 720p Samsung TV, but on my 1080p sony's they default to 24FPS, which is stuttery and horrible. Get an MHL 2.0 cable if you can.

    HDMI doesn't work the greatest on this tablet due to its silly 16:10 aspect ratio, so if your media files aren't compatible with the stock Samsung video app, expect HDMI output to be cropped with black bars. This affects all 16:10 Samsung devices with HDMI output and there is currently no fix, even for root users.

    Bluetooth works as you'd expect, for headset communications, music, mice and keyboards. Its certainly easier to use than Bluetooth on a windows PC. I've got a Samsung Bluetooth headset with stereo A2DP support for music and a microphone for voice comms, and it works great on this tablet - with media controls-, as does my dinovo edge keyboard.

    Heres some images of my Logitech Dinovo Edge synced up to the phablet - note the mouse cursor, as android fully supports the touchpad on this keyboard.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    USB OTG cables can be used to connect just about anything - USB flash drives, card readers, corded mice and keyboards, USB hubs, and if someones modded drivers a root user can use USB sound cards, 10/100 Ethernet, and various other add-ons. Unfortunately the charging port is placed weirdly on this device making it difficult to use USB while in use - you can get L shaped OTG cables that may alleviate the problem to an extent, but its still something of a design flaw. really should have been on the side for a device designed for landscape mode.
    [​IMG]

    Note that the HTC device there has external power input for powered hard drives, and an ethernet port that works if your ROM and kernel support it (samsung do not, by default)
    [​IMG]

    bad photo, but again - note the mouse cursor.
    [​IMG]

    Actual use:

    Reading and web browsing:

    The super hi res screen does have options that work well here. You can use small text to fit lots on screen, or you can use larger text if you have poor eyesight. Both orientations work well, and using the desktop variants of websites is a very pleasant experience. There are a lot of good E-reader and office apps out there, the screen resolution removes the jaggies present on many lower res e-readers for a more pleasant experience.

    Social media and office functions:

    Tied these two together for one reason, the on screen keyboard. In portrait mode its very large and slower to type with than a phone, albeit more accurate. A basic summary would be its fantastic for reading what others have written, but if you want to write a *lot* - get a physical keyboard of some sort for a faster, more pleasant experience.

    Gaming:

    *orgasm sounds*

    Dropbox folder with uncompressed game screenshots
    These are links due to their uncompressed size, but please remember - i'm seeing this on a 10" screen, so its even better in person. Remember to right click the image and choose 'view original' for the full glory.

    Its fast, its powerful, its crystal clear. There aren't many android games with really great graphics, but they DO exist - and they're damned fun. You can sync up a PS3 controller fairly easily with a cheap, paid app on the play store and enjoy console level gaming. Android master race reporting in with 60FPS gaming at 2560x1600!

    Media playback:
    16:10 aspect ratio has its flaws, but on a black tablet its not so bad - the small extra black borders blend in with the frame of the device, or you can 'stretch' the image ever so slightly in your video player, to fill the whole space. I prefer 'MX player' and manage blu ray rips of anime in 10 bit H264 with positional subtitles just fine with no lag... over wifi to my NAS. (thanks ES file explorer, for your handy compatibility with windows file shares!)

    One bonus to this tablets design over my phones and galaxy tab 3 8.0 is that the new default portrait layout lends stereo speakers to the device - one on each side of the tablet. while gaming this is great as you truly get stereo sound - you know if somethings to the left or the right.

    Samsung Exclusive features:
    Samsung have baked some odd features into their devices over the years, and this device is no different. Some are weird like using the camera to look for your eyes, so it wont power the screen off if you're looking at it, to gestures like swiping your hand across the screen to take a screenshot (which works great, and is how i took the game screenshots above)

    People tend to rant on about touchwiz and its bloated or slow... but its not. you can turn on and off any features you don't like, and disable services you don't want in the built in app manager.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
    AhokZYashA and jmcslob say thanks.
  2. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    If you want anything added, tweaked or modified let me know. This was done for fun, as i researched everything this phabulous device could do.
     
  3. jmcslob

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    I'd like to see a screenshot of Injustice...LOL
    even your icon looks nicer than mine.
     
  4. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    havent played that yet, only just finished dead trigger 1. will do.
     
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  5. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    two injustice screenshots added from the training level. hard to time them right.
     
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