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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1: Should you get it over an iPad?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 doesn't pack the same quality display as the iPad. But it does have something Apple doesn't: a stylus. 

By Matthew Shaer / August 15, 2012

Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, unveils the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 at an event in New York.

Reuters

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Samsung, which is beating Apple in the global smartphone race, today announced the Thursday launch of the Galaxy Note 10.1 – a tablet designed to compete directly against the Apple iPad. The Galaxy Note 10.1, as the name indicates, will ship with a 10-inch screen, a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, and 2GB of internal RAM.

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As the Associated Press notes, Apple's iPad offers better display resolution. But the Galaxy Note 10.1 has something the iPad does not: a digital pen, or stylus, which can be used to scribble notes or draw pictures and diagrams. For that reason, the Note 10.1 has been billed by Samsung as the perfect tablet for students and design professionals. (In addition, the tablet is capable of running two apps side-by-side, in split-screen mode – key for multitaskers.) 

The Note 10.1 will retail at two price points: $499 for the 16GB model and $549 for 32GB. So how does the device stack up? Well, the Note 10.1 has received generally high marks from critics, who have praised the under-the-hood processing power and accessible UI. 

The Note "works smoothly and quickly, and the stylus and split-screen features perform as promised," writes Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. "However, I found its battery life to be much lower than the iPad's, and some of Samsung's software to be overly complicated. Plus, even Samsung concedes that the key differentiator, the pen, isn't likely to be used by most people most of the time."

Bottom line from Mossberg: The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a "better choice than the iPad for people who value the stylus or split-screen capability, or for those who prefer Android." 

But over at Engadget, Joseph Volpe wonders if Samsung didn't overestimate how much consumers will be willing to pay for a stylus-controlled tablet. "To seal the deal and move units off shelves, Samsung should've priced the Note 10.1 at about $100 less," Volpe writes. "Instead, it stands on even retail ground with higher-end rivals, forcing you, the consumer, to choose between the finger and the pen.

For more on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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