Samsung has just launched the Galaxy Note 10.1 in the USA. You may have seen its international launch last week, and by now you are probably familiar with the overall hardware specs (quad-core, 2GB, front speaker ect…), but with this launch, we finally get the official pricing of the Galaxy Note 10.1: $499 for the 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB one. Both devices can accept a microSD card of up to 64GB in addition to the 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Samsung has also confirmed that the Note 10.1 will be upgraded to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) the year’s end.
The pricing suggests that Samsung considers this to be their high-end tablet, and the company has promised a copious advertising campaign to make the public aware of this new Galaxy Note. Keep an eye open in electronics retail places as they may feature the Note 10.1 in hands-on demonstrations. Also this is a “hard launch”, so the Galaxy Note 10.1 will be in store as early as tomorrow (Aug 16th) in places like Amazon, BestBuy, Office Depot or Tiger Direct, Samsung told us.
We had a chance to play with the US version, and it is clear that the device has changed a lot since the concept was first demonstrated to our team at Mobile World Congress. Everything is faster and the new Exynos quad-core chip has certainly something to do with it. However, it seems obvious that Samsung had time to optimize the software and user interface as well. The virtual “ink” is much faster and a lot of the software integration has been quite polished to offer a good experience with both the fingers and the S-Pen.
If you are not familiar with the S-Pen and the Galaxy note family, the overall idea is that the Galaxy Note 10.1 works and feels like other high-end tablet for content consumption, but the S-pen adds a new dimension to it by enabling content creation in a way that no other tablet can, not even the iPad: a pressure-sensitive pen.
To achieve that, the S-pen is pressure-sensitive, so the harder you press, and the larger or darker the ink is going to be. This is a much more natural way of doing things, if you are into drawing and taking notes. The Galaxy Note display uses the same pen-sensing technology than Wacom tablets used by graphic artists.
But the Galaxy Note 10.1 is *not* designed as a tablet “for artists”. First and foremost, it is meant as a note-taking and productivity tool for everyone. So far, we’ve been pretty impressed with the S-Pen as a technology, but we’ll reserve judgment for our full review of the Galaxy Note 10.1. There are a ton of details that you will want to know about — stay tuned!