Galaxy Note 10.1 vs Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

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Choice can be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective. Samsung have two 10 inch Android tablets available right now, so is this catering to our needs or just plain confusing?

Samsung are a prolific hardware manufacturer and release a lot of products (not just in the mobile industry) every year. The choice in range is great for those who love to pour over spec sheets and find the perfect fit but for some it can be confusing. At the time of writing Samsung have the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 both sitting in almost the same place in the tablet market and for those who struggle or maybe just don’t have the time, figuring out which is better or just right for you may be tough. So let’s put them side by side and try to pick a winner.

Operating System

  Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Version Android 4.0 ICS (upgrade to Jelly Bean expected soon) Android 4.0 ICS (upgrade to Jelly Bean expected soon)
Skin TouchWiz TouchWiz

Result – DRAW As expected both devices are running the highest available version of Android that Samsung are currently supporting with their TouchWiz skin. An official stable 4.1 release for either device is not yet available but expect them both to appear at similar times.

Raw Power

Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Processor 1 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4412

Result – Note 10.1 No two ways about it, the Note 10.1 is way ahead of the Tab 2 10.1 in terms of punching power. It’s worth noting that several reviews also mark the Note 10.1 as setting new benchmark highs for graphics performance on an Android Tablet.


Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Resolution WXGA 1280 x 800 WXGA 1280 x 800
Glass Corning Gorilla Glass Corning Gorilla Glass

Result – DRAW It’s the same display which is to be expected with both tablets being in the same range from the same manufacturer. Not much to say here apart from it’s a high quality, bright and scratch resistant screen on both devices.


Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Bluetooth 3.0 4.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
Power / USB Connector Proprietary 30 pin Proprietary 30 pin
Card slot MicroSD MicroSD

Result – Note 10.1 Practically the same but the Note 10.1 edges things by including Bluetooth 4 support. It’s not a massive difference but version 4 includes new low energy protocols which makes the Note 10.1 more suitable as a constant Bluetooth hub or for those who regularly use Bluetooth apps for sharing data between devices.


Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Megapixels 3 MP 5 MP
Flash LED Flash & autofocus LED Flash & autofocus
Front Facing Camera 0.3 MP 1.9 MP

Result – Note 10.1 The Note 10.1 also takes this round with both main and front facing cameras having an improved resolution.


Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Dimensions (inches) 10.1 x 6.9 x 0.38 10.3 x 7.1 x 0.35
Weight 588g 597g

Result – DRAW Although the Tab 2 is the marginally smaller and lighter of the two devices, the Note 10.1 has to include a slot for the S-Pen stylus to fit which invariably adds a bit of width but the tablet as a whole is actually slightly thinner. The differences and the reasons for them effectively cancel each other out. Coming from the same Galaxy range means both devices look and feel quite similar and colour is always a personal choice. I wouldn’t pick between these two on looks alone for sure.


Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
Capacity 7000 mAh 7000 mAh
Removable Yes Yes

Result – DRAW Like the display round, what we have here is the same Samsung part being used. As always the actual battery life and performance of each device is going to vary depending on personal use – time spent on 3G / WiFi, gaming, using high power background applications etc. The higher clocked quad-core processor in the Note 10.1 has the potential to drain the battery faster than the Tab 2’s dual-core offering, which may be worth considering.


Tab 2 10.1 Note 10.1
16 GB WiFi £264 ex VAT £335 ex VAT
16 GB WiFi / 3G £349 ex VAT £420 ex VAT

Result – Tab 2 10.1 The Tab 2 is the cheaper device and Samsung have intentionally made it so to ease differentiating the two tablets. The reasons for this can be seen in the basic power specs alone along with the Note 10.1’s higher end camera, inclusion of the S-Pen and extra software that makes use of it.


The two tablets are actually quite tough to pull apart; in terms of the average user experience many would be hard pushed to tell the difference due to the identical operating system, interface and similar design. The differences lie where the power user will be interested. A faster processor and increased memory ensures the Note 10.1 has a longer lifespan and will remain ‘relevant’ as a higher end product for a longer time. Also as Android continues to develop and more powerful apps are released, the extra power will be better utilised whilst the Tab 2 10.1 is left behind.

Also no comparison here would be complete without another mention of the Note 10.1’s S-Pen. Samsung’s stylus makes writing, note taking and drawing a breeze and offers a much richer interaction. Its inclusion arguably justifies the extra cost over a Tab 2 10.1 with the same storage space without taking into account the increased power.

At the end of the day the proof is in the price. If you want a high quality 10 inch Android tablet for today and also want to save a bit of cash then you can’t really go wrong with the Tab 2 10.1. However if you want the knowledge that you’ve bought the best available device in the range, as future proofed as possible and with an extra toy on the side to show off with then spend that little bit extra and go for the Note 10.1.

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