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Christmas Gift Guide

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 improves its writing craft

Holster it

New tricks

Closer look

Classic colors

No place like Home

Business casual

Rear view

Speaker system

MicroSD storage

New interface

Creative control

More than one way to sketch

State of the screen

Multimedia handling

Camera action

Portability is king

The updated Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 packages upscale tablet specs with a suite of apps aimed at putting the S Pen stylus to work.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The S Pen gets a bit of a design refresh, but remains about the same, with a button on the side and a holster built into the slate.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Sliding the S Pen out of its cubby pulls up a cluster of shortcuts for both new and familiar tasks.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The S Pen sports a plastic tip, clicking button, and comfortable in-hand grip.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
You'll be able to get the Note 10.1 in either black or white.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The Home button is responsive enough that you can press it with the S Pen. The same goes for the capacitive menu and back buttons on either side.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
How does Samsung define its new generation of Notes, including the Note 3 smartphone? With a finish that mimics leather and stitching.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The move to matte deters fingerprint smudges, but the patterned plastic is more slippery than it looks and can't quite achieve the verisimilitude of the real deal.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
You won't see the Note tablet's speaker grille on its face, but you will find a stereo comb integrated into the spines.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The Note 10.1 (2014) comes in 16GB or 32GB varieties, but you'll be able to easily store all sorts of media on the external memory card -- up to 64GB, in fact.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
S Note's new interface is elegant and clean.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Using the S Note app, the stylus still serves your creative whims. Lined templates lend themselves to to-do lists and meeting notes.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Charts and clip art complement your own artistry, and extra tools turn writing and wobbly scribbles into text, formulas, and geometric shapes.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Samsung updated the Note's screen to give it a bright, crisp resolution with a high pixel count.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
HD content, like this YouTube clip, played back beautifully.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The 8-megapixel camera took nice photos, but there is something inherently awkward about photographing people and objects with a 10-inch device.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
For a 10-inch tablet, the Note 10.1 is surprisingly totable. The bezel is large enough to hold onto, without taking up excess space.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Updated:
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