"It took me many weeks of extensive researching to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Wifi. I realized that this advanced tablet + Costco's unmatched price and after sales services are the best deal. I am glad I made this decision.
Immediately after running the tablet for the first time, it took me just a few seconds to connect to my home Wifi connection and immediately after that I received a notification for a Free upgrade to Android Jelly Bean 4.2 Operating System, which I have read is slightly better and more efficient than the Ice Cream Sandwitch 4.0 that comes factory installed. The upgrade took just a few minutes and the interface is identical with a few small changes which are barely noticeable.
The Wifi is able to work much better than my other Wifi devices that I have used before. For some reason it is able to pick even distant Wifi signals which I have never seen appear on other devices. I am guessing this tablet has a large internal antenna on its large surface.
The box contains the usual worldwide voltage charger, a USB cable that plugs into the charger or a computer for data transfer, and a good quality Leather Sleeve (cover) with the Samsung logo embossed on it. I believe this Leather Sleeve is only available from Costco. However, I didn't find the sleeve useful as it is too tight to remove the tablet from. Instead I bought another cover which is much easier to use and now protects the tablet from bumps and scrapes.
Using the tablet did not require any learning. Its extremely user friendly. Operation is fluid and smooth with no lag in any processing. I installed several apps and even installation only takes just a few seconds.
Both camera's are excellent, however, the flash is too bright for close range pictures. I think that this is a good thing because it allows taking pictures of more distant objects and people in the dark. The front facing camera is also of good quality. Just like all Samsung devices, the camera and it's settings work well. Even the Night mode allows exceptional pictures. The stereo speakers are conveniently placed above the area where we hold the tablet, so as not to block them by our hands. The earphone/mic port is conveniently placed on the top with other ports such as the micro SD card slot and the Infra Red port for controlling TV, Audio and other devices remotely with Peel and other apps.
The tablet is not bulky. I have watched entire movies holding it comfortably. The plastic all around the tablet seems to be built of high quality and the same can be said of the touch screen glass. Even with occasional bumps and scrapes, there is no sign of any scratches or wear and tear. This shows how durable and strong the construction and materials are.
The touch screen is perfect and I have never had a problem with it. The best part is the S-Pen. I used it to drawings, browsing and even writing emails and its amazing. The handwriting recognition does it's job very well. The Air View feature of the S-Pen is similar to holding the mouse cursor on top of objects on computers. You just hold the S-Pen in the air close to the screen and it reads out information about the object. This is very cool.
There are several options for text input with the on-board keyboard, the Swype mode, the speak-to-text mode and the handwriting mode with the S-Pen. Although this is my first tablet, I am amazed by it's battery life. It runs for several days without charging. Of course I use it with the default power saver which includes features such as dimming of display brightness according to ambient light in the room and I turn off all the radios (Wifi, GPS, Bluetooth) by turning on the Airplane Mode when I'm not operating the tablet for several hours, to conserve the battery. Smart-stay is another battery saving feature which uses the front camera to check if any eyes are viewing the tablet and when we look away for a while, it turns off the display to save battery. Smart-stay doesn't work in low light conditions obviously because the front camera is unable to detect the face and eyes in low light.
Watching movies and online videos is really enjoyable. The sound is crisp and the images are clear and colorful. Video playback motion is seamless without any jitters or lag. There are some websites which still use Flash player which does not come with these tablets but we do have an option to install Flash player from Adobe Flash's archive for Android.
Web browsing is quick and smooth although I did experience several browser crashes. One thing I also noticed was that when viewing webpages from the default browser, web-pages appear in a (mobile) format. We have to manually choose the (desktop) option in settings to view websites as they appear on regular computers. Sometimes I prefer desktop version for certain websites and it remains that way every time I visit the same site.
Something I discovered recently was that the screen will remain upright no matter which side we hold it. So we can hold it upside down or any of the two sides and still be able to operate it the same way.
I used a few third party apps to make phone calls using this tablet which is as good as calling from a regular telephone or cellphone. The inbuilt stereo speakers and mic is phenomenal and can be compared with high end laptops. Listening to music is another pleasure. The quality of sound from it's default music player is perfect. It has all the options and settings to adjust to our liking.
All the default apps that come with the tablet are intelligently packaged together for this tablet and it can be further complimented by downloading other apps of out choice, most of which are available for Free.
My conclusion is that if you love your Android smart phone but would like to do more with a similar device with a larger screen for Multimedia and additional options such as the S-Pen, the IR blaster port, powerful processor and a larger battery, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Wifi tablet is the best there is. Its definitely worth the money."