Android tablets are fluid, slick and powerful, and are making waves among tech enthusiasts. But is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 suitable for digital artists?
Price: £375 Company: Samsung Web: www.samsung.com Contact: +44 (0)1932 454358
Android phones may have eclipsed the iPhone, but the iPad is still ahead in the tablet market – just.
Apple’s device accounted for 52 per cent of tablet sales so far in 2012, but Android is catching up at 48 per cent, according to the Pew Research Center.
After a shaky start the Android tablet has matured, thanks in no small part to premium devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1.
A huge element of the iPad’s success has been the manner in which Apple has marketed the device to digital artists, and app developers have helped, too.
Major players such as Adobe and Autodesk found miniaturised but powerful versions of their products (Photoshop and SketchBook, respectively) listed alongside indie newcomers ArtStudio and Brushes in the App Store.
Android’s Play Store is similarly stocked with art apps, including both Adobe and Autodesk’s products.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 feels squarely targeted at these digital artists. It comes with a nifty stylus, dubbed the S Pen, which neatly tucks into the main body of the device.
The full version of Adobe Photoshop Touch is pre-installed, as well as Samsung’s bespoke S Note software, which makes basic image creation and editing possible.
The stylus gives the Galaxy Note an advantage over the iPad in its pressure sensitivity
The touchscreen is hugely accurate, both to prods from the finger and the nifty stylus, which neatly tucks into the device’s corner.
The stylus gives the Galaxy Note 10.1 a massive advantage over the iPad – especially for artists – in its pressure sensitivity. The screen is able to recognise a whopping 1,024 levels of pressure, so firmer strokes result in thicker lines.
The iPad offers similar functionality, but you have to invest in a special stylus to access it. It’s a definite boon for artists, and it means work can be far more detailed and precise than on an iPad.
Although Apple and Samsung have been locked in a notorious patent war, Samsung’s device doesn’t look too much like an iPad. It features a similar white-and-silver colour scheme, but it feels far more like a landscape device than Apple’s oversized phone.
The only issue here is that the silver bits are plastic rather than Apple’s beloved brushed-aluminium, which makes the device seem a little cheap and flimsy.
It may feel cheap, but the device is actually rather expensive. The £375 asking price is about £50 more than the equivalent iPad, and although its interface and design is polished it can’t match Apple’s famous sleekness and ease-of-use.
If the price comes down to the £300 mark then we’d definitely recommend it above the iPad – that pressure sensitivity counts for a lot. It’s fabulously fully featured, but it doesn’t quite have the tablet nous to take a bite out of Apple.