A $499 16 GB version comes in dark gray or white (the device I got my hands on a day in advance of Samsung's announcement). The step-up 32 GB model (gray only) fetches $549. You can bolster storage through a microSD slot.
The new 1.3-pound Note boasts some beefy specs, notably a 1.4GHz Quad Core processor and 2 GB of internal memory. It's also got a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.9-megapixel front-look camera. The (1280 x 800) screen is good looking, and capable of delivering full high definition playback. You can also record in high definition.
Samsung says the tablet can produce about 9 hours of battery life but I haven't had it long enough to put that claim to the test. To help preserve juice, the Note 10.1 borrows the Smart Stay feature found on the Galaxy S III smartphone. That is, the screen will dim accordingly after a specified time interval. But by using the front camera to detect that you're still eyeballing the screen, the tablet will remain awake.
In producing its latest tablet, Samsung brings over a few goodies from the Galaxy Note phablet. The most important of these is the so-called S Pen, which Samsung is loathe to call a stylus because it isn't just a dumb pointer such as the pens that came with PDAs and early smartphones.
After pulling it out of its holder, you can use the S Pen, which I found very responsive, to draw perfect shapes (that is, your attempt at a perfect shape is converted into one), jot handwritten notes, take a screen shot, cut, copy and paste, and drag and drop content from one open window to another.
Indeed, the new multiscreen feature may be the most impressive new feature on the device. At the tap of a button, you can display two apps on the screen side by side or by changing the orientation of the screen, one on top of the other. So you can run the video player app while simultaneously browsing the Web, with no speed penalty for either app. I couldn't play a video on both screens at once (not that you'd necessarily want to). So when I started a video in the video player app on the left side of the screen, the video that had been playing on the USA TODAY website on the right side of the screen paused. Of course, you can always switch back and forth between the two apps, just by tapping the screen.