I’ll begin this post by saying that on the whole, I’m very pleased with my Galaxy Note 10.1. Seven days into my Galaxy ownership, I’m not sorry that I purchased the device. Having said that, I must admit that but I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the inability to configure the apps on the Note 10.1 as I would like.
Since we’re talking Android and not Microsoft I have to use the appropriate terminology. If this were a PC I would be complaining about unnecessary software. The one difference with PC software is I could always figure out a way to remove the unwanted bloatware. Things are different for me on Android devices. Partially because it’s a whole new world for me and I’m still feeling my way around, and partially because Samsung tied my hands behind my back by not giving me administrative permissions to my own device.
A Couple of Examples (well a few more than a couple)
Apps: The device comes with loads of software that I find distracting and useless. Because it’s a new device I figured I’d take my time and give each of the apps a try before I consider them useless. The only problem is so many of the apps are redundant that I find it odd to put so many apps on one device that do the same thing. Let’s face it, how many apps do I need to consolidate all of my websites, photos and news stories for one-stop viewing? One is plenty.
Word Processing: As a writer I was pleased to see the Galaxy Note 10.1 came with Polaris 5. It would enable me to write, track info on spreadsheets and on the rare occasion create a simple presentation. Unfortunately, the first time I wrote a two-page document on Polaris, it crashed. Not only did it crash, but the document Polaris recovered after the crash was the first or second iteration of my work. It did not recover the final saved finished copy of the document.
Part of me couldn’t believe that my final copy was forever lost and the other part of me didn’t want to spend the time re-creating the final copy, so I put on a pair of my hip-high fly fishing boots and proceeded to wade through the bowels of the Galaxy in search of the un-recovered final copy. While roaming around in there I saw much that I couldn’t understand, but I did eventually find the final saved copy of my document. I grabbed it and got the heck out of those murky waters. It is my intent to go back in once I’ve learned a little more about that uncharted territory.
Multi Screen Feature: The little jaunt into the inner workings of the Note 10.1 leads me to yet another peeve, the inability to select the apps for multi-screen use. The Samsung Galaxy has a neat feature that allows users to run two apps side by side. This is especially helpful when writing and researching. Having a word processing app open right next to the web browser makes writing/research convenient. Unfortunately, Samsung pre-selected the apps it would allow me to run side-by-side.
After having the unfortunate experience with Polaris crashing, I found a more robust word processing app that can handle more than two pages without crashing. It also has many of the formatting features that I’m used to (I’ll do a review/comparison in a future post). The name of the app is KingSoft Office (gotta love the name).
I would love to have KingSoft running right next to my web browser, but alas, Samsung has my hands tied again. Although Samsung allows me to modify the apps appearing on the multi-window task menu, I can only replace unwanted apps with a few select apps of Samsung’s choice. In other words, without rooting my device, I cannot swap out Polaris for KingSoft on the menu bar.
Screen Recordings: And yet another peeve. I want to be able to make screen recordings of my device. Taking screen clips and writing the steps on how to accomplish certain tasks is all well and good, but there are some times when an informative video actually showing the steps is better. Unfortunately, because I don’t have administrative privileges on my device, I’m unable to use a majority of the available apps that would enable me to make such recordings. The best and most robust apps require the Android device to be “rooted.” Rooted means gaining access to the device’s root drive (aka administrative access).
Note: See 9/12/15 post on how I rooted the tablet.
In the grand scheme of things, I believe I can find workarounds for the above issues. Some work arounds will be more cumbersome than others, but I’ll make do. After all, I come from a Microsoft environment. Workarounds are just a part of the game.
Still Enjoying the Device
On the up side, I’ve got a growing appreciation for the stylus. I’m still exploring and learning its features, but having it has been a definite plus.
In general, the device is quick, convenient and I’m able to accomplish quite a bit of work with it. I’m enjoying my explorative journey and have learned quite a bit in one short week of owning it. With this device, I believe the best is yet to come.