Samsung’s S-Pen and accompanying new software for it will add a solid premium to the new Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet: On Thursday, the company announced pricing for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model at $549.99. Jumping to the 32 GB version brings the total to $599.99. The slate, introduced earlier this month, will be available on October 10 in the U.S. with pre-orders beginning tomorrow.
With just a little hands-on time with the new tablet at the New York City launch event, I can see that Samsung worked hard to improve the pen experience. In fact, I said it was the software around the S-Pen that made the tablet — and the similar but smaller Galaxy Note 3 — appealing. I’m not sure that consumers will see enough value to justify the price, however.
Yes, the tablet hardware is also improved: Most notably, the device has a high-resolution 2,560 x 1,600 display. It also includes 3 GB of internal memory and Samsung’s powerful Exynos 5420 quad-core processor. But I suspect customers may compare the device to the Google(s goog) Nexus 10 which has no pen but offers the same resolution display and — based on my own usage — is still plenty peppy. That tablet starts at $399 with rumors of a second, improved edition coming soon.
Samsung says it is bundling hundreds of dollars in content with the device:
“Samsung is partnering with leading news, productivity and entertainment sources to provide over $600 in bundled content for the Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition. With Galaxy Perks, consumers have access to popular applications and services, including three months free of Hulu Plus and SiriusXM, and one year of free Boingo Hotspot access. The Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition also comes pre-loaded with 50GB of Dropbox free for two years, one year subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek and a 12 week subscription to The New York Times.”
Regardless of that bundle, my guess is that Samsung hopes buyers compare the new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet to Apple’s(s aapl) iPad, which starts at $499. In that case, the pen premium is just $50 which, if you need digital inking, is more reasonable. Perhaps I’ll feel differently after spending more time with the new tablet. On the surface, however, the price seems a bit high to me.