Skip to main content

8 must-have apps for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note

Samsung's tablet business is booming. According to research firm IDC, Samsung sold 277 per cent more Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note tablets in the second quarter of this year than last year, putting more than 8 million tablets in people's hands and crushing all of its Android-based competitors.

Samsung launched the Android tablet market, of course, with the first Galaxy Tabs back in 2010. They were the first 7in tablets, paving the way for the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and even the iPad mini. Since then, the company has broken out all over the place in traditional Samsung style, with a range of sizes, pen options, and wireless choices.

Samsung's tablet line runs all of the apps other Android tablets and phones do, obviously. If you take a look at our 10 best Android tablet apps, and our series of articles on the best Android apps of 2013, you'll find plenty of options to load onto your Samsung tablet.

But Samsung's slate range has some special features, too. Whether they're Samsung-exclusive apps, apps that use the new tablet's IR blasters, or apps that take advantage of the Galaxy Note tablet line's S Pen, you can find plenty of interesting options in the Google Play store.

We've picked out eight of the best exclusive Galaxy Tab and Note apps right here, for your delectation. Click on the title of the app to link through to the Play store in order to download it.

Oh, and if you have any other tips concerning apps for Samsung's tablets, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Drawing Pad (£1.27)

My favourite amateur drawing app for Android tablets goes for extreme skeuomorphism, and its "box of crayons" user interface is easy to use for both the 7-year-old budding artist in my family and the 38-year-old professional painter. Drawing Pad also makes full use of the Galaxy Note 8 and 10.1's S Pen pressure-sensitivity; it's surprisingly powerful for basic sketchers.

Xbox iR Remote (£0.65)

Samsung's new tablets come with Samsung WatchOn, which controls TVs and set-top boxes. But the IR blaster in your Samsung tablet can manipulate a much wider array of home electronics. The Xbox remote app is just that: An app that lets you control your Xbox 360 through its IR port, which is great if you use your Xbox as your main DVD player and Netflix portal.

Papyrus (free)

If you have a Galaxy Note, you need a good note-taking app. Papyrus is much simpler than Samsung's S Note, but it still supports S Pen pressure sensitivity. It has won awards for its easy free-form style.

Evernote Widget (free)

You probably already have Evernote, the ubiquitous, cloud-syncing, note-taking app. I'm actually writing this article in Evernote right now. But one of the lesser-known features of Evernote on Android is this widget. It's a separate download, and it brings your Evernote notes to the home screen of your tablet. That makes your most recent notes much more accessible.

Samsung Smart Camera (free)

Samsung's Wi-Fi-connected cameras have special powers when they're connected to an Android-based phone or tablet. You can use this app to download photos from your camera, or use your tablet as a remote viewfinder, triggering the camera from afar.

Flipboard (free)

Flipboard is a great news aggregator on any Android tablet, but it's probably going to get even better on Samsung tablets as time goes on. Here's why: On the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone, Flipboard supports Air View and Air Gestures, which lets you hover your finger over stories to see a little more about them. Samsung has said technologies like Air Gestures are coming to other Samsung devices, such as tablets, in the future.

Kies Air (free)

Hey, did you know that you can control your Samsung tablet from your PC — without hooking it up with a cable? Kies Air, a Samsung exclusive, lets you manage everything from your tablet's picture library to its contact book over Wi-Fi. If you prefer to type on an actual keyboard when entering this kind of data, Kies Air makes it a lot easier to manage the contents of your tablet.

Peel Remote with TapPlay TV (free)

Okay. So this is weird. The version of Peel Remote that comes with your Galaxy Tab controls your TV just fine, but it doesn't include Netflix. This version of Peel doesn't actually control your TV, but it gives you personalised recommendations which include Netflix. Why are there two versions of Peel? Why doesn't one have all the features? In any case, try them both and pick the feature set you like best.