I wanted to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - but that TouchWiz...Gag!

I know by general consensus that the majority hates TouchWiz, but here's my personal take:

I went to Best Buy to try out the GN10.1 because I like the idea of the S-Pen Stylus. I've never owned a Samsung device before but I've played around with my relatives' Galaxy S phones and didn't like it. But I wanted to give it a fair chance on the GN10. The look of it turned me off right from the start with all the overblown widgets and awful Samsung icons and the tacky notifications bar and pane. Then I started using it and it got worse. It was laggy and stutter and the keyboard was just horrific.

Like I said. I wanted the GN10 because I've always wanted a touchscreen device that I could use with an active stylus to draw with. TW also has a lot of cool features like the side by side apps and floating window, but I don't know if I would come to hate the device and myself when having to deal with the look and feel of TW on a day to day basis.

Someone help convince me that all is not lost. Is there a way to minimize or mask the TW features so I don't have to deal with it? There's also the stuttering I experienced when scrolling around. This device is a beast with "Octo" core brains and 3GB of memory. It should be smooth as Buttah.

I've seen mention that you can install another Launcher to avoid TW as much as possible. Do I need to root the phone to be able to use them? I like a clean desktop. I don't want all these heavy widgets running all over the place. I've also read that Samsung has issued a few updates. Does that help with the choppy performance? I currently use an HP TouchPad with CM9 on it and I swear that it's smoother than the GN10.

Someone convince me that all is not lost!