The Galaxy Note 8.0 is Samsung’s weapon of choice to take on Apple’s iPad Mini. It has a few similarities with the Galaxy Note II, the most notable being having the same chipset and processor speed, S-Pen stylus and display resolutions. The device measures 8.30” x 5.35” x 0.31” and weighs 338g. It’s a bit heavier and thicker than the iPad Mini but that’s not a deal-breaker here. In terms of design, it’s what you’d expect from a Galaxy device. In front there’s a 1.9MP camera which is good for video calling and other VoIP provider apps through acquiring from the many third party providers like RingCentral. The sensors, 8” display, physical Home button flanked by two capacitive buttons can also be found in front. At the back is a 5MP camera placed on top-center.
On the right side are the power/lock button, volume rocker and an IR port. There are 2 versions of the device, one is Wi-Fi enabled only while the other is 3G/LTE enabled. The former has a MicroSD slot while the latter has another slot for the SIM. The headphone jack is placed on top of the device while at the bottom is the micro USB port in between the two speakers. The Note 8.0 has an 8” TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 1280 and pixel density of 189ppi. Yes, the display on S3 and the S4 is better but the display on this device is still pretty good although it doesn’t have solid viewing angles and readability under sunlight still needs improvement.
The device runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It has TouchWiz UI and an S-pen support. Such combination can also be found on the Galaxy Note II which is a pretty combination. In terms of hardware, it has a quad-Core Exynos Cortex A-9 clocked at 1.6 GHz. There are versions with 16GB and 32GB internal storage, both expandable by an extra 64GB. The RAM is a generous 2GB.
With a fast processor speed and Android 4.1.2, web browsing becomes a smooth experience. The browser has some of Samsung’s own tweaks such as the Incognito mode and the ability to print, although it’s only compatible with a Samsung printer. This is where the S-Pen is most handy because you can hover over stuff in a web page (some sites don’t have their sites set-up well for a touchscreen device). For the music player, Samsung puts an equalizer and Sound Alive technology so you can tweak the sound quality according to how you like it best.
The video player lets you preview multiple panels such as the grid view mode. It displays panels of thumbnails of videos you have on your device and instead of displaying still frames, they actually play although at a slower frame rate.Some of the pre-installed apps include the Polaris Office document viewer, S Planner, S Note app, S Cloud, and My Files app to name a few, most of it centered on the S-Pen.
The non-removable Li-Ion 4600 mAh battery is just about right for the Note 8.0. It should last a busy day in one charging even if use it to do multi-tasking like connecting to the Internet while playing games, or browsing the web, and others. If used sparingly, it will have no problem making it through to the next day.
In the tablet market, Samsung hasn’t necessarily been successful. Even with what the Note 8.0 offers, there are still tablets that are better. Not to mention that even Samsung’s own flagship phone, minus the S-Pen, is just way more enticing compared to this one.