The Bottom Line
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is slightly overpriced at $400, considering there are better options like Google Nexus 7 ( currently priced at $210 for 16GB model) offering much better value for money. But, then, Google Nexus 7 don't have much useful S Pen and other plenty of features that Note 8.0 offers. So, Galaxy Note 8.0 should be an obvious choice for anyone who needs a stylus, productivity and note taking functionality are important, and price is not a huge concern.Read full review...
What You Will Like...
- Good performance
- Expandable memory
- Effective note taking functionality
- Sleek, lightweight and beautiful design
- Very useful S Pen
- Multi-window support
- Universal remote functionality using WatchON
What You Won't Like...
- Slightly expensive
- Non premium feel
- Screen resolution could be higher
One of the latest launches from the Korean manufacturer, Samsung, is its Android 4.1.2 based Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. It is added as an intermediate device to the Note range which also includes, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 10.1, filling the gap that was left for a while. This latest addition to the Note range, has created plenty of buzz among the tech enthusiasts, since, it was unveiled at Mobile World Congress, 2013. As the name suggest, its an 8 inch tablet, comes with a S-pen stylus for taking notes and sketching, and carries around $400 price tag as of writing this. But, does it justify its price? Let’s find out!
Design & Build
Samsung has been criticized for using plastic casing even in its high end devices like Galaxy S4. The Galaxy Note 8.0 is no exception to this trend, as the back of this device is also glossy plastic which feels just as cheap as it does on the Galaxy S4. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t handle accidental drops. The polycarbonate body is pretty darn tough! Its just the premium feel which is missing, when competitors are using aluminium bodies for building their high end devices. Overall, it all feels very solid and sturdy, with very little sign of flex.
If you notice the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 carefully, its not difficult to identify that it shares a very similar design to Galaxy Note 2. With a rounded rectangular shape, finished with a chrome strip around the edges, and a glossy plastic rear panel, the design looks good. Moreover, measuring just 0.31 x 5.35 x 8.30 inches ( L x W x H ) and weighing 340g, its much easier to hold the device comfortably single handedly even for long duration and carry it, thanks to its light weight and sleek design.
Display & Audio
The 8-inch display of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels which is quite effective in producing crisp and clear pictures.The display is very bright, responsive and has good contrast even in outdoor conditions. However, a higher screen resolution would have helped in justifying its high price, as even, comparatively low priced Google Nexus 7 has same screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. But, the fact that pixel density of this device is 189 which is comparatively higher than iPad Mini’s 163ppi gives a bit of an advantage.
Even the sound quality of the internal speakers is quite acceptable. The speakers are loud, however, if your purpose is to watch movies or listen to your favorite music, then a good pair of headphone will certainly improve the experience with the device.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is equipped with an Exynos 4412 1.6GHz quad-core processor, Mali 400MP GPU and 2GB of RAM to keep your applications running smoothly and improving your ability to multitask. Such specs ensures that everything works smoothly. And, in fact, it does. The device runs multiple apps without any hiccups, web browsing is fast, video playback is smooth, switching between apps is quick and smooth. It also manage to run high end games like Real Racing 3, Asphalt 7, Riptide GP at good playable frame rates.
Features & Apps
The Galaxy Note 8.0 runs Android 4.1, Jelly Bean OS, which is customized to use Samsung’s own Touchwiz user interface instead of stock Android 4.1 UI, thus, giving it a very distinctive look and feel. With Android 4.2 already released, and Android 4.3 around the corner, the operating system of the device feels outdated. Hopefully, Samsung releases an update to Android 4.2 for the device in nearby future.
The device comes with Google Play store already installed providing access to hundreds of thousands of apps, including games. It also include several security and feature enhancements like Advanced Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, on-device AES 256-bit encryption, VPN connectivity making it suitable for business use.
It also come with Flipboard and Polaris Office pre-installed. While Flipboard can be used for collecting news and social network postings, Polaris Office, can be used for viewing and editing Word, Excel, PDF documents. Thus, taking overall productivity to greater heights.
If there is anything that gives Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 real advantage over its competitors, then its the stylus, or more commonly referred to as the S Pen. The S Pen has a stylus tip that features 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, providing very good accuracy. In terms of calibration, the S Pen of Galaxy Note 8.0 is noticeably improved from that of Samsung’s own Galaxy Note 2’s S Pen.
With S Pen, you can write, draw, and edit with the comfort of a pen and the control of a mouse. When used along with the S Note app, taking notes is breeze. The S Note text recognition is superb, so, even, if your handwriting is terrible, it manages to match and convert your handwriting into text then whether you are drawing shapes, or formulas. Thus, giving you the freedom to handwrite directly into your tablet. Moreover, S Note is compatible with Evernote and Dropbox, thus, when you’ve finished writing, it automatically saves and sync your documents.
The S Pen also opens up new ways of interacting with your tablet, thanks to built-in gestures. For example, if you press and hold the S Pen button and draw a less than arrow, you’ll be taken to the previous page you were viewing. There are plenty of different gestures available for carrying out tasks like taking screenshots, launch a Popup Note, etc.
Oh, didn’t we mentioned that if you hover the S Pen over an app, you will be able to preview its content with Air View. Air View is another unique feature of this device, well, not so unique, as it can also be seen in Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has both front facing and rear camera. The 5 megapixel rear camera lacks a flash, so, don’t expect to take high quality images under low light as the images taken under low light lacks detailing. However, it takes high quality photos and record 720p HD videos in bright daylight very well. On the contrary, the front camera is only 1.3 MP, which is only good for video chatting with your friends, and web conferencing.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 has 16GB of built-in storage to hold all your documents, music, movies, photos, and more. Although, only around 9GB is available for personal usage as remaining space is consumed by the OS itself, and other apps that come preinstalled with the device. But, if you want more storage space, then, there is built-in microSD card slot which lets you easily add up to 64 GB more storage. Something always very useful!
The battery capacity of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 battery is 4,600 mAh. It delivers a good amount of life, but depending on the frequency of use, how it is used, the overall battery life may vary. However, under normal usage, it delivers approximately 8 hours of battery life which is comparatively lesser to the battery life of Nexus 7 and iPad Mini.