Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 review: The roadster
Ever since Apple's release of the first iPad, Samsung has been churning out tablets to battle them on so many fronts it's starting to look like overkill. With so many larger Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note varieties out there, it makes sense that Samsung would try to compete against Apple's latest offering too, the iPad mini.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 caters to a crowd that wants in on the whole tablet game, but wouldn't go all-in with a full-size device. Samsung is able to deliver on this, building on the market experience of its phablets, the S-pen-enabled Galaxy Note and Note II.
In fact, the similarities between the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Note II go even further than the S-pen, as both devices feature the same chipset and processor speed, Android build, and very similar display resolutions. Here's a quick look at what's going on under the hood of the Galaxy Note 8.0:
- 8.0" 16M-color LCD capacitive touchscreen of 800 x 1280 pixel resolution
- Android OS v4.1.2 with TouchWiz launcher
- 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, Exynos 4412 Quad chipset
- S Pen active stylus with deep system integration
- 5 MP wide-angle lens autofocus camera with face detection
- 720p HD video recording at 30fps
- 16/32/64GB internal storage, microSD slot
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support
- GPS with A-GPS connectivity; GLONASS support, Digital compass
- Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
- microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p) support, MHL, charging
- Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
- Infrared port
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Very slim at only 8mm
- 1.3MP secondary video-call camera
- Document editor and file manager comes preinstalled
- Extremely rich video and audio codec support
- 4600 mAh battery
- Speakers at the bottom, rather than front-facing on either side, as in the bigger Note 10.1
- Fails to match the premium feel of an iPad mini (or a Galaxy Tab 7.7)
- No FM Radio or NFC support
- Questionable still image and video recording quality
Samsung has done well to offer a device that can compete with the iPad mini across the board. The Note 8.0 gives you a higher resolution WXGA screen, as well as a more robust chipset, and, of course, the S-pen. Samsung even managed to trim down the waistline compared to other Note devices, bringing the 8-inch screen in just 8mm of thickness.
Ultimately, can the Note 8.0 be considered a Note II on steroids, or simply a device made to entice users away from the ubiquitous iPad mini? Perhaps even a little of both? Let's take a look at what makes the Note 8.0 tick, starting on the next page with our hardware inspection.