25
Feb
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There's been a lot of hubbub around the Note 8.0 leading up to MWC, and this morning, we finally got a chance to go hands-on with Samsung's newest slate. The early verdict? It's... an Android tablet with an S-Pen and Samsung software.

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In that sense, the Note 8.0 seems like a smart move. People love the Note II, but the Note 10.1 may be too large a step up for a lot of folks (I personally don't like 10.1" tablets). The Note 8.0 is going to occupy that 'tweener' space, and I think it'll do a fairly good job. The 8.0 may well be the nicest small(ish) Android tablet I've held in terms of ergonomics, and that's probably due to Samsung's gratuitous use of lightweight, flimsy plastic. That said, the weight savings are readily apparent - the Note 8.0 weighs just a hair less than the Nexus 7, despite having a screen an inch larger, and a battery with a capacity nearly 300mAh greater. You can't argue with the numbers on that one, and this could make the Note 8.0 a seriously attractive device.

The low point of the Note 8.0 is undoubtedly the display - while the TFT LCD panel looks fairly good straight on, viewing at even a slight angle drops the effective brightness dramatically. This could be a significant drawback for those who do a lot of reading on their tablet. The Note 8.0 also has an S-Pen, and the touch panel is made by Wacom, so you get the full stylus functionality of its larger and smaller siblings.

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As far as using it, the Note 8.0 was very responsive, and has added a much-needed feature: the S-Pen now works with the menu and back buttons. This is one of my major gripes about the Note II's stylus functionality, so it's good to hear Samsung knows this was an issue. The lightness of it is what really stuck with me, though - the argument for an 8" tablet at that weight, with relatively thin bezels, is compelling. We took a Quadrant benchmark, as well, and the results were pretty typical for the Exynos 4 chipset.

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The Note 8.0 is packing a 1.6GHz quad-core processor (Exynos 4, we're assuming), 2GB of RAM (yet another win over the Nexus 7), 8" 1280x800 LCD display, a microSD slot, 5MP rear camera, 3G connectivity (with phone capability), and a 4600mAh battery. Pricing hasn't been announced, and neither has a Wi-Fi version (which is probably what we're getting in the US), but we'd expect that info soon - the Note 8.0 is launching in the first half of the year.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://twitter.com/i300_ Jerish Brown

    One word: UGLY

    • http://twitter.com/i300_ Jerish Brown

      So wait, how is this better than the competition? It runs TouchWiz which is a level of ugly which I can't comprehend, but it's also in phone-android mode... The notification pull-down took up the entire damn screen. Completely unacceptable. Samsung refuse to enter the modern-era Android experience. A physical home button, a menu button, and no multitask button. That's just crazy. Also, the hardware "design" just looks stupid on an 8.0 inch tablet.

      • Matteo Luigi Riso

        I disagree. I own the Note 10.1 and TouchWiz for the Note series is something you can't imagine how well is conceived and designed. If you want to bash the TouchWiz on common Samsung phones (like Galaxy S series), I'm with you: it's ugly and useless. But you can't bash the TouchWiz for Note series. It works very well and everything is designed to work seamless both with fingers and the S-Pen.
        Have you ever tried a Note device (maybe the 10.1) for more than 5 minutes at any store?

        • Paul

          Agreed. I have a Note II and although there are AOSP based ROM's for it, Touchwiz is not so intrusive anymore and is very well designed around the S-Pen and S-Note and then there's MultiWindow, etc. so I stick to ROM's based on Samsung's ROM with Touchwiz (just debloated, tweaked, etc.). I don't mind Touchwiz so much on my Note II and what it gets me for my particular hardware vs what I'd lose by switching to non-touchwiz isn't worth it.

  • Athishay

    And people were jeering at Apple for flattening their iPhone 4S with a rolling pin.. Not that I like apple, but why does this TABLET have to look so much like an oversized phone? Why couldn't Sammy have let the on screen buttons be?

    • Matteo Luigi Riso

      Simple: 8.0 is a kind of size that can be easily hold in a hand. If you buy a NOTEpad (one made of paper) how would you handle it?

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        It entirely depends on how you're using it. Have you ever been sketching something on a notepad and flipped it around in all four orientations while drawing? I've done that more times than I could count. Having hardware buttons locked to one orientation might make sense on a phone, but it's really not the best on a tablet (speaking from the perspective of having used both). If Samsung had used a better screen and did away with the hardware navigation buttons, I would probably be signed up to pre-order this tablet the moment it was possible.

  • Chong Kok Hoong

    I cant wait for The Galaxy Tab 6.5, Tab 6, Tab 8.8 and also Tab 9.4, I need every single one of them for different usage

  • Imran

    did you say ..thin bezel??!! does not look like that!!

  • hamboy

    I'll probably sell my Nexus 7 and get this. I'll have to get a case for it though, the design is pretty ugly.

  • andrew__des_moines

    This tablet is a monument of shame for the industrial design profession -- one that will tower like a gravestone over the pebble concept Samsung will hopefully kill off with the Galaxy SIV.

  • dannyR

    I think it is attractive enough for a productivity device; and on the latter issue, I'm stilly waiting for an intelligible and comprehensive review from someone on the Note series handwriting recognition. That is where the 'note' in "Note" comes from.

    I've seen an owner's terrible scrawl turned into very accurate text; reviewers apparently don't spend the week or two of regular use needed to train the devices properly

  • Brian P

    I just do not like the "pebble" look Samsung is using on EVERY device they make. My word, enough already! I hope the SIV doesn't follow this pattern. The only way anyone can distinguish one from the other is by size. Am I alone or does anyone else share my opinion. Its like a new song that has been played over and over and over...after a while you can't stand to hear it. Come on Samsung it's time to play a new tune!

    • Freak4Dell

      You're definitely not alone. Samsung's design language for the past year has been terrible.

  • flosserelli

    Needs moar bezel.

  • John O’Connor

    I would like to know what kind of 3g we are talking here... Not that it will replace my note 2 as a phone yet... but

  • Jon Garrett

    They should call it the Galaxy Nope., as in Nope, I don't want one.

  • Dan

    The visibility problems at different screen angles make me sad.

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