Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Review

In recent years, the massive influx of new tablets, smartphones and various hybrids thereof has filled nearly every niche imaginable. Among the most successful of these has been the mid-sized seven- and eight-inch tablet.

While this form factor seems to strike an ideal balance between productivity and media consumption, few tablets have managed to excel at both. With the Galaxy Note 8.0, Samsung has put forth its best effort to do just that.

Hands-On Impressions

Not surprisingly, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is a quintessentially Samsung design. That is to say, it’s constructed entirely of plastic and it’s not much to look at compared to tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini.

The tablet measures 8.3-by-5.4-by-0.31 inches and weighs in at 0.75 pounds (0,34 kg), making it just slightly larger than most of its competitors. The plastic construction and basic design doesn’t suggest a premium device, but it does make for a very durable tablet that feels satisfyingly sturdy to hold.

Tablet Exterior

Compare tablets for a while and you’re bound to come across dozens of different button configurations. In the case of the Galaxy Note 8.0, the layout is similar to previous Samsung tablets.

On the front of the tablet, capacitive back and menu buttons flank a physical home button. The top and bottom edges are quite clean, sporting only a headphone jack and a USB port respectively. The bottom also features a set of stereo speakers on either side.

There’s a microSD card slot on the Note’s left flank, while the right side is home to the power button, volume rocker and IR emitter. The S Pen tucks away cleanly on the bottom right edge of the device.

Display

The Galaxy Note 8.0 inherits the same display used on Samsung’s Note 10.1, though the modest 1,280-by-800 pixel resolution produces better results in the smaller eight-inch form factor. While it isn’t exactly revolutionary, the display holds its own compared to tablets such as the Amazon Kindle HD or Apple iPad Mini.

In fact, its 189 pixels per inch handily outpaces the 163 pixels per inch found on the iPad Mini. The viewing angles aren’t exceptional, but they’re good enough to not pose a problem under normal use. The brightness, however, can prove to be a legitimate issue in sunlight and even bright overhead lighting.

Tablet interior

The Note 8.0 is powered by an Exynos 4 quad-core processor pegged at 1.6 gigahertz, which is mated with two gigabytes of RAM and 16 or 32 gigabytes of onboard flash storage.

A direct tablet comparison by way of benchmarks is difficult given the varying operating systems, but in real-world testing, the Note 8.0 delivers a very solid performance. Given the impressive specifications, this should be no surprise.

One area in which the Galaxy Note falls behind, however, is battery life. Though it’s comparable to the Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Apple’s iPad Mini both offer substantially better battery life.

Tablet Competition

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is a very good tablet. Unfortunately for Samsung, so are the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and iPad Mini. Top performance specifications may make the Note appealing for power users, but in real-world testing, the difference isn’t particularly significant.

The display is 1 inch larger and also good, but not good enough to become a legitimate selling point. Ultimately, a tablet comparison for prospective buyers often comes down to price. In this regard, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD both have a great deal to offer for budget-minded consumers.

They each deliver a solid experience capable of taking on most everyday tasks, and they do so at a fraction of the cost of the iPad Mini or Galaxy Note 8.0.