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Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Review

By Simon Thomas on 15th April 2013


3G Total Score

Pros :

S Pen; Perfect size for holding one handed; Bright, colourful display; Impressive multi-tasking. 

Cons :

Screen not as crisp as some rivals; Average battery life. 

 

Verdict

This is a great device for play and productivity, with the handy S Pen stylus and great multi-tasking features. It’s a great size for holding in one hand and boasts the usual clutch of impressive Samsung features.

Full Review and Specification for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

We’ve already seen a number of Samsung Galaxy Note models appear – they’re popular thanks to the useful S Pen stylus, which proves useful for those who want the device to be productive, as well as creative types. The design is also a winner – even the smallest model (the Galaxy Note 2) has a 5.5in screen, while at the larger end of the range sits the Galaxy Note 10.1 – which is a tablet with an amazing display.

 

In between these two sits the Galaxy Note 8.0, which is more compact than the current tablet but too big to be called a smartphone, even though it supports SIM cards.

 

It’s the perfect size to hold in one hand – so that you can use your other hand to poke, prod, sketch and whatever else you choose to do. In this way it’s comparable to the iPad Mini when you look at it beside the full-size iPad. 

 

Looks familiar

 

Looks-wise, the Note 8.0 is very like its predecessors. The chassis is shiny white plastic and has the minimum of design features – only a small Samsung logo on the back and front. The curved simple finish is attractive and the build quality is solid – we just experienced a little flex around the memory card slot. Use the Micro SD slot to expand the 16 GB of onboard storage, and the micro USB slot for charging the device. The 3G/4G LTE model also features a SIM card slot, so you can access the web when out and about (although we only had the Wi-Fi model to test).

 

For anyone who wants a portable tablet, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is a good option. It is light at 340g, and only a tad bulkier than the seven-inch Google Nexus tablet and its ilk, so will easily be popped into a bag. The battery will keep going all day if you’re just emailing and surfing the net. You get five hours of media playback. It’s pretty average for a tablet and a good performance for commuters. 

 

Slick system

 

The operating system of choice is Android 4.1, which proves as responsive and slick as usual – and of course has Samsung’s impressive TouchWiz interface. The desktops have plenty of customisation options, and are colourful and bright. You can personalise the shortcuts at the bottom of each of your screens, while the notifications bar offers speedy access to your most important settings.

 

Samsung has also included some nifty bonus features, such as Smart Stay, which can detect if you are looking at the screen, and stop it going to sleep. It’s a neat feature, but you do have to be holding the device head-on in order for it to work properly. S-Motion lets you control the device with gestures – for example you can pause a tune just by putting your hand on the display.

 

Customise screens and desktops with your own wallpapers – it is even possible to choose which app shortcuts you want on the lock screen. There’s a good choice of widgets to pop on the desktops, while Samsung has added lots of apps for you to play with.

 

Multi-talented

 

Under the hood is 2GB of RAM teamed up with a 1.6 GHz quad-core chip – so multi-tasking is effortless. It’s also great for gamers – we were able to play some of the latest action games with no problems.

 

Hold the back button and you’ll see a neat menu of compatible apps appear on the left of the display. It is possible to drag two apps on the desktop in order to run them alongside each other – really handy if you want to check the calendar while writing an email, or take a look at photos while watching a film, or have a natter using Google Talk while browsing the web. It is possible to resize windows so that one app has preference, and swap them over with just a quick tap. It’s user friendly and a good way to use the large display.

 

The write stuff

 

Of course the standout feature of the Note is the S Pen, a stylus that can detect how hard you are pressing. This lets you get really creative. For example, ‘S Note’ is a sketch pad that offers a number of templates for greeting card, recipe card and diary layouts. It is possible to alter the type of brush, colour and size, and use shapes and formulae to create your masterpieces. In a few seconds you can produce funky masterpieces with Paper Artist, which changes photos into cool designs that are ready to be tweaked.

 

The S Pen is the perfect partner for the colourful, bright 8in screen. Although the resolution has been dropped from the Note 10.1 to 1280x800, the reduced display size means images still appear nicely sharp – and the colours are rich too.

 

For those who want to stay productive on the move, the S Planner is a diary and calendar combined, which lets you write notes and generally get organised. It is also possible to use the S Pen with non-Samsung apps – Flipboard, for example, shows the latest headlines if you hover on a category. Hold down the side button on the stylus and you can write straight onto the desktop – handy for quickly taking a note (if you’re taking a call, for instance). 

 

Sharp shooter

 

The snapper is a five-megapixel mode that produces decent snaps – they’re sharp and offer realistic colours. Some snappers proved overexposed, while some were too dark, but compared to cameras on other tablets it’s a pretty decent model. There’s no flash though, so don’t expect to take night-time shots.

 

There are some neat options, such as adding unusual filters or taking cartoony pictures. Plus there is voice shutter activation, panoramic view and the ability to grab HD video. There aren’t loads of photo editing choices but it’s easy enough to download the free Samsung Photo Editor for some serious editing options. The resulting images can be shared with the Samsung ‘Buddy Share’ feature.

 

Our conclusion

 

We love the fact that the Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 can be held in one hand, that it features the remarkably useful S-Pen, and is capable of multitasking. For anyone who wants to get creative and be productive while out and about, there’s nothing not to love about the Galaxy Note 8.0.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Phone Specification

GENERAL

Type of device

Tablet

Operating System

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Dimensions

210.8 X 135.9mm

Weight

338 grams

Form factor

Slate

Input

Touch Screen

Processor speed

1.6GHz quad-core

CPU

ARM Cortex A-9

Graphic chipset

N/A

Announced

February 2013

DISPLAY

Screen size

8 inches

Screen type

TFT

Resolution

1280x800

Display type

WXGA

Memory

RAM

2GB

Internal storage

16 GB or 32 GB

Memory card slot

 Yes

Camera

Camera

5 megapixels

Secondary camera

1.3 megapixels

Special camera features

 

Sound

3.5mm Jack

Yes

Music player

MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, AC3, FLAC3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo Speaker

Audio recording

 Yes

Radio

 No

Video

Video recording

 Yes

Video player

MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX (1080p Full HD video @ 30fps)

Video calling

 Yes

Video streaming

 Yes

Additional Features

Browser

Google Browser

Games

Download via Google Play

Voice control

 No

Voice dialling

 No

Other

Samsung Hub - Game Hub, Learning Hub / Readers Hub / Music Hub / Video Hub / Media Hub(US only) Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service (version 2.0)

Messaging

SMS

 Yes

MMS

 Yes

Email

 Yes

IM

 Yes

Connectivity

Wi-Fi

 Yes

Bluetooth

 Yes

USB

 Yes

NFC

 No

GPS

A-GPS + GLONASS (3G Version)

Network

Band

GSM /EDGE /UMTS/HSPA/ HSPA+/ DC-HSDPA

EDGE

 Yes

GPRS

 Yes

HSDPA

 Yes

4G/LTE

N/A

Other

Colours (Standard)

White

Handsfree speaker phone

 Yes

Customisable ringtones

 Yes

What's in the box

Charging adaptor, USB cable, Stereo headset with In-Line Mic and Call control, Quick Start Guide and reference material

Website

http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/mobile-devices/smartphones/

# sales team/customer service: 0800 358 9048

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