Battery Life

The Galaxy Note 8.0 features an integrated (non-removable) 4600mAh battery. Assuming 3.7V chemistry we’re looking at 17Wh, a 4.4% increase over the iPad mini. The display is higher resolution and the CPU cores run at a 60% higher frequency than they do in the iPad mini (not to mention that there are twice as many cores). Although the GPU is slower, ARM’s Mali 400 doesn’t appear to be as power efficient as PowerVR’s SGX 543MP2. To make a long story short, the Galaxy Note 8.0 might have a slightly larger battery than the iPad mini, but the platform itself should consume (potentially significantly) more power.

To quantify (we love numbers), we once again turn to our own battery life tests. We’ll start with our 2013 web browsing battery life test, first introduced in the iPhone 5 review:

We regularly load web pages at a fixed interval until the battery dies (all displays are calibrated to 200 nits as always). The differences between this test and our previous one boil down to the amount of network activity and CPU load.

On the network side, we've done a lot more to prevent aggressive browser caching of our web pages. Some caching is important otherwise you end up with a baseband/WiFi test, but it's clear what we had previously wasn't working. Brian made sure that despite the increased network load, the baseband/WiFi still have the opportunity to enter their idle states during the course of the benchmark.

We also increased CPU workload along two vectors: we decreased pause time between web page loads and we shifted to full desktop web pages, some of which are very js heavy. The end result is a CPU usage profile that mimics constant, heavy usage beyond just web browsing. Everything you do on your device ends up causing CPU usage peaks - opening applications, navigating around the OS and of course using apps themselves. Our 5th generation web browsing battery life test should map well to more types of mobile usage, not just idle content consumption of data from web pages.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

The Galaxy Note 8.0 delivers about 13% lower battery life than the iPad mini in our test. The drop isn’t tremendous, but it’s just beyond the point of being noticeable.

Video Playback Battery Life (720p, 4Mbps HP H.264)

Video playback is much worse. The Note 8.0 shaves off 23% from the iPad mini’s battery life on a single charge. Apple has traditionally done a great job of implementing low power video decode, it seems like Samsung needs to do some work here as even the larger Note 10.1 suffers.

3D Battery Life - GLBenchmark 2.5.1

Finally, for the true worst case scenario, we have our GLBenchmark 3D battery life results.

3D battery life is one area where the old Galaxy Tab 8.9 actually leads everything else, the reason being that its hardware is so slow it's simply incapable of drawing all that much power compared to newer, faster tablets. Here we get a good feel for the lower bound in the Note 8.0's battery life - a bit under 4 hours. The 8 ends up with ~ 40% less time on a single charge compared to the iPad mini.

The Note 10.1 does a lot better here simply due to its larger battery (offset by a larger display, but benefitting from a lower power SoC).

Charge Time

Samsung bundles a fairly standard 5V/2A USB charger with the Note 8.0. The Note 8.0 takes a hair under 4 hours to charge from empty to full (no current draw at the wall). This is comparable to the iPad mini.

Charge Time in Hours

WiFi, GPS Performance Performance: Upgrading from a Galaxy Tab 8.9
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  • nerd1 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Actually S note lags a lot with Ativ smart PC (clover trail) but it's way better with oneNote. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Display analysis: You only show the contrast ratio for the highest brightness setting. In display reviews, you at least have min/max brightness contrast ratios. That is better, but you should really have a contrast/brightness diagram with at least 11 data points (0% to 100% in 10% increments).

    "Unfortunately one of the hallmarks of TouchWiz is that all icons and widgets are considerably larger than they are under iOS" -> I don't see that in the picture you posted below that. It looks more cramped because it has more icons in the same space (5 horizontal on a 16:10 display vs. 4 on a 4:3 display and 6 vertical vs 4 vertical). If they are considerably larger, I should see it with my eye. But I don't. Can you provide measurements of the icons?

    I agree completely with your tablet size assessment. I've had a 10" Android tablet for about 10 months now. It got used a lot when it was new (as any gadget does). But then the usefulness quickly plummeted and I often found myself wanting to be able to do more with it. Especially shoddy video playback was an annoyance. Any laptop or PC I own that is 5 years old or younger plays anything I through at it smoothly through either MPC-HC or VLC. For Android, I can never be sure until I try and often, even stuff that should play fine (720p downloaded content encoded for iTunes) stutters and has async video/audio on several players. So my 11.6" notebook (Core i3-330UM) took over most travelling duties again and the tablet got used as a toilet device and a portable console for young visitors. Now I have a 11.6" Samsung Core i tablet which I love. Battery life is of course shorter, but I still get through a day of use and that's all I need. If I had to buy a new tablet today, the 7" to 8" form factor would be what I would look at. But personally, I'm looking for a ~6" phone (Note 3 perhaps?) because my 4.7" GN feels positively tiny after a year of use and going to 6" would give me great pocketability, allow me to carry it everywhere while also giving me more real estate and let me stay with 2 portable devices instead of 3. :)
    Reply
  • rkcth - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    I use a jailbroken ipad mini with VLC and it plays anything I throw at it, been watching the whole series of true blood and its awesome. The only issue I ever have is with audio syncing after pausing, I usually have to click the done button and reclick the video to get it to resync properly, but I'm pretty sure that's a bug in VLC since it only happens after pausing and playing. Reply
  • herts_joatmon - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    It may just be the codex. I get the same problem on my android tablet with my true blood rips Reply
  • TareX - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    This is making me even look more forward to the Note 3... Now that's a device that should last a long time before upgrading. Sorry HTC/Sony... you've had your chance to produce a proper phablet but you haven't delivered. Reply
  • FlyBri - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    The Note 8.0 is for a niche market at this price to such an extent that I believe sales figures will be considerably lower than Samsung expects. As such, I see a price cut in the near future. I was looking forward to the Note 8.0. While the S pen is a great feature, it's not an absolute must have for me. To me, $399 is WAY too much to ask, and I think the market will reflect this with lower sales numbers. If Samsung even cut $50 off the price they'd be in much better shape... Reply
  • enealDC - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Another Android Tablet that will be useless in a matter of months! They are great to look at and hold and consume content on, but when the novelty wears off and you have business to get to, close the tablet and fire up your laptop (I'm a Transformer Prime owner).
    The next device I get is going to be a Microsoft Surface Pro for sure!
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Having used win8 tablet for years and now using galaxy tab 7.7 for my main mobile device (including phone!), I cannot disagree more. Reply
  • thesavvymage - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    please tell me, which windows 8 tablet have you been using for years? There are NONE that have been out for more than a year. Installing the consumer preview on something else i guess was possible a year ago Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    W8 developer preview was available july 2011, and I've been using EP121, W500, slate 7. Reply

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