Final Words

Samsung’s strategy in the mobile market appears to be success through catering to a sea of niches. I’ve also heard it referred to as having a device at every inch. In this sense, Samsung is the antitheses of Apple where simplicity in product lines is paramount. I’d argue that the right approach is likely a mix of the two. Samsung may have too many products, while Apple may offer too few.

The good news is, if you’re very specific in your needs there’s likely a product made almost perfectly for you.

When the Galaxy Note 10.1 launched, I felt the tablet had potential but was largely held back by unpolished/unfinished software. Since its launch, Samsung addressed many of initial complaints about things like multi-window app compatibility and window focus lag. The result is a far more usable platform that still doesn’t feel native, but doesn’t feel hacked together either. The Galaxy Note 8.0 benefits from showing up after the software updates, meaning it looks a lot more polished out of the gate.

Indeed it’s tough to find fault with the Galaxy Note 8.0. It’s a good size, has a good display and offers a little more than your standard Android tablet. The inclusion of the S Pen, IR blaster and multi-window features aren’t enough to justify the price premium over a Nexus 7 for me personally, but I can see how they would convince others. If you want a one-handed note taking assistant on the go and/or constantly find yourself wishing you could read email and browse the web on your tablet, then the Galaxy Note 8.0 is without equal in the Android or iOS space. The S Pen experience on the Note isn’t perfect, it’s definitely not as natural as writing on real paper with an actual pen, but at this price point it’s surprisingly decent. You can definitely get a better pen experience on Microsoft’s Surface Pro, particularly when it comes to drawing, but at more than 2x the cost.

Where the Note 8.0 falls short is primarily in its battery life. In general you’re looking at anywhere from 10 - 40% less time on a single charge compared to the iPad mini, despite having a slightly larger battery. Power efficiency is just as important as outright performance, and this is something the folks at Samsung’s SoC division have yet to master. It’s not immediately obvious how much of a role the panel plays in all of this, but looking at our GLBenchmark battery life results it’s clear that the SoC has a significant impact.

Is the Galaxy Note 8.0 worth buying? If you're upgrading from an older Galaxy Tab 8.9, the Note 8.0 is worlds better in pretty much every way. It's faster, lasts longer on a single charge, can do more and ships with a newer version of Android. Ultimately what will sell you on this tablet vs. the Nexus 7 (or iPad mini if you’re cross shopping) is the S Pen and Samsung’s Android customizations. If you’re sold on the former, then the Note 8.0 is a good fit for you. If you're not however, then depending on your needs the Nexus 7 (or waiting for this year's model), iPad mini and Nexus 10 are all great alternatives.

What could turn the Note 8.0 from a solid niche contender to a formidable competitor is rather simple. With a higher resolution display (and accompanying tweaks to make TouchWiz a little more subtle in its screen presence) and a faster SoC, the Note 8.0 could really play up the productivity angle. Without a doubt the next generation of this platform will incorporate some sort of Cortex A15 based SoC, which should make it even better for multitasking. Couple that with an awesome panel and tightened up UI and Samsung could have a broad winner on its hands.

NAND Performance
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  • Sleepingforest - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I'm really excited about the multi-window support! I find myself switching between two apps (internet and note-taking) far too often on my phone--it's really annoying, even with multitasking tweaks and whatnot. Reply
  • gnx - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    If you're into rooting and installing custom ROMs, AOKP with "last app" in the navigation bar is excellent for that kind of multitasking.

    But as an 8.9 user, I really wish Samsung or someone would build a under 1lbs, 1080p HD, 8.9 tablet. The form factor of 8.9 makes it like a slim ipad4, while the under 1lbs makes it possible to hold with one hand, and of course, 1080p HD in 8.9 would not only look great, it'd make note taking (with an S pen or any other stylus) much more accurate.

    Long ago, supposedly LG's consumer research showed the people felt the 8.9 as the ideal size. LG came out with the first one, and Sammy followed suit with a svelt Galaxy Tab 8.9. That was two years ago. Now, Amazon's 8.9 Kindle erred on being a tad too heavy (1.3 lbs), while this Galaxy Note errs on being too cramped. If Sammy would quite chasing Apple (and making a 8.0), and just go its own way with an upgraded 8.9.
    Reply
  • Sleepingforest - Sunday, April 21, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the advice, but I'm actually an iPhone user (jailbroken!) It's starting to feel a bit slow though, and I don't know if I'm going to stick with Apple. I am pretty heavily invested in the app ecosystem here, but I'm sure an Android promotion will come up at some point with a Google Play giftcard as incentive.

    I'll keep your advice in mind though, as I'm looking pretty closely at the HTC One!
    Reply
  • enmass90 - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    If you're a jailbroken iPhone user, download a tweak called "accelerate". It will make iOS feel alot snappier, and you can choose how fast you want it! Reply
  • TaylorSandler - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)
    http://goo.gl/dg9Kt
    Reply
  • Donniesito - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    Why don't we have the ability to report posts as spam? Can we please get rid of these absurd comments? Reply
  • nerdstalker - Sunday, April 21, 2013 - link

    I kinda like them; they are mostly funny. Especially when they are posted in bold.; easier to spot and read. Ha! :) Reply
  • DanielShaw - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - link

    There is no doubt that Galaxy Note 8 is much more sophisticated and advanced than many other similar devices and Samsung products. It is very intuitive, quick and functional. It is perfect for using it on the go, when you need to take quick notes, write down some ideas, search for information, etc. Since I bought it few days ago, I am not stopping being impressed by this device.

    See my full feedback and review of Galaxy Note 8:

    http://www.squidoo.com/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-8-table...
    Reply
  • martie01 - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    I'd agree. Samsung note 8 is certainly a tremendous device, even despite the rather high price. Reply
  • Gadgetguy52 - Friday, June 21, 2013 - link

    I agree. Since I got the Note 8.0, I haven't been annoyed with not being able to open up an additional window. Reply

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