Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 – a rival to the Apple iPad mini?

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 – what is it?

The latest tablet from Samsung, the Samsung Note 8.0 is an 8-inch tablet that runs the Android operating system, Jelly bean 4.1. Available in spring, Samsung is coy about the price, although we expect it to be around the same as the iPad mini – perhaps a little less.

It neatly fills the gap between the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the larger Samsung Note 10.1 and is a keen rival to the likes of the Apple iPad mini and the Google Nexus 7. Samsung advertises this tablet as helping creative people be even more creative. Does it hit the mark?

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The following is not a review, but our first impressions of the product based on a short time using it. Pricing and availability is tentative and subject to change.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 – what are the three things I need to know?

  1. It comes with a handy stylus
    The Note 8.0 comes with an improved stylus that has a new rubber tip for extra precision. You can also use it to press the physical buttons on the Note 8.0 – a first for the range. And when you’ve finished with the pen simply slide it away into the side of the tablet so that it won’t get lost.
  2. You can view two apps side-by-side
    Again, like the larger Note 10.1, you can display two apps on the screen simultaneously. Simply drag one app to the bottom of the screen and select another app from the side bar to run on top.This is handy if you want to read, or look at a map and make notes at the same time. This could be great for students making notes when reading through a text book, for example.
  3. It’s also a phone
    No, really. It may seem like a novelty mobile and you’re unlikely to hold this to your ear to have a good gossip with friends, but you can plug in a headset or use bluetooth to make and receive voice calls. We can imagine this being used in a business environment – if you’re working from home for example and need to call the office.

Which? expert first impressions – a real iPad mini rival

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is a definite rival to the iPad mini. I’m a real fan of the smaller tablets, which I find handier than their larger counterparts as they slip neatly into my handbag. The S Pen is nice to write with and I like the way you can use it to operate the hard buttons as well – it makes life easier. At first I found the pen a little clumsy and tricky to slide out of its holder on the side, but you’ll get over this quickly.

One other useful feature is Smart Stay, which stops the screen from switching off when reading by tracking your eye movement. If you fall asleep, however, it senses this and will put the put the tablet to sleep too – saving battery life.

I’m not sure that I’d use it as phone – but it could be useful to have the function there just in case.

In terms of specs – it has a quad-core processor that means it should be nice and quick when browsing the internet and watching video. Like the Nexus 7, it has a high definition 1,280 x 800 resolution screen – better than the current iPad mini.

Overall, this looks like a really interesting tablet. Watch out Apple.
Jessica Moreton, Senior Technology Researcher

MWC 2013 FAQ

What is MWC 2013?
MWC is short for Mobile World Congress – it’s the main annual mobile tech trade show, where the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia and many more come to launch their new smartphones and tablets.

Why does Which? attend?
It gives us an insight into what’s coming in the year ahead, so we can ensure we’re testing the right products in the right way. We also use the time to speak to technology companies to ensure they’re listening to consumer needs.

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