The Samsung galaxy Note 8.0 is a tablet about the same size as an iPad mini, but it has a higher resolution display, a digital pen, support for running certain apps in side-by-side windows, a Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core processor, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software.

Samsung’s 8 inch tablet is now available in the US for $400, and I got a chance to spend a few minutes with the Galaxy Note 8.0 last night.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

The tablet features a 1280 x 800 pixel display which looks at least as good as the screen on Apple’s similarly-sized iPad mini. Weighing less than 12 ounces, the Galaxy Note 8.0 also feels pretty good in the hand. I could easily imagine using this tablet to read books, watch videos, or perform other activities that would have you holding the device for an extended period of time.

It also has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and a 4600mAh battery.

The Note 8.0’s defining characteristic is the digital pen, which lets you write or draw on the screen. But Samsung has packed some extra software into the Galaxy Note 8.0 to take advantage of the pen.

For instance, when you’re watching a video, you can hover the pen over the timeline on the screen without touching it to view thumbnail previews of upcoming portions of the movie. You can also view larger preview of pictures or other content the same way.

And when you hold the pen near the screen, you’ll see a small dot on the screen below the stylus. This can help you tap more precisely by seeing exactly what’s below the pen before you touch it to the screen — something that can be difficult to do with your fingers.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 also has a feature that lets you open two apps side-by-side, by opening a sidebar with a list of apps that support this mode.

A few years ago, Samsung’s TouchWiz software was little more than a skin that runs on top of Android, offering custom icons, wallpapers, settings panels, and more. Now Samsung loads its Android devices with a range of apps including its own software for music, videos, chat, and more.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 also has an IR blaster which lets you use the tablet as a universal remote control for your TV, as well as a “Smart Remote” app which acts as a program guide.

But under all the TouchWiz and S-Note software, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is still running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which means you can install thousands of third party apps from the Google Play Store.

On paper, the Galaxy Note 8.0 has a lot of features that Apple’s iPad mini lacks. But it costs $70 more than Apple’s tablet, and twice as much as a 7 inch Google Nexus 7, which could make it a bit of a tough sell for folks that think of it as an Android tablet. Instead, it’s probably best to think of the Note 8.0 as the latest Samsung tablet… which happens to run an operating system based on Google.

Samsung also offers accessories including a line of $50 cases for the Galaxy Note 8.0 in a variety of colors. They’re pretty nice, but hopefully we’ll see some more affordable options soon — you can buy a pretty decent backpack for less money than one of these small cases.

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21 replies on “Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (video)”

  1. glad to see the blue cursordot finally show up at 2:49 however, why can’t Samsung make a blue cursordot for our *FINGER* for the smaller devices in other words, their smartphones and for their non-Note tablets? they’ve researched and created (and spent lots of money on) innovative stuff for eyeballs (insignificant to me) yet they never thought of a finger cursor?!? i hate aiming and missing on smaller screens!!!

  2. A pressure-sensitive digitizer/stylus combo is one of those things that people without a use for it just don’t get the need for, but that people who do have a use for it value enormously.

        1. I bought one at Staples (office supply store – other office supply stores might have them); by Targus for about $15; IIRC. I have seen them at a store called Five Below (everything five dollars and less) where one got two for $5. They are made for touch screens. They look like a pen but have a soft rubber like tip to it. I find it easier to type on my cell phone with it than using my big fingers.

  3. I was really interested in this tablet till I saw the price.
    $400 ..?? what are they smoking??

    waiting to see what the next Google will be instead

  4. Nice tablet.

    One thing I don’t like about the latest Samsung phones and tablets is the ovoid styling. I suppose they needed to do something in order to please the Apple lawyers.

    1. the patents that Apple uses to sue Samsung are – IMO – too vague. It could be used against any tablet computer company.

  5. Wow, I though the Note 8 would be in the $250 price range.

    $400 is the same price as an iPad 2 !!!

    No LED Flash for the rear 5MP camera !

    If you don’t mind the smaller 3300mAh battery, the Exynos 4412 equipped Huyndai T7S offer a much better deal for $186.

        1. People would buy this because they have a specific need or desire for that digtial pen that they can´t get with other devices. What is it about that you don´t understand?

          1. I heartily agree with nards barley.

            Microsoft has been putting out x86 Windows supporting active digitizers (like the ones in Samsung Galaxy Note phablet and tablets) for a decade now.

            The so-called Tablet PCs running this software (from Lenovo, HP, Dell) have traditionally come at a premium.

            Software packages like Microsoft OneNote (part of some Office versions), which incorporates multimedia, typed text, and handwritten notes and sketches, have been invaluable to the people who use them.

            The active digitizer support has now been incorporated into the various flavors of x86 Windows, so separate tablet-specific versions of x86 Windows are no longer needed.

            The “killer software” in this case is handwriting recognition (which includes palm rejection, found in x86 tablets supporting both active digitizers and capacitive touch screens).

  6. I did not see anything about a micro-sd slot in the photos or in the article (perhaps I missed it?) but it would be nice if it had one. My Galaxy Tab 2 has one and I put a 16 gb micro-sd card in it. It really added a lot of memory to it to run programs.
    From the description, I think – IMO – that it is definitely worth the 400 dollar price.

    1. In the video, the presenter says the 8.0 takes microSD cards up to a 64 GB microSDXC. I wish a device this size had a full size SD slot. The 64 GB microSDXC is available now but it’s expensive. You can get SDXC with 64 GB or even 128 GB capacity now, although it’s expensive as well.

      1. Eventually they too will come down in price when the newer higher capacity ones come out. Being on the trailing edge of technology can mean saving money.

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