Galaxy Note 8.0: Still the best small tablet

Summary:Google recently launched the new Nexus 7 into the small tablet space. While a nice tablet at a decent price, the Nexus 7 is not in the same league as the Galaxy Note 8.0.

Note 8.0
Image credit: James Kendrick/ZDNet

When the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 arrived a couple of months ago the value over the iPad mini was readily apparent . In addition to rivaling the size of the super-thin little iPad, the Note 8.0 has two features the former lacks. After two months of heavy use of the Galaxy Note 8.0, the value of the tablet is still very good.

Google recently launched the new Nexus 7 , a nice tablet at a decent price. The refreshed model has good hardware running the newest version of the Android OS. While the new Nexus 7 is a solid entry into the tablet space, it doesn't have anything to knock the Note 8.0 off its high pedestal.

Hardware specs:

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 4412, 1.6GHz quad-core
  • Display: 8-inch, 1280x800, 189 ppi, touch + pen digitizer
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB, microSD up to 64GB
  • Cameras: Front- 1.3MP, Back- 5MP
  • OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Battery: 4,600 mAh
  • Connectivity: wi-fi a/b/g/n, 2.4 and 5 GHz
  • Dimensions: 210.8x135.9x7.95 mm, 8.29x5.35x0.31 inches; 340g, 0.74lb

While the hardware inside the Note 8.0 isn't as fast as that in the Nexus 7, pefrormance of the former is very snappy. The processor in the Note is more than enough to handle anything you need to do on the tablet. Scrolling is smooth, video plays well, and it handles multitasking with ease.

Multiview
Multiview on Note 8.0 -- Image credit: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Google launched Android 4.3 with the Nexus 7, an advantage over the Note 8.0. Even so, Android 4.1 which is used on the Note 8.0 has been modified by Samsung to provide unique functionality. The multiview feature that allows running two apps side-by-side on the display (see image above), is a powerful feature. It makes it possible to keep an eye on a running app on the left while working in another app displaying on the right pane.

Smart stay is another feature that uses the front camera to check if the user is looking at the screen. As long as it "sees" the user looking it prevents the display from dimming and shutting off. This feature is available on certain Samsung smartphones, too and is one of the best utilities on mobile devices.

The Note 8.0 has something not found on other small tablets, the S Pen. Taking handwritten notes on the fly is a great feature. Samsung has included special apps to leverage using the pen. These include a note app and a planner app that make using the pen a nice benefit over the competition.

The pen can be used to write in any app due to special support by Samsung. Anywhere you can use the onscreen keyboard in Android you can use the pen to write text instead.

Next page: Great apps on the Galaxy Note 8.0

Topics: Mobility, Android, Reviews, Samsung, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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