Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hands-on at MWC 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hands-on at MWC 2013

Summary: At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung has shown off the Galaxy Note 8.0, a tablet follow-up to its successful Note and Note II tablets.


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  • Samsung's newest addition to the Note series uses an 8-inch display. But don’t worry, it still comes with the same special S Pen stylus and apps that gave the original its name.

    The device was announced just ahead of the start of Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona on 24 February by the South Korean handset maker.

    Under its glossy white exterior lies a 1.6GHz quad-core A9 processor and 2GB RAM that keeps the Note 8 ticking along nicely. In ZDNet's short hands-on testing the device showed no sign of lagging or stuttering that can ruin user experience in some devices.

    However, as its name suggests, the Note 8.0's main focus is on its expansive 8-inch display, which puts it in direct competition with the likes of the iPad Mini as well as other 7 or 8-inch tablets like the Nexus 7.

    The 8-inch display has a 1280 x 800 pixels resolution and a 189 PPI (pixels per inch) pixel density, edging out the iPad Mini's 163 PPI.

  • Clearly, part of the Note's appeal, whether earlier versions or the 8-inch full-size tablet option, is the ability to use the S Pen for handwriting and drawing.

    The Note 8.0 character recognition is pretty decent, accurately picking up most of my scrawling that passes for handwriting (pictured).

    Samsung's core apps designed around use of the S Pen are also present on the device, along with other features like multi-tasking apps such as Popup Note and Popup Video.

Topics: Tablets, Mobility, MWC, Samsung

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Anything Would "Edge Out" The Ipad Mini

    Picking on the Ipad Mini is like picking on the buck-toothed kid at school.
    • Totally Agree

      Lol, as you say it's so easy to pick on the iPad mini - so many shortcomings after using a galaxy. That said I'm writing this on a iPad mini, it does have (just a few) good points. Guess I'll see if I can put up with the limitatations or whether I upgrade to the Note 8.
    • why?

      The ipad mini is excellent, it's better than the iPad 4 or Nexus 7 to me (OR ANY 10 inch), I had all of them for a few months, and once I got the mini, I was finally happy. Sure the mini isn't perfect, it could be an HD screen or the latest processor, but the smooth performance it has in web browsing and games, and everything for that matter make none of that stuff matter at all. iOS is just so smooth on the mini. The Galaxy note 8.0 will be excellent too most likely because 8" form factor is just the best plain and simple and it's HD screen with the excellent and useful S-pen
      Lance Toye
      • Why...

        From my perspective the iPad mini is the best tablet currently on the market. It's ultra light, just powerful enough and despite a relatively low res screen it's actually nice to look at. What kills the experience for me are the artificial limitations Apple has imposed. The lack of a proper file system and the inability to use custom keyboards mean that I just can't quite love it. After using Swype or Swiftkey the iOS keyboard feels slow. The galaxy has no such limits, thus why I would consider getting one.
        • What about the price?

        • iCrap, oops wipe myself.

          LOL, what a tool. The iPad mini is one of the crappiest tablets out there.

          The best tablet by far is the Samsung Galaxy 7.7. It has the best screen on any tablet (Super AmoLED plus), it has a higher resolution than the mini, and more ppi than the mini.

          You can also make phone calls and send text message on the Galaxy Tab 7.7. The 7.7 is the perfect size at 7.7", all aluminum construction, etc etc.

          The iPad mini is crap. No GPS either. My friend has one, to get directions, you have to use maps. LOL, that was whack. You have to "swipe" the screen at every turn. How lame is that?

          Get your head out of your butt. The iPad Mini is crap. The screen sucks, no micro sd card slot.

          I mean c'mon man, this thing is just ancient. No features whatsoever. It's just a stupid LCD screen that plays games and browse the web and take crappy pictures.

          If you want a real tablet that can actually "do something", get your hands on the 7.7.

          It's even thinner than the iCrap mini. Thinner, higher res screen, more ppi, GPS, wifi, data, micro sd card slot expansion, etc etc.
  • ldo17 - how much did Samsung pay you to say that?

    Your comment is completely devoid of any content - except childishness. I'm serious - is Samsung paying people to be petulant little jerks all over the internet, hurling childish little insults? Is that part of Samsung's massive advertising campaign? I guess when you don't have the goods you have to resort to cheap advertising tricks.
    Appearance: a matter of opinion. I think this Note 8 thingy looks like more typical generic mediocre hardware. Large bezel area, somewhat absurdly rounded edges. To me it lacks basic refinement.

    heavier than the iPad mini

    lacks 4G LTE - iPad mini has it

    slow data transfer speeds - uses only USB while iPad uses Lightning Connector (so have fun transferring all the video you want to watch on this)

    Storage: OOPS - I guess if you buy a Galaxy Note 8 you don't have to worry about transferring lots of movies - unlike the iPad mini, it has storage capacity of only up to 32Gb. The iPad Mini goes up to 64Gb. So as a proud Note 8 user, enjoy swapping stuff on and off your device.

    Security: With the Note 8 enjoy getting infected with malware that steals you contacts and spams your friends. With the Note 8 enjoy having your credit card information stolen as you type it.

    Yeah, that great Android experience... malware, buggy, small storage, slow transfer speeds even when hard linked to your computer. Gee, maybe that's why Apple has been the underdog story of the century, proving that people actually do want high-quality devices, not just the plasticky junk that visionless MBAs can bring themselves to offer.
    • HUH? so sure of what u are telling?

      did APPLE COMPANY pays you about your comment here, jsouza999???? youre crazy enough, i guess, ur just making yourself funny anyway..SAMSUNG has its own program..or operating system...SAMSUNG doesnt pay me but, so far, i've been a fan of this brand
      Chris Princi
    • spec to spec

      Alright, so let's look at this subjectively. You have a 32 fig note 8. You pop a 128 gig microsd card in it, how much is that? Wait, you want more space, switch micro SD cards, or plug a external hard drive into it. Screen to screen, higher pixel density, with a wacom digitizer. A file manager in which to be able to control your tablet. Deep interactive sharing between apps, and drag and drop of music, pictures, movies, and files of any type. Like if I have a digital copy of transformers, I don't have to use iTunes to watch it.and last, no iTunes. Sounds better than an iPad mini to me.

      Where is all of this malware you speak of? I have nine android devices, and never had any problems. Who is really spreading the fud here?
      • jeraymyeggs - thanks for the meaningful comments

        Finally - meaningful discussion. You're obviously more than 15 years old.

        To your points:
        Storage: sure, you can pop a 128 Gig card in there, but it uses a slow data transfer protocol. So it's not useful for holding meaningful content. An example, once again, of how the specs don't translate into usage. Apple concentrates on maximizing system usability for the customer. Samsung, as a "me too" manufacturer, just tosses the components together and says, "Look at my specs!" Sure, they don't work, but look at those specs!

        So the Samsung device is heavier, communicates slower, has less useable storage, has mediocre appearance, and uses an insecure, buggy operating system.

        I'm not sold on this device.
        • You are seriously misinformed

          SD is more than fast enough for HD video. Lightning is not a feature, it's an accessory licensing scheme. If it had USB 3.0 it would be a feature. Finally, Android is certainly not buggy. I have no idea about security over all, but if you're still talking about malware you live in a dream world.
        • Your Apple must be laced with a bit of fanboy

          I agree with Spatters71.
          1. SD is more than capable of capturing and playing back HD video. Why do you think they're used in most cameras?
          2. Malware is virtually non-existent on Android, kind of like choice is on IOS.
          3. Samsung created the first widely used mini tablet with the Galaxy tab 3 years ago. They Android market has been flooded with 7-8 inch tablets for two years. So who's the "me too" manufacturer. At least Samsung is innovative enough to find a way to mainstream the stylus in a usable fashion.

          And I'd like to see how you get all your videos over that "lightning" connection maxed out at USB 2.0 which is ironically the same speed as current micro-usb used in Android. Was it the name Lightning that made you think it was faster? What I'd really like to see is how you "fanboy" your way out of it when new Android phones are rocking USB 3.0 and have an available throughput of 5Gbps while "lightning' is still stuck at .3Gbps.

          And I don't know if Apple has to go too far out of its way to work on "usability for the customer" when their customer base practically drools over any Apple product regardless of how poor it is. The iPad Mini an inch smaller and doesn't even have a retina display and they still sell it for $350... and the Apple fandom screams themselves into oblivion with excitement. And why is retina missing? It's the next "innovative feature on iPad Mini 2!! Really... you wait and see!

          Apple hasn't had an innovative original product in several years. The last innovative product they had is Siri and it isn't even originally Apple developed! Apple bought the company that made Siri. Everything else they've done is basically resize the screen, increase pixel density, repeat. iPhone... iPad... iPhone with retina... iPad with retina... iPad mini... wait for it... iPad mini with retina. Ooohh, my bad, they did create Apple Maps. :) How'd that go for you?
        • Wow

          The Note 8 is a whopping 26 grams heavier (312 vs 338). 26 grams is a bit less than the weight of 5 US quarters. I think I am tough enough to handle this.

          My favorite part of your uninformative rant is the lightning connector. You clearly have no clue how things work.
      • not to mention...

        1.6 Quad core, 2 GB Ram, HSPA+(I believe that is the International version, but not sure. You can always order an international version to use in North America a anyway) which in some cases are better than LTE speeds (look it up), more video and audio support, and finally, no iTunes required each and everytime you plug in your device to a computer. Anyone that says the ipad mini is better or that the Note 8.0 is par is kidding themselves.
        Cory Ducey
    • They learned it from Apple!

      "petulant little jerks all over the internet, hurling childish little insults?"
      = typical Apple fanboy behavior. Apple should sue ! (Who knows? Apple has perhaps a patent covering the fanboys too... would be fun to read the patent description.)
      • You have

        You have the ability of Sarah Palin to ignore the obvious when you say I am being childish, when the first comment in this thread was:

        "Picking on the Ipad Mini is like picking on the buck-toothed kid at school."
        • Apple best days may soon come to an End.

          Sarah Palin invented the smart phone.
    • Are you paid by apple

      to spread FUD and try and protect their reputation. It's just you don't use fact or reason in your comments and stating that anyone who disagrees with you are petulant jerks paid for by apple.

      I do like the fact you offer to make up a name and release it as if that somehow lends credibility to your comments. My name's Jack The Ripper, no honestly....
      Little Old Man
    • I bet you didn't like Seth McFarlane hosting the Oscar's either!

      Lighten up dude.. he's being funny while stating an opinion.
    • The "Lightning" is USB 2.0 it's not faster. Your thinking of Thunderbolt.

      I think you maybe confusing the lightning connector with Thunderbolt. I believe the name lighting was chosen for that reason. Lightning is USB 2.0 I'm not sure where you get the idea it's faster than USB, it IS USB. Have you ever looked at the other side of you lightning connector or perhaps taken note of what port you plug it into on your computer. The only real difference in lighting is it's a different connector. It' probably more durable than the micrUSB connectors but it's also a lot easier to accidentally short out the terminals as they are unprotected.

      You put the weight difference on the top of your list of short-fallings of the Note 8 I'm wondering if you realize how close the weight in fact is. The minipad weighs 0.69 pound or (312 g) the Note 8 0.73 pound or (335 g) that's 20g difference. 20 grams. For those that aren't sure what 20 grams is, 20 grams is the weight of 20 regular sized paper-clips or eight pennies. Does anyone seriously think that a significant or even a noticeable difference.

      And storage, in spite of what you say the fact that the Note 8 has capacity for sdcard it does have more storage capability. And that more storage comes significantly cheaper. And class 10 sdcards have enough throughout to stream full HD video so I'm not sure how much more speed you need. You would have less need for fast storage on the iPad since its display is much lower resolution you would not need full HD.

      Malware: Is not near the issue Apple-ites make it out to be. It's just a FUD comment that gets thrown out that has no real world experience to back it up. Just like saying Apple has no security because it's so easy to bypass the lock screen.

      I guess I should ignore posts like this since they are so typical of fan-boi postings, but I just hate to see facts so egregiously misrepresented.