Excited as I was to finally get my hands on a Android tablet, the hype around the tablet war has slowly calmed.  Samsung’s 10.1 tablet seemed to leave the fanatics with an empty gap which needed to be filled.  The Galaxy Note 8.0 is here and finally ready to fill that void for the many who needed something that was just more portable.  I’ve spent a few weeks now using it and of course there are ups and downs like any other.  Heres what I think…

Hardware
The Galaxy Note 8.0 has a Exynos Quad-Core processor that is clocked at 1.6GHz and 2GB of ram.  The apps and multi-tasking work very fluidly until you have a certain amount of applications open.  It seems that either the Android interface still doesn’t manage multi-tasking very well or the Samsung skin is just really heavy.  The tablet also has a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera for video chatting and such, but neither are impressive like most tablets.  The winners here are the IR blaster and S Pen, as I found myself using both the most.  Its quiet hilarious that I don’t know where my tv or cable remote are (sad but not missed).  The S Pen is the clear winner for me as I find myself using this for nearly everything that I do, from editing documents to adding little notes to pictures.  The screen size also allows it for portability and it doesn’t feel like a burden to carry in one hand, and using it with the other.  The screen resolution is jotted down as a 1280×800 TFT display which does a very good job in terms of contrast and richness, for now.  Most devices that people want these days are 1080p for optimal viewing experiences.

My biggest issue with the overall make of the tablet was the plastic feel.  It feels like the Samsung Galaxy S4 all over again.  It just doesn’t feel like that gorgeous item you just want to flaunt anywhere you go.  The plastic body doesn’t help the near $400 selling point.  With that being said, visually, its just not as astounding as it should be, but performance may save it.  To wrap up the total package you have 16GB of on board memory and a micro SD slot that allows up to 64GB of storage.

Software
Under the Samsung skin is Android 4.1 Jellybean.  The multi-window multi-tasking feature is great on the Note 8.0.  Being able to browse on the internet while chatting on the internet on the tablet feels new yet familiar.  Its simple to use and very efficient in executing commands, and best part about it is that it doesn’t feel like it gets in the way.  Also when you pull the S Pen out, it immediately gives you options or sends you to the notepad to put the pen to use.  Some of the issues here though is that most of the apps are just blown up apps from the phones.  The app store still feels weak and its disappointing.  I want apps that are native to the tablet and I’m sure everyone does too.

As for stock applications, the WatchOn app is by far my favorite and I’ve found myself using this more on my tablet than my Galaxy S4.  The menu is simple and it shows you what shows are currently going and which ones are next on those channels you love.  Needless to say, I’ve pretty much lost my cable remote and I have no interest in looking for it anytime soon.  If your looking for a universal remote with a nice organized guide at the palm of your hands, then this may be for you.

Performance
The 2GB of RAM installed in the Note 8.0 is enough to get what you want out of the device. Running multiple applications can slow down the device but it handles multi-tasking quite easily. Games and other high intense powered applications also ran very smooth on the Note 8.0 without draining the battery too quick. Battery life was great as it lasted about two days with just regular use and on standby. For heavy usage the battery could be drained by the end of the day, though I did notice quite a difference in battery life when using AT&T’s LTE service for streaming Netflix or other video content.

Conclusion
The Galaxy Note 8.0 shows Samsung’s stride in the right direction in the tablet division.  Despite having a what seems to be a dated display for todays standard, and a plastic body that they need to learn from, Samsung is delivering all the right internals.  Once those kinks are worked out and they give it a more premium design, I could see good things in the near future.

The Goodies

  • S Pen is a plus
  • Expandable memory is great to have, especially when your traveling
  • Multi-window has won me over time and time again
  • Light and thin deisgn helps with carrying around

The Baddies

  • Feels like a cheap plastic design
  • The display should’ve been 1080p, or maybe thats just me…
  • Samsung skin is “heavy”

Roberto Bayde contributed to this review

About The Author

JC Taveras
Managing Editor

A 24 year old city crawler with an ambition to try all gadgets and games. I do what I love and love what I do. Did I mention I'm a proud Audiophile? Follow me on twitter at @JC_Tav

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