Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Review and Gaming PerformanceHi guys, welcome back!

At the recent CES 2014 event, we already saw the first look of Samsung’s Pro tablets, ranging from the Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 8.4 > 10.1 > 12.2 and last but not least, Samsung GALAXY Note Pro 12.2.

They were actually the stretched out versions of Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 tablet, of course with some improvements made here and there on both hardware and especially software.

However, there is one model of Samsung GALAXY Note Pro, given that this series already has some several models released under the same flag, from the smallest Samsung GALAXY Note 3, the biggest Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 model.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 benchmarks and gaming performance

All of these 3 variants have their own market actually; with Note 3 taking the phablet market, the Note 10.1 eating the share of 10-inch tablet market, Note 12.2 landing on the new fresh “Pro” tablet market or productivity-tablet market, while the mid-sized Samsung GALAXY Note 8 selling at the 7 to 8-inch tablet market.

However, from all of these series, there is something that makes the Samsung GALAXY Note 8 and the other Note devices different.

And that is its hardware.

If the Note 3, Note 10.1 and Note 12.2 are packing the same exact hardware specs; like Snapdragon 800, 3GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU, then it contradicts with the mid-sized Samsung GALAXY Note 8, which only gets the mediocre internals from Samsung.

Well, okay then, if you’re interested to know more about this tablet, then here you go, my personal review of Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

But as usual, before you go straight to the review, please allow me first to give you the brief introduction of this tablet.

Introduction

In the past few years, Samsung has been enjoying a lot of success in both smartphone and tablet making business.

Its GALAXY devices have been the best selling products on the market alongside the iOS devices from Apple.

However, unlike Apple, Samsung made a lot of device series under the flag GALAXY.

But the ones that become the flagships or the high-end devices are of course, the Samsung GALAXY S and GALAXY Note series, given how successful these 2 series have been selling on the market.

However, the one that really stands out among these GALAXY series is definitely the Samsung GALAXY note series.

Compared to other series, Samsung GALAXY Note managed to become so popular even in its first debut, while GALAXY S and GALAXY Tab didn’t have the similar warm reception from the market in their first debuts.

Samsung GALAXY Note series comprises in various different models, with different screen sizes, as well as cellular connectivity supports.

Last year, there were Samsung GALAXY Note 3, GALAXY Note 10.1 and GALAXY note 8, plus the recently-outed Samsung GALAXY Note Pro 12.2.

However, unlike other Note models, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 wasn’t included in the latest Note lineup given that this model was released back then in April 2013, which was a few months before the “Real sequel” GALAXY Note 3 made its debut.

Therefore, it’s no surprise to see that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 doesn’t have the same exact beefy internals that other Note models have; like Snapdragon 800, 3GB of RAM or Adreno 330 GPU, which are the internals of top shelf devices on the market to date.

However, despite having some outdated specs, it doesn’t mean that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 sucks, especially in terms of performance and hardware specs.

This 8-inch tablet still deserves to be positioned in the current tablet market, even if it’s only considered as a mid-end tablet.

Besides, given that this is released under the flag Note series, then you as the owner will get many of the goodies found on all Samsung GALAXY Note models, especially its stylus.

Design

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Review and Gaming PerformanceIn terms of design, it’s quite interesting to see how Samsung GALAXY Note 8 really resembles the design of other GALAXY models, the flagship ones of course, released last year, like Samsung GALAXY S4 or Note 3.

Well, that’s not so shocking given that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is also the flagship model of Samsung GALAXY series.

So there will be the same metal-alike trimming here and there around the side of this tablet just like the one found on other GALAXY flagship models.

However, given that this Note 8 was released before the GALAXY Note 3, which was the real sequel after Note 2, then you can see how the latest Note series like Note 3, Note 10.1 and Note Pro 12.2 look way different than the Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

For example are the rounded corners of these tablets.

As you can see, the rounded corners of this Note 8 have fully rounded shape, making it look quite chubby and cute, similar like the design of older GALAXY line, like Samsung GALAXY Tab 2 or GALAXY S III.

This actually contradicts with the whole design of Note 3, Note 10.1 and Note Pro 12.2 that look so premium and professional with much smaller rounded corners and sharp looking design.

Thankfully, this Samsung GALAXY Note 8 has that metal-alike trimming around the side of this tablet, which really helps a lot in making this tablet look way more elegant than the older GALAXY series.

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  • Released April 2013
  • 8.0 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels (~189 ppi pixel density)
  • Exynos 4412Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
  • Mali-400MP GPU
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Android OS 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera, autofocus
  • 1.3 MP front-facing camera
  • MicroSD card slot for up to 64 GB
  • 16/32 GB Internal storage
  • SIM Micro-SIM
  • GPRS Class 12 32 - 48 kbps
  • EDGE Class 12
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band,
  • Bluetooth
  • Infrared port
  • USB
  • No Radio
  • GPS
  • Java
  • Li-Ion 4600 mAh battery
Samsung GALAXY Note 8 comes with some hardware specs that are considered as average for today’s standard, especially compared to other 7 to 8-inch rivals like Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, LG G Pad 8.3 or iPad mini 2.

However, given that this model was released back then in April 2013 before the Note 3 made its first debut, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 must be considered as the member of the previous Note family, alongside Note 2 and Note 10.1 (2013 edition), not the current Note series.

The good news is, this tablet still has some horse power internals inside, ensuring that all of the features, especially the stylus-dedicated features can be executed perfectly on this tablet without any lag.

Samsung GALAXY Note 8 comes with an 8-inch display sporting the resolution of 800x1280, a quad-core Exynos 4412 Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz per core, Mali-400MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, 5MP rear-facing camera, 1.3 front-facing camera, 4600mAh power battery, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, microSD card slot for up to 64GB in case you’re running out of 16/32GB internal storage and a bunch of standard features.

Screen

When it comes to display, then there is nothing to write home about on the screen of this tablet.

Compared to other 8-inch rivals like Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX, LG G Pad 8.3 or iPad mini 2, or even HP Slate 8 Pro, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is already left behind by other competitors, especially on the screen resolution.

When other rivals already adopt 1080p display, this Note 8 is still using the medium 720p resolution display, which is already considered as outdated for today’s global tablet market, especially high-end market.

However, considering that there are still many other mid-range $199 tablets sporting the same 720p display (1280x800 pixels) like Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 still deserves to be positioned on today’s tablet market.

Besides, this tablet is equipped with some great software and features here and there, plus a great stylus and its abilities, so this tablet still has many strengths that even other 8-inch high-end tablets don’t have.

Actually, the 720p display on this tablet already looks gorgeous and sharp given that display with 720p resolution already looks sharp even on my 14-inch laptops.

So if that same resolution display is crammed on a much smaller 8-inch tablet like Samsung GALAXY Note 8, then the screen on this tablet will look even sharper than on any bigger screened devices.

So things like watching movies or HD videos, reading books or magazines, browsing the web or even playing games, all will look sharp and crisp on the 8-inch display of this tablet.

However, as for reading books or browsing the web, it’s still necessary for you to always zoom in zoom out if the text or images can’t be read or seen perfectly on this device.

But overall, the experience of using this tablet with that 720p display is still good and satisfying though, if not great.

Besides, when the next-gen Samsung GALAXY Note 8 finally launches in the next few months, i believe Samsung will bump up all of the specs on this tablet and make them on the same level with the current Note series (i.e., Note 3, Note 10.1 and Note Pro 12.2).

Features

As a stylus-supported note-taking tablet, then with Samsung GALAXY Note 8, you’ll get plenty of cool features related to the stylus.

As you might know, there are hover function on the stylus, multi-window mode, stylus-related apps, Word and Polaris Office docs, cropping the screen shot with stylus and many other awesome features embedded here and there on the stylus and the tablet.

I think my favorite feature on this Note 8 is definitely the split screen or multi-window mode which allows you to open 2 different windows of apps at the same time on the same screen.

It’s too bad this tablet won’t be getting the 4 multi-window mode just like the one found on Samsung’s Pro tablets (Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro 10.1 > 12.2 and Note Pro 12.2), which i think would still fit great if implemented on this 8-inch tablet.

User Interface

In terms of User Interface, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 actually looks just like any other Samsung’s GALAXY devices out there.

However, given that this tablet is a note-taking stylus-dedicated tablet, then there will be some new additions of features that Samsung has provided both on the tablet itself and the most importantly, the stylus.

For example is the side navigation window (just like the notification window on the top), which you can open by pulling the screen to the right (from outside the screen area).

Through this side navigation window, you can open some important apps like chatting app, web browser, note, YouTube app, etc, and then float on the dual multi-window mode.

Besides this side navigation window, there are also some other cool features that you can’t find on other Samsung GALAXY tablets.

However, the overall look of the UI on this tablet is pretty much the same with other TouchWiz-installed Samsung devices out there, especially the latest ones.

Performance

It’s good to know that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 CPU, accompanied with 2GB of RAM and Mali-400MP GPU.

These hardware specs may not be as powerful and on par with the other rivals on the market like Tegra Note, Kindle Fire 7 HDX, Google Nexus 7 or LG G Pad 83, but these specs definitely can get all the job done, either for doing heavy or lightweight tasks, and deliver a fast and smooth experience to the users.

Browsing the web, watching HD movies, reading heavy magazines or playing games, all can be executed perfectly and smoothly on this tablet.

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When it comes to playing games, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely one of the better, if not the best, gaming tablets out there on the market.

Thanks to its quad-core Exynos 4412 CPU, 2GB of RAM and Mali-400MP GPU, many of your favorite games can be played nicely on this tablet, even the most graphically demanding ones.

With these specs, you’re able to play 2012-released games like Asphalt 7: Heat, Modern Combat 4, N.O.V.A 3, Dead Trigger 1, GTA Vice City and other games released in 2012 or around that year.

However, when faced with the latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Trigger 2 or GTA San Andreas (especially GTA San Andreas!!), then i don’t think Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is capable to run these heavy games perfectly and smoothly in full graphics.

I know that Mali-400MP GPU is a powerful GPU and there are many Android games and apps that are made for this GPU.

But the thing is, i’ve already seen the last year's powerful GPU, Adreno 320 on Google Nexus 7 2013 edition, already suffer when playing GTA San Andreas in full graphics setting, while Asphalt 8: Airborne can only be played in medium graphics setting, which doesn’t even run smoothly.

So with that being said, then it’s really clear that the less powerful specs inside this Samsung GALAXY Note 8 will find a lot of trouble to run the latest games released in 2014 or late 2013, especially the most graphics intense ones.

However, given that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is only intended to be a note-taking tablet, with the great gaming performance treated as a second plus point, then you can’t expect this tablet to be the best gaming tablet on the market right now.

But then again, seeing how the same “on-par” rivals like Tegra Note 7 and HP Slate 7 Extreme, which both are also note-taking tablets just like Note 8, and they both have much much better gaming performance than Samsung’s tablet, then these 2 rivals actually can be great alternatives for Note 8, especially if you’re looking for a note-taking tablet with a great gaming performance and affordable price tag (only $199).

Besides, by getting Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme, you can get the same exact things found on Note 8:
  • like great stylus and its dedicated holes,
  • stylus-dedicated apps and features,
  • the same 1280x800 pixel display,
  • the same 5MP camera (although Note 8’s camera is better)
  • and the same microSD card slot (but only for up to 32GB),
  • plus you get a much much better gaming performance than on the Note 8.
Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, including what games that will run on this tablet, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Camera

If you have the hobby for photography, you’ll be glad that you’re hobby can be accommodate very well on this tablet. Samsung GALAXY Note 8 comes with a 5MP rear-facing camera.

Other may have the same 5MP camera just like on the Note 8, however, Samsung GALAXY devices, especially the flagships ones, have been so popular for their great camera quality, which is on the same level with the iPad or iPhone.

So if you’re looking for a great tablet with a great camera, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 can be a great choice for you, of course besides iPad mini 2.

However, if you’re not a big fan of camera on tablet, and you just want to buy a note-taking tablet with just “Okay” or pretty good camera quality but way more powerful gaming performance than Note 8, then your choice is definitely on Tegra Note.

This NVIDIA’s homemade tablet, according to many reviews from CNET and many more, has a great 5MP camera.

Not to mention, the camera-dedicated app called “Camera Awesome” app also comes pre-loaded on this tablet, which is still exclusive for Tegra Note and iOS devices only.

Battery Life

Samsung GALAXY Note 8 comes with 4600mAh power battery inside.

This battery capacity may not be as huge as other rivals like iPad Air with its 8020mAh battery, Google Nexus 10 or Lenovo Yoga 10 Tablet both with a staggering 9000mAh battery.

However, given that this Note 8 is only packing an 8-inch display with the resolution of 1280x800 pixels or 720p display, then the 4600mAh battery inside this tablet is already enough to keep the tablet going for about 7 to 9 hours in mixed usage in one single charge (according to video reviews on YouTube!).

And if you’re gonna use this tablet for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen, like watching HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row, then you can only expect this tablet to last around 5 to 6 hours of usage, which is still considered as pretty good, if not great, for today’s standard.

But hopefully, on the next-gen Note 8 series, Samsung will bring its A-game and make its battery life long lasting just like the iPad mini 2 or even stronger than all Apple tablets.

My Personal Opinions

So in my conclusion, i think Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely a great note-taking tablet.

In fact, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is still the best 8-inch stylus-dedicated tablet on the market right now and probably can only be topped by its sequel, which will launch this year.

However, at the fraction of the cost to buy Samsung GALAXY Note 8, you can still get a much better alternatives, like Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme.

These 2 tablets may not have the best note-taking experience just like on Note 8, or its complete stylus-dedicated features.

However, according to many YouTube videos, the stylus experience of Tegra Note and HP Slate 7 Extreme is actually quite great for new comers in note tablet market.

Besides, on both of these tablets, you’ll get the same 720p display (1280x800 pixels), 5MP camera, microSD card for up to 32GB, stylus and its dedicated hole on the back, note-taking apps and features and a great battery life.

Not to mention, these 2 tablets have so much even better gaming performance than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

All the latest games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, GTA San Andreas or Dead Trigger 2, all can be run and played perfectly and smoothly in full graphics on these Tegra Note and HP Slate 7 Extreme, while on the other hand, can’t be played smoothly and in full graphics on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

So by paying just $199 for either Tegra Note or HP Slate 7 Extreme, as opposed to the $350 for the Samsung GALAXY Note 8, you can get a great note-taking tablet with more powerful gaming performance than Note 8.

Well, the choice is now yours then.

Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...
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