Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 Specs Comparison

Written by B Johnson January 28, 2016
Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 Specs ComparisonEver since Google introduced its Nexus 7 to the world, I think that’s the first time when people finally took 7-inch tablet market more seriously than before.

And that showed how Google really nailed it when making this tablet even in its first attempt, which was amazing given that Google was not a hardware company in the first place and didn't have any experience whatsoever in tablet market.

(Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 Specs Comparison)

But that’s probably not that shocking because Google Nexus 7 was actually made by Asus, which is widely known to be one of the major players around the laptop and tablet market.

Samsung, on the other hand, had to release so many different tablets before this manufacturer finally managed to sell millions of its devices until today.

Samsung GALAXY Note 8 was actually one of Samsung tablets that brought successful results to the company, similar just like what Google Nexus 7 did to Google and Asus.

Unlike other regular 7-inch tablets out there, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually the huge size version of Samsung’s flagship phablet – Samsung GALAXY Note 2.

But amazingly, many people especially artists/designers really loved this note-taking device.

It has an amazing stylus experience (thanks to its S-Pen stylus), it has powerful set of hardware, it has great cameras, it has great note-taking features and everything about it is just great.

Google Nexus 7 (2012) vs Samsung GALAXY Note 8 benchmarks and gaming performance

So this is the reason why today, I’m really interested to bring up these 2 tablets from Asus and Samsung in the same arena and let them fight against each other until their last spill of blood.

Even though they both fall in entirely different tablet categories, I’m still curious to see how these 2 tablets fare against each other, either in gaming performance or in the whole aspect.

Well, if you’re also eager to know which one of these 2 tablets that deserves to be a great overall tablet in this review, then you may want to check out my comparison review between Google Nexus 7 and Samsung GALAXY Note 8.


Between Google Nexus 7 and Samsung GALAXY Note 8, I think it’s very obvious that both devices are not really relevant to compare in this review, especially because Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is a specialized note-taking device, while Google Nexus 7 is more on the media-consumption side.

However, despite being 2 entirely different-category tablets, these 2 devices actually have one in common that put them on the same bandwagon.

And that is their great gaming performances.

Okay, Google Nexus 7 may have its Tegra 3 processor, which is optimized by NVIDIA mostly for gaming.

However, that doesn’t straightly mean that the processor inside Samsung GALAXY Note 8 will be mediocre compared to the one found inside Google Nexus 7.

Well, that’s so wrong because this Note tablet still has much to say in terms of gaming performance especially because it’s equipped with one of the most powerful GPUs back in the days of 2012, which is Mali-400 GPU.

And I know how powerful this GPU really is as it’s capable to handle some latest graphics intense games smoothly, even in full graphics.

So this kind of makes Samsung GALAXY Note 8 on par with Google Nexus 7 in terms of gaming performance.

However, there are also many other things that – in my opinion – put Samsung GALAXY Note 8 on a higher level than Google Nexus 7.

First of all, its amazing digital S-Pen stylus.

And given Samsung’s experience in this field for many years, I don’t think I need to explain further about how great its S-Pen really is.

And then, its cameras.

If you’re familiar with Samsung devices – either smartphones or tablets -, then you will know how awesome and sharp their cameras really are (even the mid-range models).

So you can totally expect that a flagship tablet like Samsung GALAXY Note 8 no doubt has great quality cameras.

Meanwhile, Google Nexus 7 doesn’t have a rear-facing camera, although it still comes with a front-facing shooter that enables you to do selfies or video calls.

And then, there’s no microSD card slot on Google Nexus 7, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 has it for up to 64GB.

So by looking at the completeness of the hardware on each of these devices, I think it’s very obvious for me to say that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is a better tablet overall than Google Nexus 7.

Well, that is true.

But there are still some questions remain. Between these 2 tablets, which one between Google Nexus 7 and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that deserves to be a great gaming tablet?

Which one of these 2 tablets that is better tablet in the whole aspect?

Is it worth it to buy Samsung GALAXY Note 8 over Google Nexus 7?

Well, if you want to know the answers of these 3 little questions, be sure to read the rest of this review. You’re gonna find out about it at the end of this review.


Okay, when it comes to design, most of Android tablets may not be on the same level with Apple iPads, especially in build quality.

Google Nexus 7 is no exception.

It may not have the same premium aluminum materials just like the iPad, but I think Google still nailed it in this department with Google Nexus 7.

If you’re already familiar with Nexus smartphones like Samsung GALAXY Nexus S or LG Nexus 4, then you will see that there are design similarities between these smartphones and Google Nexus 7, although Nexus smartphones has that sexy looks thanks to curved edges on top and bottom bezels.

Meanwhile, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is on the other side of the road if compared with Google Nexus 7.

In my opinion, this note-taking device is more on the “fun” side, as opposed to Google tablet that has geeky and modern characteristics on its design.

It has curved shape all around the side of bezels, which kind of makes it look chubby.

Between the 2, I think both devices have their own characteristic in design, especially compared to other regular tablets across the market, which mostly have similar generic designs.

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Google Nexus 7 (2012) Samsung GALAXY Note 8
Released in July 2012
7.0 inch LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 800 x 1280 pixels, (~216 ppi pixel density)
1.2 MP front-facing camera
Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU
Android OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to 4.4.2 Android KitKat
8/16GB/32GB Internal
No microSD card slot
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
No Radio
No Java
Non-removable Li-Ion 4325 mAh battery
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
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
GPRS Class 12 32 - 48 kbps
EDGE Class 12
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band,
Infrared port
No Radio
Li-Ion 4600 mAh battery

As a tablet released a year after Google Nexus 7 came out, of course Samsung will give a much better treatment to Samsung GALAXY Note 8, especially when knowing that this device is a part of Samsung GALAXY note series, which is the flagship series from this company.

So basically, it offers a lot more things than what Google Nexus 7 comes with.

Okay, this note-taking device may not have the 12-core GPU just like Google Nexus 7. But I think this tablet is still more than sufficient in terms of hardware.

It has microSD card slot for up to 64GB, a 5MP rear-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, a bigger display and its processor along with GPU are actually not too shabby at all, even for gaming.

Not to mention, as a note-taking device, of course Samsung GALAXY Note 8 will come with its own S-Pen digital pen, along with its own slot to keep it safely when you no longer need to use it.

And you already know how great S-Pen of GALAXY Note really is.

Not only can you use it to take simple notes, but you can literally create some beautiful paintings out of it.

On the other hand, despite having a powerful Tegra 3 processor, Google Nexus 7 is still lacking in the sectors where Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is really superior at.

It has no rear-facing camera, it has has no microSD card slot, it only has 1GB of RAM, it has smaller screen size and there’s no digital pen found on this Google’s tablet.

Not to mention, if you decide to get the smallest 8GB model, then you can probably have less then 6GB of free available storage, which is too small for a media-consumption device.

So in terms of spec sheet, I think it’s very obvious that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is more superior compared to Google Nexus 7.


Google Nexus 7 comes with a 7-inch display, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is equipped with a slightly larger 8-inch screen.

However, they both are sporting the same 720p resolution (1280x800 pixels).

So obviously on paper, Google Nexus 7 looks much sharper than Samsung GALAXY Note 8, given that all the pixels are being pushed on a smaller 7-inch display, resulting in higher pixel density (-216 ppi VS -189 ppi).

But I don’t think the difference of sharpness between these 2 devices will be that significant because Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is only one inch bigger than the screen of Nexus 7.

So I believe they both are still on the same level when it comes to overall display sharpness and quality.

Besides, Samsung devices – especially the flagship ones -, are mostly known to have beautiful looking displays with great color saturation.

So enjoying contents like books, movies or games is probably much better to do on Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

User Interface

As far as the software goes, Google Nexus 7 and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 are definitely on the other sides of the roads.

Google’s tablet comes with pure stock Android UI without any customizations, while Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is more prominent with Samsung’s fully customized TouchWiz UI, which is really heavy and filled with many awesome features and pre-loaded apps, especially the ones related to its digital S-Pen.

This is actually why Samsung GALAXY Note 8 needs a much bigger 2GB of RAM, as opposed to Google Nexus 7 that is only equipped with 1GB of RAM.

But that is the great thing of both tablets.

I mean, if you love using the simple pure Android experience without any customizations from the manufacturer, then Google Nexus 7 will definitely serve you well.

On the other hand, if you love using some useful added features related to digital pen, then Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely your destination here.

It’s a matter of personal choice and needs.

Both tablets are great in software, powerful in hardware and they are also good in battery life.

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If there is one thing that makes Google Nexus 7 look more superior than Samsung GALAXY Note 8, then it’s definitely its processor along with GPU.

Google Nexus 7 is equipped with one of the most powerful processors in 2012 – Tegra 3.

It has 4 set of cores and its GeForce ULP GPU has staggering 12 cores.

So you can bet how powerful this tablet really is compared to Samsung GALAXY Note 8. And that’s true actually because Nexus 7 is no doubt a powerful machine for gaming.

I’ve already seen this device perform when handling some of the most graphically demanding games around 2012 – 2013 like Modern Combat 4, GTA Vice City, NOVA 3, Dead Trigger, Need For Speed Most Wanted and one awesome medieval role playing game called “Horn”.

All of them run smoothly on this device and the most importantly in full highest graphics.

Even Asphalt 8: Airborne can also be played in full graphics on Google Nexus 7. It may not run as smooth as on the second-gen Nexus 7 (2013 edition), but it’s still playable after all for human being.

Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is also a good device for playing games.

This note-taking tablet is equipped with Samsung’s own Exynos 4412 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and Mali-400 MP4 GPU. And I know that Mali-400 GPU is also one powerful GPU in its era.

So I’m not really surprised if this tablet is capable to handle games like GTA Vice City, Gangstar Vegas, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 3 and Asphalt 7: Heat all smoothly in full graphics.

Meanwhile, GTA San Andreas only performs smoothly when set in medium to low graphics, similar just like what happens on Google Nexus 7 actually.


If you’re really into photography, then your definite choice here is Samsung GALAXY Note 8. It comes with a 5MP rear-facing camera and 1.3MP camera on the front.

In terms of quality, of course you can totally count on this tablet because most of Samsung GALAXY devices (even mid-end smartphones) have great and sharp quality cameras.

On the other hand, Google Nexus 7 has no rear-facing camera although it’s still equipped with a front-facing shooter to do selfies or video calls.

Battery Life

One of the benefits of having medium a 720p resolution display and stock Android is definitely long lasting battery life.

And that’s what exactly happens on Google Nexus 7.

Thanks to its 720p screen and pure stock Android UI, this device is capable to survive in 9 hours and 49 minutes for moderate use.

However, the same actually happens as well to Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

Despite using a really heavy TouchWiz UI and larger screen, this note-taking tablet is still really decent when it comes to battery life, lasting around 13 hours and 50 minutes for moderate use.

But of course, if you use any of these tablets to do some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen at all – like playing games in the row or watching movies in marathon -, their battery could drain drastically around 4 to 6 hours.

My Personal Opinions

So in the final conclusion of this comparison review, I have to say that Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely the one that comes out as the winner here in the review.

I’m not saying that Google Nexus 7 is not as great as Samsung GALAXY Note 8. But I think Samsung tablet has a lot to offer to users than Nexus 7.

First of all, it comes with a digital pen, which has an amazing note-taking experience.

And second of all, it has 2 elements that Google Nexus 7 don’t have, from microSD card slot and rear-facing camera.

And last but not least, despite having a slightly less powerful hardware, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually still good for gaming, as it handles many graphically demanding games smoothly even in full graphics.

Besides, I’ve heard several times that Google Nexus 7 is plagued with one serious issue that probably would scare you away from getting this tablet.

So according to many of its users, this tablet suddenly became really laggy and buggy after a few months of use.

Many suspected that its flash storage was the one to blame, for not being a great quality storage.

So with all of the benefits found on Samsung GALAXY Note 8, and the problem found on Google Nexus 7, I think it’s very easy for me to recommend you Samsung GALAXY Note 8 instead of Google Nexus 7, even if you are a gamer.

It’s great for taking simple notes, creating paintings, playing games, watching movies, browsing the web, reading books/magazines and many other things you would like to do on a tablet.

To sum up this review, I’ll try to answer some of the questions I’ve already asked previously above:

Which one between Google Nexus 7 and Samsung GALAXY Note 8 that deserves to be a great gaming tablet?

When it comes to gaming performance, it’s definitely Google Nexus 7 that is a better more powerful gaming tablet than Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

However, Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is actually not too shabby at all for gaming.

Thanks to its Mali-400 GPU, this device is still capable to handle even the most graphics intense games out there.

Which one of these 2 tablets that is better in the whole aspect?

It’s definitely Samsung GALAXY Note 8.

It has an amazing digital pen, it has good performance, it has microSD card slot for up to 64GB, it has a sharp taking rear-facing camera, it has better features and software and it’s also equipped with cellular functionality.

Is it worth it to buy Samsung GALAXY Note 8 over Google Nexus 7?

Yes, absolutely. Despite not having the same great gaming performance as Google Nexus 7, buying Samsung GALAXY Note 8 is definitely a better decision here than getting Google Nexus 7 because it has a lot to offer compared to Google’s tablet, even though Nexus 7 is much cheaper to get.

But even so, Google Nexus 7 is still a decent affordable tablet for gaming.

Pros and Cons

Google Nexus 7 (2012)

  • Regular software updates from Google
  • Powerful gaming performance
  • Super smooth experience with stock Android UI
  • Great battery life
  • Good build quality
  • NO microSD card slot
  • NO rear-facing camera
  • Some users experienced that this Nexus 7 tablet became laggy over the time especially when the internal storage is loaded with many files
  • For today’s standards, it’s not so powerful anymore for playing heavy games
Samsung GALAXY Note 8

  • Great stylus with amazing writing experience
  • Powerful for gaming
  • Great support from app and game developers given Samsung's popularity
  • Gorgeous display
  • Awesome features related to S-Pen stylus
  • Strong battery life
  • Chubby and bulky design
  • Still expensive until now
  • Old-gen hardware
  • TouchWiz UI has a lot of unnecessary features

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