At first glance, it’s pretty clear that the Galaxy Note 8.0 retains the nature-inspired aesthetics first introduced with the Galaxy S3. The plastic body may initially fail to justify its selling price and makes it feel less elegant than other products on the market, but it certainly does a good job in keeping the unit light and portable, which is always a factor to consider.
Best described as a tablet with phone aspirations, the Galaxy Note 8.0 boasts a SIM slot capable of taking calls, and not just data storage. With an 8-inch display, it is nestled comfortably in between Galaxy Note II and the Note 10.1. It comes in Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE versions with 16GB or 32GB internal memory, which is expandable with a MicroSD slot.
The S-Pen pressure-sensitive stylus, a definitive feature of the Note line, is perfect for productivity, with the size of the tablet ideal for note-taking, more so than the Note II and the Note 10.1. The pen’s usability factor is boosted by the fact that there are apps for the device that take full advantage of it. If you like taking notes or sketching, then you’ll be using the S-Pen a whole lot.
Performance-wise, the Note 8.0 is no slacker. It is fast and fluid, despite the occasional hiccup here and there. It is good for multimedia consumption, with the default video player app able to play most video codecs, even up to 1080p. The camera, at 5 megapixels, takes only average quality shots, but then again, so do most tablets.
Other specs worth knowing: the device has a 1280×800 pixel resolution, Quad Core 1.6ghz Cortex A9 chip, the same one found in the Note II, and has 2GB of RAM. The TouchWiz UI overlay is present, which tweaks some aspects of the Android OS. If you’ve handled a Samsung phone in the past year or so, then you’ll be right at home.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 has a lot of good things going for it, with the S-Pen feature being its biggest selling point. It’s biggest failing isn’t so much in its performance, but its appearance—the plastic casing certainly does feel cheap and inelegant. However, if you’re willing to overlook that and you’re looking for something beyond the average gaming and browsing tablet, then the Note 8.0 is a fantastic choice.