Finally, the day has come — our first review of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. After two weeks of using the Samsung’s newest tablet, I’ll be the first to give my impression of this device. Others will follow as we examine it as a tool for the professional sales person.
Let me start with the hardware:
- It comes with an 8 inch TFT screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. The screen is bright and nice, but nothing extraordinary.
- The body is made with plastic which feels a little low rent for its price. And I wish it has a soft rubber feel at the back like the Nexus 7 instead of a slippery plastic.
- At 8mm thick and 210.8mm x 135.9mm in size, and 340g, you could hold it with one hand easily.
- A 5MP rear camera and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera are somewhat standard for a tablet.
- It’s powered by Exynos quad-core running at 1.6GHz with 2GB of RAM, giving a pretty smooth experience even you are running multiple apps.
- And it comes with a micro SD card slot where you can put in up to 64GB of additional memory. If you are a big fan of videos and music, it is definitely a plus.
However, the most distinctive difference from other tablets is the S-Pen stylus. It is unlike any other stylus and offers an incredible 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. If you are an artist or like to draw, you can really do some amazing stuff with it.
Now to the software. Samsung is kind of known for throwing many software features into their devices. Smart stay, multi-window, hand motion, air view, pen gestures, reading mode, just to name a few that are more popular. Not every feature is all that useful, but there is always something for everyone.
Has this ever happened to you: you’re reading something and suddenly the screen goes dark? If so, you’ll love Smart Stay. It checks to see if your eyes are looking at the screen, and stops the screen from timing out.
Air View is another interesting one. Sometimes you have no idea what an icon does, because you don’t necessary think like the designer. With Air View, you can use the S-Pen to hover over icons or elements in supported apps, and get a label or additional information.
When you are playing back video with Video Player app, you can trace the nib across the timeline and see thumbnails of coming scenes. It is certainly helpful in finding a particular spot. A side note about the Video Player, you can overlay a playing video anywhere on the screen. Pretty cool.
However the most attractive feature in my opinion is Multi-window. Multi-window allows user to split the screen, essentially multitasking with two apps in view and usable at the same time. You can open your Sales Productivity Tool to go through all your opportunities and have a Maps app open to plan your route for sales calls.
If you need to send an email to your client with some attachments, but you aren’t sure which files are the right ones, or you need to make some quick changes, you can open it right beside the email. I think the idea is good, but it is not perfect. Not every app works well with Multi-window. However if you can find apps that work well together for your need, it is quite powerful.
As I mentioned earlier, S-Pen is the most unique feature, but hardware is useless without some good app take advantage of it. Samsung Note lets you create any type of note by writing on it like a regular and S-note converts it into text. It even recognizes mathematical formulas and shapes and you can insert pictures, video, maps, whatever.
In addition to the Google Play Store, Samsung has its own Apps store with some Samsung specific apps. This has various Hubs where users can access a variety of content, such as games, books, music, videos. One interesting Hub is called Learning Hub. Inside the Learning Hub you can find both free and paid educational content like digital textbooks and video lectures, and it has tools for teaching and note taking.
Last but not least, I have to mention that with an 11 pin, MHL-compliant Micro USB to HDMI cable, you can connect the Note 8.0 directly to a projector. You can do a presentation to your client without bringing your laptop.
There is no way I can cover everything in a week or two. However, my experience with the device is definitely positive. I think a sizable tablet with a stylus like Galaxy Note 8.0 is a great device for business users or students.
Stay tuned for a second opinion from my colleagues.