I got to sit down at a quaint dinner as the reps from Samsung ran me through their new baby, the Samsung Note 8. It’s quite obvious where Samsung gets their inspiration (having been an Apple OEM) and as a market leader and Android poster boy in the smartphone and tablet segment, competition with Apple is stiff. The Samsung Note 8 borrows much from two predecessors — the love child between the Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Note producing an offspring that’s wee-in between the size of both devices and retaining the S-pen. In a nutshell, the Note 8 is an enlarged Note II (or a smaller Tab 10.1).
In the case of this device, size matters. It’s not small enough to shove into your pocket nor too big to be daunting at the dinner table. The “8” defines its relative size, which is actually around 7.9 inches of real estate and thin enough in accord with Samsung’s design expertise. It’s not revolutionary (nor evolutionary) — it’s simply the logical step in the journey to building the perfect tablet device.
Like any tablets for sale in the market today, Note 8 stresses productivity but the addition of the S-pen gives it a supposed one up against the competition because of the realm of hidden features that the pen can unlock. Some of these gestures are already familiar to previous S-pen veterans such as the video preview mode when watching movies. Others are built into the Calendar and To-Do list allowing you to digitize and sync everything from your grocery list to your calendar. This is by no means a new feature in tablets, but Samsung removes the geek layer and attempts to make it cool for anyone to try out with the use of templates.
To be honest, I had more fun fooling around with the new camera apps (a paper-textured filter app similar to Instagram and a doodling app). While Samsung stresses these new productivity features (and I appreciate them) I overlook these in favor of the more engaging (read: fun) applications.
I can definitely see myself using this as a browsing device while wrapped up under the blankets. But outside the home, the Note 8 charms me as a decent consumption + creation device all because of the S-pen (if you don’t need it, it stays invisible inside its receptacle).
This or the iPad mini? Well, they’re both of similar size and to be honest, real estate isn’t what’s in question here: we’re looking more at an iOS vs Android ecosystem. BUT, if you are looking to create more content in the likes of editing documents and making notes, the Note 8 is definitely the clear winner.