on April 12, 2013
---Update 12/18/2013 - I've moved all "updates" to the end of this review for easier reading---
My main reason for buying this tablet was/is to use it for taking lecture notes and reading books (college/work/technical books). I wanted something more portable than the Note 10.1 and this seemed to fill the void.
Since this product has only been out for a day (when this review was written), I've had a chance to play with most of the features but not all. This review is meant for those of you hanging on the fence, unsure of whether or not this tablet will work for you.
First off, to save yourself some time, if you have no intentions of using the stylus for taking notes or modifying photos then stop reading this right now. The stylus IS the reason this tablet costs more than the competition and in my opinion it's worth the price. Yes, there are more powerful tablets out there that are much cheaper but they don't have a stylus! This tablet is designed for the person who likes to read/write and/or do artwork/photo-shopping. If you don't need a stylus then you don't need to read this review (look at other products like the Nexus 7).
The Pros: Taking notes on this device is a dream (very precise, even for mathematicians)
-The hand-writing recognition feature is pretty darn accurate
-I can use Microsoft OneNote to take notes (yay!) See "comments" section for more info on this(page 2)
-Supports a 64GB micro-SD card (search Amazon for the Samsung card)
-The interface is snappy and the graphics are fluid (for the most part)
-Internet browsing and switching between programs is quick and smooth
-The device is easy to hold and is very lightweight
-The image quality is crisp, clear and bright
-Did I mention, I really love the pen and it's ability to glide across the screen effortlessly?
-The infrared remote feature is pretty slick and worked with my Panasonic T.V. without issue
-Comes with 50GB dropbox account (for storing and sharing files with others)
-Includes a $25 Google Play credit for downloading apps
-Very quick to charge (roughly 2 hours)
-Plastic finish is very slick and clean - Metal bends and scratches so pick your poison
-The price should be lowered by about $50 in my opinion because of the weak video card (see below)
-The device comes with Android 4.1.x and not 4.2.x (Samsung hasn't announced when they will release the "much improved" update)
***This no longer applies as I've found an app to replace this missing functionality*** -The following is a negative regarding Android and not the actual device: I made the mistake of buying a 64GB micro-SD card thinking I could store applications and games on it. Turns out, Android stripped out this feature and you can only put pictures, music and other "documents" on SD cards. So in short, the included 16GB of storage runs out before you know it (for power users). Save yourself the money, don't buy an SD-Card and use the DropBox service for storing all of your files
-The graphics card is kind of weak for playing graphic intensive games but this tablet isn't really meant for that. For example, I played "Real Racing 3" and my framerate was probably 20-30 FPS. Still playable but kind of choppy. Additionally, when I unlock the screen with the stylus, the "ink" effect can be sluggish at times with a noticeable frame rate drop. Maybe an update will fix this.
-Not really a con but lack of color selection(white)is kind of weak if you ask me - This can be fixed by putting it in a case.
Overall: I bought this device to take notes and it does that VERY well. I can write complex math formulas and draw nearly anything I can think of without pixelation issues or accuracy problems. The stylus IS the reason to buy this tablet. Don't go off of the specs or other reviewers who have emotional feelings toward this device. If you're serious about taking notes (college students and corporate employees), reading e-books and playing the occasional YouTube videos and browsing the internet, you found your golden nugget. I did A LOT of research to find a replacement for my convertible-laptop (stylus enabled laptop) and I believe the Galaxy Note 8 was the right choice.
I looked at the competition, even in the $1,000 price range and ultimately I chose this device. My complaint about the graphics card was to iterate the fact that this is not meant for hardcore gaming. Yes it will play Angry Birds and those other cheesy games but don't expect this to replace your IPad 3 or your modern smartphone. The graphic cards on those devices are way more powerful than what this little guy packs.
After thoughts: For what it's worth, you can go to Best Buy and purchase the tablet. If you think it's not right for you, you have 15 days to return it and get a 100% refund. If you're a "Silver" status member at Best Buy, you get 60 days to try it out. After using it for just one day, I'm sold on the device and plan on keeping it. Your mileage might very. But I believe the portability and the note taking features of this device far out-way the cons. Other reviewers compare this tablet to other tablets that don't even have a stylus. That's just not fair. That's like me comparing a wheel-chair (which has a specific purpose) to a bicycle (which has a different purpose). Yes, both will get you around but they are designed for specific needs and I personally feel that the Note 8 will satisfy those looking for a stylus enabled tablet at an affordable price.
**Updates to my review**
***Update as of 7/1/2013*** Please see below for my actual review - I just wanted to let others know that my experience with this tablet has been great with no problems. For what it's worth, I am left handed and I have no problems with the built-in S-Note application (or any application) for that matter. My hand does not bump into things and I believe this tablet was made to accommodate both left and right hand users (despite the storage location of the pen).
***Update as of 6/3/2013*** Apparently the comments section is so long, users have stopped reading the How-to's and have asked me how to use the microSD card for external/internal storage. Here's a quick excerpt so you don't have to dig through the comments:
1. Firstly, you need to root your device which is VERY easy - Download and run an app called "Framaroot-1.4.apk" - Here is where I downloaded it from:
3. You can also follow these instructions for rooting your device:
3. Download one of the apps from the Google Play store and read the program's descriptions. It should walk you through the whole setup process.
Root External 2 Internal - [...]
GL to SD
Hope that helps!
***Update as of 5/23/2013*** If I haven't covered something here or in the "comments" section, feel free to drop me a question in the comments section and I'll do my best to help you out. Thanks again for all the "Helpful" ratings you've given me. It makes me happy to know I've helped some of you. I understand I can't please everyone so keep your negative comments to yourself please :-)
***Update as of 5/7/2013*** Attention U.S.A. owners of the Galaxy Note 8. While we all know the U.S. version didn't get phone capabilities (3G data), I found an app on the Google Play Store (free) that allows you to make and receive phone calls for free. All you need is a wifi internet connection (Starbucks, your home wifi, etc) to place calls, and a Google Voice account (free). Firstly, go set up a free Google Voice account so you can get your free phone number (do a search on Google for "Google Voice".) Lastly, download the following app from the Google Play Store: "Groove IP Lite". When you run Groove IP, the application will want to link itself to your Google Voice number (assuming you set this up) and the rest is very seamless. The app allows you to use a Bluetooth device for making calls or the built in speakerphone. Enjoy!
***Update as of 5/6/2013*** Look at the last page of the "comments" section for my instructions on installing flash and rooting the device. I've posted instructions on how to install Flash and root your device. I had too many emails to respond to so here ya go!
***Update as of 4/25/2013*** I have found an app on the Google Play store that will allow you to use your micro-SD card as the "internal" storage and it's free. Additionally, after reading some tech articles, I figured out how to get Flash working on this device along with being able to quickly, safely and easily root the device. If you want more details, post your contact info in the comments section and I'll email you whatever it is you're after. I'm afraid Amazon will delete this review if I post links to 3rd party sites.
***Update as of 4/23/2013*** I still love the Note 8 and highly recommend it. If you have any questions that I don't answer in this review, feel free to comment and I'll respond back to you when I can. Thanks for all the "Helpful" votes!
on June 28, 2013
I have had the Galaxy Note 8.0 for a week now and decided to share my thoughts. I come from a heavy iOS/OSX background owning Ipad3,ipad Mini and Macbook air. This is my first Android tablet . I also own a Sony Xperia Ray android phone but use it mainly as phone. I also bought Xperia Tablet Z recently and had to return due to build issues after few weeks .. I won't get into specs or detailed reviews ( there are quite a few good ones out there) but will list out why i chose Galaxy Note 8.0
Build : Everyone is complaining about the plastic build of Galaxy note 8. It is actually very solid and has no squeaks. The backplate gives a little when you push it. However most will use a case to put their tablets so this is a non issue. the white plastic looks classy. Also as this is plastic the Wifi and bluetooth connections are solid. I get min 4 bars even in bedroom with router in living room. Compared this to ipad mini barely went upto 2 bars. Sony Xperia Tablet z was terrible ..It dropped connections so often it was unusable . However not a big fan of where power button and vol buttons are . I would have preferred power button on top and vol button on left so when i hold tablet they don't get pressed accidentally as this tablet is designed to be held in portrait mode. Also love the physical home button ( I think this because of habit i guess all Apple devices have them :) ). This tablet also weighs as much the ipad mini and Xperia tablet Z so it is very lightweight and easy to hold in one hand for long hrs.
Display : Even though the display is 1280x800 the display is very crisp. Movies and pictures look really great and text looks real good at decent reading distance. The display is way better than Ipad Mini but little bit lower than Xperia tablet Z which is 1080P. However i prefer the Galaxy note 8.0 display as it is easy on eyes. The colors popped so much on Xperia tablet Z it hurt my eyes. Small text ( try msn.com website) looks bit bad when you look closely . But you would never use tablet close to eyes anyways.
Battery life : I get about 2-3 days on single charge with moderate use browsing internet, watching YouTube, some games etc. Mind you I keep brightness to 25% , Bluetooth and GPS off , app notifications off. This decent but not as good as iPad mini.
SDXC card extension : This was the biggest sell for me. I bought a Sandisk 64 GB class 10 SD card and put about 40 movies on it and my books and i am all set for long trips. None of the ipads have the feature.
Non Propriety port: The charge port is micro USB. So with my universal USB charger i just need to carry one cable that will allow me to charge my MP3 player, my tablet, my cell phone and my portable amp as all use micro usb port. Reduced the clutter of cables i need to carry when i travel
Form factor : I was a big fan of Ipad mini for its form factor. I tried to use 10.1 inch tablet ( Sony Xperia Tablet Z) even though light became cumbersome after holding in hand for more than 30 mins. The 7 inch is too small , 10.1 inch too big , 8 inches just perfect for both reading books and watching movies. However i do prefer the 4:3 format of Ipad mini Vs 16:9 format of Android tablets.
Multi tasking : This is brilliant feature and this device allows to have two applications next to each other . This is good when you want to take notes and when browsing a website or a doc . Also the performance is so good there is zero lag even with 6 applications open in background. Ipad doesn't have true multi tasking and there was lag on Sony Xperia tablet Z even though it is high powered device. However that may be due to Sony's bad skinning of jelly bean
Performance/Touch Wiz : Samsung has heavily skinned jelly bean with touch wiz. However there is no lag as this tablet has gobs of power . The 2 GB RAM and quad core processor keep this humming along. I had sometimes 6 applications running in background which were cpu heavy but no lag or abrupt app closures. With Ipad mini apps sometime closed abruptly due to aggressive memory management. iOS is one of the best tuned OS and uses the HW properly . Android still needs horse power to run smoothly.
Speakers : They are placed in the same way it is on ipad mini. I like that because when i watch movies in landscape mode the sound is more rounded as my palms cup them. The are loud but not quite as loud as Ipad mini but way better than the ones on sony Xperia Tablet Z. The sound is loud enough to hear in a noisy env. I will not use the tablet for music as i have a very good Sony mp3 player with amp .. So the speakers are only for you tube videos or movies . Mostly i will use headphones anyways
IR blaster : IMO this is just a gimmick. The Watch on and Peel work for me only if i point my tablet at proper angle to the device it is controlling. The app has so little features. The one implemented on Sony Xperia Tablet Z is awesome. It recognized all my HT components complex menu options and controlled them without me having to point the tablet accurately at the device . However i am hoping someone will come up with an awesome remote app
S Pen : This feature is new to me so i am completely fascinated by the tech. It recognizes my handwriting well and i am using it regularly for my meetings ( Handwriting to text mode) . Need to play lot more with it but love the ability to do this . Not many tablets have this
Price : I think it is reasonably priced ( I bought mine for $379) for features and functions it provides. people don't seem to mind exorbitant prices apple charges for their devices because they are cool :) . Spen , SDXC extension, touchwiz all makes this tablet worth every penny
Ecosystem and OS : Android OS is not as polished as iOS even in its current Jelly bean format . However it is more fluid than ICS. As to apps there are quite a few now in play store that are designed for tablets. Luckily for me all the apps i use i found them in play store . Also android is more open . So it allows me to manage my files the way i want and also root the device if i choose to. It is open to other ecosystems like Amazon market place so i am not tied down to a single ecosystem. This is huge benefit as i was tired of Apple restricting everything to iTunes
Cameras: I will use them only for skype so no issue with the ones on the tablet. Will never use the back camera for taking pics so it doesn't matter to me what quality pics it takes. however what ever pics i took for testing were decent
Things i didn't like : The backbutton and multitask button are so sensitive that when watching movies i have accidentally swiped them and it went back to home page. there is no easy way to disable this . Also not a fan of the location of power button or vol rocker. However the samsung galaxy book cover case is alleviating this a bit ..
Overall it is a very solid tablet filled with ton of features and at reasonable price(IMO) on a very flexible and open ecosystem . You just can't beat that. Also it is way better than iPad mini (IMO)..
on September 3, 2013
I am a Samsung lover; purchased Omnia, Galaxy S, S2, Tab 7, Note 2, Galaxy note 10.1 and Galaxy 8.0. I purchased this device on August 15 and used for 3 weeks now. There is one thing that I want to inform you before you purchase this device.
If you want to purchase this device, DO NOT update your firmware until Samsung releases firmware update 4.2.2, meaning use As-Is for now.
After the purchase, there were at least 3 firmware updates from Samsung and the latest firmware came with touchscreen freeze function which made this tablet pause for 3 ~ 5 seconds. Yes, touch response literally freezes. So I contacted Samsung tech support and they recommended hard reset of the device. I went to XDA Developer website and found there were so many others who experienced the same as I did and do. Worst part is that Samsung is not aware of this issue.
Samsung has been releasing Android 4.2.2 (current version is 4.1.2) which has the fix for this issue, but there is no release date available for Wi-Fi version.
Update on 10/7/2013
Samsung finally released 4.2.2 and touch screen issue resolved with the update.
BUT!!!!! now I notice that internet application closes out when it tries to load flash player on some websites. Samsung should have tested thoroughly. Note 10.1 was great, but it seems like 8.0 will have few more bugs to fix!
Update on 11/20/2013
I did not notice until recently that you are now able to store some programs on SD card. This was one feature that was blocked until the update on 10/7/2013. What does this do? It frees up your internal storage by moving some of your large size apps to SD card. Do note that note 8.0 only has 16GB space, so this will enable you from running out of your internal memory. Few of the previous galaxy phones had this feature, and now on the note 8.0. I was able to move appox. 3GB data to my 32GB SD card. Note 8.0 vs NEXUS 7? Now you may want to re-think because NEXUS 7 does not support micro SD. However, flash player issue is not still resolved...just to remind you.
on August 14, 2013
When I started looking for an ideal tablet a month ago, I was sure that I was going to get the iPad mini. Then I started doing some research and found galaxy note 8.0. It was selling for the same price of $329 at staples, so it was all about the features. The reasons why I finally chose galaxy 8.0 were:
1. Micro SD slot - This is a big one for me. I can dump all my music and quite a few movies on the card. I can also transfer photos from my SLR onto this and use it almost as a storage device.
2. Higher resolution, 2 GB RAM and quad-core processor - The resolution, though better than the iPad mini, won't knock your socks off. However, I was pleasently suprised by how nice and vibrant the colors look on this tablet. Also, I think this is the only tablet that offers you 3 different display options: Dynamic, Movie and Standard. The quad core 1.6 GHz processor really shines while playing graphic intensive games.
3. Android ecosystem - This is more of a personal preference. I replaced my iPhone with an SG3 last year and I found the google ecosystem to be much more open. There's definitely a downside to this, but I like the fact that I don't have to buy adapters every time I want to connect my phone or tablet with an accessory. It all just works, and it is only getting better with time.
4. S-pen - For a student, this really helps. It completely replaces pen and paper. Also, the tablet comes pre-loaded with polaris office, which can be used to view and edit word and excel documents or view power point presentations. It is really nice and easy to use.
5. Potability/8 inch screen - This is again a personal preference, but I think 8 inch is the perfect size for a tablet. Not too small, not too big. It is just the right size to carry when you're on the go. It is lightweight and convenient to hold in one hand.
6. IR Blaster - Hardly a must have feature, but it'll be intereseting to see how well this works with my Samsung TV.
7. Playstore credit - You get $25 google playstore credit to purchase apps, music or movies when you register the product on samsung website. You also get 3 free months of Hulu, free boingo internet for a year as well as $50 credit towards watch on (I have not used it yet, but when I do I'll come back and update this review).
8. GPS - Even though this is a WiFi only tablet, I can install applications such as CoPilot and download maps for navigation offline. It only costs $9.99 and you can try it for 2 full weeks before buying. I was going to purchase a new GPS separately, but not anymore.
One thing to note before you buy this tablet is the battery life. It is not stellar. It is in fact just okay. But there are things one can do to increase the battery life, especially when the tablet is in sleep mode:
1. Install juice defender from playstore. Mine is always in "agressive" mode. This really helps extending the stand by time.
2. Make sure WiFi is off during sleep mode.
3. I get notifications (email, facebooks etc.) on my smartphone. So, there's really no need for me to get those same notifications on my tablet. I also have automatic sync turned off. I sync manually when I open an application.
4. GPS and bluetooth are on only when I need them.
5. I use cleanup master and I have the automatic background task kill switched on. I also regularly clean up the background tasks.
6. I keep the brightness at about 25-35%. It is enough when you're indoors, and it is easy on the eyes. When I am outside, I turn the auto brightness on. I also have the power saving mode on most of the times.
7. I use avast anti-virus on this tablet as well as on my phone. I don't know how much it helps with the battery but it definitely helps guard against unwanted virses, malware and spyware.
If you do just this, you should notice a significant increate in battery life. With moderate use, I am able to go through 2 full days before it needs recharging. However, if you're browsing the Internet or playing youtube clips constantly, don't expect the battery to last more than 7-8 hours.
I have no problem recharging the tablet every 2 days. However, if you're on the go all the time and need the tablet to last more, I'd suggest buying a separate 9000 mAh battery. It is portable and it gives you 2 full recharges. It is not an ideal solution, but atleast you know that just for $50 more, you can go without plugging in your tablet for almost an entire week.
In the end, I think the reason why there are so many tablets out in the market is because no one tablet is ideal for everybody. Every tablet has it's adantages and disadvantages. The tablet that you buy depends on how you're going to use it and what you're going to use it for.
Hope this helps.
Update: Some people have been asking about the storage space available for apps on this tablet. You get close to 9.5 gb for applications. Music, movies, pictures and other documents can be stored on a sd card.
on April 20, 2013
If what you need is a device for watching movies or TV shows on, carry around in your coat pocket, in a purse, or small backpack, this is not the device for you. If that's your intention behind buying a small tablet, then there are better options for the price- much better bang for your buck if you must. This includes the Nexus and the slightly more expensive than the nexus but cheaper than this device Apple Ipad Mini (sorry that was a mouthful). However, if you like to or need to take notes and work in a setting where you are constantly on the move, need information quickly, have to organize information well, and increase your overall productivity - then this is the ONLY device I would personally recommend.
As someone who is in the medical field, this device gives me the ability to take patient history notes in an organized and secure manner. While there are other great note taking programs out there, the game changer for me personally was the S-Note program with its hand/wrist discrimination feature and hand to text mode. My handwriting is absolutely terrible but it does a phenomenal job of text recognition. You cannot do this on the iPad and other android devices. In the past, I even invested in a wrist discriminating sensor thing for the iPad and that was a HORRIBLE idea. Not only can and did damage my iPad screen, it also did terrible job writing where I was actually writing. The text was always distorted above the pen contact point.
Additionally, with this device, I was able to make a pdf template on my computer, import it into the SNote software and now use it to take patient history in a consistently organized manner. I never miss those frequently missed questions (like smoking, and packs a day, etc.). Some people have asked me why the the 8 over the 10, and the answer for me is very simple: I can't carry around a ten inch tablet in my white coat, it's just too big. The note fits perfectly in the inside and outside white coat pockets for men's sizes (>36), it sticks out a tiny bit in the smaller sizes (<32). My one recommendation, however, is to get a cover because you don't want to scratch your screen against your equipment or vice versa.
As a student, I can use this to annotate lecture notes and Powerpoints very easily. While the software can't import Power-point files, it's very easy to convert them into a PDF, especially on Office 2007 and then send it to yourself or load it onto the Dropbox. I can then import the pdf into Snote and note away.
As far as storage goes, these files aren't very big but if you are planning on using more storage (movie's etc.), then invest in an expandable memory. It's one of the big advantages of this device over the Ipad mini.
Yes it has a hefty price tag but the features are un-paralleled for productivity. However, the way I see it: you pay 300 for the premium specifications on the device, like the graphic card and processor, and another 100 for the S-pen feature. For me, it's an investment worth making if you are using it for the right reasons.
Battery Life: Great but depending on the frequency of use, might require charging.
Feel: I have big hands so it fit's pretty easily. It feels like holding note pad. If you have small hands and want to use this in a manner similar to what I do, try it at Best Buy first because I can see this being a problem for people with smaller hands. By try it, I mean really try it, pick it up and write on it for a few minutes.
Note taking tip: The only tip I can give so far is that if you are taking notes and are getting frustrated by your wrist hitting the buttons (menu + back), flip it 180 with the camera on the bottom and the buttons on top. Works like a charm for me.
If you have other questions, please feel free to ask. I will try to help in whatever way possible.
Importing tip: So this isn't the most intuitive of things for previous ipad/iphone users but to import files or even just bring up a menu while in a program, click on the button to the right of the "home button" (the one that lights up and looks like the top of a college ruled paper). I know this seems like a stupid tip but believe me - when I was first trying to figure out how to "import" things into S-note or find how to reach the table of contents in the Kindle App, I almost lost it.
S-pen compatibility: First thing, if you buy a new stylus, make sure you undock the previous stylus before using the new one. The new stylus will not work if you leave the old one in. Secondly, http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Galaxy-S-Pen-Stylus-Holder/dp/B0076Z3GMG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1367301937&sr=8-4&keywords=S-Pen+Samsung+Galaxy+Note, that stylus feels nice but the one that I bought is slightly off calibration and the text is a few mm off. If this isn't a big deal then go for it. However, if you are OCD, this can be really frustrating.
on April 15, 2013
After almost 4 weeks worth of use:I will not comment more on anything else I have written about below, suffice to say that battery life while excellent is still about 70% of what the iPad mini provides(I still get about 8 hours of continuous use and 16 hours of standby on average each day.) Beyond that, in all other aspects, this has been a superior device(for me at least) than the Mini, which I still carry around as a backup(mainly for tv shows,movies and when battery is low on the Note). Why? essentially because the screen resolution, reminders and use of widgets far outclasses the ipad mini. Seriously, if you currently have any kind of Android Smart Phone and are familiar with the quirks*, buy the Note 8. If you have an iPhone and do not care about widgets and getting reminders/notifications that repeat, can be autosnoozed and that you can actually hear...then stick with the Mini.*Quirks: The Note 8 and any Android device can have battery drain while on Standby if you do not tweak your settings and/or have poorly written apps downloaded. My advice is to steer clear of free apps sponsored by ads, since that is a major culprit: buy the paid versions or do not download. As to tweaking Android settings, there are many pages you can Google depending on the version of Android you have, but this is a useful site:[...] Size compared to Nexus 7: I am hearing Ad Nauseum about how much better the Nexus 7 is for the price. Well that is not valid, in my opinion, if only because the size of the two tablets is so different. Yes really: even though the specs say only one inch difference, there is a huge difference in viewing and clarity: the Note 8(like the iPad Mini) is the perfect balance between a 7 inch tablet which is too small to be useful for productivity, and a 10 inch tablet which is too bulky and heavy. Comparisons in price should take this into account, as well as the stylus,lack of SD card support on Nexus 7 and the superior battery life(especially during standby) of the Note 8. Comparing the Nexus to the Note is like comparing apples to iguanas- a slight exaggeration perhaps, but you get the point. Go into Best Buy to compare: the Note looks about 30% bigger compared to the Nexus...It isn't, but that is how much more comfortable it feels.
Update 8 on day 7: BATTERY LIFE- One comment I received was that someone was having only 3-4 hours battery life just using the S-Pen and no other app. While S-pen is a battery hog, that should still not be the case. I have to specify that I only have my brightness settings set to 35-40%(more than adequate even for video) and only turn on my GPS if I need it for directions(I get at least 9 hours of continual use). These two settings alone can easily double your battery life and is something I have automatically done on all my tablets for several years. Also, I have only the sound notifications I need turned on-for example I do not need Facebook, Ultimate TODO etc and other notifications, since my S3 smartphone handles those.Again, this makes a significant difference to battery life. Finally-the first day I received the Note I used it down to less than 5% and then fully charges overnight. Despite any other advice you may hear, I have always found a memory issue in batteries which is avoided by running down the battery as soon as you receive a device and fully charging it,then doing the same thing every few weeks. Battery life is always going to be subjective from person to person due to the difference in usage-but screen brightness,gps and notification settings are key factors for any user in preserving battery life on a mobile device.
Update 7 on day 6: One negative I do have is the amount of bloatware on the device 16GB became 9.8GB. Fine if you had 32GB to start off with...but since the only current model is 16GB that sucks. Anyway, the good news is that even having downloaded 50 apps and hundreds of pics, several smaller event videos and dozens of books, I still have 7.8GB left. Does limit number of movies I can watch from Google Play-DRM Issue with not being able to move these to SD Card. I could root but in the past that has caused instability(especially after system updates), so I do not do that anymore.I would be tempted to deduct half a star for the bloatware(Google magazines. Allshare etc) but some people do actually use these. But they should just make them removable instead of system integrated. Titanium backup can help you remove these, but again I do not really want to Root, but I knew this going in and did not want to wait for a 32GB model. 90% of the time I do not need more than one or 2 movies on my device, so I can live with that.
Oh, I almost forgot, the Samsung keyboard has a feature you may not have noticed, but let me back up a bit. My favorite keyboard ever is SwiftKey(on my Galaxy 3), but I do not need it on this device, since the built in keyboard does the same thing for predictions and learning etc(IMHO). But also, if you need to go back on what you have written to edit,you can just run your finger/stylus across the keyboard to scroll backwards or forwards, up or down till you get to the area you wish to edit. Much simpler and faster than trying to pinpoint with the end of your finger/stylus. i discovered this by accident, even though it is in a user guide somewhere I later discovered.
Update 6 on Day 5: The latest thing I have noticed, but did not mention yet, is the Smart Stay feature(under Display settings, default set to on). It ensures that the screen never shuts off while you are looking at it: so even if you have a 30 second screen timeout to save battery power(for when you glance quickly and then forget to turn off screen), you can read uninterrupted. It actually makes most sense to have a screen timeout of 1 minute for me I have found.Also, if there is a large amount of text on the screen, and you have a one minute timeout, the smart stay feature is phenomenal. I had not commented on this before, because i already use my Samsung S3 and so take this feature for granted. Turning this off is a mistake, since, trust me, you will use more power turning your screen on each time it times out otherwise.
Today I received over 80 emails, read them and dozens of weather alerts and emergency alarms due to flooding around here. This is about 4 times more in notifications than usual, but no discernible increase in battery usage over the normal usage I have mentioned below. I am going to do some intensive video watching over the next couple of days and post the results on battery life.
Update 5 on Day 4: With the Quad Core processor on this, it puts the Nexus 7 to shame. I can multitask at least 9 different apps with no noticeable lag or significant power drain. I read another review say that they drained 30% of the battery after reading 10% of a book. I read 30% of a book(150 real pages on Kindle app in 2 hours) with only 10% drain. So it is not so much how many pages you read but the amount of time it takes you to read, and the brightness setting. Don't get me wrong, the IPad mini(only one you should compare to due to size of screen)has significantly better battery life, but the Note is up there with the best of the Android tablets, and I will certainly trade some battery power against getting customization and widgets.
Update 4 on Day 4: I installed 7 more apps today-New York Times,Ultimate To-do,Slice, Ap-memo, Data Vault and a few others. They were all optimized for tablets, as compared to even a year ago when that was most definitely not the case. With better resolution tablets and Samsung increasing their tablet market closer and closer to 50%, developers are churning out tablet optimized apps like crazy. This will solve the only real issue I see with this tablet. Then Samsung should bring out an amoled screen version of this device and with a higher resolution-something like 1900 x 1200. Even though that will not be as high as the future retina display iPad mini- the difference will not be noticeable. A combination of a more user customizable operating system,more tablet apps and better resolution, will(IMHO) mean the iPad Mini, even with a retina display, will get a run for the money. Also, I would stress again, that if you are going to browse the web a lot-definitely pick this(with Firefox) over the iPad Mini. Why use a device that does not allow you to increase font size and be able to fit that to the screen? i hate that about Apple mobile products0THeir OS does not currently work with Textflow software.
Update 3 on Day 4: Battery life continues to be excellent. I have discovered that the S-Pen has an incredible utility, even if you are not a student. By pressing and holding on the microphone symbol next to the space bar on the Samsung Keyboard, you get a box pop up with several icons: Clicking the one with a capital T and and a pen on it, changes the input method in any App so that you have a scratchpad at the bottom to hand write. This is then converted into text. For longer emails or blogging, this is very useful. I also used it for shorter Facebook comments and jotting down smaller notes. My handwriting is not the best, but with a little practice I was able to be 80% accurate on the longer notes and pretty much spot on for the one or two line notations. I may not draw or take long lecture notes, but the S-Pen now had substantially higher value than originally thought. Also, it hands down beats a regular stylus for responsiveness, scrolling and smoothness. It literally is an extension of your finger, but with a much higher degree of accuracy and precision.
Update 2: This is really just to warn anyone reading the first review (most helpful one listed), that there is a comment there in the middle of the review, that says the Note is really fast to charge-in 1 hour. That is not my experience and I cannot see how that would be possible, unless the tablet is at 80% or something already or maybe if there are no apps apart from what are preloaded(though i cannot see that either)- which admittedly may be what the reviewer meant. However I didn't read it that way and I think others might not either. I got the charge down to 5%-at which stage certain protection protocols are built in(cannot be altered that I could find), so the screen remained dim. It took 3 hours with the unit fully shutdown to charge back to 100%. Just an FYI to anyone thinking that there is an amazing 1 hour charge time. Hope this helps.
Update 1: After 2 solid days of continual use I can say that the battery life is excellent in standby and while in use. It loses less than 1% per hour on standby. This is with WiFi AND GPS continually running, and updates for weather,email and other PIM apps running in the background.I get 15 hours of use per day with 7 hours on standby and 8 used continually for web surfing, reading, app store and downloading apps.Resolution is wonderful-screen angles superb at any angle. Better looking graphics than iPad Mini. nexus 7 and even pretty close to Kindle HD-despite the Kindle having much higher specs for resolution on paper at least. Samsung just make the best screens. I would,as other users have commented, not use this Note for intensive gaming, but RPG games run superbly and Google Play video looks just as good as anything the Kindle HD 8.9 can provide-again, specs are not everything, Samsung havedesigned their screems to maximize appearance and richness of video. Battery life when playing movies is great(compared to other Android tablets),I was able to watch 3 movies lasting 5 hours and still be on 60% battery. But i will test more, since in my previous experience, battery life runs down much faster when you get below 50%- a quirk of the Android operating system. This is an area where Apple still dominate with superior battery life. more to follow in the days ahead.
FYI I got my device from Best Buy(barely 2 days ago) and since I am a Premier Silver member, I get 60 days to return.If you already use a Samsung S3, then this will be the perfect accompaniment: a very sleek, fast and eye-catching device-get Samsung's own smart cover for this since it is the best available currently at Best Buy(in white at my store) if you want the slimmest,lightest case that does not cover the bezel(my preference only).
I essentially got this to be able to read my blogs and news articles, surf the web, track calender,reminders, to do lists. I can do this on the S3, but this way I get to save my eyesight a lot more: which suddenly has become an issue in my mid forties!! I also have an iPad mini which I love-but on any iPad device there is an issue of hearing the alarms, customizing sounds and changing snoozes, auto snoozing and generally having nagging reminders. There are some Apple apps that can help but not many to choose from. Android does not have that issue because of the open source operating system. So I use the iPad mini for portability,surfing reading,email,video facebook and games, and my S3 smart phone for all the reminders and tasks etc-they still sync onto my iPad mini, but I hear the alarms and get the nagging reminders on my phone. The Galaxy Note 8 now lets me have the reminders,surf the web with a better Firefox browser that has text reflow for virtually ANY site, shop, read and take a few handwritten notes excellently(Facebook app is awful on Android-Feria on Ipad Mini is a dream). Unlike other reviewers, the S-Pen is only useful in a minor way for me, since I am not at college or studying. All the other benefits listed above make this worth it for me on their own. One of the best things is the use of the Firefox app-being able to turn almost any page into easily read text format only, with adjustable font,is priceless when so much time is spent on the Web. As is the ease of which you can zoom in on any page, and the text will reflow to the larger font and fit the screen(also syncing my Desktop web Bookmarks and history): Essential, but something no decent browser on Apple devices can successfully accomplish-so on my Apple devices I tend to use Flipboard, Taptu, Zite and other RSS readers to fulfill the News functions.
The reason I am deducting one star is threefold: The price should be $350 to match the iPad Mini(the only real competitor to this product IMHO); There are not that many Android Apps truly optimized for Android tablets-unlike Apple and the S-Pen still does not have its incredible usefulness shown because there are only a handful of apps written for it. I deduct only 1 star for all 3, since the S-Pen is NOT the main reason I got this Tablet and with software updates/more apps on the way, I know this will change-so i deducted only a quarter star for this, a quarter star for the price, but half a star for Android not having more Tablet Optimized apps. Gaming is something I do rarely,but I find the Ipad mini/ my S3 to be excellent for that, since the battery life is phenomenal on the Mini especially. I will write more about battery life on the Note, watching movies etc when I have used it a few more days. I certainly am glad that I purchased at this moment however and hope this helps everyone who is considering, but confused by so many tablets out there right now.If this has been helpful or not please vote accordingly. I usually answer any comments within a day or so when testing out tablets-which is something I do as a partially paid amateur hobby.I have owned or tested virtually all Tablets released in North America over the last 4 years.
on October 9, 2013
I am currently in pharmacy school and this tablet has made taking notes a breeze. Most of our teachers post their powerpoint slides as a pdf file. I use an app called EZ PDF Reader on this tablet to annotate them during class. The pen is so precise and lets me take notes as well as if I were taking them on paper. It also makes it easy to always have access to my notes as I upload them to dropbox. If I don't have a pdf to take notes on, I have found an app called Papyrus that mimics lined paper perfectly.
I debated between the 8 inch and 10 inch versions of the Note not knowing if the 8 inch was going to be large enough to take effective notes. With the high resolution screen and the precision of the s-pen though it has worked well.
The tablet is also fast. It has been able to handle everything I have thrown at it from multitasking, to intense graphics games, to streaming video. I also love the fact that I can have two apps open side by side (a feature that is currently only available on the Note series from what I understand)! I've used this feature to have something like a website open on one side while I take notes on the other.
In short, I highly recommend this tablet to students who would like to ditch taking paper notes to save space and have ready access to their notes at any time!
I was the first in line in my local store and got one. The weight is ideal. It feels very nice to hold and work on it. It is definitely expensive than its counterparts, but having a well integrated stylus makes it an excellent buy. I was able to run many apps/games/navigation/music/youtube videos. Fast and smooth. I have verified using a 32 GB SD card and basically carry all of your music. The total storage is effectively 48 GB. (I have a 50 G box and other cloud accounts, so I don't store movies/songs on this). Also Google Music works great on this, I have close to 10,000 songs on google music. The playback and speaker quality is ok, I expected a better speaker for its size. 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM makes applications butter smooth. I for someone like the plastic finish and I think this is great for what it does. Lightweight, no scratch and looks awesome on this device. Lot of press criticizes Samsung for its plastic, but who cares. Customers seems to love this design. I also confirmed this Note 8.0 takes 64 GB microSD card.
I use Google KEEP for note taking on Galaxy Note 8.0 and it is awesome. I like everything on Google ecosystem as it is seamless. Keep is in early stages and I am sure google will update to keep it modern. Note taking is one of the string points of this tablet and there are several apps out there. Keep, OneNote, Samsung's own apps and lot of third party apps. Keep debuted only in 2013 and is simple and powerful!
Pen is awesome and it is almost like holding a traditional notepad for notetaking. Kids will love hundreds of sketching apps. This has S-GPS as opposed to A-GPS, but gets GPS locks easily. My NAVIGON is great for in car navigation. Now to get a mount! Obviously I need to mount lower and not at dashboard level. Big maps, nice navigation. Google Navigation will _NOT_ work without a mifi or some sort of mobile connectivity. You can use Freedom Spot Photon 4G Mobile Hotspot (Black) which I am using while on car. Freedompop uses Clearwire technology and has great coverage where I live. You get 500 GB free each month!
* I am highly disappointed Samsung dropped 4G and mobile connectivity in the US. Having a phone functionality is a big plus. Even though it is weird to hold against your head, speakerphone/bluetooth are excellent options. I really dislike carrying multiple devices.
* WatchON is basically useless for me, as I have an older TV. Samsung is trying to get you into their ecosystem
* Expensive, its competitor Google Nexus 7 Tablet (16 GB) or even Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7-Inch, Wi-Fi) are far cheaper. If you are not into latest, you can take a step back. My recommendation will be for ASUS Fonepad which is a 7" and has a phone functionality built in. It may sound weird, but integrated devices are all the rage.
* Would have preferred a better camera.
I am giving a 4 star mainly because of the price, If it is $300, would get a 5 stars! I am sure price will drop steeply once demand increases. I will upgrade to 5 stars once price drops!
Some of the apps I have tried on this tablet so far are :
- Amazon Kindle, aLogcat, Asphalt 7, Battery Monitor Widget Pro (shows accurate measurements), Car Reminder Maintenance Pro, Chrome, DragonVale, Draw Something, Google Drive, eBay, facebook, Flashlight (very handy), Flipboard, Keep (though Samsung note app is great), Samsung Apps, LastPass, Merriam Webster dictionary, Navigon, Google Nav using MiFi, PAC-MAN (!!), Pogoplug (gives me Terabytes on the go on wifi from my home private cloud), RealCalc (great calculator program), Nike Running+ (great visualization), Subsonic, Skype, SwitchPro widget, Taptalk HD (awesome app), Tweetcaster pro, Twit.TV, Withings (weight watcher app), Youtube, Terminal Emulator.
Ask me questions and I will answer within a day or if you want me to try some apps on this tablet. I like answering questions/comments here from users...
on April 12, 2013
Let me begin by saying that I typically do not purchase any types of technology at launch. I made the exception in this case, because I believe in the ultimate usefulness of this product by Samsung. I have owned many apple products and for a time, I did enjoy them. However, I always grew tired of apple tablets and smartphones because I realized that they usually only work well with other apple products. Furthermore, every iteration of smartphone or tablet was only incrementally improved upon by the company. Apple makes very nice but linear products. They offer a very streamlined approach to technology at all levels across their product line. They are great, if you only wish to do very simplistic task; such as surf the internet, buy content from Itunes and apps via the app store. Ipads are great at content consumption but are equally as cumbersome to use as a content creation device. This is truly where the note 8 shines. It's a great bridge device between your smartphone and your laptop. The S pen is what makes this tablet a winner.
Before any are quick to state that the Note 8 is overpriced relative to the Ipad mini or even the regular sized Ipad I ask you to consider the following: The Ipad mini is quite literally built with the same internals as the two year old Ipad 2, which still sells at $399. The mini costs apple $115 to make and they sell it old components and all to consumers for the price of $329. They are making a killing selling the same thing in a smaller package. Is Samsung doing the Same with the Note 8 relative to the Note 10,1? In my opinion, no. The Note 8 is an improvement from the standpoint of a faster processor, better software integration with the S pen and what I feel is better build quality and increased durability. The note 8 is a refined and improved version of the note 10.1. The 8 has added greater functionality over the 10.1. these improvements to both hardware and software justify the price. After all, the same individuals screaming about how costly this device is are the same ones that are willing to buy a mini which is only $70 cheaper than the dated and yet bigger ipad 2. the tech which powers both the larger note 10.1, and now the 8 came roughly 8 months apart. In short, this means that the cost of these components has not depreciated to levels which one could consider significant, when one considers the cost of manufacturing both iterations of this device
The apps argument is largely a creation of tremendous marketing skill on the part of apple. There are few apps which cannot be found on both platforms and for those few I have always been successful at finding a suitable substitute. I have found that a few android apps may lack some of the features of their ios equivalents...but these instances are dwindling inn number. The same can be said of the app optimization argument. Apple does a great job of creating apps specifically tailored to both the phone and tablet space but android is making strides to do the same. I am willing to sacrifice the aesthetics offered by apple for the functionality offered by Samsung and android; specifically the note 8.
Finally, an additional point is worth the mention. I always find it funny when people are so obsessed with bashing screen resolution. this is an 8 inch screen and quite clear and beautiful. It is not a 50 inch LCD. How many pixels can you cram into any tablet screen, before it becomes pointless and frankly entirely ridiculous? Yes, there are tablets that are cheaper with better resolution but these do not employ the use of a fully functional stylus. My point here is that i'm certain that higher screen resolution would have certainly come at the expense of greater S pen integration, software and functionality. These are the primary selling points of this tablet. The galaxy note 8 is the best production tablet on the market at any size. Its feature set alone makes it a must have for either a student or business professional such as myself. I hope this helps those of you on the fence about purchasing the tablet. For me cost and expense are relative terms. Yes, for $400 you could buy a full sized Ipad. But at that size, ask yourself how much will you use the device? Will you get your money's worth? I for one would consider this money well spent because I will actually use this device quite heavily making it worth the cost. This is something I could never say about any Ipad I've ever owned. Hope this has helped.
on August 12, 2013
I recently purchased this tablet at my local BestBuy to check it out for a few days and then returned it and bought it on Amazon (no sales tax)after realizing that it is definitely the best tablet I've ever used. This thing packs a punch for many different reasons....here's why:
Packaging: Easily beats Apple in the packaging of this product. It comes in a sleek and stylish "wood" type box. The first thing you see when you open it is the tablet itself with a nice screen protector on it (that you have to peel off). Below the tablet is the charger and USB cable along with a getting started guide.
First boot: The tablet boots right up at about 75-80% battery life. It is your usual Android experience: login with your Google account and Samsung account (can use the same credentials) and all of your contacts, apps, settings, etc. are synced to the device. If you don't have either of these accounts or if it is your first time with an Android device, you can register and get started within minutes. A very simple setup experience. Once you get into the device itself, Samsung has integrated some tutorials and tips into TouchWiz to help you get familiar with the interface.
S-pen: Okay, let's be honest. You should (and most probably do)buy this device for the S-pen alone. This thing is awesome and is miles ahead of any other stylus out there. Samsung has done a fantastic job. The handwriting to text works flawlessly (even with my mediocre handwriting). S-note is pretty great, but the pen works with most other note-taking apps I have tried as well (OneNote, Evernote, etc). There are lots of magical things you can do with this pen as well, just search for things like "S-pen smart hover", or "S-pen shortcuts".
Screen: The screen packs a ppi of 189 at 1280x800. For an 8-inch tablet this is great. I have tried 10 inch and 7 inch tabs, and I think I have found the sweet spot at 8 inches. It's the perfect size for portability while not sacrificing real-estate. When this is held up to the Nexus 7 it's a pretty noticeable difference in screen size. I can hold this in portrait mode with one hand easily, and landscape with two without my arms getting tired. For those debating between 10, 7, and 8 inch screens.....go with the 8. I've owned all sizes and can say this is my favorite so far.
Speakers: Nobody buys a tablet for the amazing speakers that they have. That's just not what they are for. I can't complain about the speakers on the Note 8 though, they get the job done. My wife was watching a trailer on my tablet in another part of the house and I could hear it crystal clear. Good enough speakers for what they are meant to do.
Form factor: I bought the black, 16gb version. The black on brown looks super sexy and feels great in my hand. I honestly love the feel of the tablet. Some people say "oh it's plastic and not as sleek as the iPad metal". Well, plastic doesn't scratch as easy and is lighter. Plus, you can take the back off of the tablet and access whatever you need. Most people will be using a case anyway, so let's face it....who cares about what the back is made out of.
Battery: Wow. Battery life is amazing on this thing. I went 2 days on the first charge (at 75%). Everyone knows that the first couple of days you buy something new you use it more than you normally will....well that's the case with me and I still got a good 48 hours out of a 75% charge. I left the tab at 50% the first night, woke up 8 hours later and it's at 48%. I can live with that. Of course if you are doing heavy 3-D gaming it will eat the battery a little more, but for normal productivity and social tasks, this battery is a trooper.
Camera: You are using your tablet for it's camera capabilities? That's weird....don't do that. It's nice to have a front facing camera for skype and the likes, but who really cares about the rear facing camera and it's capabilities.
Storage: Having an external SD card slot is nice....but having it accessible without having to take off the case is even nicer. Am I right?! I have a 64gb SD card in this thing, bringing my total storage capacity to 80gb.
OS: Android is miles ahead of iOS right now...just look at the market share. If you are debating between investing in the iOS or Android ecosystem....trust me (a former heavy iOS user)and go with Android. If you are sick of seeing release after release after release and nothing changing in iOS then switch to Android.
Misc. perks: I can use this as a remote control for my TV....that is awesome. When you purchase this and register with Samsung you get $25 to the Google Play store (as of 8/12/2013). You also get 50gb to Dropbox free for 2 years, $50 to the Samsung movie store thing, and 3 free months of Hulu Plus. When you put that into account, the price doesn't seem so bad.
That being said, the price is the ONLY thing I don't absolutely love about this tablet. I got it for $379.00 on sale through Amazon, so it's definitely on the higher end of the <10 inch tablets. However, it's definitely (IMHO) the best of the best in it's market.
Android + Samsung Note 8 = win. Go ahead and enjoy this tablet, I sure am.