Galaxy Note 8.0.

It’s day minus-one of Mobile World Congress 2013, and we already have the first major device announcement from Samsung. Variously leaked and rumored over the past couple of months, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is official today, and we’ve had the chance to go hands-on with the mid-sized, stylus-toting tablet in Barcelona.

Android Central at Mobile World CongressAt first glance, the Note 8.0 is a surreal device to behold, looking a lot like a supersized Galaxy Note 2. The basic Samsung design language holds over from the company's 2012 smartphones, meaning we’re dealing with a curvy, shiny, plasticky device. A first for a Samsung tablet, the Note 8.0 includes physical buttons as opposed to the more common on-screen kind, and from a branding perspective. Samsung clearly wants consumers to identify the Note 8.0 as a companion device to the S3 and Note 2. So you should know what to expect if you’ve handled either of those products -- the Note 8.0 is unashamedly light and shiny, and something of a fingerprint magnet. That said, it’s not at all creaky, nor does it feel fragile.

Spec-wise, we’re dealing with very similar internals to the Galaxy Note 2 -- a quad-core Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM  and TouchWiz'd Android 4.1.2 running the show.  The 8-inch display clocks in at a relatively standard 1280x800 pixels, which at 189ppi looks reasonably sharp. Samsung plans to release three versions of the Note 8.0 -- a Wifi-only model, a Wifi-plus-3G model and a 4G LTE version, and the manufacturer notes that the specs of the U.S.-specific versions may differ.

Samsung’s S Pen returns on the 8-inch Note, and its size sits somewhere between that of the Note 2 and Note 10.1's styluses. Users of earlier Notes will be pleased to hear that Samsung’s enabled the S Pen for use on the device’s capacitive keys, so no more switching back to finger mode when you’re using on those buttons. Aside from that (admittedly significant) change, it’s pretty much the same S Pen we’ve become familiar with on the Note 2. One edge is flattened, and the rest of the stylus is rounded. When not in use, it can be tucked away in the bottom right corner.

Also significant is the inclusion of an IR blaster on the Note 8.0’s right edge, and that ties into some of the new TV remote capabilities Samsung’s brought to the device. Speaking of which, a Peel-based smart remote app is bundled, with support for a variety of TVs and providers depending on location.

And the software side of the device is where things get more interesting. The Note 8 brings a few new tricks to Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, with the aim of creating a mini-tablet for content consumption as well as creation. Along with the S Note note-taking app, the Note 8.0 is going to be the first Android device with Awesome Note, a popular iOS app. As it was with Flipboard on the Galaxy S3, Awesome Note will be exclusive to the Note 8.0 for a limited time.

On the subject of Flipboard, a new version is bundled on the Note 8.0 with support for hover gestures using the S Pen.

Needless to say, the Note 8.0 also incorporates every TouchWiz feature previously seen on Galaxy S3 and Note 2, including Smart Stay, which uses the front-facing camera to monitor whether you’re looking at the screen. This feeds into the new Note’s ambitions as an e-reader and the new Reader Mode, which can be use to tag apps as reading apps and set color levels to avoid eye strain.

As we’ve been saying for a while, we’re slowly becoming convinced that the 7-to-8-inch form factor represents the sweet spot for tablets. We've only spent a short time with it, but the Note 8.0 seems to be a promising entry from Samsung in this category -- though we've still yet to learn how much it'll cost. The device is due to launch internationally in Q2 in 3G, Wifi-only and 4G flavors.


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on


lol no. A Note II is a phablet with an emphasis on "ph"one. The Note 8.0 is just a smaller version of the Note 10. Kind of how the iPad Mini is a "identical" with an iPad 2 except the size.

The Note 8.0 will have phone capabilities and you will be able to hold it up and use it as a phone. About time they started making tablets with phones in them. Would like the padfone but it never comes to the US.

OK, so if this is WIFI only in US with phone capabilities (no carrier) - and smaller version of Note 10 ($399) - what pricing are you guys thinking?

I'm hoping for something from Samsung to undercut the Nexus 7 (yeah, I'm cheap). It can't possibly be this. Tab 3 maybe?

From other sources that I have read, US will get the Wi-fi Only versions. We have no clue when or if we will get one with a sim card slot

If the 3G/4G version is not directly being launched in the US, it most likely won't be pentaband. Quad-band is all you need outside of the US to support all GSM networks.

So do tablet versions of apps run with this UI or phone? That's something I've been wondering since the leaks came out that it'd use phone style TouchWiz Nature UX. Very slim tablet.

I see very little reason to have apps run in phone mode on a device this large. Samsung knows this would make fire a bad UX, so they almost certainly have it run tablet apps.

Most likely it wouldn't run in phone mode seeing as the galaxy tabs at 7 inches don't run apps in phone mode this 8 inches wouldn't be much different I'm thinking

What's the story with speaker placement? It it those little slots on the bottom?

Does it use MHL?

Too bad it has the rear camera jutting out. Rather have no camera and a completely flat backside.

Finally, will it be available in the other colors that have been made available for phones like the GS3? I wouldn't mind it in pebble blue to match me phone.


This is where nobody can beat Apple.

Announce today, and available next week.

Not available till end of Q2, and no pricing either. pffft.

Agreed. I'm really wanting to get a N7 w/3g, but if I new a date and price for this, and it was reasonable, I'd wait.

I trust you know that the Nexus 7 with 3G cannot be used also as a cell phone. The 3G on the N7 is only for data. There is no dialer or any App that can make it function as a cell phone as well as a tablet. I bought one from Google but confirmed from them that it is only 3G data so I returned it before I opened the box in Exchange for the Nexus 7 32 GB WIFI version. I love it. Bought two. If you want a Phone/Tablet, you may want to go with the Samsung Note 2 or the coming Note 3 with a 6" screen and dull smartphone capability.

Well I was interested in this, but I think my 7-8 inch tablet needs have already been met. Note 10.1 is in my near future as soon as I sell off this ipad mini.

I love my Note 2, and my Note 10.1, & I will love my Note 8.0
Once you start using the s-pen, there is no comparison to anything else. I use it every day in so many ways.
Also, I am psyched about the ir blaster. I use it on my 10.1 & it works flawlessly with my Comcast HD box.

Absolutely love it. This is the pad I was holding out for. Perfect size, love the s-pen feature. I think Samsung is the only manufacturer that gives the customers everything we ask for. This pad is full of innovations. The software in the Samsung products are the best, no other pad comes even close. You can do so much more with this pad than you could even think to do with the I-Pad. This is the pad to take to work, use this in the office or the work site. My only choice is what version do I want.

This would probably be my dream device right now. I have a Nexus 7 and I love the size. I take it everywhere. I use a stylus with it most of the time. This weekend I was at a conference and used it for some note taking but was wishing I had an S pen and handwriting recognition instead of just a keyboard. If the 3G or 4G version could be paired with the tmobile $30 100min/5GB plan, that would be perfect. Unfortunately its blocked from the Nexus 7.

Many things about this makes me dry heave. However, I must admit that this will do EXTREMELY well from a sales and marketing viewpoint. I don't think it will generate numbers like the iPad brand, but it will have an impact in the tablet market space. I'd say this aimed towards existing customers familiar with the Galaxy brand rather than first-time buyers.

I was so looking forward to this device and I am so epicly disappointed...

This was supposed to compete with the iPad mini and with a new iPad likely coming in March or April there was great hope that Android users would finally have a device that would compete but it isn't to be.

16GB and 32GB? Seriously? 32GB and 64GB is the minimum but we have reached a point where 128GB is the top end. Expect iPad mini to be at 128gb in the next 60 days or so...

It should still have MicroSD capability, why continue to play catch up? Get out there ahead...

3G for our European friends, 4G for North America should be automatic at release.

It is clear that Samsung is still at least a year behind Apple and that is frustrating as I really need a new tablet but despise iTunes and the way Apple locks their devices down...


It does have a microSD slot, perhaps I misunderstood what you were trying to say as far as memory. So I'm guessing you'll be able to have more storage (with the microSD) at a lower cost than the iPad mini. If they offer it with 4G connectivity, this is an awesome device, in my opinion. I have the N7, and love it, but feel like it is missing something as far as a work/school device. This would fill that gap for sure.

Man.. Did You Hit It On The Head Or What?
I own a G-Note and a iPad Mini so I get to see both sides of the fence Everyday.
Yes.. NOTHING touches the iPad.. when you control the Hardware AND the Software requirements, the Intergration and Smoothness brings an experience Android simply cannot match.. My Note is overclocked to 1,830 mhz and has a 1 Gig of Ram.. My Mini is running @ 1,000 mhz with 512 megs of Ram.. And the Mini Blows my Note away in Speed and Transistions.. ( Like I said Apple controls the Hardware & Software requirements)
But you are wrong my friend.. Evasi0n's Jailbreak unlocks more Cool Stuff you can do with iOS 6.1 than Android could ever dream of..:-) The Note 8.0 looks like a device that is Confused on what it wants to be.. Not quite a Phone.. Not quite a Tablet..

I'm interested in this but I have a couple hesitations. 1st is the speakers, I would have loved to see a dual speaker setup. I guess I was hoping this would be more like a smaller Note 10.1 instead of a bigger Note 2. My 2nd hesitation is the availability, just thinking by the time this comes out there's going to be some really nice Tegra 4 7 - 8" tablets, mainly a new Nexus 7. This processor will be almost a year old by the time this is released (maybe I'm wrong about that). I doubt the Nexus 7 will add the IR blaster though and that's actually a feature I really want.

Better than 10.1 but needs to be higher resolution than my OG Note to be of interest to me. This would be nice with 1080p. IR is a nice feature.