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17 April 2013

First look: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

New Android tablet on the block is a handy size and packed with features.

When Samsung launched its first 7-inch Android tablet three years ago it started down a path that even the mighty Apple would follow with its iPad Mini – a trend towards smaller slates.

Samsung’s latest offering in this category is the quad-core Galaxy Note 8.0, designed to be a multitasking business workhorse.

It’s great as an entertainment device too – ebooks show up well on the clear screen and video playback, particularly of high-def movies, is detailed and smooth.

The device itself is light and compact – if you have fair-sized hands, it’s easily held in one of them.

Principal among its many features is the ability to split the screen in to multi-windows so you can keep an eye on a number of open apps.

A pull-out stylus, the S Pen, has been updated and the new generation apps it supports make it easy to scribble down notes or sketches. A set of useful templates is included to get you started.

You can make mobile calls on the Galaxy 8.0 but you look rather foolish holding it up to your ear – it’s a better idea to use the speakerphone. Video calls are pretty smooth and Skype runs well on it.

You can turn the tablet into a universal remote control with an app that lets you manage TVs, set-top boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players.

Of course the Galaxy Note 8.0 runs the latest version of Android (Jellybean) and you have access to the Play Store with hundreds of thousands of apps.

We’d like to have seen high-speed LTE capability built in but speeds top out at HSPA which is fast enough for most users.

All the bits you'd expect on a top tablet are here – 5MP camera, GPS and a slot for removable flash storage.

If you are a user of any Samsung Galaxy products the interface is immediately familiar. If not, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is a good place to start your Android experience.

For business or entertainment, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is a hugely capable device.