Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Tablet: Is It Worth to Buy?

;”>Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
Right when you were confused as to which small tablet to buy, here is Samsung with Note 8.0, the mid-range S-pen-included version of the popular Note series. You probably know about Note II and Note 10.1, the other two in the Galaxy Note family. While Note II has carved a special niche for itself in the form of a phablet, Note 10.1 hasn’t quite been a favorite.

The specialty of Notes is the added S-pen for note-taking. Note 8.0 is no different. Also, with an 8 inch slim screen, it takes Apple iPad Mini head on; we were not fond of iPad Mini from the beginning anyway. Galaxy Note 8.0 was launched in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Here is a look at the device, thanks to Engadget:

In this article, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of Galaxy Note 8.0 and see whether it is a good buy or not.

Technical Specifications


Here are the announced tech specs of the device. When it actually comes out, the specifications could change. Here I have, a comparison of Galaxy Note 8.0 with the competing tablets—Apple iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7.

Galaxy Note 8.0

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini

Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

Display 8 inch LCD LCD IPS 7.9 inches LCD IPS 7 inch
Resolution 1280×800 px; 189 ppi 1024×768; 162 ppi 1280×800; 216 ppi
Processor Samsung Exynos
quad-core1.6 GHz based on ARM Cortex-A9
Apple A5 (dual-core) 1 GHz based on ARM Cortex-A9 NVidia Tegra 3 1.3 GHz (ARM Cortex-A9)
Operating System Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean iOS 6 Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update available
RAM 2 GB 512 MB 1 GB
Camera 5 MP; 1.3 MP 5 MP 1.2 MP
Storage 16/32 GB 16/32/64 GB 16/32 GB
Battery 4600 mAh 4440 mAh 4325 mAh
Connectivity Wi-Fi & 3G (HSPA+ 21 Mbps);
3G model not available in the US
Wi-Fi & cellular separate versions Wi-Fi only
Other connectivity features Bluetooth 4.0
USB 2.0
Lightning connector with USB adaptor
Bluetooth 4.0
Micro USB
Body Dimensions Height 210.82 mm (8.3 in) Height 200 mm (7.87 in) Height 198.5 mm (7.81 in)
Width 134.62 mm (5.3 in) Width 134.7 mm (5.3 in) Width 120 mm (4.72 in)
Depth 7.62 mm (0.3 in) Depth 7.2 mm (0.28 in) Depth 10.5 mm (0.41 in)
Weight 337.35 g (11.9 oz) Weight 312 g (11.01 oz) Weight 340 g (11.99 oz)


As per the technical specifications, Galaxy Note 8 is clearly ahead of the competition in the form of Asus’s Nexus 7 and Apple iPad Mini.

The Design


I don’t know if it is due to the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, which caused Samsung to design Galaxy S3 differently (for humans), that the design of Note 8 also looks weirdly similar to S3, a slightly larger S3 to be exact. It still has the rim-width resembling the iPad. The design is not quite different from the existing tablets. The robustness of the body is only on the top of the display, which is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 2.

[Short Update]

We had a comment from one of our readers about the presence of Gorilla glass on Note 8. We inquired Samsung itself about this, and got the confirmation that Note 8 (N5110) does have Gorilla Glass. Here is the tweet from Samsung support:



The back is made by Samsung’s “trademarked” cheap plastic.

Although the tablet has the largest display of the three mentioned, it weighs slightly less than Google Nexus 7, and it is a good thing. With wider rim, it is easier to hold without blocking the display. All in all, there is nothing awe-inspiring about this tablet. It is just your regular note, only in a medium form.

The Performance


Exynos is a power-packed processor. It is one of the best among the tablet processors out there today. Nexus 10 tablet running Exynos 5 performs better than Apple iPad 4, which has Apple A6X SoC (based on Swift architecture). Current Note 8 probably has Exynos 4412 SoC that comes on other devices like Galaxy S3, Note 10, etc.

However, on Nexus 10, Samsung has included the more recent power-packed processor, Exynos 5 (5250). It performs like a stud, and comes one notch above iPad (4th gen).

In Geekbench benchmarking results, Nexus 7 (with Tegra 3) gets scores above 1400 and Apple iPad Mini (which includes the A5 chip based on Cortex-A9 that shipped with iPad 2) has scores in 750 range. Galaxy Note 8, which includes the same processor as Note II, is expected to score nearer to 2000 points.

Hence, in terms of performance, Galaxy Note 8 should be the best of the three. Here is a Geekbench comparison chart between some major tablets:

Tablet and processor Geekbench score
Google Nexus 10 (Exynos 5250 Cortex-A15) 2433
Samsung  Galaxy Note II (Exynos quad-core 1.6 GHz) 1924
Apple iPad 4th gen (Apple A6X dual-core 1.4 GHz) 1775
Asus Nexus 7 (NVidia Tegra 3 Cortex-A9) 1481
Apple iPad Mini (dual-core Apple A5 1 GHz) 755


Another important aspect about Note 8’s processor is that it still is based on Cortex-A9 microarchitecture, which has recently been replaced by Cortex-A15. The upcoming processor, NVidia Tegra 4 and Samsung’s own Exynos 5 will include Cortex-A15 core. It is hence a disappointment that Note 8 still has Cortex-A9, while Samsung’s own Nexus 10 has a Cortex-A15 processor.

Other Aspects


The display of Note 8 is regular LCD backlit with probably the Super PLS technology Samsung has been promoting on other devices, Note 10 and Nexus 10. Samsung hasn’t supplied Super AMOLED on a screen larger than 5.3 inches yet. The display should be comparable to LCD IPS on iPad Mini and Nexus 7, although the iPad Mini has a ridiculously low pixel density out of the three tablets.

Note 8.0 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating system. As you can see Nexus 7 is already leading with 4.2.2 version. Since Nexus is a Google tablet, the latest version of the operating system is naturally available to it first. Samsung has implemented the TouchWiz overlay on Note 8, and it involves better multi-tasking features.

Note 8 also includes the largest of batteries among 8 inch tablets. With that 4600 mAh battery, you can probably keep the charge longer than the other tablets.

As usual, Note 8 comes with the S-pen, Samsung’s own note-taking pen that comes with all of Note devices. Note II with the S-pen have in fact been one of the favorite devices out there, although we mentioned earlier that you should wait till a better upgrade gets released.

An improvement in Note 8 is that the S-pen can now operate the menu buttons at the bottom. The tablet has a number of apps to take advantage of the pen, and you may know them if you are familiar with other Notes. Air View, S Note, Easy Clip, Idea Sketch, Shape Match, etc., are some of them.

Air View on Note 2


Galaxy Note 2 Popup Note


Another aspect is connectivity. If you are expecting to insert a SIM into this tablet, you should be in the right country. In the US, only Wi-Fi version is available.

Also, the current Note 8 doesn’t include LTE capabilities, and it has no tie-up with Qualcomm that manufactures LTE baseband for other Samsung devices like Galaxy S3. The 3G version with only 21 Mbps download limit is available in other countries, where the LTE is probably not popular.

Build Quality


Build quality of Samsung devices has not been great. A fall from a feet above ground could break them. In our list of most durable phones, none of the Samsung devices were featured due to this. Note 8 is no different. It has regular plastic back and thin Gorilla Glass protection on the front screen.

It is however not ideal to compare build quality of tablets, which you are less likely to drop than a smartphone. In build quality, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini are better than Note 8.

The Price


We don’t know the price yet. However, in order to compete in the market with other low-cost tablets, and the awfully pricey and yet popular iPad Mini, Galaxy Note 8 has to be perfectly priced.


Galaxy Note 8 has been released to the US market for a starting price of 399 dollars for the 16 GB version. The device has been found in Best Buy, Amazon.


Note 10 had received positive reviews, although when it came to sales, Nexus 10, which has an amazingly better performance, did take the lead. In a world with two almost similar tablets, who do you think will come up on the top? Only the better performing one (excluding all Apple products, of course).

In this comparison between 7 inch tablets, price is an important factor. People purchase medium tablets if the price is right. iPad Mini is the only device that doesn’t honor this philosophy. It is priced anywhere between 329 to 659 dollars based on the configuration. This is ridiculously higher than Nexus 10, which starts at 399.

There is nothing in iPad Mini’s hardware to justify that kind of price.

When it comes to pricing, there are two major competitors to Note 8—Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, both of which retail at around 199 dollars. Note 8 definitely has better features and hardware specs than Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, but it has to work on the pricing to come on top. The failure of Note 10 was only due to the price, which at around 550 dollars was slightly higher than Nexus 10’s.



Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be released to a great competition. There is a rumor of iPad Mini 2 that may include a Retina display. Price is an important factor that decides the success of Note 8. On any day, Note 8 will be a better purchase than Apple iPad Mini. Our recommendation, hence, is go ahead, buy Note 8 when it comes to the market by April-June time.

[Image source: AndroidTapp, AllThingsD, TechnologyTell]

Five Unknown Cheap Tablets That Really Perform!

In my search for tablets, I have from time to time come across some pretty cheap tablets: Those which are cheaper than Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, and B&N Nook. I decided to look through the performance and features of these tablets, and I was actually astounded by that. Most of them are capable of performing much better than your popular tablets out there—from Google, Asus, Samsung, HP, etc.

These tablets are quite offsite in fact, available only in select markets in the Asian countries and some European countries. Here’s a list of those high performance tablets that you may have never heard of.

1. Gotview Smart 10 IPS


Gotview Smart 10


This is a Russian powerhouse of a tablet. It is manufactured by the company, Gotview which you probably have never heard of. It is no simple tablet though. It has a 9.7 inch display and Rockchip 3066 dual-core processor clocked at 1.6 GHz, which is based on ARM Cortex-A9. Rockchip is a brand of processors mainly used on embedded systems (those systems with their own brain like digital watches, traffic lights, ADSL routers), and we will be seeing this processor quite a lot among these tablets. It has 1 GB of RAM and MALI-400 graphics processor.

This tablet retails for 8890 Rubles which in USD should be around $294.

2. PIPO M1


PIPO M1 tablet


This one looks like an iPad, but it runs Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. It also runs RK3066 Rockchip processor at 1.6 GHz. It has 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. The capacitive multi-touch display is 9.7 inches.

The tablet can be purchased for 206 dollars, and as accessories you can purchase leather case (13 dollars), power bank battery pack (27 dollars), touch pen (2.49 dollars), screen protector (2.99 dollars), and HDMI cable (6.5 dollars).

3. Hyundai Hold X


Hyundai Hold X tablet


Yes, you read it right. The car company Hyundai of South Korea is the manufacturer of this particular tablet. This beautifully designed tablet has a 7 inch LCD IPS capacitive multi-touch screen. It also runs Rockchip RK3066 dual-core 1.6 GHz SoC, and 1 GB RAM. The internal memory is only 8 GB. The operating system is Android Jelly Bean 4.1.

The tablet is priced at mere 136 dollars excluding the accessories.

4. Yarvik Xenta Tab9-200


Yarvik tablet


This tablet also is powered by RK3066 chip and has 1 GB of RAM. The internal storage is 16 GB. The size of the display is 9.7 inches. The ppi ratio of the display is only 132ppi, which is sort of disappointing.

The tablet is approximately priced around 295 dollars.

5. POV ProTab 3


POV tablet


This Nexus 10 lookalike comes with the same hardware configuration as the others above. It runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1, and weighs around 595 g. The name of the company that manufactures the ProTab is POV, which is Point of View. The internal storage option given on the tablet is 8 GB.

The exact price was not known, although it is around 295 dollars.



There are quite a number of unknown manufacturers of smartphones and tablets out there. Most of them run Android operating system. Since Android is a quality open OS that can be downloaded and modified by anybody, these OEMs find it extremely useful. They are also creating very good-performing tablets, although they may never come to the mainstream. Most of these tablets are available in cheap Chinese markets.

How Fast Does Microsoft Surface Pro Perform?

In the last two days, Microsoft Surface Pro reviews have come up everywhere in the Web, and most of them have been about how bulky the tablet is and how bad its battery is. Only a few people have actually taken time to analyze the good things about Surface Pro tablet.

AnandTech has already done quite a bit of speed benchmarks for Surface Pro, and the results are quite charming. Let’s take a look at how fast Microsoft’s new tablet really is.

Surface Pro Vs. Other Tablets

This is the most exciting part of the benchmarks. On all of the tests, Surface Pro performed faster than all those known tablets—iPad, Google Nexus 7, Google Nexus 10, etc., and those smartphones—Motorola Razr i, HTC One X, Google Nexus 4, etc. Most of the reviews that appeared compared Surface Pro with other tablets and mentioned how bulky it is and how low its battery life is.

They forgot to mention how extremely ‘performant’ (borrowed from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, who also gave thumbs-down to Surface Pro) this tablet really is.

Here are the results:

Surface Pro vs tablets

Surface Pro vs tablets

Surface Pro vs tablets

Surface Pro Vs. Ultrabooks

This is the main area that we are interested in. Up against smartphones and tablets, Surface Pro has no competition in performance. Among Ultrabooks with more advanced hardware, however, Surface Pro performs only on the average level as we can see.

Surface Pro vs ultrabooks

Surface Pro vs ultrabooks

Surface Pro vs ultrabooks

However, the Ultrabooks competing against Surface Pro are somewhat high-end with good tech specs. If you would spend money to buy one of them, you had better go with Surface Pro instead.


Microsoft Surface Pro is no tablet, but a tablet computer, and there is a difference. In effect, this particular product does give more stellar performance than all other tablets and smartphones. Hence, has to be regarded as one of the Ultrabooks and should be reviewed that way. About battery life, it does give about 4.5 hours and that is actually better than many of the Ultrabooks out there. Also, its weight of 2 pounds is probably the lowest of all Ultrabooks.

What Is This Tizen OS Everybody Is Talking About?

As far as mobile and tablet operating systems go, we have a lot in our hands. There are our big guys, Android and iOS; Windows Phone has come recently and taken a small chunk off the market; and there are upcoming Ubuntu and Firefox OS. You have probably been hearing a lot about Tizen these days, haven’t you?

Tizen is a new mobile operating system that is coming to our world, founded by the Linux Foundation and promoted by the Tizen Association, which has among its members such biggies in the tech world as Intel, Samsung, Sprint, NTT Docomo, Vodafone, Panasonic, Huawei, Fujitsu, etc.

In this article, we will take a detailed analysis of Tizen OS.

What Is Tizen?

You are familiar with Android OS, Apple’s iOS, Windows Phone, etc., right? Tizen is an upcoming operating system that will power tablets and smartphones. But it doesn’t stop just there. It is expected to power much more than that, such as small netbooks (ultrabooks); IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) systems such as vehicle navigation, car computers, etc.; and smart TVs.

We haven’t got a lot of information about the operating system yet, but some developers do. In June, Tizen developer hardware became available to a select group of developers. We managed to get this video of the Tizen smartphone by Samsung, thanks to the Handheld Blog:

The device in the video is quite basic, and has a not-so-appealing interface. But you should know it’s a developer device, and it doesn’t represent the final user interface. By September last year, Tizen 2.0 software development kit (SDK) was made available to the developers.

As an operating system, Tizen will provide support for all features that you want based on their availability on hardware—LTE, NFC, etc.

The most important aspect of the OS is that it is a completely open source, open web operating system. This means, it will have support for apps developed for the HTML 5 ecosystem besides native apps.

Tizen Can Run Android Apps

We were looking through this PDF describing the Application Compatibility Layer (ACL) for Tizen from OpenMobile, an organization that provides application compatibility for various platforms. With ACL incorporation, Tizen will be able to run any Android app you get on Google Play. That PDF mentions about 400,000 apps. We found out the PDF was released in Sep, 2011. At that time, Android market had that many apps, while now it has above 600,000 apps, most of which should run on Tizen.

Not only that, the ACL promises the apps will be a hundred per cent compatible and will run as nimbly as they do on a regular Android phone. This is an amazing promise indeed, and it will take away the app ecosystem barrier we find today among smartphone and tablet operating systems.

Webkit & HTML 5 Support

Tizen has support for web browser platform, Webkit. It gives pretty good support for HTML 5. If you read our previous articles about HTML 5, you may probably know it is going to be the next web standard, and also pretty much important for upcoming smartphone apps; Firefox OS and Ubuntu will have full support for HTML 5.

Also, HTML 5 apps are not ‘mobile’ apps, but full-fledged web apps; this means HTML 5 has the capability to become the de-facto standard in mobile app development. In this scenario, Tizen’s amazing support for HTML 5 is a highly welcome thing.

When Is It Expected?

In January, Samsung confirmed that it will release Tizen-based devices to the market sometime this year. It was reported in BloombergBusinessweek. Here’s the statement:

We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions.

That is the most current information we could get about Tizen. However, due to the release of BlackBerry 10, announcement of Firefox OS, and Ubuntu, we have reason to believe the competition to get fierce this year in the mobile OS market.

[Update: ]

Tizen version 2.0 has been officially announced in the Mobile World Congress Barcelona. The developer devices were manufactured by Samsung and Huawei. The mobile carrier that signed up to release the smartphones with Tizen is France Telecom-Orange. You can find more details at TechCrunch. Here is a pic that TC obtained of the device.

Tizen OS



Tizen is backed by some of the biggest companies in the industry. Hardware and chip makers and some of the biggest mobile carriers back Tizen development. This is important. Tizen is the one mobile platform that gets such huge support and backing from big players.

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011 has been known to be one of the reasons behind Samsung’s enthusiasm to go out of Android.

If Google has its own hardware manufacturing division, why would it license Android to other OEMs as freely as it does now? Also, manufacturers like Samsung are keen to get unchained from this dependence on the search giant. These are probably the reasons behind the development of Tizen as a full-fledged mobile platform. We will have to wait for the OS to come to the market before we can say anything further.

Sensors on Your Smartphones

Have you ever thought how your smartphone responds to your gestures and movements so accurately? When you are playing a racing game on your phone, you simply need to tilt the device in order to steer the car in a particular direction. When you bring it close to your ear to talk, the display shuts off and touch inputs don’t work. When you move out, the smartphone display immediately gets brighter. In effect, your smartphone is really smart, isn’t it?

All of these are possible with the help of sensors inside your smartphone chip. In this post, let’s look at these sensors in detail. In most of the smartphones, you have these sensors—accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, etc.

The sensors are built into handsets using Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). In this technology, very tiny mechanical systems are incorporated into a tiny electronic chip. The latest iPhone 5 has an accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, and GPS. With these sensors, iPhone can detect if you are turning the phone around, if you are near the phone or not, and what location you are in.

Here are the major sensors…

1. Accelerometer

This amazing sensor detects the acceleration your phone is experiencing when you move with it. It detects the g-force associated with the movement. It can automatically orient the phone according to the position you are holding it in. The accelerometer is a very tiny chip that has extremely tiny (around 500 microns thin) moving parts made of silicon.

iPhone accelerometer

Based on the movement associated with the phone, the g-force experienced varies. For instance, if you are dropping the phone or simply placing it somewhere, it will experience 1 g. An iPhone inside a heavily breaking Formula One car can experience a g-force between five and six.

In order to understand the technology behind this, I recommend this amazing video by the Engineer Guy:

2. Gyroscope

In fact, gyroscope is more of an orientation tool for your smartphone, rather than the accelerometer. Roll, pitch, and yaw of your phone will be automatically detected by the gyroscope.

A regular gyroscope that detects orientation is shown below.


When you convert this equipment into a micro-electromechanical gyroscope, the size is in the order of a few millimeters.

It is with the help of this gyroscope and accelerometer the games are played on smartphones and tablets. Here is the iPhone 4 circuit board displaying the accelerometer and gyroscope placed adjacent to each other. LIS331DLH is the accelerometer chip, and larger L3G4200D is the gyroscope.

accelerometer and gyroscope on iphone


3. Magnetometer Compass

Your smartphone most probably has a compass built in; all of the latest do. The compass in your smartphone uses an MEMS magnetometer. It can measure the strength of the magnetic field experienced by your smartphone, in Tesla (the unit of magnetism). With the preinstalled compass app that works with this magnetometer, your smartphone can easily tell you which way is north and which is south. This is one of the most useful features of current smartphones.

Also, you should not expose your smartphone to any magnetic field for extended periods of time. It will recalibrate the magnetometer and will stop it from working. It will take days before the system gets recalibrated to the earth’s magnetic field. In this image, you can see the tiny magnetometer in iPhone 4.



4. Ambient Light Sensor

Haven’t you noticed the phone adjusting its display based on the lighting condition of the room? If you place the display brightness to automatic, the smartphone can detect the amount of light present to optimize its display brightness, so that you can view the contents on the screen more clearly. It also saves quite a bit of battery on the device, as it consumes less power when the display is dim. The auto-adjustment of display brightness reduces strain on your eyes, and protects the screen pixels.

When high level HDTVs, like 4K TVs for instance become more popular, ambient light sensors will be a necessity rather than an option. Here is a very detailed article on ambient light sensors by DisplayMate, a company which specializes in latest display technologies. The concern addressed in it is thus: the current ambient light sensors are probably gathering erroneous data about the ambient light, since you are looking directly at the device, and hence the device senses the brightness of your face rather than the light behind your head.

5. Proximity Sensor

Haven’t you noticed the display turning off when you are speaking on the phone? The smartphone detects it when it comes close to your ear and shuts off the display to save power and obviate unnecessary touch input. This job is done by the proximity sensor in the smartphone. Check out the image of the proximity sensor on Apple iPhone 5.

iPhone 5 proximity sensor

On most of the smartphones, the proximity sensor is at the top nearby the front-facing camera. There are various technologies involved in designing proximity sensors—capacitive, inductive, ultrasonic, etc.


These are some of the most prominent sensors on your smartphones. In fact, these sensors make a phone really smart! The Global Positioning System, GPS is also a sensor that relies on connection to three or four satellites to gather information about your phone’s global position. It is a technology better discussed in detail in another article.