P_20130419_170135

I’m not really a Samsung fan really. Then again, you would have guessed the reason, as it probably has been the same for you too. I will not go there. Not this time. The reason of this choice is pretty simple. I needed a mini-tablet for my daily tasks, and knowing how performance hunger I am, I couldn’t find any that could still take down the Nexus 7 specifications. The Nexus 7 delivered its promised – and it delivered it very well. But it still wasn’t the “complete” tablet for me. It did not have the pure call and messaging mechanisms, leaving you out of a huge chunk of communication applications like WhatsApp, Viber, etc.

But that’s not all. It’s the S Pen. I never thought I would ever be saying this, but here I am, addicted to the S Pen. A few months ago, I got myself the Samsung Note 10.1 that also came with an S Pen. I used that tablet for hardly a couple of months before my wife became the new owner of it. Reason was simple – it wasn’t a mini tablet. Otherwise, the Note 10.1 is also an awesome piece of device – one of the finest hardware Samsung has ever built really! But those “couple of months” left a huge impact on me. I actually utilized the S Pen. See, I have plenty of daily meetings, new ideas, new technologies, something to learn or just some quick calculations and all these feel natural with the S Pen. Not to forget, I have to review plenty of documents daily submitted by team. And since some are design, while others are text based, it makes it very easy to just fire up the S Note and make the amendments on top of the document – and export it as PDF for the team.

Since ASUS was focused on their affordable tablets, trying real hard to compete with the Chinese tablets, it was totally out of the question. Then a month ago, Samsung announced the Note 8.0. Is this the tablet that I have been waiting for?

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I read a spec sheet, my eyes skim through it quickly and the first row that I always look for is the Processor, followed by the RAM. I could care less about displays really, but those are just “advantages” to me. So, you could’ve guessed, Cortex-A9 based Exynos 4412 clocking 1.6GHz would have definitely won my eyes! And to top it off, 2GB of LPDDR2 8Gbit RAM just sealed the deal! Oh, and I get an extra inch above 7-inch tablets which will be a pleasure in my net surfing! And still, it can fit in my Puma-Ferrari pouch that I carry with me everyday! This is a dream come true! But can it deliver its promises?

I went hi and lo looking for this device. I already had the accessories on standby and I was getting quotes from every single supplier just to be the early adopter of this little monster! Finally, Superbuy responded to me that they had a ready stock last week. I did not waste my time and got this gadget. As I reached home, I fired it up and the stunning 8” display lit up, filling up the 1280 x 800 resolution. To my advantage, the display is really stunning! Despite being a TFT rather than AMOLED, the output was really stunning, that I ended up just staring at the configuration screen for a few seconds, admiring the beauty. After the usual steps, I was in! The device felt very responsive! It felt as good as the Nexus 7 which runs the Vanilla Android! It didn’t take me long to setup my device of course, most probably because this is possibly my 20th Android device or so.

I felt like I had the Note 10.1 again, but in a package that I have always wanted! I still have the IR for remotely controlling my home appliances, sd card slot that I filled up with a class 10 64GB high speed micro SD, SIM slot that held my micro SIM to allow the online interactions and dual stereo speakers at the bottom – though I prefer how Note 10.1 had positioned its speakers in front, next to the display. It runs on Jelly Bean 4.1.2 which is just perfect.  Oh, and the 4,600mAH battery totally delivers too! I had 4 horus of continuous gaming, utilizing only 50% of the battery!

Now, obviously, I’m not only going to lick the cream at the top of the bitter coffee. And like I promised, I won’t be talking about the hardware either because that’s just typical Samsung. Although they did took some initiative to put some silver lining around the device to make it a bit more solid. First thing, the version that we are getting for now does NOT have LTE. I couldn’t be bothered right now, but the price tag that they had put on the 16GB version without LTE is a bit too steep. RRP is RM1699 which is way out of the range against what it’s supposed to be comparing – its only current competitor, the Nexus 7. Also, the quad core GPU still doesn’t kill the 12 cores GPU on the Nexus 7. It’s on-par, just not beyond. I expected at least a little improvement in that area too. That gave very close benchmark scores against Nexus 7 in 3D rendering but due to a much powerful CPU, the Note 8.0 wins in the 2D league.

All in all, this device is a keeper for me. At least worth enough for me to trade it with my Nexus 7C. The S Pen feels home again and this device is going to stay with me for some time now. If you are a businessman, salesperson, or have a day job, this device will do wonders for you. So far, I have not had the need to carry my laptop around while I have this handy. I wouldn’t say Samsung nailed it, but they did do a good job putting out a powerful mini tablet for us power hungry users.