The Display

The Note 8.0 holds a slight pixel density advantage over the iPad mini (189 ppi vs. 163 ppi). Just like the earliest Android tablets that held a similar pixel density advantage (~13%), the improvement is noticeable. At the price point and device size however, the Note 8.0 remains under-specced. Just as the iPad mini would benefit from a Retina class display, the Galaxy Note 8.0 could use a 1080p panel as well. Given we're seeing flagship ~5" Android smartphones ship with 1080p displays, a flagship 8" tablet should meet the same criteria.

Unfortunately one of the hallmarks of TouchWiz is that all icons and widgets are considerably larger than they are under iOS, which results in a lot of wasted space on the 8-inch 1280 x 800 display. Despite having a larger display, higher resolution and higher pixel density, I feel more cramped on the Galaxy Note 8.0 than I do on the iPad mini. I understand this is a conscious design decision by Samsung and I can definitely see larger icons, fonts and touch targets resonating very well with certain demographics, but at the same time I believe the design decision flies in the face of what Samsung is hoping to accomplish with the Note family.

The Note 8.0 can get very bright, but black levels suffer as a result. Overall contrast ratio is a bit better than the iPad mini, but I'd prefer better black levels to absurdly high white levels. The latter can help improve readability outdoors, but even cranked all the way up you'll have issues in direct sunlight.

Pixel Density Comparison

Display Brightness - White Level

Display Brightness - Black Level

Display Contrast Ratio

The Galaxy Note 8.0 uses a standard LED backlit LCD display instead of the AMOLED based panels common in Samsung’s smartphones. The departure is a welcome change in my opinion as the Note 8’s avoids Samsung’s AMOLED color calibration tendencies. In fact, the Galaxy Note 8.0’s display performed very similarly to the iPad mini in our color accuracy tests:

CalMAN Display Performance - White Point Average

CalMAN Display Performance - Grayscale Average dE 2000

CalMAN Display Performance - Gamut Average dE 2000

CalMAN Display Performance - Saturations Average dE 2000

CalMAN Display Performance - Gretag Macbeth Average dE 2000

The mini doesn’t feature as accurate of a display as the bigger Retina iPads, which gives the Note 8 a lower target to shoot for, but its performance is admirable nonetheless.

Samsung does offer a couple of display presets on the Note 8, similar to what it does on other platforms. Choosing between Dynamic, Standard and Movie modes plays around with white points and color balance a bit. The standard setting is pretty good out of the box, although movie mode does move the white point closer to 6500K and improved color accuracy by a little bit.

The Note 8’s software build also ships with support for a reader mode that further warms up the white point in an attempt to make reading text easier on your eyes. In an attempt to bring as much of the PC experience as possible to Android tablets, Samsung bombards you with customization options - including the ability to select which applications use reader mode when it’s enabled. You can’t enable reader mode for all apps, but 3rd party apps are supported.

Introduction & Design TouchWiz Customizations & UI Performance
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  • boomhowler - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    I really like that you included a NAND-test. Those memory chips can be a real performance killer if they are bad. A request: it would be interesting to see if the NAND performance is about the same when the storage has been filled to ~90%. I have several colleagues who experience large performance degradations on their androids when the storage starts to fill up. And if you can, also add comparisons to Win8/iOS models as well.
  • awehring - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    you are missing an universal remote to control a home cinema. Me too!
    But I found TouchSquid Remote at the Android Play Store, which claims to be just that. Have you ever tried it?
  • arifmahmud - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    This review is a compact review of Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 & help any readers at glance about the awesome device.
  • Commodus - Sunday, April 21, 2013 - link

    Like it or not, Samsung is going to be burned by that $399 price.

    Is it fair for what you get? Sure -- but most people don't need a pen and Wacom digitizer. You could safely argue that most customers at this size are buying for cost, not features; otherwise, they'd get a 10-inch tablet or a low-end laptop. While the iPad mini isn't the best value-for-money deal in its current state, it also costs $70 less, carries more tablet-native apps and first launched several months ago.

    Personally, I'd be more curious to see what Apple does for the second-gen iPad mini than the Note 8.0. Put in a Retina-ish display and an A6 at $329 and the tiny iPad could be a killer combo.
  • herts_joatmon - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    I be suprised if Samsung designed this as an "iPad killer". Unlike Apple and some other manufacturers, Samsung dont have a one size fits all policy. Rather, they have segregated the market into smaller segments. This tablet is aimed at creative types, where as most tablets are designed for consumption (reading, gaming, browsing etc).
    Like the original Note phone. They wont have expected it to sell in abundance, but if other market segments take it up, it will be a bonus to them.
    For me, the closest rival is the Surface Pro. Thats the only other tablet that you can actually draw on with pressure sensitivity support and good accuracy (that im aware off) and that is over twice the price. So is $399 a fair price? Compared to $999, its a bargain.
    What I want is a mobile sketch book. Any other functionality is a bonus in my opinion.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    $500 Ativ smart PC has the same wacom support.
  • ZoeAnderson24 - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    If you think Jean`s story is terrific..., 1 weak-ago my son in-law basically got a cheque for $4657 putting in a 10 hour week from home and their friend's mom`s neighbour did this for 9-months and actually earned over $4657 in there spare time from their computer. the advice on this web-site All29.comTAKE A LOOK
  • A_Smith - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Is that a painting colored by fabric colors at the back of photos in the review?
  • fteoath64 - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Only 1 comment that is most important is the aspect ratio of the screen!. The iPad Mini's 4:3 ratio is just perfect for web and reading and it is nor less good for movie watching either!. The 16:9 ratio of Note makes it look long and web reading is constrained by either too narrow a width on portrait mode or too shallow if put on landscape mode. I suggest a 1600 X 1200 screen be used with minimal bezel on the sides. All other things are perfect as they are ...
  • Pessimism - Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - link

    Plastic housing and no cellular telephone capability = no care.

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