If Samsung wants to convince the world that it isn't an Apple copycat, the Galaxy Note 8.0 isn’t its best argument. Less than four months after the launch of Apple’s (almost) 8-inch tablet comes a new 8-inch tablet from Samsung. But, despite the obvious parallels, these are two distinct slates – outside and inside. Read on, as we compare the specs (and other features) of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and Apple iPad mini.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 is a bit larger in every dimension, with the biggest difference being an extra 11 mm (0.93”) in height.
Both devices are relatively light, but the Note 8.0 is 30 g (1.06 oz.) heavier than the iPad mini.
Screens are almost the same size, and neither offers mind-blowing resolution. The Note 8.0’s display is a bit sharper, at 189 pixels per inch (PPI).
Samsung hasn’t announced pricing yet for the Galaxy Note 8.0, but its less-than-stellar display could be a clue that it’s planning on staying in the same range as Apple’s US$330 tablet.
The Note 8.0 has the more powerful processor, with its Exynos 4 Quad chip, the same one found in Samsung’s phablet, the Galaxy Note II.
Apple gave the iPad mini a last-generation A5 chip, first introduced in 2011's iPad 2. Apart from its superior cameras, the iPad mini is essentially a scrunched-down iPad 2.
The Note 8.0 quadruples the iPad mini’s mere 512 MB of RAM.
Few tasks in iOS require massive amounts of RAM, but you may find that recent (backgrounded) apps close quicker on the iPad mini than on, say, the 4th-generation iPad.
Samsung skipped a 16 GB model for the Note 8.0, but otherwise flash memory numbers are the same. The Note also has a microSD card slot, unlike Apple’s mini-tablet.
Both tablets ship in both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + mobile data models. At least in some regions, Samsung's will be LTE-capable. Apple also offers a (pricier) LTE iPad mini.
In some regions (probably not in the U.S.), the Note 8 will make phone calls.
The Note 8.0’s battery holds a bit more juice than the iPad mini’s. As always, though, remember that many other factors also determine actual battery life.
Cameras are rarely the most important part of a tablet, and Samsung and Apple both realize this. These 5-megapixel rear shooters will do the job, but don’t expect anything extraordinary.
It’s easy to snicker at another conspicuously-similar Samsung product arriving hot on the heels of an Apple release. But the company is pitching its 8-inch tablet as more of a creative companion.
The center of this marketing angle is the Note’s stylus (S Pen). The stylus is integrated with Samsung’s software (Touchwiz layered over Android 4.1.2 Jellybean), so when you pull the stylus out, the Note automatically shifts into pen detection mode. The new version even lets you perform certain tasks while only hovering the pen over the screen (previewing stories in Flipboard is one example).
Android’s tablet app selection is improving, but here iOS is still King. On last check (several months ago), Apple had over 275,000 iPad-specific apps in the App Store. Google Play's selection often defaults to stretched-out phone apps. Fortunately, these will look a bit better on an 8-inch screen than on a 10-inch tablet.
Wrap-upIt probably isn’t a coincidence that Samsung’s 8-inch tablet follows so soon after Apple’s. But it looks like the company is determined to go its own way, and has made a device that – unlike anything Apple has made since the Newton – centers around stylus input.
The big question is pricing. If the Note 8 is in the same range as the iPad mini, it could be a compelling alternative for customers who prefer Android or who use apps that could benefit from pen input.