Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note 8.0 & We Go Hands-On [MWC 2013]

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mwc2013bug-coaBARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS -Mobile World Congress 2013 is now underway here in Barcelona, and there’s one device we couldn’t wait to get our hands on: the Galaxy Note 8.0 — Samsung’s answer to the iPad mini. In addition to its 8-inch display, the device boasts a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and of course, the Note’s trademark S Pen.

But can it give the iPad mini a run for its money?

If you’re already a Samsung customer, then the Galaxy Note 8.0 will be instantly familiar to you. It looks a lot like a giant Galaxy S III — as we expected thanks to those leaked images that surfaced back in January — and it offers a very similar experience, thanks to Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

Powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, the device is certainly snappy. Switching between apps, scrolling through web pages, and loading games is a seamless experience. Even features like MultiView — which lets you split the display and use two apps at once — run without a hiccup.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 might be considered a midrange device, but it offers high-end performance.

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Like Samsung’s other offerings, its latest tablet is almost entirely made of plastic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s clearly not something Samsung’s going to change any time soon, but it does feel a little cheap. Especially when you sit it next to the aluminum-clad iPad mini.

The Note 8.0 does feel nice in the hand, however, and at just 338 grams, it’s very light. The device also boasts a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The pictures I got inside the venue weren’t great, but I put that down to the awful lighting; even my iPhone 5 struggled at times. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of photos it takes in a brighter environment.

The Note 8.0′s 8-inch display offers a 1280×800 resolution, which isn’t the best in comparison with today’s high-end devices, but it’s not bad. You’ll see pixels, but they’re unlikely to bother you after a while.

Being a Note, the tablet comes with all of Samsung’s S Pen software add-ons, which are baked into its Android 4.1.2 operating system. That’s not the latest Android OS, but we’re fairly confident it’ll be updated.

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The Galaxy Note 8.0 will be available globally during the second quarter, Samsung says, but the Korean company hasn’t announced pricing just yet. It has, however, unveiled a selection of Flip Covers for the device — as you can see above.

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