The Note 8 houses an 8-inch screen with a 1,280×800-pixel-resolution screen. That’s 189 pixels-per-inch (ppi) compared with 163 on the iPad Mini, and the relative difference in clarity is immediate and dramatic, especially with fonts. Fonts on the Note 8 lack the jaggy, unpolished look they deliver on the iPad Mini. Note 8 fonts are clear and sharp, and the screen’s sharpness is only buoyed by its extremely bright and colorful Plane Line Switching (PLS) panel. Three screen presets are included: Dynamic, Standard, and Movie. Each adjusts the screen’s contrast to be more appropriate to the setting.
|Tested spec||Samsung Galaxy Note 8||Apple iPad Mini||Google Nexus 7||Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9|
|Maximum brightness||458 cd/m2||399 cd/m2||288 cd/m2||394 cd/m2|
|Maximum black level||0.47 cd/m2||0.49 cd/m2||0.28 cd/m2||0.41 cd/m2|
|Maximum contrast ratio||974:1||814:1||1,028:1||960:1|
The screen responds quickly to swipe requests and delivers page turns smoothly at 60 frames per second; however, there is a second long, but still noticeable, delay after pressing the home button as the tablet sometimes appears to stall for a split second.
The Mali T400MP4 GPU is a capable if unimpressive chip for gaming. Riptide GP ran at a very playable frame rate, but never came anywhere near the 60fps smoothness I look for and have only seen rarely in tablets. 2D games like Angry Birds, however, look beautiful thanks to the screen’s high ppi and large color palette.
Just to give you an idea of the its 3D performance, here are a few 3DMark test results I conducted. Notice that while the Note 8 trails far behind the Nexus 10 in GPU prowess, it more than holds its own on the CPU front. Unfortunately, 3DMark has so far yet to be released on the iOS. Once it is, I’ll update this review with iPad Mini results.
|Samsung Galaxy Note 8||1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad (4412)||Mali T400MP4 (quad-core)||2GB||Android 4.1.2|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1||1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad (4412)||Mali T400MP4 (quad-core)||2GB||Android 4.1.2|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 2||1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad (4412)||Mali T400MP4 (quad-core)||2GB||Android 4.1.2|
|Nexus 7||1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3||ULP GeFOrce (12-core)||1GB||Android 4.2.2|
|Google Nexus 10||1.7GHz Dual-core Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (5250)||Mali-T604 (quad-core)||2GB||Android 4.2.2|
||Graphics test 2 normal (GPU)||
||Graphics test 1 normal (GPU)|
||Physics test normal (CPU)|
As portable devices, battery life is one of the most essential of tablet attributes. The Note 8’s battery delivers a good amount of life, but fails to come close to the Nexus 7’s or especially that of the iPad Mini..
|Tablet||Video battery life (in hours)|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 8||8.5|
|Apple iPad Mini||12.1|
|Google Nexus 7||10.1|
The 1.3-megapixel front camera features typical “only good enough for crude video chatting” quality, with washed-out colors and plenty of screen “snow.” However, the 5-megapixel rear-facing shooter is fairly capable as tablet cameras go. The camera’s aperture appears to be set fairly high, so it has trouble capturing enough light, but with enough ambient light in the mix, it captures more details than the iPad Mini’s rear camera.