Samsung’s answer to the iPad mini

Galaxy Note 8 imageWhile Samsung usually likes launching its new products at events the Korean firm organises itself, it has chosen the world’s biggest mobile phone show to unveil the Galaxy Note 8.

Expected to launch in the next quarter of this year, the new gadget will provide a direct challenge to Apple’s iPad mini.

But, while most other smaller size tablets come with a seven-inch screen, Samsung’s new gadget has an eight-inch screen. It remains to be seen whether consumers will take to the new size tablet.

The Galaxy Note 8 compares favourably with the iPad mini when it comes to resolution. It comes with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, equivalent to 189 pixels per inch. The iPad mini has a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, which is 163 pixels per inch.

At 335g, it is feather weight – much lighter than the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and just a little heavier than an iPad mini.

Running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Galaxy Note 8 comes with one of Samsung’s unique selling point, its stylus pen, which provides the perfect way to use its touch screen. This time round, the stylus is a lot smoother to write with than on Samsung’s previous models.

What also sets it apart is the fact it can make phone calls. Then, there are the impressive specs. There’s a 1.6GHz Exynos Quad 4412 processor, 2GB of RAM and a huge 4,600Ah battery which should provide a superb long-life.

Galaxy Note 8 launchIt has a simple, elegant design with really smooth edges and corners, giving its exterior as classy a feel as what’s on the inside. The lack of 4G LTE could put some off though, perhaps leading consumers to opt for the iPad mini.

There are two cameras – a five-megapixel gizmo on the rear and a 1.3-megapixel device at the front.

It also comes with some pretty cute functions. For those already familiar with the Galaxy Note 10.1, a lot of them will seem pretty familiar. There’s Flipboard, which works by hovering the S-Pen over tiles so you get headline previews without having to fully open apps and tabs. There’s also Awesome Note, a feature-rich list-making app, which makes organising your to-do lists easy.

The reading mode is also a clever touch. It optimises the display’s contrast to make it more appropriate for reading e-books.

So far, the Galaxy Note 8 has met with rather mixed reviews, with criticism focusing on the bulky size making use of tablet as a phone problematic.

“We found we were just about able to hold it in one hand, but it was uncomfortable,” says PcPro.

And Wired says: “With built-in 3G, it’s fully functional as a phone, but we doubt you will see anyone brave enough to lift the actual device to their ear. You would look, to put it mildly, daft.”

No official price point has been revealed yet, but it is likely to be in the same sort of range as the iPad mini, which costs around £270 for the 16GB model.

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