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In line with fan expectations, Samsung introduced a new member to its Galaxy Note family - the 8in Galaxy Note - at the Mobile World Congress event on 24 February in Barcelona. The new Galaxy series tablet aims to take a shot at Apple's iPad mini while bridging the technology gap between the second generation Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 that was officially announced in August 2012.
Though there is still no word on the pricing details of the 8in tablet, it is confirmed through official sources that it will hit the global market in the second quarter of this year. Galaxy Note 10.1 failed to stake its claim in the competitive tablet market, owing to its steep price and lack of good display (as evident in Anandtech's recent display benchmark tests). Now, the new Note faces the challenge of addressing these two issues while taking on the mighty iPad mini from Apple.
On the brighter side, the mid-range Galaxy Note 8.0 holds a few caveats by packing some impressive software features such as Smart Stay, Direct Call, Page buddy, AllShare Play, AllShare Cast and S Pen optimised features such as Air View and Popup Note. In addition, the tablet features the ability to make and receive phone calls.
Check out how the newly unveiled Galaxy Note 8.0 fares against the tried and tested iPad Mini in the feature comparison below:
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Display
The new Galaxy Note features an 8in TFT display (800x1280 pixels, 189ppi), which is a bit disappointing considering that the older Galaxy devices such as the S2 I9100 and Tab 7.7 flaunt the Super AMOLED display. However, the Note 8.0 matches the highest resolution among Galaxy tablets with a pixel density that beats the Galaxy Tab 10.1(149ppi) and is on a par with the Galaxy Tab 7.7(196ppi).
The 7.9in iPad mini comes with an LED-backlit IPS LCD display running at a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels and a pixel density of 162ppi, which is a tad lower than the Galaxy Note 8.0.
Despite the higher display resolution and pixel density of Note 8.0, the fact that the iPad mini boasts an IPS display, gives it more natural colours and considerably better viewing angles than the TFT panel of the 8in tablet.
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Dimensions
The iPad Mini is both thinner (7.2mm) and lighter (312g) than the Note 8.0 that measures 8mm in thickness and weighs 26g heavier (338g) than the Apple tablet. The overall dimensions of the two tablets are listed below:
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0: 210.8 x 135.9 x 8mm
Apple iPad Mini: 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Operating System
Galaxy Note 8.0 will run Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) out-of-the-box at the time of its purported release in Q2 2013. The latest Jelly Bean operating system (OS) will have several feature enhancements including revamped User Interface (UI), improved notifications system and home screen management, enhanced voice search, text input with offline voice typing, improved camera and enhanced Android Beam app. In addition, it brings faster, smoother and more responsive touch-interface with triple buffering for seamless graphics rendering and touch synchronising for vsync timing, as well as tooling for optimised app performance.
The iPad Mini, in contrast, features Apple's latest mobile OS iOS 6.1. The new iOS update includes a few minor feature upgrades and bug-fixes over its previous iteration. It primarily adds expanded LTE support for specific iPhone and iPad models, Siri and iTunes Match improvements, and a couple of minor tweaks such as enhanced Passbook app and new Advertising Identifier to track specific devices for ad targeting.
Given the wide-range of optimised apps and features available for both the tablets, the Galaxy Note 8 surely holds an edge over the iPad Mini on the software front. For instance, the Samsung Smart Functions suite paired with S-Pen enabled apps and software tweaks makes for an exciting treat for power hungry users and Android enthusiasts alike. Though the iPad Mini offers access to more and better apps, it lacks an open ecosystem that is synonymous with an interesting combo of S-Pen apps available on the Note 8.
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Processor and RAM
The 8in Galaxy Note features the same processor found on its younger sibling, the Galaxy Note 2, which is the Samsung Exynos 4 Quad chipset. The quad-core processor clocked at 1.6 GHz is paired with a Mali 400 MP GPU and includes 2GB of RAM.
On the other hand, the iPad Mini imports the same Apple A5 chipset used in iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S. In other words, the Apple tablet is powered by a relatively slower 1GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU and 512MB of RAM.
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Camera
Both the Galaxy Note 8.0 and the iPad Mini feature a five megapixel rear camera with auto-focus and geo-tagging capability. The former supports a 1.3 megapixel front camera for video-recording, and comes equipped with a special feature called Smart Stay, which identifies the user (unlocks the screen) when the person is looking at the screen and locks the screen when the user is looking away.
The iPad Mini, on the other hand, features a 1.2 megapixel front camera that is capable of 720p HD video-recording at 30 frames per second (fps). Besides, its front camera supports face detection and FaceTime over Wi-Fi or 3G.
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Connectivity
The iPad Mini comes in two variants: Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with 3G/LTE capability. The Apple tablet (3G/LTE model) offers connectivity options via Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. It supports a Nano-SIM for making and receiving calls over 3G/LTE network bands. The Wi-Fi only model also offers similar connectivity options via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but does not provide SIM capability for making or receiving calls.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 also comes in two variants: 3G and 4G LTE. Both the variants offer connectivity via Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP. Like its Apple counterpart, the Note tablet also supports a Micro-SIM for making and receiving calls. In addition, the Note 8.0 features an infrared port for communication with infrared devices.
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Storage
On the storage front, the Galaxy Note arrives in 16GB and 32GB variants with support for microSD expandability up to 64GB.
In contrast, the iPad Mini features three storage variants 16/32/64 GB, but offers no support for microSD storage expansion.
Galaxy Note 8.0 vs iPad Mini: Battery
Samsung's Note 8.0 is powered by a non-removable 4600mAh battery. The iPad Mini also features a non-removable 16.3Wh battery, which is expected to deliver up to 10 hours of talktime.