You’d think Samsung’s stylus-equipped Note lineup would translate well to tablets — but the disappointing Galaxy Note 10.1 showed that lackluster hardware can easily ruin a good idea.
Now with the Galaxy Note 8.0, it looks like Samsung is aiming to make amends. The company announced today that the Wi-Fi version of the Note 8.0 will be available in the U.S. on April 11 for $400.
I’ve only had a few days to test out the Note 8.0, but at this point it definitely feels like the best tablet Samsung has ever produced. It’s still made out of plastic, but it feels more high-quality than Samsung’s past devices. Design-wise, it shares a lot with the Galaxy S IV, especially the attractive trim around its edges. Best of all, it’s fast — there’s none of the slowdown I initially saw with the Note 10.1, and Samsung’s TouchWiz skin doesn’t get in the way.
Yes, it’s $70 more than Apple charges for the iPad Mini. You only need to look at the specs to see why: Instead of the aging hardware in the iPad Mini (a dual-core A5 CPU and 512MB of RAM), the Note 8.0 sports a modern 1.6 gigahertz quad-core CPU and 2 gigabytes of RAM. The Note 8.0 also features a sharp 1,280 by 800 pixel display, while the iPad Mini relies on a much lower resolution 1,024 by 768 screen.
The Note 8.0 will likely be a tough sell for most consumers — despite the older hardware, I’m still in love with the iPad Mini — but some may appreciate Samsung’s push towards productivity.
Check back later this week for a full review of the Note 8.0.