This is how you know Samsung’s confidence is at an all-time high. When the Galaxy Note 8.0 goes on sale April 11th, it will cost $399, or $70 more than the iPad mini. This 8-inch tablet offers features Apple’s 7.9-inch slate lacks, including pen input and the ability to control your TV, but will consumers be willing to pay that much of a premium?
As you’ll see in our full Galaxy Note 8.0 Review, Samsung’s tablet certainly has the iPad mini outgunned in the specs department. The Note 8.0 offers a sharper resolution (1280 x 800 vs 1024 x 768 pixels) and a faster processor (quad-core vs dual core). You also get a microSD Card slot to expand the 16GB of onboard storage. The mini doesn’t have a slot. But it’s the Note 8.0’s features that really set it apart.
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The Note 8.0 biggest weapon against the iPad mini is the integrated S Pen, which lets you take notes as well as hover over items to get previews, a featured called Air View. For instance, you can see the first few lines of an email without even opening it. Samsung also bundles the Awesome Note app for both note-taking and staying on top of your to-do list.
Here’s something else the iPad mini can’t do. Using the integrated IR blaster, the Note 8.0 lets you control your TV from across the room. Plus, the new WatchOn software lets you search not only what’s on the air but video content available in the Samsung Media Hub, YouTube and Blockbuster. Unlike the mini, the Galaxy Note 8.0 also lets you run two apps side by side.
Where the Galaxy Note 8.0 falls flat versus the iPad mini is an area that’s not really under Samsung’s control: tablet apps. Several key titles developers have optimized for the iPad (Facebook, Pandora, etc) still get the same stretched-out phone treatment in the Google Play store. In addition, as you’ll see in our in-depth review, Samsung’s tablet doesn’t last nearly as long on a charge as Apple’s mini.
Even with a rumored iPad mini on the way with sharper Retina resolution, the Note 8 looks like it will still attract lots of shoppers. But between the relatively high price tag for the Note 8 and the $249 cost for the Galaxy S4 on AT&T, don’t be surprised when people start talking about a Samsung Tax instead of an Apple tax.