Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 vs Google Nexus 7

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Introduction and Design
Introduction

Released in the middle of 2012, the Google Nexus 7 by Asus remains a worthy competitor in the small tablet space. Armed with more than decent hardware and an ultra-aggressive price tag, the Nexus 7 is not to be taken lightly, not even by more ambitious products such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.

Samsung's new tablet is entering a very interesting market. Between super-affordable, yet potent tablets like the Nexus 7 and more premium offerings like the iPad mini, will the Galaxy Note 8.0 and its S Pen find a way to capture a decent share for themselves?

Let's see how the Note 8.0 can handle its opponents of the affordable type, namely the Google Nexus 7!

Design

Although the Nexus 7 is the smaller tablet, as it only features a 7-inch display, it strangely isn't more comfortable to hold and carry than the Galaxy Note 8.0. Quite the contrary, we find it easier to hold the Note 8.0 with just one hand (like a small notebook), and then even swipe left and right using the thumb of the same hand. We find it harder to replicate this on the Nexus 7, as it starts to fall from our hand.


We attribute this to the slipperier type of plastic used for the Nexus 7, as well as the more ergonomic shape of the Galaxy Note 8.0.


In terms of weight, both tablets are almost exactly the same, but as we said, the Note 8.0's shape and materials make it the more comfortable tablet to work with.

Display

While the Nexus 7 features a 7” display, which is as small as you would want to get when it comes to small tablets, the Note 8.0 naturally comes with a slightly larger, 8.0-inch screen. The difference isn't small, as everything on the Note 8.0's screen looks bigger and easier to read.

Both devices have the same resolution: 800x1280 pixels, which means that the Nexus 7 has a slightly higher pixel density, making things look a bit clearer. Still, we actually find it easier to read text on the display of the Galaxy Note 8.0, as it finds a better balance between sharpness and size.

Color tones, however, are somewhat more natural-looking on the Nexus 7, as those on the Note 8.0 seem to gravitate heavily towards the colder side. As far as visibility and comfort go when using the tablet in very bright or very dark lighting conditions, the Galaxy Note 8.0 easily takes the first prize as it can get both brighter and dimmer than the screen of the Nexus 7. One complaint we have about the screen of the Nexus 7 is that it actually can't get very dim, which makes reading in the dark a bit of a pain.



Interface and Functionality

One area where the Nexus 7 will always have the upper hand is software updates. As you can imagine, Google's tablet is running the latest Android OS, while the Galaxy Note 8.0 launches with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. To tell you the truth, we don't see this as a major drawback for the Note 8.0, because there aren't any groundbreaking features in Android 4.2. In addition, the Note 8.0 features Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX which is a wonderful custom user interface that adds many cool features to the platform. On the other hand, having the latest OS version running on your device is always a plus.




Messaging

We seriously prefer the on-screen keyboard (and size) of the Nexus 7 – it makes for a more comfortable typing experience. The keys of the Note 8.0's keyboard seem to be on the smaller side, which makes them harder to work with. Of course, that's easily remediable by installing a third-party keyboard from the Play Store.

The Note 8.0, however, has another input method, which the Nexus 7 lacks, and it's the S Pen. With the Note 8.0, you can take hand-written notes, and surprisingly, the experience is very good. Thanks to its integration with Wacom technology, writing with the pressure-sensitive S Pen feels almost as if you're writing with a real pen.




Processor and Memory

Always wanting to have its own opinion about things, Samsung has used its own quad-core chipset, the Exynos 4412, in the Galaxy Note 8.0. It's neither the newest, nor the fastest processor around, but it does an excellent job powering the Note 8.0. Meanwhile, the Asus Nexus 7 features the Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, which is also very snappy and manages to deliver a fluid performance.

If we have to compare how the two tablets run, we'd say that the Note 8.0 delivers a slightly smoother, more consistent experience than the Nexus 7, but the reasons for that seem to be hidden in the software of the Nexus 7, rather than the hardware.


Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.067471701360,1
Google Nexus 73599055,7


In addition, the Note 8.0 also has more RAM - 2 GB compared to 1 GB in the Nexus 7, and it comes in 16 or 32 GB storage options as well as a microSD card slot for additional memory. In comparison, the Nexus 7 can be found in 8, 16 and 32 GB options, but without microSD card support.

Internet and Connectivity

There's no doubt that the Galaxy Note 8.0 is the better tablet when it comes to internet browsing. Samsung has decided to keep the enhanced ICS browser, which is still much faster compared to mobile Chrome – the default browser in the Nexus 7. In addition to being faster, Samsung's browser also has support for Adobe Flash Player, which is still heavily used across the internet. Sure, you can also get Flash with some third-party browser on the Nexus 7, but the experience will be inferior. You can also install Dolphin Browser on the Nexus 7, which will be about as fast as the browser on the Note 8.0, but it won't support Flash.


The 3G-enabled version of the Nexus 7 brings support for HSPA+ 21.1 Mbit/s down and 5.76 Mbit/s up. The Note 8.0 is not much different, as it's equipped with an equally fast radio. However, we wouldn't be surprised if some US carriers announce plans to carry the Note 8.0 soon, and then we can be pretty much sure that those models will support LTE.

Camera

Well, the photos you can take with the Galaxy Note 8.0 sure aren't perfect, but they are something. With the Nexus 7, there isn't a rear-facing camera, so you can't really take pictures. We suppose you can use the modest front-facing to take some kind of shots with the Google tablet, but that will come nowhere near what you'll be able to achieve with the Note 8.0.

For the most part, the images taken with the Galaxy Note 8.0's 5MP camera feature natural colors and a decent amount of details. The exposure is not perfect (sometimes the photos come out a tad dark), but it gets the job done. The Note 8.0 can also record 720p video, which isn't exactly full of sharp details, but is much better than nothing.



Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Sample Video:

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Indoor Sample Video:

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Multimedia

Naturally, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is better suited towards video watching with its bigger and brighter screen. The speaker of the Note 8.0 is also noticeably stronger, making for an overall better multimedia experience.



Conclusion

There can be no two opinions here – the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 easily trumps the Google Nexus 7 by Asus in every aspect... as it should, because it comes out almost a year later!

The bigger screen, S Pen, superior browsing, reading and multimedia experiences are enough to tip the scales in favor of the Note 8.0 here, meaning that it's easily the better tablet of the two.

However, it also comes at a much higher price. When you think about it, the Nexus 7 is also one very capable tablet that can do many of the things the Note 8.0 does, although not as satisfyingly. In the end, if you are looking for a good tablet at a very affordable price, the Nexus 7 may be all that you need. On the other hand, if you're really searching for an amazing tablet experience and are ready to shell out some additional cash, don't think twice about it – just go for the Galaxy Note 8.0.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 vs Google Nexus 7:

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