Apple and the iPad effectively invented the tablet market as we know it today, but Samsung has been redefining what a tablet can, or rather should, be.
Already famous for pushing the bounds of the smartphone with the Galaxy Note “phablet” — intended as a middle ground between tablets and smaller smartphones — the Galaxy Note 8 could accomplish even more. While the iPad was revolutionary for being a tablet that didn’t require a stylus, the Galaxy Note 8 aims to prove that the pen really is mightiest.
Designed to put Apple’s iPad mini and Google’s Nexus 7 in the cross-hairs, the Galaxy Note 8 is a stunning technological accomplishment that could not only become the iPad killer, but a template for future mobile devices, by rethinking how a tablet should be used.
At its core, the Note 8 is an impressive piece of technology. In addition to a 1.6 GHz Quad Core processor that runs laps around the iPad Mini’s 1 GHz Dual Core processor, the Galaxy Note 8 boasts a truly impressive 2 GB of RAM — something that few other standard-sized tablets have yet to offer. Compare that to the iPad Mini’s abysmal 0.5 GB of RAM or even the Nexus 7’s modest 1 GB.
But it’s Samsung’s increasingly great suite of features that continues to be the brand’s biggest draw, and the reason students and professionals everywhere may soon be rethinking tablets as something more than just a “big smartphone.” In truth, critics have had a point about tablets until now: you don’t need one the same way you need a laptop or a smartphone. With the Note 8, Samsung hopes to change that.
The multi-tasking capabilities of Samsung’s TouchWiz have been at the forefront of Samsung’s products, and they shine on the Note 8, especially with the stylus. Although multi-window use on a smartphone screen can be cramped, flicking between open apps with the stylus feels natural and simple. Plus, the Note’s ability to recognize my chicken-scratch handwriting is a testament to the strength of Samsung’s handwriting software and the ease with which the stylus may be applied.
Making tablets matter
In creating productivity features that truly make work easier and allow people (finally) to use tablets in a meaningful way, Samsung has quietly perfected what a tablet should be able to do. Until now, they have existed in a limbo that lacks many of the useful features of a smartphone or the capabilities of a laptop — but for more money.
With a device as technologically stunning and truly useful as the Note 8, however, tablets now have a real purpose: the notepad/computer/e-reader hybrid that other tablets have only aspired to be.
It does come at a cost, however. As one of the newest tablets on the market, the Note 8 carries a hefty price tag. Although it’s still below the current list price of an iPad Mini, Samsung loyalists may be better off looking for an old Galaxy Note or even a cheap Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone to fill their stylus-tablet needs until the price drops.
But with specs and features like these, we can expect that the tablet market is about to get a lot more relevant. Devices like these tablets will become useful for more than just playing Angry Birds on a bigger screen. If more companies follow suit, tablets will soon grow beyond a novelty, and become one of the most important technological advances since the PC.