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By 25 February 2013 | Categories: news

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It hardly came as a surprise that Samsung would release yet another Galaxy Note in its line, and indeed up at Mobile World Congress currently underway in Barcelona, the company did just that.
 
The latest 8” variant in the line-up, the Galaxy Note 8, though is not a phablet, but rather, direct competition for Apple’s 7.9” iPad mini.
 
Powering Samsung’s new device is a 1.6 GHz A9 quad-core processor along with 2 GB of memory, while the Galaxy Note 8’s TFT display offers a resolution of 1280 x 800 (189 ppi).
 
Sadly, and strangely, this is not an AMOLED display which so impressed on some of Samsung’s previous offerings. However, like on the S3 and the other Galaxy Notes before it, Samsung is clearly counting on several proprietary features to deepen the new Note’s appeal.
 
These include multi-window options which enable users to split the screen and allow optimal access to a number of live applications (we found this imminently useful on the Galaxy Note 10), and the Samsung ‘reading mode’ technology to enjoy ebooks with optimised resolution.
 
S marks the spot
 
Additionally, the S-Pen once again takes centre stage, which can now be used to activate the back and menu buttons. The Galaxy Note 8 will also come with a suite of S Note templates and tools for creating, editing, managing and sharing documents.
 
As it did on the Galaxy Note II (review), removing the S Pen from the device will automatically launch features such as Pen Detection that will suggest adapted menus, and Page Buddy, a feature that will intuitively activate the most recently adapted S Note home screen. 
 
Another, and this time familiar, feature onboard is Air View. Hovering over the screen with the S Pen automatically displays previews of videos, emails, photos and appointments on SPlanner without opening the file or application in full. S Pen Gesture further allows images and content to be easily edited and cropped, whilst Paper Artist and Photo Note allow photos to be artistically personalised. 
 
On top of this, Samsung enthused that there is a suite of new content and services that are pre-loaded for users at no additional cost including, for the first time on a Samsung Galaxy tablet, Flipboard and Awesome Note.
 
Samsung explained that Flipboard developed a customised version of its application exclusively for the company that allows users to take the S Pen’s hover feature and preview article headers beneath Flipboard's main screen tiles.
 
Of features and foibles
 
Also onboard is Smart Remote, which transforms the tablet into a universal remote control and electronic programming guide, thus “allowing users to manage TV and video watching seamlessly.”

While the 16 GB and 32 GB will be available with Wi-Fi, apparently the international version will also have an 3G/LTE variant as well; no doubt this means that we can look forward to seeing someone pressing an 8” device to their head while making a phonecall, while the more discrete could opt for a Bluetooth headset.   
 
As on its smaller brethren, the device will accommodate a microSD card for expanded storage. Alas, once again the build quality is apparently mostly plastic, a trend we have longed for Samsung to abandon in favour of more solid all metal chassis, or at least take a leaf out of the HTC One’s playbook in that regard.
 
To the point
 
Nonetheless, it looks like those who favour 8” tablets over the larger 9.7” and 10.1”, and who have pledged allegiance to Android, will soon have another option to fawn over or opt into.

While no local pricing or release dates have been confirmed as yet, given how quickly Samsung South African generally follows the rest of the world, we expect to see it sooner rather than later this year.   

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