updated 01:30 pm EST, Mon February 25, 2013
Samsung adds another display size
Samsung chose to delay its Galaxy S IV unveiling until several weeks after Mobile World Congress, though the company did bring along a few new devices to show off this week in Barcelona. We dropped by the company's booth to handle the Galaxy Note 8.0, a new tablet that fits squarely between the Galaxy Note II smartphone and larger Note 10.1 tablet.
The new Note's 8.0-inch display establishes the device as a direct competitor to the iPad mini, with 1280x800 resolution for a higher pixel density than Apple's midsize tablet. We found the display to be bright, despite the intense lighting on the MWC show floor, with wide viewing angles that pointed to IPS or similar technology.
Aside from the display resolution, Samsung appears to have matched the Note 10.1 in several other areas. Both share a quad-core A9 processor and 2GB of RAM, which easily power the Android 4.1 OS. The hardware seemed fast and responsive during our tests.
The company has continued to improve its S Pen stylus, taking advantage of Wacom technology for pressure sensitivity and input via hardware buttons or while hovering above the display. The stylus has been Samsung's primary differentiation feature for its Note lineup, and the Note 8.0 continues to build upon this approach.
Some users may not fall in love with some of Samsung's OS customizations, but the Note 8.0 may prove a viable alternative to the iPad mini for anyone who has waited for an Android tablet bigger than seven inches but smaller than the 10-inch devices.