MWC 2013: Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy 8.0

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Samsung is not expected to take the wraps off the Galaxy SIV at Mobile World Congress, but it did have its latest tablet on display. The Galaxy 8.0 is a mid-size tablet that competes directly with Apple’s iPad mini.

The Galaxy 8.0 has a streamlined design that is reminiscent of the Note II and the Galaxy Note 10.1. It fits right in the middle of Samsung’s 5.5-inch phablet and its full-sized tablet. The Galaxy 8.0 is slightly longer and slightly heavier than the iPad mini, but the differences are slight enough that it wouldn’t sway me towards one device or the other.

As its name suggests, the Galaxy 8.0 has an 8-inch panel with a 1280×800 resolution display (189ppi) that edges out the iPad mini with its 1024×760 display (163ppi). Just like the iPad mini, the display on the Galaxy 8.0 is good enough for most consumers. Only those with an eye for the high-resolution display of the iPad (2048-by-1536 resolution at 264ppi) will notice a difference.

The Galaxy 8.0 has the same S-Pen stylus and multi-tasking feature included on the latest crop of Samsung mobile devices. It’s also filled to the rim with Samsung and third-party software including Samsung Hub, ChatOn, Awesome Note, and more. Awesome Note is a Samsung exclusive, so expect to see it on other Samsung devices for the next year.

Hardware-wise, the Galaxy 8.0 has a 1.6GHz A9 quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, which is plenty to power the Android 4.1.2 (Jellybean) operating system. The tablet will ship in 16 or 32GB storage configurations with microSD expansion up to 64GB.

The Galaxy 8.0 has all the standard connectivity options for cellular and wireless connectivity. International variants will include like HSPA+ 21Mbps or LTE depending on the market. You can also expect to see Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS + GLONASS (3G Version).

This is a tablet and not a smartphone, so cameras are not a priority in the Galaxy 8.0. As a result, the Galaxy 8.0 will ship with a 5-megapixel rear camera capable of 1080p Full HD video @ 30fps and a 1.3-megapixel front camera.

The Galaxy 8.0 will debut in select countries European and Asian countries starting in Q2 2013. It will land in the US sometime in the future. Pricing details were not yet available.

 

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