Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Apple iPad Mini

by: Mike AndriciFebruary 26, 2013

Galaxy Note 8 vs iPad Mini aa (4) -600px

The rivalry between Samsung and Apple has reached an unprecedented level over the past year, but while Samsung seems to have found the perfect recipe for the smartphone market, the Galaxy Tab line was not nearly as successful in taking on the Apple iPad.

More recently, Samsung has been making efforts to push the Galaxy Note in the tablet space. A first step was the introduction of the Galaxy Note 10.1, a high-end device that was received mixed reviews, the major drawbacks being its steep price and mediocre display. The next step is the Galaxy Note 8.0, a tablet that the South Korean manufacturer has recently officially announced.

Back when Apple introduced the Apple iPad Mini, plenty argued that the Mini was not a direct competitor to the Nexus 7, but a new product aimed at a different niche. Personally, I don’t exactly agree with this idea, but if we were to take it a face value, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is the first real competitor to Apple’s mid-range, mid-sized tablet.

If you’re looking to compare the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 against the Google Nexus 7, check out our previous article here. For a Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad Mini comparison, head over to the article here. However, if what you’re looking for is Apple iPad Mini vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8, you’ve definitely come to the right place.


Galaxy Note 8 vs iPad mini specs table


Both the Apple iPad Mini and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 use a mediocre IPS LCD display, although some differences are noticeable.

As the name suggests, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 uses an 8 inch display. The resolution is 1280 by 800 at a 16:10 aspect ratio, meaning that pixel density rests at 189.

In the other corner, the Apple iPad Mini uses a 7.9 inch display, but this one works at a 1024 by 768 resolution with a 4:3 ratio. Given that the iPad Mini works at a lower resolution yet features more screen real estate (the difference in aspect ratio makes this possible), the pixel density drops to 162. I’m no Apple hater, but this is really a poor display, even by mid-range standards.

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As I said before, the two displays are mediocre at best, representing the weak point of both our contenders. Additionally, it should be said that the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 features a Wacom digitizer that works with the S-Pen to provide some interesting features. We’ll further discuss this in the Software section.

Verdict: The Galaxy Note 8 wins this round thanks to its slightly crisper display.

Design and Build Quality

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a very odd tablet to look at, as it’s basically a very large Samsung Galaxy Note 2, with very thick bezels all around. Samsung’s usual plasticky build has reared its ugly head once again.

Another thing that people dislike about the design of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is the fact that it really does not feel like a compact tablet, a fact seriously aggravated by its massive bezels.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 aa 600 px (11)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 measures 210.8 x 135.9 x 8 mm (8.30 x 5.35 x 0.31 in) and weighs in at 338 g (11.92 oz).

In the other corner, the Apple iPad Mini bears the mark of Apple’s impressive design language. The bezels are thin, as is the tablet itself, while the overall impression is that of a much better build quality.

The Apple iPad Mini measures 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm (7.87 x 5.30 x 0.28 in) and weighs in at 308 g (10.86 oz). This section of our comparison is really no contest.

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Verdict: The Apple iPad Mini is more compact, better built, and better looking.



The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 uses the same internals as its smaller brother, the Galaxy Note 2, namely a Samsung Exynos 4 Quad chipset. The 1.6 GHz quad-core processor is paired with a Mali 400 MP GPU and 2 GB of RAM.

In the Apple corner, the iPad Mini uses the same Apple A5 chipset that was used inside the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S. This means a 1 GHz dual-core processor, a PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, and 1 GB of RAM memory.

Overall, both device seem equally snappy, meaning that iOS requires less impressive hardware to run well on. But more on that a bit later!


The Apple iPad Mini comes in three variants of internal storage: 16GB, 32GB, and 64 GB; the device lacks the option to expand the storage via a microSD card.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage. A microSD card slot is present, meaning that you can add up to 64 GB to the internal storage.

Galaxy Note 8 vs iPad Mini aa (9) -600px


Using a tablet to take pictures might sound foolish to many, but some actually dig it, so it’s best to spill out the facts in this category as well.

Just in case Bigfoot happens to be passing by and you don’t have a real camera nearby, both the Apple iPad Mini and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 could provide the rescue thanks to their 5 MP primary cameras. For video calling (the only viable use for a camera on a tablet as far as I’m concerned), the iPad Mini has a 1.2 MP sensor, while the Galaxy Note 8 has a 1.3 MP sensor.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Apple iPad Mini are similarly equipped when it comes to battery capacity: there is a 4440 mAh inside the iPad Mini and a 4600 mAh battery inside the Galaxy Note 8. This should translate into similar battery life for our contenders.

Verdict: It’s a close call, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 wins this round thanks to its 2GB of RAM and an SD card slot.

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Operating System and Software

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, while the Apple iPad Mini uses iOS 6.1. If you’re looking for a more thorough comparison of the world’s two best mobile operating systems, check out the extensive article here.

In the context of this article, it should be mentioned that the Apple iPad Mini has access to all the tablet-optimized apps that make the iPad line so interesting. That’s not to say that recently, apps that are optimized for Android tablets have not surfaced at an encouraging pace. In all honesty though, the iPad Mini currently has access to a wider range of tablet optimized apps.

Despite all this, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 still has its own advantages over the Apple iPad Mini on the software side. First, there’s the suite of Samsung Smart Functions that plenty have learned to love, but that’s hardly impressive. What is impressive, however is that the Galaxy Note 8 has access to all the S-Pen-enabled apps and software tweaks that make the Galaxy Note 2 such an amazing device. If you’re into drawing, the Galaxy Note 8 should be your tablet of choice, despite its other shortcomings.

Verdict: The Apple iPad Mini has access to more and better apps, but the Galaxy Note 8 comes with an open ecosystem as well as an interesting range of S-Pen apps. Draw!

Hands-on video


Note: Price plays a very important role in choosing one device over the other. To wrap this post up, I assumed that Samsung would release the Galaxy Note 8 at a price that ranges between $300 and $350 for the 16 GB version.

So, is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 a worthy competitor for the Apple iPad Mini? Well, yes and no, as it really depends on what you’re looking for!

If the only thing that matters to you are the overall specs, our contenders are closely matched, although the Note 8 seems to be slightly better equipped. On the other hand, if you’re into design and build quality, the Apple iPad Mini is clearly better suited for your needs.

However, although it is quite plasticky and odd looking, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 might draw in a lot of users who are just craving to get creative on the go with the S-Pen.

What do you guys think about this mid-range tablet battle? Vote in our poll!

[poll id=”224″]

  • Dear Samsung,

    Please put better screens in your tablets.

    Sincerely, Everyone

    • Omar O’Hara

      ‘Everyone’ except Apple.

  • Jusephe

    Maybe NOTE got a little bigger battery but quand core at 1,6 Ghz CPU + Quand core 533 Mhz graphics + 2 GB RAM will just consume MUCH much more energy than dualcore 1 Ghz CPU + 250Mhz dualcore graphics + 512 MB RAM.

    iPad are and probably will be the leader in battery life, but at cost of slow processor graphics and small RAM

    • Kenroe

      Lol, i’d rather have that poor battery life than a crappy spec tablet.

      • No One

        Spec mean nothing, real life performance is the key. Since the day Apple release their iPad or iPhone, no one ever complain about its performance being lag or slow.

        • mintas

          Agreed that real world performance is different from the specs. But I disagree the fact that no one complained about the lag on iDevices. I have an ipad mini and although i loved it to bits, there are occasionally some lag when playing games.

          • No One

            Yes that might be true but hey look at the spec, iPad Mini has crappy spec compare to most of android device but you only have occasionally some lag. So my statement stay the same, spec doesn’t mean anything. But yes it is better to have both spec and design that is why iPad 4 is there.

    • Secret DroidZ

      Tablet is just like a computer… it Needs performance much more than battery life…

  • Benedict Chong

    What a lousy specs and design from the stupid Korean company and dare to compete with Apple. What a shame!

    • Vivghkl

      What a lousy poorly constructed use of the english language, once again this stupid ass troll rearing his ugly head into the Disqus and Phonearena commenting sections.

    • Your’e stupid!

      Lousy specs… yeah i agree! With a dual core tablet better than a quad core… I totally agree with you! Besides… A 169 ppi tablet is better than a 189 ppi tablet… and a tablet with no micro sd card slot is way better than a tablet with a micro sd card…

  • CrAppleJinxer

    What an iFaggoted review!!!! …. and the Galaxy Note 8″ is a phone…. not a cheap die cast aluminum iSCRATCHGATE tablet. It’s a copycat device without the Security of NSA’s Secure Enhanced Linux Kernel in Jelly Bean Android. Specs on iFag Mini are a joke and the G Note 8 kills it on looks power, screen density, memory, CPU/GPU and in ever other conceivable way. GO BACK HOME TO YOUR iCrAPPLEHOLIC STATE OF iGNORANCE!!!

    Samsung/Google-Motorola (General Dynamics) btw…. is already in talks with several Governments (notably S. Korea, Canada and UK) on using these with with their Gorilla Glass 3 replaced by Willow Glass in their Nett Warrior Program with it’s Secure Hypertunneled Linux Network already in place. Google is already working on Google Glass Soldier Edition for military use and Apple has absolutely nothing to offer to replace these devices in the future. Oh….. except maybe a cheap Designer Dumb Little iWatch! hahaha.

    No Superior S Pen, no phone and NO APPS in their already in the US.Gov’s Beta Online Store! lol….. and only Google Moto and Samsung are even in the running for these government contracts!!!!

    • no matter whether or not you can call with it, the note 8″ is no phone…

      • CrAppleJinxer

        I call with my Nexus 7 all the time w/bluetooth headset and speaker phone….. What’s the problem? I have NFC with me 24/7 to tap to pay, tap to transfer and with Samsung NFC Tags I can do tons of things YOU iDiots can’t do. That’s just part of what sets this Samsung Galaxy (DOD is ordering tons of these for squad leaders in Nett Warrior Program) well above iPad Mini capabilities. Plus a whole lot of features Apple anything can never have, that both Android and Galaxy hardware do have!

        Like full Multi-tasking and that’s something you don’t realize you’re missing till you need and are using that feature. With Android I can have 5 or 6 real time widgets (which are .wgt from W3C’s HDML 5 Standard Web Widgets) running all the time, play music from the cloud and playing a game all running simultaneously. Can iOS do even close to that? No…. it just suspends processes while it runs another. A flawed file system going back to Apple’s original Apple IIc computers hardware locked features! APPLE Is So FAR BEHIND ANDROID IT’S RIDICULOUS TO EVAN COMPARE THEM!!!.

        I got the ability to video conference anywhere and with Cell Tower access Google Voice works there too. So with this being a Smartphone and not just Wifi Only, it’s already got iPad anything beat to all hell.

        • Talk about exaggeration. i agree with what you say but i do not know how my post provoked it. to clarify, the note 8″ is definitely a tablet, no denying it. however, there is nothing wrong with having calling capability on a tablet so long as you use a bluetooth headset.

  • harrold

    the Galaxy Note 8.0 got ‘Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (76%, 393 Votes)’ Because it is ANDROID authority not iOS authority heheheh

  • nicknok

    Download ps touch and use the s-pen love it