Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 vs Google Nexus 7 [video]

by: Mike AndriciFebruary 25, 2013

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Coming into MWC 2013, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 was hardly a secret, as numerous leaks had already painted an accurate picture of Samsung’s response to the Apple iPad Mini. But although it’s no surprise that the Galaxy Note 8.0 was officially announced by Samsung, the fact remains that this S-Pen-enabled tablet is likely to play an important role in the evolution of the Android ecosystem for at least the first half of the year.

Related: Top cases for Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

When covering new mid-sized Android tablets, or even any category of Android tablets for that matter, one interesting way of appreciating its future success is a comparison with the best selling Android tablet of all times, the Google Nexus 7.

The general rule of thumb throughout 2013 should be that only tablets that noticeably improve on the specs of the Nexus 7 have chances at selling well and thus making a dent in the ecosystem’s yearly timeline. However, the rule becomes slightly distorted in the context of this article due to the fact that Samsung is not your average Android manufacturer. I’m quite confident that a tablet from the South Korean manufacturer might provide better results (more units sold, better profit margins) than a corresponding tablet from any other manufacturer.

With this in mind, let us start pitting the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 against the Asus-manufactured Google Nexus 7.

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The Google Nexus 7 uses a 7-inch LED-backlit IPS display that runs at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The Pixel Per Inch density (PPI) rests at 216, the colors are accurate, the viewing angles are good, and despite not excelling in the brightness department, it does feature great contrast ratios. Overall, we are talking about the modern standard in terms of acceptable displays.

As the name suggests, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 uses an 8-inch LCD display, one that uses the same resolution as the display on the Nexus 7: 1280 x 800 pixels. However, due to its larger display area, the PPI ratio falls at 189. The overall display quality is similar to that of the Galaxy Note 10.1, meaning there’s nothing to get really excited about.

Verdict: If display quality is what you’re looking for, the Nexus 7 is definitely the better choice.

Design and Build Quality

Although it it does not feature exceptional build quality, the Nexus 7 is quite a compact slate. Add the soft touch back and narrow(ish) side bezels, and the end product is comfortable to hold and use.

The Nexus 7 measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm (7.81 x 4.72 x 0.41 in) and weighs in at 340g (11.99oz).

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There’s no easy way to say it, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is certainly not the prettiest tablet to look at. Although it’s quite thin, the Note 8.0 is basically an oversized Note 2 with huge bezels and a very plasticky build.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 measures 210.8 x 135.9 x 8 mm (8.30 x 5.35 x 0.31 in) and weighs in at 338g (11.92oz).

Verdict: Looks may be subjective, but build quality isn’t, so the Nexus 7 takes this round as well!



The Google Nexus 7 uses an underclocked version of the popular Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset. This translates into a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an Nvidia GeForce ULP GPU and 1GB of RAM memory.

In the Samsung corner, the Note 8.0 makes use of the same SoC as the Galaxy Note 2, namely an overclocked version of the Exynos 4 Quad. The 1.6GHz quad-core processor, Mali 400 MP GPU and 2GB of RAM make the Note 8.0 a very fast tablet.

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Internal and Expandable Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will launch in 16GB and 32GB versions and will be able to work with microSD cards of up to 64GB.

Although an 8GB version was initially released, the Google Nexus 7 is now selling in 16GB and 32GB versions. In pure Nexus style, there is no microSD card slot.


Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Google Nexus 7 come similarly equipped in the battery department, featuring a 4600mAh battery and a 4325mAh battery, respectively.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 uses a 5MP primary camera and a 1.2MP secondary sensor for video calling, while the Google Nexus 7 features a front facing 1.2MP camera only.

Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 features considerably better hardware specifications than the Google Nexus 7.

Galaxy Note 8

Android Version and Software Tweaks

As far as this section of our article is concerned, these are two very different tablets. On one hand we have the Nexus 7 running on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a device that will be always up to date with the latest version of vanilla Android. In the other, we have the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, a tablet that currently runs Android 4.1 and might not have access to timely updates in the future, but tries to compensate with an array of software tweaks.

While Samsung’s TouchWiz custom Android UI is often criticized for its design, the Galaxy Note 8 not only comes with the Samsung Smart Functions and all the software features that people love about the Galaxy Note 2, but also throws in S-Pen compatibility in the equation. This is Samsung’s tradeoff for that sub-par display: a digitizer that can turn your tablet into a creative or lucrative powerhouse.

Verdict: This round seems to be a draw as the Nexus 7 runs on pure Android, but the Galaxy Note 8 can do some really neat tricks as well.


Although they are both mid-sized, mid range Android tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Google Nexus 7 could not be any different.

The Nexus 7 still remains the go-to solution if you’re interested in the overall quality level, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 might still find a way to your heart thanks to its speedy internals and S-Pen capabilities.

The fact that the Galaxy Note 8 can place calls via 3G is probably not going to be much of a factor, although the price (a vital element that Samsung has yet to reveal) will. If the rumors placing the Galaxy Note 8 at roughly $300 come true, than sure, the Galaxy Note 8 is a viable choice for many. On the other hand, Samsung’s chance to a good community reaction decreases as it passes this critical price threshold and start nearing the price of the Galaxy Note 8’s true competitor, the Apple iPad Mini.

What do you guys make out of this comparison? Would you go for the Nexus 7’s better display and timely Android updates over the Galaxy Note 8’s speedier hardware and S-Pen capabilities?

  • nandeep

    google nexus 8 haha

    • Saw that, he’ll fix it soon.

  • thalgott3

    I want one device to serve as my phone and tablet. A rear facing camera is great too. Taking a picture with a front facing camera is the worst. I recently purchased a Nexus 7 for my toddler to play with and I really like it, but the additional options that Samsung offers makes their product superior IMO.

    • DetroitTech

      I agree with you as well. I want one device. It’s either this or the Fonepad. Fonepad I heard is going to start at 250USD. I doubt Samsung will be able to compete with that. Curious how that Intel proc will perform.

      • thalgott3

        I have not heard much about the fonepad. Is it tablet sized or galaxy note sized?

        • Jaime Larios

          7″ tablet with phone capabilities

      • thalgott3

        I just watched the video. Wi-Fi only in the US?!?!!! Epic FAIL Samsung…

        • Willie Washington

          Trust me, that’s definitely NOT Samsung’s call. This has everything to do with U.S. carriers who monopolize cellular devices.

  • Mikesphoneandtab

    I love Samsung. Look at my avatar. But it’s true. The Note 8 looks really bad. I am ashamed as a Samsung fan.

    • DetroitTech

      Probably because that white looks horrible/cheap. Not sure why Samsung pushes that white color so much. Quit it already. White devices are ugly. IMHO. If it was in black it would look much better. IMHO.

      • CyBrix_21

        Some like white… It is a subjective preference…

  • Nexus 8 Guy

    Nexus 8….

  • aholsteinson

    Nexus 7 FTW, that Note 8 looks like a toy and I don’t personally care for the calling capabilities.

    • sxs

      another plastic toy from plastic-sung factory of Korea is getting compared with google Nexus, Shame!

  • If only the Nexus had 2gb of Ram and an sd card slot, then this argument would be moot.

  • Asus PadFone Infinity GPS

    Indeed, Samsung leave to the impression as the most chosen smartphones of business people, techie users and etc. They never disappoint their customers when it comes to coining the most ground breaking and mind drooling mobile in the world.

  • Galaxy Note 8 wins that easy. It has a little less ppi, but much more room for viewing content ( 1extra inch and no bottom bar ). Much better web experience, multitasking, micro SD support and it’s even lighter. It’s a perfect tablet for college, school and learning purposes and a perfect tablet for entertainment purposes.

  • David S.

    Cameras and phone are nice features, but the extra width means that the Note won’t fit in a suit jacket pocket. If I wanted something I had to carry separately I’d get a 10″ tablet instead. I’ll stick with the Nexus.

  • mrband

    Note 8 all the way: ok, could be prettier, I agree, but size, light weight, SPen and Multiwindow and 3G/4G makes it perfect for students, working, etc… if is not overpriced.

  • Somewhat difficult to say on specs alone. I would need to give the 8 some time and see how it handles. I would still likely recommend and purchase the Nexus 7. It is a perfect size for me. I can get it in the pocket of a fleece and some coats but still have enough screen real estate that it seems like an entirely different experience than using a phone for content. I like the build quality and honestly all my music is cloud based and I only ever need a few non-streaming movies at a time so the storage limitations are fine.

    I always thought I would want one device to do everything but I actually like running podcasts, messages, music and navigation on my phone and then everything else on my tablet. The division of labor helps keep battery power flowing.

  • CyBrix_21

    Both are great… It is the consumers who will choose what tablet will suit them… A budget-friendly tablet with build quality and crisper display, or a tablet with S-Pen capability, a bigger space for viewing and a more powerful processor and higher RAM and of course, Phone capabilities…

  • G Lowe

    I’m troubled that Samsung is becoming the another evil empire. That aside, I’m excited about Ubuntu on tablets. This will be done on the Nexus, but only time will tell if it will be on Samsung’s tablets. That will be something that would affect my choice.

  • gfacekilla01

    I currently own a 16g Nexus 7 and a Note 2. The N7 has been back to Asus twice for excessive battery consumption, display de-lamination, poor wifi reception, faulty power connector and just slow performance. After the 2nd trip things seem to be sorted out, however, the lack of expandable memory is becoming an issue as well as the lack of a camera. My Note 2 has been absolutely bulletproof and done everything I’ve thrown at it. Depending on the price of admission, I’ll sell the N7 and possibly get the Note8. I think the screen size would work well for me along with the SD memory slot and the camera. No more Asus products for me.
    Your mileage will vary…….

  • Don’t forget, the Galaxy 8 is also a smartphone that can place calls.

  • ac

    Faster processor, Bigger Battery, MicroSD slot, S-Pen Integration…Note 8 wins on specs. The lower PPI on the Note 8 is due to the bigger screen. The only thing that will really determine a winner is what Samsung prices the Note 8 at. If the Note 8 is priced around the same as the iPad mini (or more), than there could be valid arguments regarding the Nexus 7 being the winner. If it’s priced somewhere between the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini, then I think the Note 8 wins.