Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Day 1

It's day number one with my Galaxy Note 8.0 which I bought as it seemed, from all reviews and reading up on, to be the tablet I was looking for which seemed to centre on productivity.

I got a good deal on it, esp. as I bought a sealed brand new one, and after at least three months of price watching and research on the Note 8's bigger sibling the 10.1 I bought this one to see if the S-Pen would be the stylus I wanted. I have what seems like a fortune or box full of styli for my iPad and Nexus 7 but even using the 'best' writing apps as well as the 'best' office/productivity apps on both these devices I hadn't managed to find the 'perfect one' FOR ME.

I don't generally write in all caps but I felt I had to give the emphasis there. There is no such thing as a perfect tablet or device which is perfect for everyone that owns or uses it. There can be ones that are perfect for the users specific needs even if it's not the best or the perfect in all specs and situations.

I received my Note yesterday at lunchtime and didn't have much time to try it out yesterday as I concentrated on charging, setting up/linking to all the various accounts, downloading any apps I already had on Play and Samsung that I wanted on this tablet. And I was good to go. But it was bedtime and I only had time to learn a few basics, like how to get the S-Pen out of the Note without accidentally pressing one if not all the the three buttons at on the bottom bezel near the slot the S-Pen lives in when you aren't using it.

So far these are my thoughts:

The S-Pen is wonderful, as is the S-Pen specific Samsung apps. Also the fact it works in other non-Samsung apps as well like Polaris Office which comes pre-installed on the Note 8.

I found it works pretty accurately with my chicken scrawl writing but then I have used other handwriting apps on both iOS and Android with many different styli so I'm not a totally novice at using this type of application. But the polished look and feel of both the apps and the S-Pen feel premium and are a joy to use. I've had styli which ruin my entire usage of applications I usually love like the Mazec driven apps on both iOS and Android.

I have always loved the Android versions of these apps more than the iOS based purely on the fact that you can use the Mazec handwriting engine/keyboard/input box outside their native apps as an input source which isn't possible on iOS unfortunately.

But back to the Note 8. The S-Pen handwriting input is as polished, if not more so, than my favourite Mazec applications. The work put into both the stylus and the apps and how they work together is obvious especially if like me you have used other handwriting recognition software/apps in the past.

Two concerns I had where put to rest. I had heard, or rather read, a lot of flack about the screen being 'low resolution' and a disappointment, but I found it clear and lovely to look at. I have both read, watched YouTube, and written/typed into the screen and so far I have found it a pleasure to look at and use.

The second concern I had was reports that you couldn't use/move/run apps from the external storage card even though you are given a micro SD card slot which could hold up to a 64 GB micro SD card. Even though documentation said the expandable memory could accommodate photos, videos, music or other media it seemed to be a shame it couldn't allow you to run apps or move apps to like I am used to with other Android devices in the past.

This was a specific concern because of the limited space left of the internal space after you take into account the Android and Samsung firmware/apps. I know when I got mine less than 10 GB of the 16 GB advertised was left for user content. Which includes apps/games you might want to add.

It might seem like a lot of space but believe me as someone who has been using PCs, mobile devices and other tech for years I know how easy it is to fill up what might seem like a lot of space. Especially taking into account future firmware updates from both Samsung and Android themselves.

But when my Note synced with my existing Samsung account it brought across the games and apps my Mum has on her Samsung tab which is registered through my Samsung and Google accounts. I removed all but two of the games, in case I want to check out game play even though I bought this as a productive tool not a media consumption one, but the two I left I was able to move to the SD card which I had installed. The Note came with a 16 GB micro SD card which I installed before booting the tablet on for the first time, and I was able to set S-Note to save documents to the external/micro SD card, as well as move a few apps/games to it. Which eases my mind.

Non essential apps/games I will move to the card when I can, keeping the main memory available for the built in apps and firmware updates. As well as movies, music and other media if I chose to do so. But at the moment I have it firmly put in the productivity column.

The split screen where you can open two separate apps, as long as they are on the list of those you can use this function with as not all apps are just yet, and work on two things at once. Next I will be seeing if I can open notes and a digital book at the same time. This would be wonderful for book reviews.

Well that's my Day 1 thoughts.

I don't know if I will be doing a post a day but I will try to keep my day numbers correct even if they are days between posts. For correct future reference.


Seems you can move/use app from the SD card, or in the case of this device micro SD card, as long as they aren't the pre-installed Android/Google or Samsung ones. Or other Samsung/Google apps you download.

I have successfully moved the other apps I have downloaded to the Note 8.

Kindle, feedly, 7 Notes, and Kingsoft Office are among those which I was able to move to the external, non-device, memory and they among others work perfectly fine.

This is helpful as you only have around 9 GB (out of the 16 GB marked on the box) for user content so if you are someone who downloads/installs or tests out a lot of apps and games the ability to move them and run them from either the 16 GB micro SD card that came in box or another of your choice might be very useful.

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