Since 2008 I’ve been an Apple fanboy. I’ve traded-in or sold everything non-Apple related in exchange for every Apple product I could afford. In the tablet world, I have owned the i-Pad 1, i-Pad 2, and the i-Pad Mini and for the most part, I have loved their products. In June of this year, I decided it was time for a change; mostly because I realized my i-Pad mini was lying around unused all the time since my iPhone did the exact same thing. So, I did the unthinkable: I switched to an Android device, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.
What I Love
I have adored this tablet. I could not put it down for the better part of three months and still use it nearly everyday. It is so different from an i-Pad, that it’s a bit unnerving. What originally sold me on this tablet was the S-pen that comes with it. This thing combined with S-Note (native) works and functions exactly like a pen. You can literally write with same ease you would on paper and it even has a feature that turns your handwriting into text, (it has been tested and works with my own TERRIBLE handwriting). The S-pen also has some nifty navigation features to use, as well as making typing things so much easier.
Another feature that I love is the ability to have dual screens running. Though the screen real estate on an 8 inch tablet is a bit small, it still works beautifully. You can have two apps running at the same time, side by side. I use this most often with my Bible app and note taking app, and I have found this especially handy during lectures or sermons.
The Samsung Galaxy Note also has expanding memory with a microSD slot for up to 64 GB of cheap, extra memory should I desire it. In my opinion, this is where Apple is severely lagging behind. This tablet also has a feature called, “smart eyes”, that detects if your eyes are reading something and doesn’t allow the screen to go dim. It doesn’t work perfectly, and it is, admittedly, a slight bit creepy, but it has come in handy a time or two.
What I Don’t Like
Despite all of the features I love, there are a few I just cant stand. First of all, the construction makes this feel extremely cheap. Perhaps, it’s because I’m used to the quality of Apple stuff, but Note 8.0 feels like a kid’s toy sometimes. I just never have gotten the same satisfaction from holding it that I did from the iPad mini.
The camera on this tablet stinks. Granted, I don’t take a lot of photos with my tablet; but on the few occasions that I have, they have not turned out well.The camera never seems to focus the way it needs to.
The Samsung book case is the worst $50 I ever spent. Terrible doesn’t even begin to describe it. The case doesn’t snap shut and is constantly flapping open. The functionality of what it is supposed to do (make is stand in different positions) is an absolute joke and has never worked.
My one other pet peeve with the Samsung Note is that you can’t find any accessories for it in stores. Finding a case in a store is extremely difficult, especially since they just released a new 10 inch version.
Overall, I have really enjoyed this tablet. I have used it several times for preaching and teaching classes and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s small enough that it fits into my back pocket and extremely functional and practical. I’ve traveled with it extensively (without a case) and, so far it has held up incredibly well for as cheap as it feels. If your looking for a wonderful alternative to an iPad give this one a try.
Ben Wright is the founder of Stuff Preachers Use and co-founder of Enwrightened Publications. He is the author of “Branded:Bearing the Marks of Jesus” and the soon to be released “52 Days: Rebuilding Our Spiritual Walls”. Ben currently serves the church of Christ in Paintsville, KY.