New Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 may be a tough sell at US$399

The Galaxy Note 8.0, which launches April 11, is Samsung's stylus-equipped answer to the iPad Mini, but it may be a tough sell at $399.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is Samsung's stylus-equipped answer to the iPad Mini, but it'll be a tough sell when it launches April 11 for $399.

That's $50 more expensive than Apple's small tablet, at a time when most small tablets are trying to undercut the Mini. Samsung's hoping that the Galaxy Note 8.0's S Pen stylus and standout features will lure buyers.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 has an 8-inch display with a resolution of 1280-by-800 pixels, a quad-core Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a microSD card slot, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera. The Note 8.0 runs the Android 4.1 operating system, with Samsung's TouchWiz interface on top.

The $399 price tag is attached to a Wi-Fi model, but a version with 4G is coming.

Just like the larger Note 10.1, the Note 8.0 is more about unique features than tech specs. MultiWindow view is supported for certain apps, letting you run two of them side-by-side.

The built-in S Pen is pressure-sensitive (with pretty good support among third-party apps) and allows users to quickly jot down notes or make annotations. The Note 8.0 also includes a built-in IR blaster, allowing it to serve as a remote control for your entertainment center.

But will it sell?

Note 8.0's market position

To Samsung's credit, the company has enjoyed more success than most other Android tablet makers, doubling its market share during the holiday season. It now has 15 percent of the tablet market, compared to 44 percent for Apple, according to IDC.

That's not bad considering the fierce competition from Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus tablets. Samsung must be feeling confident that it can stand toe-to-toe with Apple.

Still, at $400, the Note 8.0 sits in an awkward middle ground. It's $50 more expensive than an iPad Mini, and twice the price of other small tablets like the Nexus 7.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is only $50 more and, while the Note 8.0 is more portable, it's still going to be a bit wide for a coat pocket. The new tablet is interesting, in that it brings Samsung's S Pen and productivity software to yet another screen size but, until the price comes down, it's hard to see the Note 8.0 being a big hit.

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Jared Newman

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