Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 review: The roadster
Messaging sans 3G
Moving on to email, the Gmail app supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The default app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there's no unified inbox.
A cool feature in Gmail is that you can swipe left or right to move between messages in your inbox.
There is also a generic email app for all your other email accounts and it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes. You have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online and messages are displayed as usual, or you can switch to a Gmail-like conversation view.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 also features a combined inbox, which brings together all your mail in a single folder. This can be quite handy if you have lots of accounts and you just want to check if there is a new message needing your attention.
For each email account, the app gives you security options (e.g. encrypting outgoing email and signing it with a private key) and a synch schedule, which can be set to check for new mail more often during "peak schedule" (you can pick the days of the week and start and end times when "peak schedule" is active).
Google Talk handles the Instant Messaging department. The G-Talk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts. There's also Samsung's own ChatOn service.
Text input - keyboard, S Pen or else
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 comes with several text input options. Yes, there is handwriting recognition using the S Pen, but even the standard on-screen QWERTY has several different layouts.
The big screen makes for comfortable portrait typing, and we appreciate the extra row just for the numbers. Two finger typing is comfortable on the Note 8.0 in portrait mode, but becomes a pain in landscape. Samsung was thoughtful enough to include a nifty split keyboard which made typing in these situations easier.
There are a handful of clever tricks that this keyboard can offer. You can swipe left and right on the keyboard to position the cursor. Okay, this isn't new but this is - you can hover over a text field with the S Pen and a cursor appears. You have to tap to position it there. The keyboard can also be made into a type of floating widget as well.
Another option shows you a list of all recent items in the clipboard (both text and images) that you can quickly paste. This is great as it lets you juggle multiple copied items.
You can also enable "Continuous input", which lets you input words by swiping over the keyboard (yes, like Swype). This is available on the Galaxy S III too.
Moving on to handwriting recognition, it's very accurate (even with our awful penmanship) and the thicker, longer S Pen helps quite a bit to improve the experience.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has very advanced text prediction features to minimize typos. If you let it, it will scan through your emails, Facebook posts and Twitter posts and learn how you write (which words you use more often and so on).
You can, of course, use voice input and since the Galaxy Note 8.0 is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, this will work even if the tablet is offline as long as you have downloaded the required language package.
By the way, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is smart about picking which text input method to show you. If you tap a field with you finger, it will bring up the QWERTY keyboard. If you tap a field with the S Pen instead, it will launch the handwriting recognition.