back to article Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Proof the pen is mightier?

Bewildering. That’s the best word to describe Samsung’s small tablet range. Since the second half of 2010, the Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Tab 7.0 Plus and Tab 7.7 blurred one into the other, much to the confusion of the average customer and me. Thankfully, the Samsung fondleslab now sat on my desk is a Note, …

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Re: Remember windows tabs?

You never 'needed' a stylus, they just made things easier with the resistive touchscreen technology. The Apple Newton and Palm pilots etc all had styli.

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Re: Remember windows tabs?

WinCE != Win/x86

The majority of Windows/x86 tablets used a inductive digitizer for pen support. That only works with the matching stylus. The Asus MT-Series was one (IIRC the only one) that used resistive screens. Those have a number of problems for tablet use, among others that they can not be protected by something like "Gorilla Glass" and suffer wear on the digitizer

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remember windows tabs?

> a colleage was handwriting on one of those things with a stylus, he seemed to like that way of working. Kinda makes sense if you want to jot stuff down.

I had a quick play with a Samsung Note in a shop...it seemed to do a reasonable job of understanding handwritten mathematical notation and converting it to a TeX-like format; would be handy for students in maths or engineering.

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Mushroom

Re: Remember windows tabs?

Remember when using the "contains highly technical content" icon meant you'd see an interesting post?

Remember when el Reg could review an Android tablet with some fuckwad immediately sneering about a twelve year old version that ran Windows XP?

Life Before Eadon. How sweet it was.

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Re: Remember windows tabs?

I don't "need" a stylus on my Galaxy Note 2, but it can sometimes be useful. I only ever use it for writing and drawing pictures, not for poking at UI elements like on my old Windows Mobile 6 and earlier devices.

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Re: Remember windows tabs?

Remember when using the "contains highly technical content" icon meant you'd see an interesting post?

Remember when el Reg could review an Android tablet with some fuckwad immediately sneering about a twelve year old version that ran Windows XP?

Pepperidge farm remembers

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Re: Remember windows tabs?

"Pepperidge farm remembers"

I had to google. Seems to be an American thing!

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Anonymous Coward

Considering the iPad Mini is probably likely to be updated in the coming months this actually looks relatively expensive and is hardly going to claw iOS users away from their iPads?

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Anonymous Coward

I like to make statements...

...and end them with question marks?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like to make statements...

So?

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Vapourware

Agreed. It does look expensive compared with vapourware.

And it is going to be difficult to lure away iPad owners when they've already bought a tablet. Especially now with the iOS7 'Barbie' makeover. It's going to be tough for any competitor to go after the 'bulge bracket' Apple owners if, at the same time, they want to stay relevant to the male population.

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Gimp

You cannot always save people from themselves. Sadly true for some(not all) iThing users. Once they are told it is the best device on the planet, they will take that belief to their grave. In reality though I don't think average people care too much; tablet, looks nice, feeds me internets.

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Expensive? Same for the article - "The only slight fly in the ointment being that the iPad is cheaper"

What do we hear when an Apple device costs three times the price, but may (or may not) be slightly better? "Well I'm willing to pay for something better, it's not my fault if you're too poor". Yet, when it's another device that is the best tablet, but costs more, you're first in line to complain that it's more expensive.

If one wants lower cost, there are plenty of tablets that do better value than a Note 8 and especially an ipad mini (which has specs like resolution and RAM more in line with budget Android tablets). But there's a place for a high end device too. Yes, Apple may have a better device out in 6 months, but then a better Note 8 will be along 6 months after that too.

The biggest concern may be that the resolution may seem outdated compared to Full HD tablets likely to appear soon (with Nexus 7 rumours for July - then again, we've been waiting on rumours for ages). Apparently this is a limitation of the pen technology. But then this can't be an issue with everyone, after all people are happy to pay high prices for the lower res ipad mini.

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Anonymous Coward

Stylus = gimmick. It's a step back. Of course some people will say they like them or even need them but for most people it's something to lose and a finger is better. Fast forward 5-10 years and if we had devices that were really good at understanding speed input it's like adding a keyboard for the sake of it.

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I'd have to disagree. A stylus is infinitely more precise if you have to sketch something on a screen.

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I have a Galaxy Note 2, best bit of kit I've ever bought by the way, and I find the stylus completely unobtrusive when not in use but easily accessible on the off chance it's needed. It makes playing Fruit Ninja a dream.

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"A stylus is infinitely more precise if you have to sketch something on a screen."

Absolutely - the sole reason I would consider these over a 'vanilla' tablet is the ability to sketch easily. For me it would actually save carting around chunky sketch pads or, more usually, filling up pockets with increasingly larger amounts of folding up papers with doodles and plans on them - and then having to scan ones I want into the computer. It's not a great reason to go out and buy one - paper and pen or paper is far superior to use - and I wouldn't just for that benefit... but if I was in the market for a new tablet it is something that might tempt me to spend a bit more.

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Stylus, gimmick?

If it's a proper pressure sensitive graphics-tablet type pen, it's far from a gimmick. Those things are damned useful for doing anything more complex than the Windows 8 finger-painting advert.

Now if Adobe's Android apps will recognise that stylus and act accordingly, that could be a winner for the arty crowd that would normally go for more fruity devices.

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If it was *just* a stylus I'd agree, but it's a wacom digitiser as well. Very, VERY handy for someone like me who likes to sit about and doodle in the off-times. You can also use most older wacom pens with it (the one for my old cintiq works perfectly).

Incidentally, recommended app for anyone with a Note: Layer Paint. It's a relatively simple but practical art program, very cheap and better than any of the alternatives I've tried up to now. Far better brush engine than Sketchbook Pro, you aren't limited in your canvas size and naturally it works with the pressure-sensitivity of the digitiser as well.

Samsung (and another tablet that has a digitiser) are so far ahead of Apple on this that it's almost laughable when the fanbois try to belittle a feature like this. Of course it's a "step backwards" to have a superior additional interface!

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Having been a Palm user

I'm seriously thinking about taking a Note 2 as an upgrade on my phone next month. The downside is the size.

There are any number of situations when using a finger is just not accurate enough (such things as free-form document mark-up and notes, sketching and handwriting recognition). I still find Graffiti easier to use than swipe, which I just can't seem to use accurately on my current phone, and doing something that feels like writing is easier with a stylus than a finger.

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With good software (something the Note-Series is lacking) a tablet pc is a lot more useful than pen/sketchpad. It can do everything paper can plus:

+ Transform a document into text

+ Index / Search in it

+ Send it to co-workers even those with a desktop

+ Annotate/edit documents and send back to "all" without the need to print

+ Send the stuff to the beamer / wall mounted display (Sometimes even wireless)

It also is a document reader and with the proper OS a full scale netbook / notebook if needed. And unlike a notebook it can be used while standing/walking and in very limited space.

Add a dock and it becomes a complete PC for all uses except high end gaming and some software development

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah someone like you - not like most people. Tablets didn't have them - now Samsung reckon it's an 'innovation'.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah I'm waiting for Samsung to fit it with a serial port next.

I wonder who will screw who first - Samsung screw Google and cut ties or drop Android or Google push Motorola / other manufacturers - I'll get the popcorn.

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Anonymous Coward

Rubbish. Adding a stylus as a *mandatory* input device to a tablet would be a step back, this is just an add-on.

What was the problem with the stylus on the old PDAs? simple, the UI design of the old OSes (UIQ, WinMo PalmOS) was designed with the stylus in mind. So buttons, icons and menus were small and not usable with your fingers.

By throwing away the stylus it forced the interface and application designers to ensure that their interfaces worked well with finger input. It meant that buttons had to be easily clickable with a finger and thanks to multi-touch we could dispense with zoom buttons and other rubbish.

Adding a stylus to a phone or tablet as an optional input device is not going to undo all of the above improvements.

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Yeah someone like you - not like most people…

Are you Eadon's cousin by any chance?

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Coat

Considering how popular the third-party stylus market is with the iPad I really wonder why there's all this angry hate about it. Perhaps it's because they're stuck with silly capacitive things whereas anyone with a proper digitiser-enabled tablet gets something far superior?

Ooh, stylus envy...

@AC: "Someone like me" is a significant enough proportion of the population for Samsung to not only consider this a good idea, but for them to make a fair bit of cash implementing it. Guess I'm not that far from the middle of the bell curve after all eh?

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FAIL

Stylus? Into the dustbin of history!

I've been happily using a stylus-equipped Samsung tablet for months now. It's really relevant and useful for the work I do. But little did I know that putting a stylus on a tablet is AGAINST PROGRESS. I am so sorry to have stood in the way of history. Which way to the re-education camp?

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Anonymous Coward

Only a gimmick

until Apple copy it, and then it's essential...

The Note 8 is quite clearly another entry into the impressive array of Android devices.

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Re: Buying a Note 2

I've managed to crack the glass screen on my Note 2 by knocking it off a table onto a wooden floor.

Its still the best phone I've used and I would recommend one, just make sure you buy a case for it. The size is perfect... after using it for a day i couldn't use my old 3" phone because it was too small!

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A stylus is a gimic if you consider a pen a gimic when finger paint works just as well.

Because of a stylus I can be pretty much paperless at work as I use a Galaxy Note phone with Lecture Notes software at (many many) meetings and then export to Evernote which does the handwriting recognition. Soft copy documents can be emailed straight into evernote. Hard copy as PDFs via CamScanner. Using the stylus I can easily annotate any PDF being reviewed via exPDFReader. I have never bothered with any of Samung's on-phone handwriting recognition or any of their apps for that matter.

This method works for me and may not work for anyone else but the precision delivered by a stylus cannot be matched by anything else and so enables workflows where a real pen can be mimicked, supplemented or even replaced.

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"Yeah I'm waiting for Samsung to fit it with a serial port next."

Oh, you know, that would be brilliant to use as a console for set up / maintenance of those headless network appliances.

Good suggestion.

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Re: Stylus, gimmick?

Although it's worth noting that the Windows 8 styluses are all pressure sensitive Wacom-style pens too. I guess it's unfortunate that MS have to advertise someone finger painting, to fend off the "oh noes, you have to use a stylus" reaction.

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Anonymous Coward

The stylus isn't required though. It's great when you're taking notes in a meeting (straight in google keep or whatever). It's not required to use the tablet, we're not all sat stabbing our Notes with the stylus unless in an app or environment where it makes sense. It's an added feature which you're free to use / not use. You comparing it to older tablets with stylus does indeed suggest you've not used one. It's not required for navigation etc.

If you think the stylus is a gimmick, conveniently enough for you they offer a full range of devices without it.

I also don't people making the price comparison with the iPad mini, Other than size the samsung is the superior device specs-wise. Of course a device with inferior specs is cheaper. Apply don't DO an equivalent sized tablet of an equivalent spec. Just an equivalent sized tablet.

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@mmeir

I can do all of that with a note. There's a free Android app that scans/digitizes. Can output in a variety of formats, some indexable/searchable some not. My phone can do all that, never mind my note tablet.

My HTC phone and my samsung tablet will both do all of the above. On either built in or free apps.

Bar the "it's a whole PC minus a keyboard" point, which isn't really what most people buy a tablet,so, you know, horses for courses.

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Used the Note 10.1 for about four month. Had quite a bit of problems with the Software like lack of stability in SNote and most programs not supporting more than one open document at a time. Lack of printer support and notepad file formats that do not work with Windows as well as a lot of other "not as good as Win 7 or Win 8" moments. Back to tablets with Windows.

Note is cheap and runs longer than a core i based unit but even the Ativ 500 is more powerful and gets a workday endurance. And the software is build in (journal) or for free (Foxit, ArtRage2) as well. And some stuff does not even exist for Android like offline speech recognition (build in btw)

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And some stuff does not even exist for Android like offline speech recognition (build in btw)

I don't know about the Note, but my Nexus devices all have this feature. I know this because I downloaded the the UK English pack just this morning.

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Android 4.1 seems to be able to do that since early 2013. Dropped the N10.1 in December so missed that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stylus, gimmick?

The s-pen on my Note2 is bloody brilliant - excellent pressure sensitivity, instant response, very good accuracy.

About the only issue I've noticed is a tendency for a slight nonlinearity toward one edge of the screen - but I suspect that's a hardware glitch.

http://www.perisoft.org/anotherdude.jpg

http://www.perisoft.org/phone.jpg

http://perisoft.org/waitwhat.jpg

Good luck fingerpainting that stuff. All done in S-Note, by the way. One bit of advice: If you're going to be doing complex sketching, don't tell it to record your drawing; I nearly sank S-Note when I recorded sketching for 40 minutes!

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"Are you Eadon's cousin by any chance?"

I couldn't even work out which post he was replying to!

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Re: Stylus, gimmick?

The non-linearity towards the edges is a Wacom problem. Mostly (not totally) solveable with calibrating the screen. Something the Note could not do in 2012, hope they fixed it.

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Megaphone

You want to check out the GetConsole serial dongle (wired and wireless) and app for iPad that allows console

connection to Cisco, Juniper, Brocade and HP routers, switches and servers among other far-out-there Enterprise features that will blow your mind.,.

www.getconsole.com

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and with the proper OS

Linux?

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Only if you like paying for hardware you can not use. No FOSS support for Wacom on tablet pc

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Erm... yes, there is. Ubuntu on the Surface Pro only has a problem recognising the right-click button on the pen, and I'd be inclined to believe that the same could be said of any other slate or windows 8 tablet.

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Re: Having been a Palm user

Get the Note 2, and install the free Grafitti keyboard replacement from, well, Palm ;)

Made SO happy, I know that much.

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Does it recognise the pen as a mouse or does it allow handwriting input into text fields (Handwritting recognition)? Pen as mouse is basically useless. HWR and journaling software at least on MS Journal level is a minimum to speak of works.

Oh and it only works if I can use Distribution X Version a.b.c (a.b.c > introduction version) without lengthy mumbo jumbo. After all Linux is about Choice and I choose SuSe. Or maybe RedHat. Or Oracle Unbreakable, or....

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Ah now you're moving the goalposts aren't you? You said there's no support for wacom on tablet PCs when there is (and that support is via the wacom driver, which only the most esoteric and ancient of distros won't have), so now it's not support for wacom per se but for a subset of input methods that make use of pen technologies in general.

So rather than saying "no support for wacom on a tablet PC" what you should really say is "no unified handwriting recognition input method" which is a rather different kettle of fish. In addition, rather than being unusable as you initially claimed, a tablet PC with any major distro installed is likely to be very useful. It just doesn't quite do what you want out of the box.

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