Note 3 vs Note 8 vs Nexus 2013 - Shopping advice

Which to buy?

Poll closed Sep 15, 2013.
  1. Nexus 7 (2013)

    2 vote(s)
  2. Note 8

    2 vote(s)
  3. Note 3

    6 vote(s)

Last Updated:

  1. AngelicCore

    AngelicCore Well-Known Member


    I am stuck deciding on a phone/tablet for my next purchase.

    I currently have the S2 and while it has been working quite well all these years it just doesn't cut it anymore.

    My main 2 reasons for wanting to upgrade is screen size (4.3") and no S-Pen.

    I have been wishing to take notes using handwriting for a long time and the normal pen doesn't cut it. I hope the S-Pen is as good as people say.

    Anyway, while the Note 3 is definitely the better spec'ed phone, It would be a meager upgrade in the screen size. 4.5->5.7

    So here are my thought, please give me yours.

    Nexus 7:
    Pure android, more/faster updates
    Cheap ~350 Euros
    7" screen
    Amazing value for money
    No phone functionality - would need to carry my S2 with me.
    No S-Pen
    No Samsung goodies (Wifi Direct, Smart Stay/Scroll etc)

    Note 8:
    Samsung goodies
    Specs aren't that fantastic
    Reviewers think it is an average phone

    Note 3:
    Best phone right now (When it is available at least)
    Samsung goodies and community
    Going to be atleast twice as expensive (rumours)
    Small screen size (not much bigger than my current phone)

    What do you guys think?

  2. Preach2k

    Preach2k Well-Known Member

    It depends on your needs. Nexus 7 and the Note 8 are excellent Tablets. But you can not use it for phone calls. The Galaxy Note 3 is the best of both worlds.. I have a GNote 10.1 and love it.
  3. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    Using a data enabled Note 8 or Nexus 7(when it gets released in the near future) can be used as a quasi phone through the use of Google Voice + GrooveIP or Talkatone. If you use Vonage as your home phone service, you could also use that. If you do this, a bluetooth headset might be your best friend. You could use a general capacitive stylus pen on the Nexus 7, but it won't be as sensitive/accurate as the s-pen.

    I've also moved this to the Device Comparisons forum to help you get the best and most objective answers.
  4. AngelicCore

    AngelicCore Well-Known Member

    I am thinking about the new Note 10.1 as well but to be honest, maybe it is just me, 10 inch is awkward. It is neither big, like ~13" or something nor is it pocket-able. I had 2 10.1 inch tablets(ipad2/tab) but sold both like 6 month after because of mobility issues.

    Gnote3 is obviously immensely powerful but lacks definitely in the screen department.

    What do you mean when it gets released? It is already, or are we talking about different devices here?

    On another note, I've used styluses and I don't think they are any good. I haven't used the S-Pen though..Is it as good as people make it to be?
  5. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin' Moderator

    The Wifi version of the new Nexus 7 has been released, but one that will work on mobile data (LTE, HSPA, EDGE) is coming very soon. The 1st generation Nexus 7 already has a mobile data enabled version currently available.

    As for the S-Pen, those who use it will agree that it's much better than a typical stylus. However it's not for everyone. It doesn't interest me much, but I know people who swear by it.
  6. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Hmm, in my country, data enabled tablets like the Note 8.0 can make calls via GSM.

    Anyway, it depends on whether you want a new phone or a new tablet really. Although having a new tablet means that you don't need to do a lot on your phone anymore apart from calls and text and use the tablet for heavy lifting. In that scenario I'd prefer getting either tablet.
  7. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member

    If you are seriously considering note taking, then you will definitely want to look at the Note line and drop the Nexus.

    I guess in terms of note taking, you can view it as:

    Nexus: taking notes with a paint brush on canvas or finger painting. Since placing your palm on the screen would cause vectors and mess with whatever you are doing. I consider it to be unnatural and not ergonomic for note taking.

    Note 3/8: natural method of taking notes. Has palm rejection and will allow you to properly take notes. More ergonomic and comfortable for note taking as you can rest the palm on the screen and write like pen on paper.

    I have both the Note 2 and Note 10.1. A capacitive stylus is not the same as a Wacom digital pen. I find the Note 2 would be more suited as a little memo pad and not great for taking session/conference notes (especially hours on end). The Note 10.1 fits this bill for me. But mobility would be an issue as it's definitely not easy to carry around. Also handling it over time in one arm can be tiring. But the Note 8 should be lighter and more compact to carry compared to the Note 10.1.

    I guess the best bet would be to play with a Note 2/8 demo unit to see how you feel about it. I know in my area (Canada) a Note 8 has a chained S Pen for users to try out and see the features it brings. That could give you an idea of how it feels and if it might be suited for your tasks (or not).
    El Presidente and AngelicCore like this.
  8. Shofar

    Shofar Well-Known Member

    Hello AngelicCore from a country that shares a long and "hot" border with you.

    I hope you are safe and sound amidst the turmoil.

    I have a Note 8 N5100, bought in Germany and it functions as a phone and a tablet. (Also still using GS II as my phone.) I'm waiting for a new SIM to really try the 8 as a phone but with bluetooth it should be OK.

    For note taking I would think the 8 is a better choice than the Note 3, as the extra size will really make a difference.

    I am not yet a big stylus user, but I regularly use it for email and the OCR is very good.

    The screen is very good, specs or not. I can even use it in bright daylight.
    The only think I really want from the 3 is the 3GB ROM and 32/64 RAM, but it does take a 64GB micro SD card.

    If you normally use a bag, it is light, thin and a joy to use.

    Stay safe,

    AngelicCore likes this.
  9. AngelicCore

    AngelicCore Well-Known Member


    Does the note 8 fulfill all of your needs?
    Can you make voice calls using it?
    What do you hate about it?
  10. Shofar

    Shofar Well-Known Member

    The SIM I have in it now is only data. In the coming week or so I will get a voice SIM to replace it, so I can't yet say how it will work as a phone.

    On the AndroidCentral and the XDA Note 8 forums you can find people who already use it as a phone and it works.
    As of now it is meeting all my portable needs and my 10" Lenovo ThinkPad tablet just sits in its dock.

    I don't hate anything about it, I just wish it had 3 GB ROM and 64 GB RAM, but so far it is OK with my 64 GB SD card.

    It has not replaced my laptop, but I don't think any tablet at present could and certainly not a phone.

    AngelicCore likes this.
  11. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    Galaxy Note devices are too big for phones and too small for a tablet.

    So Nexus 7 2013 gets my vote, fantastic tablet and much better value, S-Pen is over rated.
    AngelicCore likes this.
  12. Shofar

    Shofar Well-Known Member

    How can you say the Note 8 is too small for a tablet when you like the smaller Nexus 7??

    I think the S-Pen is under rated and needs some more apps that will work with it.

    Nexus 7 can give you 32 GB RAM but no SD.
  13. AngelicCore

    AngelicCore Well-Known Member

    I think he meant the note 3
  14. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    Think before you post, I was obviously talking about the Note 3.

    The Note 8 just sucks, shouldn't even be in comparison with new Nexus 7.
  15. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Depends on what you would use the tablet for, because for my own personal usage, even the new Nexus 7 fails beside the Note 8.

    I read a lot of lecture notes and textbooks on a tablet. And while the Nexus 7 screen ia great, the limited storage won't cut it. I need more than 32GB. Plus, the smaller screen means less of a page, or smaller scaling of images. No matter how sharp the screen is, you want some graphs and images slightly bigger. Also since I annotate and highlight a lot of passages, using a finger or capacitive stylus on a Nexus is like using a crayon to write, in other words it sucks. The S pen feels more like a proper writing tool. So in my usage pattern, the Nexus 7 shouldn't even be compared to the Note 8 if I go shopping for new tablet. It's an automatic rule out.

    So despite the Nexus 7 better in some cases, it does not make the Note 8 suck. The Note line is in essence a niche product, and obviously the S Pen will not be a big thing for many people, but there is still a good number of people who would find it very useful. It's a more personal choice which you really can't ask other people about.
    NeoGrandizer likes this.
  16. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    Good for you.

    But I still think they suck, Samsung are charging you more for a tablet with last generation hardware.

    I think people who buy them are suckers, if your writing or talking notes you need a laptop, if your doing presentations you need a laptop.

    Trying to do these things on a tablet with an s-pen is just awkward.

    Also, 32GB can hold allot of books, if a 7" screen is difficult for you to read or see graphics clearly you may need your eyes tested.
  17. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Try reading a page with a print out the size of Times New Roman 5. That's what a textbook looks like on a 7 inch screen. Zooming in involves a LOT of scrolling. Then do that for at least 7hrs a day.

    And you did not read correctly. I am not writing or taking notes. I am annotating on lecture notes already written as pdf files. Basically instead of printing out a ream's worth of paper notes, I keep them electronic. I write on them, highlight passages and scribble additional notes or mnemonics. And that is awkward on a laptop, especially when it's format is in a 2 column legal paper.
  18. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    Sorry but I refuse to believe going from 7" to 8" makes that much difference when reading a textbook. If anything it should be easier to read small text on a 1200p 7" display than an 8" 800p display.

    Also there is pdf software that lets you take notes in windows and lets you highlight sections of text easily enough, do you really think nobody's ever needed to do this before? :D
  19. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    1. It's not the screen size that makes more of a difference, but rather the S Pen. Try using an S Pen to highlight and write and compare it to using a standaed stylus. Difference is huge. Using an S Pen to write and highlight is much more accurate.

    2. The difference is pretty big. It goes from a barely readable font size 5 to a decent readable font size 10. As for ease of reading, yes the sharpness of the smaller Nexus makes up for it, but you still give up the SPen.

    3. Yes there is such software. But ease of use and ergonomics go like Notes>Nexus with crayon like stylus>PC/Windows. Unless we are talking about a WACOM supporting Windows tablet, which makes it on par with the WACOM supporting Notes.

    The Note was initially slated as a niche device which suddenly boomed. As a niche device, the features of Note will understandably not be in favor of everyone, especially those who use their devices mainly for media consumption. Besides, the Note 8 isn't that much more expensive when compared to the competition. At least in my country, a 16GB GSM Note 8 costs approximately $120-150 more than a 32Gb WiFi only Nexus 7. Add ₱30 and you get a 64GB memory card. That $100 difference is worth the SPen and the increased storage and the data/sms/call capability the Note 8 brings in my opinion, at least for my usage. The S Pen is something that you either have no use for or something that would make work wonderfully easier, depending on what you are asking from your tablet.
  20. AngelicCore

    AngelicCore Well-Known Member

    I tried the S-Pen on my friend's 10.1 and I have to say it is not the same as I expected but it's not bad either. Either way it is better than the normal stylus.

    I would like to add the new 10.1 as another choice. (The one coming in about a month)
  21. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    Well were all different, most people don't have any use for it and end up using it for things you don't need it for, in other words their using it for the sake of using it, I see it all the time.

    Often the kids destroy or lose them but nobody cares. :D

    I find it awkward to use, I can type faster with the swype keyboard than I can write with the S-Pen.
  22. Shocky

    Shocky On Probation

    Well were all different chan, most people don't have any use for it and end up using it for things you don't need it for, in other words their using it for the sake of using it, I see it all the time.

    Often the kids destroy or lose them but nobody cares. :D

    I find it awkward to use, I can type faster with the swype keyboard than I can write with the S-Pen.

    Well it's not difficult to improve on the average stylus as they're pretty useless, only useful for people with OCD who don't like fingerprints on their screens.
  23. Slug

    Slug Check six! Moderator

    I think one or two of you need to remember that this isn't your thread - the OP explicitly mentioned liking the S-Pen.

    So how about you all address her concerns instead of pushing your own preferences, m'kay? ;)
    NeoGrandizer and jhawkkw like this.
  24. brownchm

    brownchm Well-Known Member

    I would get the Note 3 or Note 8 because you can root and install GMD Spen Control which will allow you to create your own spen gestures which takes the spen from a slightly helpful tool to a very functional and super multitasking tool.
  25. NeoGrandizer

    NeoGrandizer Well-Known Member


    I have the Note 10.1 (Wi-Fi only version) and can say it's a great device. Unfortunately, the size and weight could be a factoring deterrent based upon what you feel comfortable with. If on a table and not holding onto it, it's fine and great for taking notes. But carry it for a bit and you can really feel its weight. It does get tiring to carry around.

    The Note 10.1 does differ from the Note 8 by a slight margin. It has cascading multi-window support (ie. can open 5 simultaneous windows all at once and can be resized). The Note 8 only has split (ie. 2 screen) multi-screen. I believe the Note 8's screen real estate is preventing it from getting the cascading view (not very practical for the smaller screen).

    The Note 10.1 S Pen also has interchangeable nibs so you can customize the feel of the Pen. I prefer its flex nib with its rubber core as it gives a better and more accurate feel of pen on paper with its friction on surface. The Note 8 S Pen unfortunately does not allow this. But this is a personal preference and will vary with individuals.

    But you can get the S Pen with eraser for the Note 10.1 or Wacom's Bamboo Stylus Feel for the Galaxy Notes. They both come with interchangeable nibs. They are probably more comfortable to use as they give a more natural feel of using a pen. But again, this is personal preference.

    This is strictly me, but I find the OEM S Pens uncomfortable to yield over a period of time. Also, you cannot replace the S Pen nibs on the Note 2/8 and original Note (which I find ridiculous). Which is why I currently use the S Pen with eraser.

    If you plan on taking notes for a few hours, then I would strongly suggest the Note 8 or Note 10.1. They are much more better suited to that task alone. The Note 3 would be too small and act more like a memo note pad. Not great for taking notes for a long stretch of time. I've tried taking notes with the Note 2 for a 4-5 hour session and it's not a good experience (also battery wouldn't last that long). The Note 10.1 was much more better equipped for this.

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