That seven inch tablet space is really heating up. While Asus tries a couple of choices for hand-size slates, Samsung isn’t agreeing that seven is the perfect size, moving one inch up to the number eight.

An evolution of the first tablet Samsung launched, the latest entry appears to be a merging of worlds.

For sum, the Galaxy Note 8.0 could be the very thing to take away the traditional writing and drawing instruments of paper and pen from your person, replacing them with screen and stylus, and supporting handwriting and various degrees of shape recognition.

It has the looks of the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Galaxy S3, with Samsung continuing that soft curved white look, which is appearing in more devices put out by the company.

And then it’s a tablet that, from what we’ve seen this week, could even be used as a smartphone. A very big smartphone.

“The Galaxy Note 8.0 breaths fresh life into the category as it delivers the perfect fusion of portability and everyday productivity,” said Samsung’s President of IT and Mobile Communications, JK Shin. “The result is a pioneering, pocket-sized solution that enhances and enriches our everyday lives, whether at work or play.”

Sizes compared: on the left, it's the Galaxy S3, while the right has the Galaxy Note 8.0

Under the hood, it’s a very similar device to another Note launched recently by the company, the 5.5 inch Galaxy Note 2 smartphone, with the same Samsung-built Exynos quad-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz, same graphics chip, 2GB RAM for a smoother operating system experience, and Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean.”

The screen is obviously different, with the 8 inch display here offering 1280×800, slightly higher than the Galaxy Note 2 because of a slightly larger aspect ratio.

In the hands, the tablet is fairly light, and seems to make for a device that you’ll have no problems carrying. Like the Galaxy S3, the backing material is plastic, and might be seen as a little slippery, but we had no problems keeping it between our digits.

We also noticed an infrared port on the Galaxy Note 8.0, which could make it useful to anyone looking to trade in their old universal remote.

Included in the software was a remote control app that looked programmable, which could essentially let you use the Note 8.0 tablet for changing channels on the telly when you need to.

And like the Note 2 – and a lot of other smartphones, for that matter – you might be able to make phone calls on this.

In our brief hands on this week, we found that not only was the phone functionality left in (normally removed on tablets, though was on the original 7 inch Galaxy Tab), but there appeared to be a microphone at the bottom in the same position it would be on the Galaxy S3.

It’s not yet known if Samsung will release a voice and SMS capable Galaxy Note 8.0 in Australia, but there are people out there obviously wanting a big-big phone, and given the pedigree the Galaxy range already has going for it, this could be the phone/tablet for them when it launches near the middle of this year.

We promise not to judge when you’re holding an eight inch slate to your ear.

 

Leigh D. Stark travelled to Samsung Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia as a guest of Samsung Australia