Samsung bets big on digital ink: $399 Galaxy Note 8.0 hits US on April 11

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 arrives in the U.S. later this week the company announced on Tuesday. Starting April 11, the 8-inch Android(s goog) tablet with digital ink support arrives on retail shelves and on the web for ordering at $399.99. Amazon(s amzn), Best Buy(s bbuy) & Best Buy Mobile, h.h. gregg, Newegg, P.C. Richard & Son, Staples and are Samsung’s retail partners for the new slate.

Most of the hardware specifications and pictures line up with what we saw back in January:

  • 8-inch LCD with 1280 x 800 resolution
  • 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera
  • 2 GB of memory, 16 GB of storage (up to 64 GB microSD expansion supported)
  • Android 4.1.2 with Samsung TouchWiz
  • A 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • S-Pen and supporting software

The 8-inch tablet is basically a super-sized version of the Galaxy Note 2 smartphone, owing largely to its digitizer support for the S-Pen and similar features. Like the Note 2, the new Note 8.0 supports hovering with the pen for drill-down information in many apps and the ability to run two applications on the screen at one time. I love this feature on my Note 2, but I can see even more value on the larger display of Samsung’s new tablet. Of course, the Note 2 works with cellular voice calls; the same can’t be said of the Note 8.0.

Browser and Twitter on Galaxy Note 2

Surely the $399 Galaxy Note 8.0 will be compared heavily to Apple’s $329 iPad mini. I’ve already seen comments and reviews that the Note 8.0 is too expensive by comparison. Even without getting my hands on Samsung’s new slate, however, I find that to be a short-sighted viewpoint.

Yes, the tablet is $70 more. For that premium, you’re getting a slightly higher pixel density, digital pen support, ability to upgrade the memory with a microSD card. Are those features worth the $70? That’s up to you and how you use your mobile devices, of course.