After several years of the 9.7-inch iPad dominating tablet sales, we’ve seen a shift. Customers are gravitating more toward smaller (and cheaper) 7 to 8-inch slates. Two of today’s top choices in that bracket are the Google/Asus Nexus 7 and Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8.0. Read on, as we compare the specs – and other features – of these two mini tablets.


The Galaxy Note 8.0 has a larger surface, but is significantly thinner than the Nexus 7.


The two tablets weigh roughly the same, with the Nexus 7 tipping the scale just a hair more than the Note 8.


Samsung’s display sits in the 8-inch range that many iPad mini customers enjoy. If you can sacrifice that (diagonal) inch of real estate, the Nexus 7’s screen should appear sharper.


Both tablets sport quad core processors. The Note’s offers better performance, but for everyday use, both will more than suffice.


The Galaxy Note 8.0 doubles the Nexus 7’s 1 GB of random-access memory (RAM).


The storage edge goes to Samsung’s tablet. It offers larger internal flash memory options, as well as SD card support. The Nexus 7 doesn’t have a microSD slot.


If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi only device, both deliver. As far as (more expensive) mobile data options go, the Note has LTE and the Nexus 7 settles for HSPA+.


Megapixels aren’t everything, but Samsung clearly wins this round. The Nexus 7 has no rear camera.


You’ll always want to take battery capacity with grains of salt, as many other factors combine to determine actual uptime. With that said, the Note 8.0’s battery holds a bit more juice.


After several years where its Galaxy Tabs met lackluster sales, Samsung has found more success with its Galaxy Note line of tablets and "phablets." Its marketing angle centers around the Note's stylus input, and the creativity and fine-tuned-input that it (supposedly) allows.

The Galaxy Note 8.0’s stylus (S Pen) sees some upgrades, with greater integration into the Note’s Touchwiz software. Unsheathe the stylus, and the Note will prepare for pen input. Hover the S Pen over the screen, and select apps will respond accordingly (like previewing a post in Flipboard).

The Nexus 7’s X-factor is its price. We don’t yet know how much the Galaxy Note 8.0 will cost, but it won’t likely meet the Nexus 7’s affordable US$200 starting price. Expect something more in the range of the iPad mini’s $330 for the Note.

The Galaxy Note 8 runs Android 4.1.2 Jellybean (with Samsung’s Touchwiz UI sitting on top). The Nexus 7, meanwhile, not only ships with the newest version of Android (4.2.2, Jellybean). It will also get future updates much quicker than Samsung’s tablet will. The Nexus 7 also sports “pure” (unskinned) Android, which many customers prefer over manufacturer UIs.


Many of these comparisons reveal either two very similar devices, or one clear winner for most shoppers. Here, though, we have two divergent paths:

The Nexus 7 offers a sharper display, a more compact build, and pure Android. Its rock-bottom price doesn’t hurt either.

The Galaxy Note 8.0, though, delivers a larger screen, a thinner form factor, and a faster chip. Some customers may also find its stylus to be a perk.

Which is for you? While you mull over it, perhaps you’ll want to see how the Galaxy Note 8.0 compares to the iPad mini.