I got a new gadget for Christmas. I'd wanted a mini-tablet for a while and I read a lot of the reviews about the 7 inch and 8 inch tablets available. Invariably the iPad Mini always comes out on top, but I'm afraid I just don't buy into the whole Apple thing, and I've been an Android user for the past couple of years. Most of the reviews of Android tablets rated the new Nexus 7 as the best on the market and there's no doubt that it's a lovely piece of kit. However, I'd read a few very positive reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and I was attracted to the potential additional functionality offered by its in-built stylus - the S-Pen. All the reviews acknowledged that the Note was an excellent tablet but indicated that it wasn't worth paying around a £100 more than the Nexus just to get the S-Pen.
I wasn't convinced. When I held the two tablets in a store, the Note just felt nicer in the hand than the Nexus. And I was really taken with the idea of the stylus. Then, just before Christmas I saw the Note on offer at PC World for the same price as the Nexus and I didn't hesitate.
I've been using it for about three weeks now, and the verdict is – I absolutely love it. It’s a lovely size, I think the screen is great and it is just so useful. And as for the stylus – I think it’s brilliant. It can be used in place of the virtual keyboard for any application that requires text input – whether it is word processing, emailing, note taking or web browsing. You simply write on the note pad at the bottom of the screen and it recognises the text. The example below shows me using it with the Evernote note-taking app.
It's particularly useful with an app like Evernote, because once the text has been input you can then access that note from any device. I've already used it to make notes at meetings and to jot down thoughts and ideas, and it just works.
The next thing I want to experiment with is marking up PDF documents. I think this might have real potential for assessing students' coursework which has been electronically submitted. I also want to try out an app called Lecture Notes which enables you save handwritten notes.
The only problem I've had with the Note is the stick I've been getting from the family because the thing is rarely out of my hand.