WITH its super-smooth screen operation, ample eight-inch (20cm) display, and functional stylus pen, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is a respectful rival to the iPad mini and Google's Nexus tablets.

Samsung promotes the device as the ultimate work/life combination with plenty of options for both productivity and entertainment. The size is one of the key advantages. Anyone who tries to do too much work on a phone will soon realise that its format can be limiting.

Yet many people don't want to carry a 25cm tablet around with them.

The 20cm format is a good compromise with the extra screen size well appreciated when internet browsing, working on a document or even playing games.

One of the big selling points of Note 8 is its S Pen which allows you to jot down meeting notes, create your own art, personalise your emails - or just kill time in a boring meeting doodling.

There is an endless variety of pen sizes, colours and styles to choose from.

The only downside might be trying to wrestle the device back off your kids once they discover what it can do.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 also allows you to multitask by having two applications in different windows open at the same time.

There are plenty of productivity tools included, allowing you to edit Word documents, create powerpoint presentations and even build spreadsheets.

Samsung has also included Enterprise solutions to keep company data secure for those using it for business.

The package comes with access to up to 50 gigabytes of Dropbox for the first two years. After battling some connectivity issues with my iMac, the option proved invaluable in transferring some personal videos.

The five megapixel camera took decent photos of the kids and the dog though struggled somewhat in harsher lighter settings. The HD video was more than adequate, as was the sound recording. The Note 8.0 also features a 1.3 megapixel front camera.

The Samsung is powered by a quad core 1.6GHz processor, which is almost as fast as the new Nexus 7. Both devices features 2 gigabytes of RAM, while the Samsung also includes a microSD slot for extra storage.

One of the cool features is being able to use the device as a remote for your TV.

Instead of spending the night channel surfing, you can check out when your favourite shows are on with WatchOn.

You can also start a movie or TV show on your Note 8.0 and finish watching it on the big screen. There are also thousands of apps, games, and e-books in the Google Play area.

With its stylus pen, the Note 8.0 would particularly suit those into journaling with templates for travelling the world, better managing your life and recording life's great moments.

Priced about $400, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is slightly dearer than the iPad mini, and far more expensive than the new Nexus 7 model, but with its stylus pen, extra functionality, and built-in apps, it is a well-rounded device.

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