This is Excellent for the price. I've owned one for close to a year, and its the perfect balance between a 5" and 10". Most people won't be happy with the resolution of the screen, but I think its just fine especially for taking notes. Speed is fine for browsing and writing, although at times it can have trouble with intense games.
I've owned the new Note 10.1 2014 version, and the Note 2, and I actually enjoy the Note 8.0 much better (to each their own) than either of them. Yes the 10.1 2014 version has a nicer screen and higher specs, but if you're using this tablet for Note taking or drawing, higher everything also meant draining the battery quickly. I just shut off the Wi-fi, turn down the screen to 35-50%, and I'm set for hours in school. Also, although the new S-note has nice new shiny excellent features, there is obvious lag in the pen, and you can't use detailed erasing when drawing like the note 8.0. In erase mode, once you touch the current piece you have written, the eraser will remove EVERYTHING. There are no settings to remove this. The Note 8.0 uses very detailed erasing, and writing is very smooth.
For those that are wondering if the Note 8.0 is good for taking notes at school, I'd say yes. I've used it through 3 hour classes no problem, and its easy to write and erase things during class. Once I hit 60-70%, I attach a portable battery to it and juice it back to 100%. Place the tablet in landscape, and its easy to write. Pinch to zoom for detailed writing and you can pan around the screen using the same two fingers while dragging them along to the spots you'd like to view (at times it feels like an old type writer when pulling the page back to the beginning of the next line). Its great for kids to practice their ABC's, just be sure to properly protect it and keep an eye on the S-pen.
S-note is decent, but I prefer using the app Lecture Notes. It costs $5, but well worth the cost if you like to customize your note taking and download PDF's to write over. I sometimes download Coloring Book PDF's for my niece to draw on and save myself from buying books and crayons. Its also great when a professor emails PDF's for class because you can highlight important information. I'd sometimes "white out" terms, study the content, then remove the "white out" portions to check if I was correct on the term. Its and excellent tool.
In the end, its all about personal preference. I like the balance of an 8" tablet, vs bigger or smaller versions. I think I spent too much money at the time I purchased this gadget, but if the tablet is in the $200 range, I'd say its worth every penny. Spend time with it, and you'll be very happy with this device.