Apple’s new iPad is currently the bestselling tablet on the market, having already sold more units than its two predecessors in the same amount of time, which is definitely very good. While the hardware specs of the new iPad are impressive, its Android competitors aren’t slacking, and even though none of them has come close to the 2048×1536 pixels Retina Display (except maybe the 1920×1200 Asus Infinity Pad), they are outcompeting the tablet in other areas.
One of Samsung’s latest tablets – the Galaxy Note 10.1 – for example, gives its users the ability to use a stylus, complete with extreme accuracy, fast response and pressure sensitivity thanks to the Wacom digitizer. The 10 inch Galaxy Note is close to the new iPad when it comes to the price and other hardware features, as well, and is a prime choice for anyone looking for a new tablet, which is why it’s interesting to see how it stacks up against Apple’s product.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 looks quite nice with its sleek and slim profile and rounded back and edges, but its plastic construction doesn’t have the same premium feel that the iPad’s aluminum housing has. It’s definitely sturdy and will hold up to any use, but the iPad just feels better in your hand. It’s like comparing a plastic laptop palm rest to the aluminum MacBook Pro – it doesn’t make a difference in functionality, but it certainly feels better.
Performance and hardware features
The performance of the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the new iPad is comparable, although the former should be faster at running general purpose apps, while the latter is better in games. The reason is that the Note has a dual core Exynos processor running at 1.4 GHz, which is faster than the 1 GHz dual core A5X inside the iPad. The iPad however, has a quad core graphics adapter, which is faster than the single core Mali-400 inside the Galaxy Note. Both tablets have the same amount of RAM – 1024 MB.
The other hardware features are comparable, but there are some differences. The iPad has a better main camera – a 5 Megapixels unit with support for 1080p video recording, support for 4G LTE, HDMI out and a better display (although the 1280×800 S-PLS unit in the Samsung is not bad, either). The Galaxy Note 10.1 has the Wacom digitizer and a micro SD card slot that can be used to expand the memory by up to 32 or even 64 GB more (pretty useful if you store a lot of files or notes on your tablet).
While iOS 5.1 on the iPad is a great operating system and has all the apps and features you may need, the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich just looks better and has a more customizable interface. It does have a steeper learning curve, but it’s worth it in the end, plus most of the apps that are available for iOS are also on the Google Play market, and there are plenty of unique apps for Android that you won’t find for the iPad. Samsung’s Touch Wiz UI also brings several unique features to the OS, including an updated interface, better social features and gestures.
Price and Availability
The new iPad is already on sale, as you may know, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 still has to be released. The pricing for both tablets will be similar, but the iPad will definitely have a higher resale value for when the next generation iPad comes out. If you need to buy a tablet right now, the iPad is obviously the only choice between these two, but if you can wait a bit, the Galaxy Note will make a great option, especially if you intend to use it for work, take a lot of notes or sketching and drawing on the go.