Samsung Galaxy Tab vs iPad: tablet showdown

Which is better tablet -- Samsung's Galaxy Tab or Apple's iPad?

Samsung's Galaxy Tab is set to challenge the Apple iPad.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab is set to challenge the Apple iPad.

Samsung has finally released its Galaxy Tab Android tablet, which is set to go head to head with the Apple iPad.

Read our comprehensive Samsung Galaxy Tab review.

More about the Samsung Galaxy Tab price in Australia.

Similar to the Dell Streak — they both have smartphone capabilities — the Samsung Galaxy Tab's form factor is a big talking point. With a 7in display, it's smaller than Apple's iPad and therefore easier to carry around. This means it's a hybrid device that sits somewhere between a largish touchscreen phone like Samsung's own Galaxy S, and the iPad.

Naturally, comparisons to the iPad are inevitable — the Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of the first of many tablet devices that will be released this year, aiming to steal sales from Apple. While it has a smaller footprint than the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab will be used in a similar manner: as a media consumption device that's ideal for browsing the Web, viewing multimedia and reading books, newspapers and magazines. Much like the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is not a meant to be a complete netbook or notebook replacement, nor is it a smartphone — even if you can make phone calls with it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Like the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab will be used in mainly as a media consumption device

With this in mind, how does the Samsung Galaxy Tab stack up against the Apple iPad?

Feature Apple iPad Samsung Galaxy Tab
Operating system (OS) Apple iOS 3.2 (upgradeable to iOS 4.2) Google Android 2.2 "Froyo"
Display technology Capacitive LED-backlit IPS Capacitive TFT
Display size 9.7in 7in
Display resolution 1024x768 pixels 1024x600 pixels
Multitouch Yes Yes
Camera None Rear: 3.2-megapixels, LED flash, autofocus, geotagging, face and smile detection. Front: 1.3-megapixels
FM radio No No
GPS Yes (Wi-Fi + 3G models) Yes
Internal memory 16GB, 32GB or 64GB 16GB
Expandable memory No microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
Dimensions 242.8 x 189.7 x13.4mm 190.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm
Weight 730g (Wi-Fi + 3G models) 380g
Application store Apple App Store Google Android Market
Processor Apple A4 Samsung Cortex A8 (1GHz)
3G networks HSDPA 850/1900/2100 HSDPA 900/2100
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP 3.0 with A2DP
Quoted talk time N/A Up to 1000min
Quoted standby time Up to one month Up to 1500 hours
Adobe Flash support No Yes

We were lucky enough to spend some time with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and came away quite impressed. Firstly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab offers greater customisation options than the iPad — whether it's changing themes, backgrounds or the interface's entire look and feel, Google Android is definitely far more flexible and open than the iOS platform used by the iPad. Of course you can jailbreak the iPad, just like the iPhone, but this will void your warranty.

The iPad's display uses IPS technology, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab boasts a standard capacitive TFT touchscreen. It's a shame the Galaxy Tab doesn't get a Super AMOLED display like Samsung's Galaxy S smartphone — Samsung says it opted for a regular TFT screen to keep the cost down, due to a shortage of AMOLED displays. Despite this, the Galaxy Tab's display is crisp, bright and clear and makes for a pleasant Web browsing experience. Browsing may be initially more appealing on the larger-screened iPad, but the trade off is that the Galaxy Tab is far more pocketable and easier to carry around. In particular, we found it was very comfortable to hold with a single hand, and also slips easily into a suit jacket pocket. If portability is a key concern, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is definitely impressive.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is easier to carry around than the iPad. We found it very comfortable to hold with a single hand

The Apple iPad is an excellent multimedia device, aside from the lack of Flash and built-in camera. Videos look superb on the large screen, while Web pages render superbly. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is far more flexible, however; you can transfer files by dragging and dropping them from your PC and you don't need to run iTunes. There are a number of third-party media player applications designed for the Android platform to boost the tablet's music and video playback capabilities, and Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Tab with not one, but two cameras. The front facing 1.3-megapixel camera can be used to make video calls, while the rear 3.2-megapixel camera with single LED flash takes still photos and records video. The Galaxy Tab also boasts DivX and Xvid support.

Despite being marketed purely as a tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is also capable of making phone calls. Calls can be made using a wired headset, a wireless Bluetooth headset, or using Galaxy Tab's built in speakerphone. The front facing camera is a handy inclusion here, as it allows video calling and can also handle conference calls. A range of accessories will be sold for the Galaxy Tab, including a convenient stand that allows the tablet to sit upright on a desk or table.

We were also impressed with Samsung's content "hubs," particularly the Readers Hub. Designed specifically for the Galaxy Tab, this application groups newspapers, books and magazines into a single portal. Our demo unit had the latest Australian newspapers installed in PDF format, and Samsung stated that a free seven-day subscription trial will be available once it launches. Samsung has partnered with Kobo, PressDisplay and Zinio to deliver this content, and will have more than 2 million books and more than 2500 magazines in 20 languages and 1600 newspapers in 47 languages available at launch.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

The Samsung Readers Hub, designed specifically for the Galaxy Tab, is an app that groups newspapers, books and magazines into a single portal.

One issue that Samsung has to contend with is app compatibility, a problem not encountered by Apple due to iPad apps designed to a single set of standards. The larger screen and therefore higher resolution of the Galaxy Tab means that some applications in the Android Market won't use the full extent of the Galaxy Tab's screen real estate.

Samsung claims that at least 85 per cent of applications on the Android Market will work correctly with the Galaxy Tab, and is currently in discussions with Google over future-proofing this issue.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab will be available for purchase in Australia from 8 November. It will be sold outright ($999) as well as through all major Australian mobile carriers including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad? Tell us in the comments below! Also, check out Samsung's advertising campaign for the Galaxy Tab below:

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Tags Google AndroidVodafoneandroid marketvhaoptusSamsung Galaxy TabTelstraiPadsamsungAppleTabletapple ipad

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide

11 Comments

Rakeesh Gray

1

Love the idea and the small size , great specs as far as annouced. Can't wait to get my hands on 1 should give apple a run for there money . About time someone steped up to the challenge .

Barry

2

I hope when it syncs with Outlook I will be able to sync Notes which I cannot do with my HTC Legend Phone but can do with My Ipad. Can anybody advise me if it can Sync Notes?

EC

3

love the size; love the capability of running realplayer. I may end up having an iPhone and a Galaxy Tab to experience both Android and iOS worlds.

Cindy P.

4

The article does not compare battery life & use with a stylus. Can the author give us an update? Also, can you get 3G for the Galaxy or are you better off getting a separate wi-fi 3G hub? Thanks.

Ross Catanzariti

Staff

5

Hi Cindy,

Like the iPad, the Galaxy Tab has a capacitive touchscreen, so it can't be used with a stylus -- it has been designed specifically for finger use.

3G connectivity is included, so no need for a separate 3G hub.

As for battery life - we can't comprehensively test this until we get the product in for review. We are hoping this will be within the next two weeks.

Thanks.

Max

6

Samsung Galaxy Tab hands down, has the better hardware specs and more memory, but since google said froyo is not tab optimized, I rather wait with getting a tablet running android until the next generations android are out which will be tablet optimized.
I like the smaller form factor better too, this also makes it more useful as an in car entertainment option, where the iPad is just a but to large to fit nicely into my car without covering too much windshield real estate. Also as already mentioned it fits in a suit jacket. I left iOS this year for a Nexus One and I prefer the android platform for the day to day usability. The downfall is that the android is less of an entertainment tool than the iPhone, but it's definitely more of a useful tool.

ipad > galaxy tab

7

IMO the ipad and apple will continue to dominate most mobile brands etc

because since my friend josh kelly seems to beleive that the galaxy is better but its not.

the ipad has much better apps and battery life the ram may only be 256mb but is still capable of much more what are your opinions on what i have said??

Jim

8

The form factor is definitely a win for me and most people who commute on crowded trains/buses. If Android gets 'tablet optimised' fast, then Apple will start falling behind in the middle market between the iPhone and the iPad.

I'm not sure people will ever use a 7" device as their only phone (though using one exactly as an iPhone would make for a decent comedy skit). Hrmmm...an Apple iPhone 4 "Jumbo" with a 7" screen could steal their thunder...but with at least a year before such a device appears (if ever) Samsung and the hoard of replicants have some time to soak up the dollars.

The only thing a bit confusing to me, is that the Telstra 3G network runs on 850...but I didn't notice 850 as a supported band in the tech specs.

Geeza

9

Just seen it on the Telstra website so i'm assuming it all good to go on the 3G network, hopefully...

tina

10

got ours yesterday... wow.. what fun!!! Have never been someone who has tohave the gadgets... my husband was very reluctant to buy an ipad.. but he wanted one... and then this came along.... He is very happy with his new toy!!

Nicholas stephen

11

Wonderful and just the right size better then Ipad. I used it for travelling and its not fussy. Bravo!

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