Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 vs. Apple new iPad: Tablet head-to-head

Which is the better tablet? Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 or the new Apple iPad?

We've accused most Android tablet makers of simply following the leader, but Samsung deserves plenty of credit for the idea behind its latest tablet, the Galaxy Note 10.1. The included, Wacom-designed S-Pen stylus gives it an advantage over most other tablets on the market.

Despite Apple's new iPad being the undisputed king of tablets, can the Galaxy Note 10.1 and its S-Pen offer a valid alternative? Let's find out.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Android tablet (preview)

Apple new iPad

Apple new iPad


Operating system
Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Apple iOS
Screen size
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Display resolution
Apple new iPad
Display technology
LED backlit IPS
Pixel density
Apple new iPad
Front camera
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Rear camera
5 megapixels w/single-LED flash
5 megapixels, no flash
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Camera features
Autofocus, geotagging, touch focus
Autofocus, geotagging, face detection, video stabilisation
Video recording
1080p HD @ 30fps (720p HD front camera)
1080p HD @ 30fps (VGA front camera)
Internal memory
Expandable memory
Yes, microSD
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core (1.4GHz)
Apple A5X dual-core (1GHz)
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Australian 3G networks
HSDPA 850/900/2100
HSDPA 850/900/2100
Australian 4G networks
4.0 with A2DP
4.0 with A2DP
No (Yes, with MHL adapter)
No (Yes, with optional digital AV adapter)
USB port
Quoted battery life
Up to 10h
Flash support
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

New iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1: Display

Undoubtedly the key feature of the new iPad is its "retina" display. The resolution of 2048x1536 is double that of the original iPad and significantly higher than most Android tablets. This higher resolution gives it a pixel per inch (ppi) rating of 263ppi.

The "retina" screen is by far and away the best display on any mobile device we've come across. Text is crisp and clear with no visible aberrations, even when zoomed right in. Photos and videos look bright and vivid but not oversaturated like many other mobile displays. The iPad's screen is so sharp that it constantly highlights the low quality of many images on the Internet.

The new iPad's
The new iPad's "retina" display is one of the best on a mobile device.

By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has a 10.1in PLS TFT screen with a rather standard resolution of 1280x800. We are yet to get our hands on the Galaxy Note 10.1 to make a definitive judgment, but the screen only has a pixels per inch rating of 149ppi, significantly less than the new iPad. This means it won't be able to display the same super crisp text as higher resolution screens.

Ultimately, we can't help but feel Samsung has missed a chance to fit a higher definition screen on the Galaxy Note 10.1. In addition to the iPad, the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity and the upcoming Acer Iconia Tab A700 are two other examples of tablets that have much higher resolution screens than the Note, immediately making them more appealing.

New iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1: Design

The new iPad features a near identical design to the iPad 2. A single-button front fascia, a brushed metal rear and a flat back are all highlights. The edges of the iPad curve as they meet the front edge of the device. The new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. Wi-Fi models are 51g heavier, and the Wi-Fi + 4G models are 49g heavier.

If you consider the iPad design a little stale, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 may appeal to you. The Galaxy Note 10.1 measures just 8.9mm thick (thinner than the iPad) and the largely plastic construction means it weighs in at just 600g for the 3G model. This makes it lighter than both variants of the iPad.

Despite the lighter weight, Samsung has still found room for a microSD card slot and a cavity to store the S-Pen when you're not using it. The Galaxy Note 10.1 comes in black and white colour variants, but it's not yet known which models will be sold in Australia.

The largely plastic construction means the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 weighs in at just 600g, less than the new iPad.
The largely plastic construction means the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 weighs in at just 600g, less than the new iPad.

New iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1: Software

The Galaxy Note 10.1 runs Google's Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android (4.0) out of the box with Samsung's now familiar TouchWIZ UI overlay on top. Expect the Galaxy Note 10.1 to get an upgrade to the latest 4.1 Jelly Bean software later this year, though Samsung hasn't locked down a specific time frame for this just yet.

Thankfully, Samsung appears to have spent quite some time developing the software for the Galaxy Note 10.1. It hasn't just slapped the S-Pen onto the Galaxy Note 10.1 and left it at that, either. The device comes with a range of software specifically designed to work with the S-Pen including Samsung's own S-Memo, S-Note and S-Planner apps. Preloaded Adobe Photoshop Touch and Adobe Ideas apps are both compatible with the S-Pen, while a range of third-party apps are present too, including Touch Retouch, Makeup, Zen Brush, Omni Sketch and Hello Crayon.

Samsung has also built palm rejection support into the Galaxy Note 10.1, which aims to cure the problem of accidentally hitting the screen when you're drawing with the S-Pen. There's also the ability to run two apps side by side on the screen, though only a handful of apps will be compatible with this feature.

Apple's iOS software, on the other hand, is easy to use, simple and effective. The iPad has more apps than any other software platform, but more importantly, it has a large range of excellent, quality apps built specifically for a tablet device. The user experience is generally positive, despite some annoying limitations. The new iPad is an efficient tablet that shows no signs of lag or slowdown during most tasks.

The iPad has a large range of excellent, quality apps built specifically for a tablet device in the App Store.
The iPad has a large range of excellent, quality apps built specifically for a tablet device in the App Store.

New iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1: Cameras

The new iPad has a significantly upgraded rear camera to the one on the iPad 2, which was a dreadful 0.7-megapixels. The new iPad's camera features some of the same technology used in the iPhone 4S, but in a 5-megapixel lens with backside-illuminated sensor. It also doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder. Images aren't as sharp or clear as the excellent camera on the iPhone 4S, but they are certainly good enough for small prints. The front-facing camera on the new iPad is a disappointing VGA snapper.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 also has a 5-megapixel rear camera but adds a single LED flash to aid low light photos. More significant than the rear camera, however, is a 1.9-megapixel front facing camera for video calls. In our opinion, a front facing camera is far more important on a tablet than the rear one, simply due to the fact that it will be used for video call apps like Skype. The Galaxy Note 10.1's front camera is likely to offer significantly improved video quality when compared to the iPad's VGA camera.

New iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1: Internals, other features

The key feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is obviously the S-Pen stylus. It was a genuinely impressive feature on the Galaxy Note and is unlikely to be anything different on this tablet. It includes features like pressure sensitivity, the ability to act as a pointing device complete with an on-screen cursor, and even has a white tip on the top that acts as a handy on-screen eraser.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has the ability to run two apps side by side on the screen, though only a handful of apps are compatible.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has the ability to run two apps side by side on the screen, though only a handful of apps are compatible.

S-Pen aside, the Galaxy Note 10.1 also has reasonable specifications. The highlight is an impressive 2GB of RAM, more than most other Android tablets. Samsung's own Exynos quad-core 1.4GHz processor and up to 64GB of internal memory are other key features. Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with a microSD card slot for extra storage. If you purchase a 64GB microSD card, the Galaxy Note 10.1 can theoretically support up to 128GB of memory on the largest 64GB model. Samsung will also offer 16GB and 32GB models.

Apple rarely focuses on the technical specifications of its products, but the new iPad is an impressive piece of hardware in its own right. It's powered by a dual-core A5X processor but has a quad-core graphics processor. The main beneficiary here is gaming and the graphics it is capable of are very impressive. The iPad has 1GB of RAM and comes with either 16, 32, or 64GB of internal memory but there is no memory card slot for extra storage.

How do you think the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 stacks up against the new iPad? Let us know in the comments below!

Related content

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 preview
Apple new iPad review
The new iPad ultimate buying guide
Best iPad alternatives
Best upcoming tablets in 2012

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World


Jin Chee


I'm getting it once it comes here. Flexibility due to Android, easy on the eyes due to Samsung.

Sam H


I like how this comparison puts the stylus into perspective. Unlike other comparison charts that completely forget the stylus and compare upon personal experience. I would have to say, that the samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 definatly seems to be the better choice. If only Samsung had also upgraded the screen display, even a little.. D:
Even with standard screen reso, this tablet seems almost too good to be true.



I been waiting for a tablet like this for awhile
I dont care about the ppi or screen resolution. the average person wont even notice a difference or even care as long as they have a good display.. Its all about features and whats under the hood.
And the galaxy note 10.1 slams the new ipad when it comes to that.
Anyone who tells u that the new ipad is better than the galaxy note 10.1
are really eating apples for breakfast lunch and dinner. Simply crazy



This shouldnt evn be up for debate i have an iPhone and even im impressed. the fanboys who say ipad is better r simply delusional on august 15 this is mine:-)



I think the iPad display resolution is over-rated... Typical screens are <100dpi so at about 150dpi the Note 10.1 is pretty good... and all those extra pixels eat processor/GPU power. Android and the S-Pen make the Note a winner in my view.



Kinda worried that it would be sold out here in Malaysia even before I get my hands on it. The queue for devices like this can be insane.



Apple's pad has no opportunity of memory expanding and with only 16G on-board it's a money put in ass.. ITS



When I get this Note 10.1, I'm going to download torrent movies and use it as a backup phone to make/receive GSM calls.

I think the Ipad can't do the above. Absolutely horrible.



I will be buying the note 10.1 when it comes out. I've been eagerly anticipating it for ages. I have the tab 10.1 and, you know what, the screen on that is just fine. My father in law has an original ipad and I prefer my tab. I don't know why everybody keeps saying that the new ipad is the best because of the display. I'm more interested in overall performance and whether it can do what I want it to do. I don't play computer games and I don't watch movies on it other than the odd YouTube clip. I use mine for business purposes.



I am really amazed at what samsung is currently producing. Wow "Amazing device". Thanks guys, for the wonderful analysis done above. The truth is, the Galaxy note 10.1, is the way forward. I am heading for it on Monday, not because it new, but because I see it to be the revolution of simplicity, flexibility, and scalability. The new Ipad is very cool though but tell me how light-weight, and entertaining do you wish from the Galaxy Note 10.1 again?. If you don't love this product then, you are not a happy person. Good on Samsung and it fans. In fact, Samsung should have named this device the "NoteYou". Meaning it meant for us all.




Samsung - alright

new iPad - exe lent.

Winner - iPad

Simon Currey


As a Galaxy Note and iPad user. The stylus, plus choice of keyboards make the Note a far superior input device. For consumption the iPad screen makes it a better consumption device. My personal opinion is the screen resolution is less important than productivity and creativity.



I thought the ipad 3 has a quad core processor not a dual core. Either way, i want the galaxy note so badly.



Great review. For all those crying about battery life. Just how long do you sit there using your tablet? More than 5 or 6 hours straight? Then get a life, really. This thing goes at least 7 hours. I see the people who take tablets into toilet stalls are out in force, LOL.

The stylus is in addition to touch. That means added benefit. I read on another review where some Apple fan wrote about using a cheapo stylus with the iPad. Yes, and whatever you write looks cheap too. Like the TV add where someone signs their name as "Max" I bet Apple fans gobbled that up. Now try a name like Richard, William, or anything with more than 3 letters. I guess all the Apple fans will use the shortened version and just sign as Dick or Bill.right?

The $40 price for the stylus? Nothing. There will be after market styluses out for this tablet and demand will insure they range from inexpensive to out of the world in price.

The display resolution? Uh, the human eye can't detect the resolution of the Retina display so what is that all about? Marketing. Maybe some people watch all their movies on a tablet, probably the same that spend 16 hours a day staring at iPads. Having a retina display is like having a diesel fuel tank in a gasoline powered car. You can't use it. But yeah, you can brag about it and pay through the nose for it.

There will always be better offerings in the future, that is why it is called the future. You can always wait for something better or in the case of Apple, a new connector because the one yo have now isn't good enough anymore even though it was marketed as being the only way to really connect to anything. Now go buy a dongle or get all new accessories.

The tablet as described is meant for those that can benefit from running side by side applications and using a stylus. As more tablets with styluses come out again (yes, we know, Windows Tablets have had them for a long time) developers will use the opportunity to design more software around them.

Is the tablet innovative? For non Windows devices, yes. Apple has nothing like it and neither do the other makers of Android tablets. Comparing Windows Tablets to this one is really useless, they are designed for different markets and types of users.

Now, if you are the type that can't manage to own a pen without losing it all the time, that is more of a problem for you, not the tablet. Some people can use a tool and put it back in place when done, some can't. This tablet is not for the unkempt, disheveled or for those that never left Kindergarten, it is for those that see a benefit for a particular tablet type and can use it. Samsung isn't forcing anyone to buy anything but they seem to manage sales quite nicely.

Or; you can get an iPad, use what looks like a rounded stick stylus and scribble on it and pay for the privilege.

However, please stay out of the restrooms when using your iPad okay? You are spreading your germs. Does your boss know?

Fadiga muscular


Excellent way of telling, and pleasant paragraph to obtain facts concerning my
presentation subject, which i am going to deliver in college.



iPad must go to the court to win against Samsung. And it won because it was american court.

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