Competition between Samsung and Sony is intensifying as the brands try to claim their stake in the increasingly important tablet market. Not only is there a pretty penny to be made from the growing category, but tablets are companion devices that could sway a customer to buy the same brand television, sound system and computer.
Samsung and Sony recently showcased the new tablets that will lead their range, the Samsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2) and the Sony Xperia Tablet Z2. We have put the two tablets head-to-head in an effort to figure out which tablet will be most deserving of your money.
Sam Galaxy NotePro
Sony Xperia Tablet Z2
DesignSamsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2)
The Galaxy NotePro is a good looking brute. It’s not a light tablet at 732 grams, but the payoff for the extra weight is another two inches in screen real-estate. The 12.2in form factor covers the same area as an A4 page, and our familiarity with the size makes using the larger NotePro second nature.
Compensating for the extra heft is a deep attention to detail: the back case has a leatherette texture and finish to it, while chrome accents neatly border the NotePro’s sides and the top of its incredibly functional S-Pen.
The S-Pen stylus is a point of difference between Samsung’s NotePro range and Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z2. This rendition of a stylus is by far superior in precision to anything previously available to ordinary customers. Scribbling in applications like Sketch Book for Galaxy shows off the S-Pen’s ability to mimic the fine granular details in pencils, pens and even quills.
Samsung has done a great job with the styling of the NotePro (12.2). It is the kind of device that you can rely on to complete an office presentation and manage the multimedia of your home entertainment system.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z2
Sony’s new flagship tablet maintains the understated design philosophy popularised by Sony's previous Xperia Z range. Few accents mark its body apart from the slender buttons that border its sides.
Appeal is drawn from the exceptional engineering that has made this tablet just 6mm thin and 439 grams. That’s 300 grams — or 40 whole per cent — lighter than the Galaxy NotePro (12.2), and 30 grams lighter than Apple’s iPad Air.
Naturally you would expect a tablet so slender and light to be fragile, but the Xperia Tablet Z2 isn’t. It uses what we can only understand as magic to resist dust and to withstand freshwater 150cm deep for thirty minutes.
So it is lighter than the competition, and yet tougher than them too. What features, if any, has the Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 sacrificed in its pursuit to be all things?
PowerSamsung Galaxy NotePro (12.2)
Samsung devices tend to set the benchmark when it comes to what kind of hardware will lead the market and the NotePro (12.2) does just that, starting with its rich 2560x1600 resolution screen. The 12.2in screen is larger than most of its rivals, and it dazzles in colour, clarity and responsiveness.
Samsung will offer the NotePro (12.2) with one of two CPU configurations. The first is a powerful 2.3GHz quad-core CPU. The other is an eight-core Exynos 5 Octa, which works by coupling a powerful 1.9GHz quad-core CPU with a more efficient 1.3GHz quad-core CPU. The idea is the NotePro can alternate between the two in an effort to improve its battery life.
Joining the CPU will be 3GB of RAM and storage that goes up to 64GB, with the flexibility of expanding storage through a microSD memory card.
Samsung has fitted the NotePro with two competent cameras. On the back is an 8MP camera complete with an LED flash; although flashes are common on smartphones, they’re quite rare on tablets. Also worth noting is the rear camera’s ability to record slow motion video at Full HD resolution by supporting 1080p@60fps. A secondary 2MP camera can be found on its face and can be used for video calls over applications such as Skype.
The NotePro (12.2) might be a hair or two thicker than the Tablet Z, but it has a battery that is 37 per cent larger at 9500 milliamps-hour. On-board is a strong suite of connectivity features which include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 3.0. An infrared sensor and a detailed television guide also enables the tablet to be used as a remote for your home entertainment system.
The icing on the proverbial cake is the Samsung S-Pen, which significantly expands the functionality of the tablet.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z2
Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z2 crams a 1920x1200 resolution into a 10.1in screen. Numbers pertaining to resolution, pixel density and size lean in the Samsung’s favour, but only just.
Read more: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review
The 6mm tablet shares much of the innards found in Samsung’s Galaxy NotePro (12.2). It too has a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz and 3GB of RAM, but it’s down on internal memory as it ships with 16 gigabytes. To compensates for this deficiency, it supports expandable microSD memory to 128GB, which is greater than the 64GB supported by the Samsung.
Sony has a rich heritage when it comes to photography, and the Xperia Tablet Z2 incorporates technologies born from the company’s photographic division. The 8.1MP rear camera of the Xperia Tablet Z2 borrows a mobile version of the company’s Exmor RS sensor. The rear camera, along with the front-facing 2.2MP camera, can record videos in Full HD (1080p) resolution.
Sony has designed the Xperia Tablet Z2 to sit at the centre of your home ecosystem by equipping it with a range of connectivity technologies. ‘Throwing’ and mirroring content from the tablet to your television or monitor is possible — provided your display supports the functionality. There’s a remote control application for the convenient managing of your home entertainment system; DLNA for it to work alongside the gizmos on your home network, and; an inbuilt NFC chip to streamline pairing between other NFC capable electronics.
The new tablets from Samsung and Sony may come equipped with similar hardware, but the two tablets are worlds apart. Samsung’s Galaxy NotePro (12.2) is focussed on delivering as much functionality as possible by upping the screen size and putting to work a stylus, while Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z tries to make computing as mobile as possible in all kinds of situations. We’re had pressed to pick one single winner, because when it comes down to it, both of these tablets push what a tablet can do to the absolute limit.
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