Apple iPad Air vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
Interface and Functionality
Equipped with iOS 7.0.3, the iPad Air comes with a fresh and cheerful UI complementing its super-intuitive user experience. The UI is way more simplistic than the TouchWiz interface of the Note, as it only presents you with a grid of app icons and that's pretty much it as far as the homescreen is concerned. Well, there are also the notification and control centers, as well as the new multitasking view, but to a large extent, this is what you'll be limited to.
On the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, which is currently running Android 4.3 under the Touch Wiz Nature UX, things are considerably more complex, as you're bombarded with all kinds of widgets, menus and alternative screens that start sliding in from all directions as soon as you power the tablet up. You can do a lot more with the homescreen of this Android-powered tablet, but it'll definitely take a while before you can really feel at home as you unlock your device. Besides its complexity, the fact that there are dozens of settings within almost every app doesn't help either. TouchWiz has become a versatile, yet cluttered interface that could use some serious simplification.
Processor and Memory
With its A7 64-bit SoC, the Apple iPad Air is running buttery-smooth, which makes for an overall great user experience. The A7 comes packing the dual-core Cyclone CPU that's clocked at 1.4 GHz. It's complemented by the PowerVR G6430 GPU. In comparison, the Note 10.1 2014 sports the Snapdragon 800 with quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU. On paper, the Note 10.1 seems much beefier, however, in reality its TouchWiz UI suffers from some very visible lag and slow-down.
RAM amount stands at 1 GB for the iPad Air and 3GB for the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Once again, it seems as if the Note 10.1 should fly with this kind of internals, but it's actually very easy to make it stutter under the load of just a few apps.
Storage space can be 16, 32 or 64 GB with the iPad Air. The same goes for the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, but as we said earlier, it also features support for microSD cards, so it does give you a bit more flexibility in this area.
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps)
Higher is better
Messaging and Organizer
The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is more versatile – it has an extra row with numbers, and it also tries to display a bit too many things at the same time, resulting in keys of smaller size compared to those on the iPad Air's on-screen keyboard. So, yeah, you may have to do a few additional presses in order to type the same thing using the iPad's keyboard, but most of the time users will feel more comfortable doing so with it, rather than with the Note.
The Note 10.1 is packed to the brim with all kinds of apps from the get go, and its organizer apps are full of settings and features as well. Actually, they can prove to be a bit too complex to use or set right. Meanwhile, the iPad Air has just the bare necessities in the form of very simple, yet efficient apps for notes, reminders, clock and calendar. There isn't so much to tweak within those apps – in many cases, Apple has made some decisions for the customer, and in most cases those decision prove to be the right ones.
Internet and Connectivity
Samsung has loaded the Note 10.1 with its own Internet browser, which is pretty fast indeed, although Safari on the iPad Air is even faster and more responsive. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to browse the internet on either of these two tablets, especially since their large, high-resolution screens can make entire web pages readable without us having to zoom in on them. Both web browser apps allow for pages to be organized in tabs, which facilitates switching between them, and they both can play back embedded YouTube videos without any problems.
In terms of features, the iPad's Safari internet browser has a bit of an advantage over the Note 10.1's Internet app. It allows tabs and bookmarks to be synchronized across Apple devices, so you can continue your work where you left off. This kind of functionality can be had on the Note 10.1 as well, should you choose to use the Chrome internet browser instead of the default one. If you happen to be a Chrome lover, you can also get that browser on the iPad Air as well.
Connectivity-wise, both the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition and the iPad Air come in multiple variants – an option for those who need only Wi-Fi to go online, and a 3G/4G model for people who need to be constantly connected to the internet. We must note that while all Note 10.1 models have a built-in GPS radio, the Wi-Fi-only iPad Air doesn't have one, relying solely on Wi-Fi network data to provide positioning information.
The area, which allows the iPad to keep being the undisputed leader in the tablet space is the software catalog. With over 475,000 tablet-optimized apps available in the App Store, there's much more to choose from compared to the tablet offerings in the Google Play Store. In fact, many iPad apps are designed to really take advantage of the large display, while many tablet-optimized apps for the Note 10.1 and other Android tablets are just that – they are optimized for a large display, but don't necessarily add anything valuable to make their experience better than that with their phone counterparts.
There's still a sizable gap between iOS and Android when it comes to quality apps (in favor of iOS), but that gap is even bigger when it comes to tablets.
1. emadshiny (Posts: 1144; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
To choose between these two great tabs is really difficult.
Definitely the best tabs so far.
50. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
Costco is giving $100 off the Samsung 10.1 and other Samsung tablets as well.
In fact, Costco has been discounting Samsung tablets for a long time. I understand Samsung wants people to believe their tablets are worth the MSRP -- but just try to sell them, and you will see these Samsung tablets just don't hold their value.
Think about it -- if brand new Samsung tablets are being discounted at the getgo, it's a strong signal you've just wasted your money. A $100 discount off the 10.1 is not an insignificant amount.
70. n.d.p (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Dec 2013)
You buy tools to use them not to sell them. Or? Is it more like clothes for you?
79. SOUPCAN (Posts: 5; Member since: 28 Dec 2013)
Thats $100 off of the 2013 Galaxy Tab 3 not the 2014 model being reveiwed above you moron. Thanks for the stupid argument. Its called pricing the old models to move, similiar to clearance. Nice try though....
3. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)
There is a very good reason going for Samsung :
You will get it for FREE if you purchase a TV (or the upcoming GS5)
4. dratomic (Posts: 483; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
windows tablet (no rt) > every android tab >> any ios device
in my opinion.
I love freedom
8. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)
Of course you do.
You may also respect others' freedom transferring your personal data to their sites.
21. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)
Especially Dell Venue 11 or 8 Pro. The greatest.
But for Pen-functionality, concerning artists , Note line is still the best
78. dekoy316 (Posts: 4; Member since: 27 Dec 2013)
Freedom? Freedom to do what? Choose from a list of screened widgets to add to the home screen at the cost of battery life (for $5 a widget of course)? I've owned android and ios devices, and the "freedom" everybody talks about is an illusion. You are faced with the same constraints on an android device.
82. nigratruo (Posts: 4; Member since: 17 Dec 2013)
So, in your book iOS not having any widgets at all is a feature? Hmm, since when does having a possibility and not having a possibility equal the same? Battery life? Oh, another good point for Android: On Apple devices, your are stuck with the standard battery. On Android, you can easily buy more of them. I got 4 for my galaxy Note and bigger ones too than standard, cost me 40 bucks extra and I can exchange them, so I have enough power for continuous use for a intercontinental trip to Europe.
No, that Android is the same dumb restrictive system than iOS, nobody that knows both will believe that.
More restrictions of course equal less brain use and easier to use for tech stupid users, I admit that. But then I am not one of these 5 braincell users ;-)
I got my widgets for free by the way, I don't know what you are doing wrong. Yes, on iOS all the apps are more expensive too, but don't assume that for Android. Question: Do you really have an Android device or are you just pretending?
7. N-fanboy (Posts: 543; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)
I feel sorry for the losers who buy any of these products.
9. emadshiny (Posts: 1144; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
I think you prefer Nokia 2520, but as far as its a RT tablet, its not a good choice.
14. MrKoles (Posts: 368; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)
I feel sorry for you...what you say does not make any sense.
10. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)
2560*1600 is 16:10, not 16:9
11. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
I can't wait for Sony's next years tablet. Even if I hate tablets though lol.
13. ThePython (Posts: 892; Member since: 08 May 2013)
Cool comparison. I couldn't find any hints of bias... let's see what the trolls will say.
16. joey_sfb (Posts: 5809; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Keeping my data in an iPad has lock me into the respective app and the Apple eco system. Data portability is an issue.
Take quite a big effort to move my ipad data out thanks to Springpad. Its a multi platform able to access thru PC Mac iPad and Android.
I basically cut and paste my way out of iOS data lock down.
17. sniper1087 (Posts: 513; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)
A lot of people mention rt lack of apps, considering that all the apps which are over 100k are optimized or the tablet, in contrast with android which Im not sure how many apps are optimized, but things that kind of impressed me on the windows tablets, rt or not is the fact that you can truly multitask, if Im in the browser and get a skype call, it will put the browser to the side of skype , so I can still browse and talk. Yes I know that the note 3 has multiwindow, but is limited to the apps supported, which is not everything out there.
20. N-fanboy (Posts: 543; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)
They are both over-priced (esp the ipad).
22. Long1 (banned) (Posts: 399; Member since: 18 May 2013)
Note 10(black version) is more beautiful and comfortable to hold, than iPad Air.
For such big device , thin side bezels on portrait mode , are pain. No matter how light the device is.
24. 1113douglas (Posts: 193; Member since: 04 Jul 2013)
If your going by which tablet is faster and can do more. The note is an easy win.
26. ph00ny (Posts: 1244; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Lol at graphics bench run onscreen when one device has a significantly higher resolution
27. spo (Posts: 19; Member since: 25 Apr 2009)
I don't like Android tablets but come on already with the iPad. I feel like any tech writer that's writing a review or comparison with the iPad coming out on top is lazy. It's a cop-out. Everything that the iPad does well in these reviews is punctuated and everything that the competition does well is mentioned then glossed over with little praise. At the end of the day the iOS app store is going to beat out the competition but this isn't supposed to be a review about the "app ecosystem" it's about two competing devices.
There's never a mention in these reviews about how annoying it is to have to use iTunes for everything with the iPad. No mention about how there's no file system and sometimes no simple way to take a file off of the iPad to open on a computer or other device. At least Android devices use the simple tried and true notion of "drag and drop". Expandable memory slots are also a great way to share media between devices which are forever lacking on iOS devices.
I think it's great that the Galaxy has "dozens of settings within almost every app". Sometimes there isn't enough control in iOS. Every time I open the iOS Facebook app I get a dialogue box telling me I should turn on WIFI for better location accuracy. Same goes for when I open maps. It would be nice to have a setting to turn that off. There are tons of frustrating quirks in iOS that never get mentioned that would be totally picked apart and harped on if it was on an Android device or Windows Phone during a review.
I'm not knocking the iPad, I think it does what it does well and it's the most elegant tablet design but these writers need to be more original or just stop writing about Apple products.
36. Zimakool (Posts: 9; Member since: 06 Nov 2013)
Best explanation that I've ever read from someone who uses IOS
53. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
Your expandable memory slot argument reminds me of the Iomega Zip drives. It's the same argument when the 3.5" floppy drive was discontinued and we went to CD drives.
The unfortunate thing is technology continues to advance -- storage will be cloud based. Expandable memory devices are relics of dated technology. The reasons I can think of using physical memory devices is for archive and security.
54. Zimakool (Posts: 9; Member since: 06 Nov 2013)
I for one appreciate having the best of both worlds. I don't care to much for cloud storage, I don't usually use it and yes you are right about Security. I like that Samsung hasn't taken that choice away from consumers.