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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 vs Apple iPad Air: specs comparison

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 vs Apple iPad Air: specs comparison
Samsung has just announced its newest flagship tablets (that don't include S Pen styluses), so we naturally want to see how the new Galaxy Tab S devices stack up to the current competition. This one focuses on the larger display category, and that means it is time for a specs battle between the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and the Apple iPad Air.

The big focus of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 was in the dimensions and the display, with both changes aimed squarely at the iPad Air. Samsung was able to build a tablet that has a larger display with a higher resolution than the iPad Air, while still making the table thinner and (just barely) lighter. Maybe even more impressive is that the Galaxy Tab S doesn't have a footprint all that much bigger than the Air, even though its display is 0.8 inches larger. If you can get past Samsung's usual plastic backing materials, that could make for an impressive tablet. 

Unsurprisingly, the other internals of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (SoC, RAM, etc) look far more impressive on paper, but we'll have to wait and see how the device performs in real world conditions, because Samsung's software additions tend to cause performance issues.

For this comparison, we've also added in the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, which was released back in February and is the most direct predecessor to the new Tab S 10.5.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 vs Apple iPad Air vs Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1

OSAndroid (6.0, 5.0, 4.4.2)iOS (10.x, 9.x, 8.x, 7.x)Android (4.4)
Dimensions9.74 x 6.98 x 0.26 inches (247.3 x 177.3 x 6.6 mm)9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches (240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm)9.57 x 6.75 x 0.29 inches (243.1 x 171.4 x 7.3 mm)
Weight16.47 oz (467 g)
the average is 16.9 oz (482 g)
16.86 oz (478 g)
the average is 16.9 oz (482 g)
16.54 oz (469 g)
the average is 16.9 oz (482 g)
Materials Main body: Aluminum 
FeaturesFingerprint (swipe)  
Physical size10.5 inches9.7 inches10.1 inches
Resolution2560 x 1600 pixels2048 x 1536 pixels2560 x 1600 pixels
Pixel density

Pixel density - The pixel density of a display represents the number of pixels over an area of one inch. It’s measured in “pixels per inch”, or ppi. The higher the number, the more detailed and good-looking the display is.

288 ppi264 ppi299 ppi

Technology - There are two main screen technologies currently used in phones and tablets: LCD and AMOLED. The former usually features a light source and liquid crystals, while the latter is based on organic light-emitting diodes. Newer LCD variations like IPS-LCD and Super-LCD allow for very accurate color reproduction and very wide viewing angles, where no significant image quality loss is observed. Current AMOLED screens differ in such a way that they can exhibit much more saturated colors (sometimes too much) and incredibly high contrast levels, which is due to black color being completely black in AMOLED displays.

Screen-to-body ratio

Screen-to-body ratio - Shows what part of the frontal area of a phone its screen occupies.

72.88 %71.65 %70.97 %
Colors16 777 21616 777 21616 777 216
Camera8 megapixels5 megapixels8 megapixels
Aperture size

Aperture size - The aperture of a camera is the opening through which light travels before it reaches the camera sensor. The smaller the number is, the bigger this opening is, allowing for more light to pass.

Focal length (35mm equivalent)

Focal length (35mm equivalent) - The lower (shorter) the focal length number, the wider the shot will be. Conversely, longer focal length cameras produce narrower frames, which can be used for telephoto (zoomed-in) purposes.

 33 mm 
Hardware FeaturesAutofocus, CMOS image sensorAutofocus, Back-illuminated sensor (BSI)Autofocus
Software FeaturesDigital image stabilization, Self-timer, Digital zoom, Geo taggingDigital image stabilization, Touch to focus, Face detection, Self-timer, Digital zoom, Geo taggingSmile detection, Digital zoom, Geo tagging
Camcorder1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)1920x1080 (1080p HD)
Recording formatMPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMVH.264, MOV 
Features Time-lapse video, Digital image stabilization, Video callingVideo calling
Front-facing camera2.1 megapixels1.2 megapixels2 megapixels
Video capture 1280x720 (720p HD) (30 fps) 
System chip

System chip - Most modern handsets use an advanced chip that includes many of the device’s hardware modules like the processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and sometimes even the wireless radio. This field shows what particular system chip (or System-on-a-Chip) is used in the phone.

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 5420Apple A7Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974

Processor - The processor is the main computing component of a phone and is a major factor when it comes to the overall speed of the device. Some more powerful smartphones use dual-core and quad-core processors designed to deliver greater performance.

Octa-core, 1900 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15 & ARM Cortex-A7Dual-core, 1400 MHz, Cyclone, 64-bitQuad-core, 2300 MHz, Krait 400
Graphics processor

Graphics processor - The graphics processor is important for the smooth operation of the system and especially in games and other applications that may involve complex graphics and animations.

ARM Mali-T628 MP6PowerVR G6430Adreno 330
System memory

System memory - System memory, or RAM memory is the type of memory that the device uses to temporarily store data from the OS or currently-running apps. The more RAM available to the device, the better the performance will be when multiple or heavier programs are running.

3 GB RAM (Dual-channel, 933 MHz) / LPDDR31 GB RAM / LPDDR32 GB RAM (Dual-channel, 800 MHz) / LPDDR3
Built-in storage

Built-in storage - Bigger storage capacity allows you to keep more content saved onto your device, such as more applications, photos or video. Games and video content typically take up the biggest amount of storage space.

32 GB128 GB32 GB
Storage expansion

Storage expansion - Some handsets allow you to expand their storage capacity by using a memory expansion card – most often microSD. Expansion memory is mostly suitable for media storage, such as photo, video or music content.

microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC

Capacity - The bigger, the better! However, battery capacity is not the only factor that has an effect on battery life. Those include the chipset in use, the software running on the device, as well as the consumer's unique usage pattern.

7900 mAh8820 mAh8220 mAh
Music playback132.00 hours 147.00 hours
Video playback12.00 hours 10.00 hours
Screen mirroringMHLTV-outWireless screen share, MHL, TV-out

CDMA - Code Division Multiple Access. A technique of multiplexing, also called spread spectrum, in which analog signals are converted into digital form for transmission. For each communication channel, the signals are encoded in a sequence known to the transmitter and the receiver for that channel. The foremost application is digital cellular phone technology from QUALCOMM that operates in the 800MHz band and 1.9GHz PCS band. CDMA phones are noted for their excellent call quality and long battery life.

 800, 1900 MHz 
GSM850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
UMTS850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
LTE (FDD)Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 
DataLTELTE, HSPA, UMTSLTE Cat 4 (150/50 Mbit/s), HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS
Shopping information
MSRP price $ 929 

  • Options

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 01:38 9

1. hateftotti (Posts: 205; Member since: 03 May 2011)

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 hands down...

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 02:10 10

2. gigaraga (Posts: 1454; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)

Galaxy Tab S 10.5 > Galaxy TabPro 10.1 >>>>>>>> iPad Air.

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 02:12 4

3. FingerMyApple (unregistered)

ipad air iChoose you :)

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 02:33 2

4. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

iPad Air

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 03:11 1

5. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)

None of these please

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 03:12 3

6. amats69 (Posts: 1523; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

Ipad air for me!

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 03:41 1

7. pyradark (Posts: 882; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

Z2 tab to wipe everything

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 04:51 1

8. shaheer7 (Posts: 22; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)

Ipad air is very expensive..
Waiting for note 10.1 with amoled ☺

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 16:27

12. ecmedic4 (Posts: 420; Member since: 02 May 2013)

Actually the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 16GB and the iPad Air 16GB are the same price at $499. In the comparison they put the price of the most expensive iPad Air model, the 128GB version, which the Galaxy Tab 10.5 doesn't come in that capacity, so the comparison shouldn't have used the most expensive iPad Air.

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 09:13 1

9. FazlurKhan (Posts: 19; Member since: 09 Jun 2013)

Why would you put 128GB as storage for Ipad? That would just be misleading because that version is crazy expensive. Might as well add multiple 128 gig microsds for the tabs. lol

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 16:29

13. ecmedic4 (Posts: 420; Member since: 02 May 2013)

Exactly, the base versions of both the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and iPad Air are both $499, for 16GB. I thought the same thing when i read it, its misleading.

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 11:25

10. Cicero (Posts: 924; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)

Ssssexy one. Excellent job Sammy!

posted on 13 Jun 2014, 13:41

11. ThePython (Posts: 901; Member since: 08 May 2013)

Yep. Let's compare a tablet from last year to one released yesterday. Of course it's a fair comparison!

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