Introduction


Smartphone manufacturers are leapfrogging themselves with every new generation of their products, and the same thing goes for their tablet endeavors. Every new top-shelf tablet is slimmer, lighter and faster than the previous one, but there is a certain difference between how things stand in phones and tablets. While Apple is no longer the undisputed leader in the smartphone space, it still has a firm grip on the tablet market, where the iPad manages to remain on top of its mobile OS-powered opponents at all times.

The iPad Air, which only recently became available, has set the standard even higher in terms of design. With its thin side bezels and super-light weight, Apple's full-sized tablet is more alluring than ever. However, what it'll go up against this time is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition – arguably Samsung's best Galaxy tablet, which hopes to attract consumers with its S Pen and productivity-focused features. Let the fight begin!

Design


The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition isn't anything extraordinary in the design department. While it's respectably thin, it's still made of plastic and presents us with an odd back panel that has a pattern resembling leather. It's by no means bad, but it's just 'meh', compared to the fancy aluminum build of the iPad Air. The Air is more compact than the Note 10.1 2014 (9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches for the iPad vs 9.57 x 6.75 x 0.31 inches for the Note), and it's also significantly lighter with its 16.86 oz (478 g), compared to the Note's 19.29 oz (547 g). This allows you to hold the iPad Air much more comfortably, regardless if you're using one or two hands.

Obviously, the iPad Air can offer you a way more premium design of the two, and that also translates to the physical volume and power keys of the devices, which react better on the iPad. Anyway, there's one thing that stands out in the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014's design and that's the microSD card slot, which is going to come in handy in case you want to expand your storage at some point. Both devices have versions with cellular radios, and thus – SIM card slots. However, note that the iPad Air uses the Nano SIM standard, while the Note 10.1 uses Micro SIM.


Display


There is a small difference between the sizes of the displays of these two lovely tablets. The iPad Air's one measures 9.7” (the same size as on any other iPad), while the Galaxy Note 10.1 is slightly bigger with its 10.1 inches (what a surprise!). Resolution-wise, the iPad is quite a solid performer with its 2048 x 1536 pixels (264 ppi), but the Note 10.1 2014 takes things a couple notches further with its resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels (299 ppi). Both look very clean and detailed, with the Note 10.1 being a bit better in this respect.

We should also note that there's a substantial difference when it comes to aspect ratio. The iPad Air stays true to 4:3, which makes it very convenient for web browsing and reading, while the Note 10.1 has a 16:9 display that's more suitable for video playback.

Inspecting both display panels positioned side by side, one of the first things that we notice is that the gamma of the iPad Air's screen is a bit off. Certain dark levels appear brighter than they should be, resulting in a less contrasting image. Indeed, since this problem isn't present with the Note 10.1's display, its own image looks a bit more attractive at first glance.

While both displays use LCD technology, the colors of the iPad Air are more realistic and well-balanced, as those of the Note 10.1 2014 appear somewhat greenish in comparison. Viewing angles seem to be about the same with both screens.


S Pen


The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014's most unique feature is the S Pen stylus. Of course, you can get a capacitive stylus for the iPad Air, but it'll be a much worse solution, because the S Pen uses Wacom technology. It's very easy to write with and supports pressure sensitivity. If you fancy the ability to take hand-written notes or draw using a stylus, then this is the feature which should make you consider the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014.

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79 Comments

93. Vector77

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 28, 2015

Like it or not the samsung galaxy note 2014 is still better the the ipad air

94. 4G_Reaper

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Wow, your review was so well thought out and unbiased. Teach me your ways oh tech guru. /s

92. 4G_Reaper

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

As a heavy android user, I decided to broaden my spectrum with the iPad Air. It really is a great product, and with t-mobile's wifi pricing and free data promos I really couldn't pass it up. In the past 2 months it has become my main media consumption device, replacing my Moto X and Nexus 4, which has given them a substantial boost in battery life (big surprise there...) The lack of customization and multi window is a pretty big hit if you're looking for a productivity centric tablet, not to mention the s-pen which is fantastic for drawing or note taking. Both tablets have their perks, and as usual it comes down to preference. With android performance issues, you can usually fix them by disabling unused apps, installing a third party launcher, tweaking developer level settings, or installing custom firmware, which to any android power user should be an easy task. Then again, if you want something that just works and has smooth performance out of the box and you aren't looking for heavy multitasking or productivity, the iPad Air is definitely worth a buy. Also, as I'm not sure it was touched on in the article, Apple releases software updates in a much more timely manner than Samsung, and supports their devices for a longer period of time with software releases. Oh, and did I mention the vastly superior data backup services iTunes offers? Upgrading to a new device is a matter of backing up the old and restoring on the new. Trying to do the same on android requires root and third party apps to get everything backed up properly, especially app data/settings. Sorry if anything is badly written, my thoughts aren't exactly organized, but I hope I at least helped someone make a decision.

91. andrewphi

Posts: 1; Member since: May 07, 2014

In my opinion, the battle between the tablets for best performance, best battery, which is the lightest, the finest, etc.. is not really meaningful. Here the article concludes that the ipad is the best but that the S note is fine too… In fact, I think that at this level of technology, the most important is the services that your device can provide you depending on the use you make of it. In my case, for professional use, Ipad is better than the S note (or any Android tablet) because you have great apps on the apple store which fits well with the capacities of the ipad. For example, I can’t work without Beesy nor Goodreader, and for now only the Ipad offer this kind of productivity apps…

83. SOUPCAN

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

I own the Samsung and I can say without question that moronic minutia listed in this ignorant review is not something anyone would ever notice. The Samsung is a quality product and for anyone who owns a Samsung phone, which I do, its an easy learning curve.

81. clarksbc

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

A much more useful and unbiased review can be found at gsmarena.com

80. SOUPCAN

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

Honestly this article is clearly slanted towards the Ipad. You can just tell. I stopped reading it....

77. mckofi

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Maybe this is iSite(apple.com)... Oooh it's phonearena.com. Lol sorry for the biased review. Even Jobs himself would wonder at the cemetary how this review can be called 'fair'

74. nigratruo

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 17, 2013

Great review. But I find it a little strange that you were biased towards simplicity. Simplicity often means less functionality and thanks to the Apple world of devices, software can now do less than years before. Taking functionality away is not really that cool, just to cater to a lot of idiots that are not smart enough to use a more complex device. For me as a user that loves my devices functional and powerful, it is a painful experience. It would be similar to books using less and less words, and sentences always using do and have, instead of the proper words, just to allowthe simpletons of this world thinking less and less. I feel that in the tech field, there is a dumbification of everything going on and in a few years time, we will have users that are too dumb to use pretty much anything electronic. I'm glad that Android offers more functionality and better configurability. It is hard for a smart intelligent person to use a device that was castrated for a (technologically) dumb person. I'm not one of the people that gets confused if there are 10 config options instead of 2, it is really not that hard, you can actually learn things, that is what schooling is all about. Otherwise we would be learning less and less every year in school and eventually nothing at all anymore, catering to the people that don't want to use their brains.

73. Jillxz

Posts: 149; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

I have no problem choosing between these two. It's the iPad Air in every way .

72. cerenatee

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 10, 2013

I own an Ipad Air and it's OK but not anything awesome. This is one of the most based reviews I've read in a long time. Every advantage the Ipad has, no matter how slight, is magnified. Every advantage the Note has, no matter how large, is minimized and qualified. Where is the impartial review?

67. n.d.p

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 03, 2013

After we got the samy chromebook, my wife ditched the ipad3 that is now used by my daughter to play toca boca. I am still using my galaxy note 10.1 at work and home daily. Ipad does what it should fantastically, snapy, premium, best on the market. Unfortunately it doesn't do much. Its a device for seniors, children, gamers, people who wear Louis Vuitton and the rest who never tried something else properly. Luckily there is a lot of choice these days which is fortunate. Monopoly sucks.

64. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Why is it not surprising that Ray S. completely left out the most important and killer feature of the Note 10.1 2014 edition??? TRUE MULTI-WINDOW MULTI-APPLICATION SUPPORT!!! Seems pretty biased and stupid to omit such a huge difference in function since the Apple doesn't have anything close to that. And on a tablet this size, it makes perfect sense!

66. spo

Posts: 19; Member since: Apr 25, 2009

All good points. There's almost no point in reviewing tech products anymore.

89. SOUPCAN

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

Yeah the multi window is righteously cool I must admit.

63. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

I left i-PhoneArena for about a year and accidentally came back. I can see now that nothing has changed.

62. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Does the "S" in Ray S. stand for "SuckUpToApple"?? "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." Besides dedicated row of numbers, which (unlike what Ray S. is trying to get people to believe) is actually VERY CONVENIENT & EFFICIENT, the Samsung keyboard has only 1 extra key over the IOS keyboard. Not only that, the Samsung screen is larger and can accommodate the DEDICATED number row with ease.

61. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Another MORONIC & IDIOTIC STATEMENT by Ray S.: "Besides its complexity, the fact that there are dozens of settings within almost every app doesn't help either." Do you know how stupid it would be to have to, say, open up Google Chrome and instead of changing the settings of Chrome within the app, you had to leave the app and go into the OS's settings in order to change settings? That's how IOS works and that is UTTERLY BAD UI DESIGN. If the user needs to change a Chrome settings, put the Chrome settings *inside* the Chrome app. That's how it's supposed to be, genius. But, I guess that may seem complex to VERY STUPID PEOPLE like you.

60. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

This statement is not only STUPID but also very Apple kiss-ass: "We should also note that there's a substantial difference when it comes to aspect ratio. The iPad Air stays true to 4:3, which makes it very convenient for web browsing and reading, while the Note 10.1 has a 16:9 display that's more suitable for video playback." Are you freakin kidding me?? Almost every computing monitor built for desktops or laptops supports a 16:9 and in some rare occasions, a 16:10 display. Even the iphone moved to that format. Ipad is the only POS that is still on 4:3. So, what's "true" about it? It's truly outdated is what it is! Get your sh!t straight Ray S.!!! PhoneArena needs to hire people that actually KNOW TECHNOLOGY instead of regurgitating kiss ass Apple dribble.

59. spectereid

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Although samsung gives now more freedom but whn the jailbreak is released hopefully this month dont even try to say sam cause i will give u my middle finger and walk away

86. dougiefresh181

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 12, 2012

Even with a jailbroken ios device, you don't get the functionality of a stock android. I already have a file system and native support for themes and various file types such as flac and mkv. Even jailbroken, you still have to get your apps and media through itunes. If I root my tablet and use a custom recovery, I can install entirely different operating systems, such as desktop linux, ubuntu touch, Firefox and custom versions of android

87. dekoy316

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

You can play flac on an iPhone, you just need to download a 3rd party app. Which, by the way, is the same thing I had to do on my S4 to get it to play flac. But honestly, why are you listening to flac on your mobile device? You're never going to be able to hear the difference unless you're carrying around $10,000 worth of sound equipment with you; reproduction on mobile devices is not very good. But beyond that, I'm not going to discuss jailbreaking vs rooting as a feature. Both companies are vehemently opposed to it and will go to great lengths to not honour your warranty if they suspect it.

58. miket247

Posts: 81; Member since: Apr 16, 2013

What about Price? Lets overlook that cause we all know that its not good for Apple. No biased here, when its not in Apple's favour, iPhoneArena just overlooks it!!!!!!!!!!!

88. dekoy316

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 27, 2013

You're aware that the note is more expensive, right?

57. leokh

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

After reviewing samsung galaxy note 10.1 (2014) from many sites and having a physical feel of the demo set at the shops, I still don't think it is a match for ipad Air. It is still less smooth, graphics not as great as ipad Air, look and feel of the device still cannot match with ipad Air. I am a Android fan and user now using my Note 3 after moving to Galaxy S3 after ditching Apple iphone 4S. I am still using my ipad 2 for a few years now, but looking for a great Android tablet to replace it. So far all the Apple tablets still leads the pack and will I get a new ipad Air? The answer is a flat NO. I will never go back to Apple anymore because of its limitation and restrictions it has for the users. Also, all things shared or stored has to be with iTunes which is slow and stupid. Also, there is no file system and external SD card for you to move files and anything from tablet to any other device which is stupid. There are many basic functionality that isn't found in any apple device be it iphone or ipad, so most people have to jailbreak to get some of these functionalities which jailbreaking is a nightmare as everytime you upgrade to a newer version, you have to find a jailbreak for it and the whole process will take many hours possible 6-8 hours of your time including backup and restore of your apps etc. Disappointed that Samsung or Google hasn't come up with a solid tablet for me to drop my ipad 2. Have dropped iphone 4S long time ago and never looked back.

55. donfem

Posts: 708; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

The argument nevers stops. One is "better than the other" stupidity. I guess the fact that you "own" one makes it better for ever one else? Wrong. What is good for you is not good, or should I say, might not be the option for me. If you want any of them, please go for that but don't come here spewing your "hatred" for one while expressing your opinion and love for the other as the "best"

49. firstmithrandir

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

I would say that if you do not need S Pen you can go for iPad. Better applications, better media available context. If you need node taking device then sorry, I am stiil waiting for Apple to add this 5 EUR digitizer to their devices for the last 5 year. No digitizer, no note taking, no Apple. I heard about professional artist which switch from windows to Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. I am sorry many people would not buy 3000 EUR Wacom devices. I can not understand it. Why not so many people care about me, about us. Why Wacom do not want to put his technology to most device on the market and it concentrate on 0,01 % of users only? When it comes to phones then I was using for some time parallel Samsung Note and iPhone 5, but now Note 3 have all advantages of iphone plus a bigger screen. I can read a book on it. It is nice to read web, to make notes of course. The only advantage of iPhone 5 is that is is still faster then Android. Even with Note 3 the difference is now smaller. If Apple will make bigger screen for iPhone and put on their device digitizer then I would think about moving back. At the moment only Samsung with Note series cares about people like me. I am waiting for the iPad / Note 12 inch size. This is 3 comments my review.

85. dougiefresh181

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 12, 2012

Iphone/ipad will never have a digitizer or pen, that was promised by jobs before his end. And media playback is a joke on ios, you can only download/stream/play up to 256kbps mp3 files for music and apples locked down m4v movies, whereas on android I can play anything from apples locked down files to 126kbps ring tones to flawless flac files all on the same device

48. firstmithrandir

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

- I have tried to read books, it was ok, but I could not get use to search, for me flipping a book was just faster. I hate this that for most books I have to buy a kindle version / ibook version and then a paper one. Event I have tried for many times, if still I have to chose, I will go for a paper version of a book and then when I can not take it with me, I am buying kindle version. Kindle itself is so much crap on the market. The beautiful books format is cut to oversimplified version, which is much worse than the ones used in the editors in the mid 90ties. Then I got Samsung Note phone on which I could use S Pen and I almost stop to use ipad. It was always too full and on my note I could always write and I love this idea. Now I got a new tandem: Samsung Note 3 32 GB LTE black + Samsung Note 10.1 2014 16 GB LTE white. This are the standard version you can get from Amazon / Saturn on German market. - Note 3 had it bigger problems in the beginning. You had this regional lock, but it was almost corrected in the newer software update. Now you have to register your phone with a local regional sim card and later on you can use a card from anywhere around the world. - Note 3 had a problem with Knox system. When you have tried to root a phone, some system control would fire some e-fuse on the board. You can have problems later on with guaranty, you can not use Knox system on it anymore. As I know the Knox system check up and e-fuse can be already bypass by the new software. I never root my phone, maybe my old HTC, but it is good to know that it is still possible. - I put on both devices 64 GB cards. This is a big plus. Nowdays 64 GB is only for 50 EUR. You can always take a card and put on it whatever you want. I have formated both to FAT32 and I can use them with my old Note too. I can copy to this cards whatever I want. Pdf, photos... I'm looking for microSD 128 GB cards. -Note 3 Action memo is a must have function. This is my system of making fast information notes. Getting numbers, people names, important facts. - There is this one greatest application ever on Android market: Papyrus. You can make a notes on infinity size page. It is like wow. You can make notes, save them, share between devices, make a pdf out of them. - I have installed on both devices flash player and I can use it with for example Dolphin Browser. I can go for normal youtube page and I can watch a flash player context. What a big improvement. To summarize, I could write much more. The best would be to have Samsung Note 10.1 2014 with iOS integrated. The Samsung hardware is already better then Apple one, but the iOS ecosystem is still more mature then Android one. Particularly if you buy tablet, because a lot of applications on Android can be used only with phone vertical orientation and have small resolution.

47. firstmithrandir

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

Both devices have cons. I have Ipad 2 since a long time and recently I got Samsung Note 10.1 2014, version white. I would say like that: both devices have comparable cpu / gpu. The ipad one is in some cases faster, the Samsung should be more multitasking, because of its 4 cores. I bought long time a go ipad 2 16 GB 3G, because I would like to make on it notes. My experience was like that: - I like that there are so many good application, this is due to the iOS programming way. I do iOS programming for my work and I enjoy it a lot. The XCode is a great tool and it is cheep when compare to most of the software you find on Windows platform. You have nice design SDK with most useful icons / elements / tools. You have a great debug tools. It cost you 99$ a year. On Windows, Visual Studio costs much more and without Intel debug tools you can not even optimize application on it. - There are this cool applications, which shows you all hot application deals, like AppZappPro. - The GoodReader is the best pdf reading application I have ever saw. - There is a great Omnifocus tool. Applications to make notes, mind mapping. - The 4:3 screen is the best what you can have to read and keep a device in your hands, particularly vertical. Some bastards claims from 10 year on that the 16:9 resolution is great, but I really hate this idea. Try to work on 16:9 screens. All of them I have at my work have 16:10 resolution. It is like we should on any computer only watch movies, nothing more? - you have iTunes, iTunes U, Kindle too. Other side: - I had tried to get flash working with ipad and there was almost no way. Now it is less annoying, but few years ago it was a disaster. You can not go to book some tickets, most of the movies on many pages are not working. You have to use only youtube from mobile app, which by this time shows you not so good results. There were this crappy cloud computing application, but non of them have good experience, it is like remote blur desktop. - I have tried to do the most important thing: taking notes. I got many nice applications. I got few pens and it just did not work our. You have to have our hand up to do not touch a screen. I found out that I had to buy some gloves. You have to have this 0,5 cm gummy strange pen which hide all the informations. I have tried for few weeks without bigger success. - Then other problem arise. Each application have to have its own space. So sometimes it is double. - I have tried to see a photos from my SD card. It was impossible to see it directly. You have only option to copy it, but then try to copy it if you have only 16 GB on device, no way, you are stuck. - Finally my memory finished and I could not update or install applications anymore, do not saying about media content. Each time I have to delete something.

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