Apple iPad Air vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
Well, what do you know: both the 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the iPad Air can take decent photos and videos with their main cameras. Given the right lighting conditions, of course. The former comes with an 8MP auto-focus camera and a bright LED for illuminating low-light scenes, while the latter packs a 5MP auto-focus snapper, which lacks flash, unfortunately.
Upon launching the camera app on the Note 10.1, we're presented with a familiar, feature-rich user interface. It offers many of the options we've already tried on the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S4, such as the built-in filters and the multitude of shooting modes – HDR, Panorama, Night, and so on. The camera interface on the iPad Air offers an HDR mode and filters, but nothing more in terms of control over the produced image.
Neither camera is as capable as what you can find on top-shelf smartphones these days, but you'll still be able to snap some decent pics. For the most part, pictures taken with both look very similar, with almost equal color tones and exposure. We do notice that in some shots, though, the Note 10.1 2014 manages to keep colors a tad more natural, as the iPad Air shows a bit of a tendency to slightly warm things up. The area where the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 manages to gain the advantage is details, as its 8 MP resolution allows it to capture a bit more data about the surrounding world, compared to the iPad Air. The situation is about the same when shooting indoors, where the Note 10.1 2014 also has the benefit of the LED flash, as such is missing from the iPad Air.
Both tabets record video in 1920 x 1080 resolution, and while the iPad Air's footage appears to run more fluidly, the one from the Note 10.1 2014 has a slightly higher detail level. It's up to the user to decide which type of footage they'd prefer.
The Note 10.1 2014 is equipped with a 2 MP front-facing camera, but it takes much worse photos than the 1.2 MP FF shooter of the iPad Air. In short, images seem somewhat blurry and lacking any fine detail with the Note, while those from the iPad Air look much sharper and better, even though there's a bit of noise present when shooting indoors.
The Gallery application on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is decent and it allows one to organize their photos in folders. The iPad Air gallery, however, is a bit smarter, for it does that automatically – it knows when and where each photo has been taken and groups them in collections based on that data.
Samsung's music player is packed with goodies, as it has always been on any recent Samsung device. You get the mandatory lock screen controls, sound enhancements, and a neat feature called AdaptSound, which optimizes music depending on the listener's earphones and hearing. However, we have to admit that we're more satisfied with Apple's Music app. It not only looks better, but it comes with the new iTunes Radio, which streams free music over the web – you just pick a station and enjoy!
There's a pair of stereo speakers on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Their output is passable, but nothing special in terms of quality. The iPad Air also has stereo speakers, though their close positioning practically eliminates the stereo effect. However, they do sound drastically better than the Note 10.1 2014's speakers, especially on the lower end of the spectrum.
Getting your photos, music, and videos onto the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a straightforward process – you just copy-paste them onto its internal memory and you're done. With the iPad Air, however, this process can be a bit of a ritual. Those who use a Mac and/or iTunes to organize and purchase their media should be perfectly fine, but those who don't will have to get used to moving content around with the help of Apple's software. Moreover, some videos have to be converted to an iOS-friendly format first so that the iPad Air would play them.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition comes equipped with a built-in IR blaster, which is a neat stand-out feature. Basically, it allows you to control some of the appliances throughout your house, such as your TV, multimedia system, air conditioner, and more, if they are compatible.