Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7-inch) vs. Apple iPad Air 2

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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 (left) with the iPad Air 2

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Though last year's Galaxy Tab S was Samsung's best answer yet to the iPad, it didn't really look much like Apple's iconic tablet. That changes this year, as Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 could almost be mistaken for the iPad Air 2. Let's see how the two tablets compare.

Size

See what we mean about looking alike? Samsung's tablet takes on the iPad's boxier 4:3 aspect ratio, and also has similar dimensions.

One of the Galaxy Tab S2's most eyebrow-raising features is its ridiculously thin build. At just 5.6 mm (0.22-inch) thick, it's 8 percent thinner than the already razor-thin iPad Air 2.

Weight

This is the other marquee spec for the Galaxy Tab S2. The iPad Air 2 was already quite the featherweight, but the Tab S2 is 11 to 12 percent lighter.

Build

Part of that, though, is because the Tab S2 has a plastic back, along with an aluminum frame (similar to what Google and HTC did with the Nexus 9). The iPad's body is all aluminum.

Colors

It looks like the Galaxy Tab S2 is going to ship in black and white color options.

Display size

No differences here, as both tablets have 9.7-inch screens – with that same 4:3 aspect ratio.

Display resolution

Samsung also appears to be taking a cue from Apple on the Tab S2's resolution. Curiously, that means the Tab S2 has a lower pixel density than the larger Galaxy Tab S from 2014 (it came in at 288 PPI).

Display type

Samsung, however, is sticking with a Super AMOLED display panel – which likely means lush colors, deep blacks and high contrast.

Battery

It's way too early to know what this will mean for battery life in the Tab S2, but the tablet does have a 20 percent smaller battery than the iPad Air 2 does.

Cellular option

Both tablets ship in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with LTE models.

Camera megapixels

We don't yet know if they're the same sensors, but the cameras in the Galaxy Tab S2 have the same resolutions that we saw in 2014's Galaxy Tab S.

Storage

Samsung is offering the Tab S2 in two different internal storage tiers.

MicroSD

Unlike the Galaxy S6, though, the Tab S2 still has a microSD card slot.

Fingerprint sensor

Samsung put a touch-based fingerprint sensor in the Tab S2, likely the same (high quality) one we saw in the GS6.

Processor

Samsung's octa-core Exynos 5433 powers the Tab S2.

RAM

The iPad Air 2 is the first iOS device with 2 GB of RAM, but the Tab S2 still tops it with 3 GB.

Software

Samsung's new tablet runs Android Lollipop (with Samsung's TouchWiz UI layered on top) while the iPad Air 2 will stick with iOS 8 for a couple more months.

Split-screen multitasking

Though the iOS 8-running iPad Air 2 doesn't have a split-screen multitasking feature right now, it will as soon as iOS 9 arrives later this year. And if you want the feature before then, Apple has an iOS 9 public beta you can try today (at your own risk).

Side-by-side multitasking (which Samsung calls Multi Window) is nothing new for Galaxy Tabs, but it only works with select apps.

Release

When looking at these specs and features, keep in mind that the Tab S2 is a brand new tablet, while the iPad Air 2 has already been around for nine months. Though with interest in tablets tapering off in the last couple years, it isn't a sure thing that Apple will update the iPad Air again in 2015.

Starting price

As much as Samsung told us about the Galaxy Tab S2, one thing it didn't tell us is what it will cost. For what it's worth, the larger version of last year's Galaxy Tab S started at the same US$500 that the iPad Air 2 rings up for.

Stay tuned for more from Gizmag on the Galaxy Tab S2, which also includes the smaller 8-inch version. And for more on Apple's tablet, you can revisit our iPad Air 2 review from last year.

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