Mobile Technology

iPad Air 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

iPad Air 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy ...
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air 2 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air 2 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
View 22 Images
Anti-glare display
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Anti-glare display
Battery
2/22
Battery
Build
3/22
Build
Call and SMS forwarding (from compatible phones)
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Call and SMS forwarding (from compatible phones)
Cameras
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Cameras
Colors
6/22
Colors
Processors
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Processors
Dimensions
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Dimensions
Display resolution (and pixel density)
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Display resolution (and pixel density)
Display (size)
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Display (size)
Display (type)
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Display (type)
Fingerprint sensor
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Fingerprint sensor
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air 2 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air 2 (left) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
MicroSD card support
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MicroSD card support
Starting prices
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Starting prices
RAM
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RAM
Release dates
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Release dates
Software
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Software
Split-screen multitasking
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Split-screen multitasking
Storage (internal)
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Storage (internal)
Ultra Power Saving Mode
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Ultra Power Saving Mode
Weight
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Weight
View gallery - 22 images

Earlier this year, the iPad got its toughest competition yet, in Samsung's Galaxy Tab S. Join Gizmag, as we compare the features and specs of the new iPad Air 2 and the Galaxy Tab S 10.5.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

Both tablets have the same killer feature: they're ridiculously thin. The iPad Air 2 comes out ahead, though, by 8 percent.

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is a slightly larger tablet all around. It's 3 percent longer and 4 percent wider.

Weight

Weight
Weight

We'll say the same thing for weight that we did for thinness: they're both sitting at a very nice extreme. In this case, the iPad comes out a bit ahead too. It's 6 percent lighter.

Build

Build
Build

You get higher-end build materials with the iPad, as the Galaxy Tab is made of plastic. But at least the Tab's dimpled finish is comfortable in hand.

Colors

Colors
Colors

This year's iPads are the first to offer a gold color option.

Display (size)

Display (size)
Display (size)

If you want maximum screen area, then the Tab S gives you almost 10 percent more than the iPad does.

You'll also want to note the two different aspect ratios. The iPad's 4:3 is more boxy (great in portrait and landscape), while the Tab S' 16:10 is more elongated (better for landscape).

Display (resolution)

Display resolution (and pixel density)
Display resolution (and pixel density)

Both tablets have stunning displays, but the Tab's is 9 percent sharper. There's no reason to steer clear of the iPad's screen quality, though. It's terrific.

Display (type)

Display (type)
Display (type)

The iPad uses an IPS screen, while the Galaxy Tab's is an AMOLED. AMOLED screens have blacker blacks, rich colors and great contrast. The iPad is more than holding its own in those areas too.

Anti-glare display

Anti-glare display
Anti-glare display

Apple put an anti-reflective coating on the iPad Air 2's display, which can reduce glare by 56 percent. I've tested it, and it's a noticeable improvement when reading outdoors.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor
Fingerprint sensor

Both tablets have fingerprint sensor home buttons, but the iPad's is quicker and easier to use. You simply rest your finger on the Touch ID sensor for a moment, while you have to swipe your finger over Samsung's sensor.

With iOS 8, Touch ID is now compatible with select third-party apps (password managers are a perfect fit). The Galaxy Tab's sensor also plays nicely with third-party apps (including PayPal), but its selection isn't as wide.

Storage

Storage (internal)
Storage (internal)

Both tablets start with a base 16 GB of internal storage, but the iPad doubles the Tab's storage on the second tier. The iPad also maxes out higher, with 128 GB.

MicroSD

MicroSD card support
MicroSD card support

The Galaxy Tab can help make up for that, though, with support for microSD cards.

Battery

Battery
Battery

Both tablets have good battery life, and should be all-day tablets for all but the heaviest power users (or power Candy Crush players).

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Ultra Power Saving Mode
Ultra Power Saving Mode

This makes much more sense on a phone than it does a tablet, but you'll find Samsung's Ultra Power Saving Mode on the Tab S. It lets you keep your tablet on the grid by limiting available apps and turning its home screen black & white.

Cameras

Cameras
Cameras

Both have unusually good cameras (well, for tablets). The iPad's even includes the iPhone's excellent slow-motion video recording mode.

Processor

Processors
Processors

If you looked at cores and clock speeds alone, you'd probably assume the Galaxy Tab were the faster device. Not so. In benchmark app Geekbench 3, the iPad scores about 66 percent higher in multi-core and around 104 percent higher in the single-core test.

Both tablets are very zippy in day-to-day experience, but the iPad has the raw performance advantage. I'd say it also feels a bit smoother overall.

Note that this graphic only shows the processor for the Wi-Fi only Tab S. The LTE version has a Snapdragon 800 in its place.

RAM

RAM
RAM

The iPad Air 2 is the first iPad with 2 GB of RAM, but the Galaxy Tab still has a leg up on it.

Split-screen multitasking

Split-screen multitasking
Split-screen multitasking

That extra RAM comes in handy with Samsung's Multi Window mode, which lets you run two apps on the screen at the same time. You'll want to note, though, that only select apps are compatible.

Call & text forwarding

Call and SMS forwarding (from compatible phones)
Call and SMS forwarding (from compatible phones)

With Apple's Continuity and Samsung's SideSync 3.0, you can receive calls and texts on either tablet (forwarded from a paired phone). The iOS version is farther-reaching, though: it works with any iPhone running iOS 8. The Galaxy Tab's version requires a Galaxy S5.

The Galaxy Tab's phone syncing does, however, have some extra tricks up its sleeve. It lets you control a paired Galaxy phone from the tablet (its screen pops up in a little phone-sized window).

Software

Software
Software

The iPad runs iOS 8, while the Tab S runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung's TouchWiz UI sitting on top.

Release

Release dates
Release dates

The iPad Air 2 is still hot off the press, while the Tab S launched this past July.

Starting price

Starting prices
Starting prices

Pricing starts at the same US$500. If you keep your eyes open, though, you might find some sales on the three-month-old Tab S.

For more, you can check out our initial Tab S 10.5 coverage and our full review of the iPad Air 2.

View gallery - 22 images
6 comments
Tom Green
Do you guys get paid to advertise apple? The 4:3 aspect is not good for landscape and portrai, it's just good for portrait. The opposite is true for the Galaxy fair enough but you should say so. Also you talk about size and weight advantages when they have different screen sizes. What with the inability to remain impartial and the incredible amount of senselessly irrelevant product comparisons (this is the first meaningful one in a while now) this site had gone seriously downhill.
Terry Atkin
Sorry, but Samsung Sidesync also works with the S4. At least it does with mine.
jacor
"There's no reason to steer clear of the iPad's screen quality, though. It's terrific." "The iPad is more than holding its own in those areas too."
Nice. When the tab is simply better than the ipad, you apparently feel the need to throw in stuff like this to soften the blow.
You don't feel the need to do this when the iPad comes out ahead. Oh wait, you do, for build quality you say:
"But at least the Tab's dimpled finish is comfortable in hand."
Never mind, not even close to the same thing..
Raleigh Brecht
This gullible troll assumes Apple is paying you to advertise. The ratio is perfect on iOS than Samsung anyway yet everything in the display is balanced and is more efficient. This site has really gone uphill.
Adam Davis
I have both devices and the Samsung is the best. It's not perfect but it's better than the iPad. The Samsung feels better in your hand, it's lighter than the iPad despite what the specs say, the screen is beautiful and it's far more customisable. The only downsides are it lags occasionally, just for a fraction of a second, the device is designed to be used in landscape mode because of the 'home' buttons placement and some apps only work in portrait so it's a bit odd, and also the volume rocker is designed to be used in landscape mode so when you put it in portrait mode the 'up' and 'down' are reversed. It also takes a long time to charge, but it beats the iPad in terms of feel, screen resolution, cameras, free stuff when bought new and pretty much everywhere else. As for the fingerprint scanner it works just fine, the user is the problem, not the scanner. The iPad is great but just not worth the money.
GrzegorzSawczak
I think it's a matter of purpose. If you need an apple product you go for it. Can't imagine going for Samsung while having an iPhone. However, when I read that: Samsung is better in quality, i.e. camera, screen resolution, free stuff, or, Samsung feels lighter despite the specs!! Are you guys sober when typing that kind of information here. Seriously?? Not only can't you see a single pixel on neither of the products, but you can't even state that Samsung is lighter. People are going mad these days, damn!