Mobile Technology

iPad mini 3 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad mini 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad mini 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
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Battery
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Battery
Build
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Build
Cameras (megapixels)
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Cameras (megapixels)
Color options
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Color options
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 sensors
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Fingerprint sensors
Call forwarding
11/20
Call forwarding
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad mini 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad mini 3 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
MicroSD card
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MicroSD card
The iPad mini has palm rejection around the edges, a great fit a tablet with narrow bezels
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The iPad mini has palm rejection around the edges, a great fit a tablet with narrow bezels
Starting price
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Starting price
RAM
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RAM
Release dates
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Release dates
Software
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Software
Storage
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Storage
Weight
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Weight

You have to wonder where the iPad mini stands in Apple's long-term plans. With tablet sales waning, Apple put all of its upgrade chips into the iPad Air pot this year, as the iPad mini 3 is barely changed from last year's model. Let's see how it compares to its biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

This is the first of many (actually most) categories where the iPad mini 3 is exactly same as its predecessor, the iPad mini 2 (formerly known as the iPad mini with Retina Display).

The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 comes out at 7 percent taller and 7 percent narrower than the iPad mini 3. The Tab S is very thin, measuring 12 percent thinner than the Mini.

Weight

Weight
Weight

The Tab S is also incredibly light, tipping the scales at 11 percent lighter than the iPad mini 3.

Build

Build
Build

The iPad mini 3 has the same unibody aluminum build that we saw in the last two iPad minis. The Tab S has a plastic construction, with a dimpled back that's similar to what we saw on the Galaxy S5.

Colors

Color options
Color options

The Tab S ships in "Titanium Bronze" and "Dazzling White," while the iPad sells in the same three color options as the current crop of iPhones.

Display (size)

Display (size)
Display (size)

The iPad mini gives you 95 percent as much screen as the Tab S does.

You'll also want to note the iPad's more boxy 4:3 aspect ratio vs. the Tab S' more oblong 16:10. I think 4:3 works a little better for portrait mode content, while 16:10 tablets have less letterboxing when you're watching video.

Display (resolution)

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

Both tablets have sharp screens, but the Tab S comes out ahead with its Quad HD resolution.

Display (type)

Display (type)
Display (type)

The Tab's AMOLED screen has deep blacks, high contrast and rich colors.

Palm rejection

The iPad mini has palm rejection around the edges, a great fit a tablet with narrow bezels
The iPad mini has palm rejection around the edges, a great fit a tablet with narrow bezels

The iPad mini has a terrific little detail: when gripping the tablet, your hand can touch the edge of the screen without registering accidental touches. I miss this when I use other narrow-bezeled tablets – like the Tab S – that don't have this.

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensors
Fingerprint sensors

Apart from the gold color option, this is the only difference between the iPad mini 3 and its predecessor. That's a pretty weak update, but at least you get the best fingerprint sensor in the business: Apple's Touch ID is effortless to use, while the solid Samsung sensor requires a swipe from a specific angle.

Storage

Storage
Storage

The iPad mini gives you one more storage tier – and double the space of the Tab S in that second tier.

MicroSD card

MicroSD card
MicroSD card

The Tab S does let you augment its internal storage, though, by popping in a microSD.

Camera

Cameras (megapixels)
Cameras (megapixels)

The Tab S' cameras have higher resolution, though neither tablet is going to give you flagship-smartphone-esque camera quality.

Battery

Battery
Battery

Both tablets have terrific battery life, and are among the longest-lasting tablets we've tested (we're assuming the iPad mini 3's uptimes are identical to those of the iPad mini 2, as Touch ID shouldn't affect battery life).

Phone calls

Call forwarding
Call forwarding

If you own a Galaxy S5, you can receive forwarded phone calls on your Galaxy Tab S 8.4, via a feature called SideSync 3.0. With iOS 8, the iPad has a similar call forwarding feature for iPhone owners.

Call forwarding on a tablet might not sound like much, but one nice bonus is that it can potentially let you leave your phone sitting on a charger while you're at home.

Processor

Processors
Processors

Being almost identical to the iPad mini 2 means the iPad mini 3 has a year-old chip. The Apple A7 is a beast, so it's hard to complain too much on this front ... but it still would have been nice to see the faster A8 (or A8X) in the new model.

RAM

RAM
RAM

The iPad Air 2 got a RAM upgrade, but the iPad mini 3 is stuck on 1 GB.

Software

Software
Software

The iPad mini runs iOS 8.1, which brings goodies like third-party keyboards, better synchronization with other Apple devices and Touch ID integration in third-party apps.

The Tab S runs Android 4.4 KitKat, with Samsung's TouchWiz UI layered on top.

Release

Release dates
Release dates

Technically the iPad mini 3 is launching this week. But, in case we didn't already hammer this point into the ground, it's basically a year-old tablet with one new sensor.

Starting price

Starting price
Starting price

Both slates start at the same US$400, though you might be able to find the three-month-old Galaxy Tab on sale.

We'll have an iPad mini 3 review before long, but if you're eyeing the Mini, you might be better off saving some money and buying the year-old iPad mini 2. It comes down to whether you think a Touch ID sensor (or gold color) is worth $100.

For more, you can hit up our full reviews of the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and iPad mini 3.

5 comments
netscorer
Quote: "Apple's Touch ID is effortless to use, while the solid Samsung sensor requires a swipe from a specific angle." This is the biggest BS from Apple fairytale myth I've read in some time. Apple touch ID is very finicky. It simply refuses to work if your fingers are even remotely damp. I had countless cases of being forced to enter pass code as fingerprint sensor picked up moisture from fingers. Using iPhone in the kitchen while cooking has been a torture because of this. Samsung sensor does not give a feck about your fingers being wet. As long as you are consistent about swiping it, it works every single time. Apple sensor is not any easier to use, it requires your finger to be positioned properly on the sensor and resting on it for fraction of time without putting any downward pressure as it wou activate a click. Sam sung has refined their sensor from the earlier days of Galaxy phone and all their latest devices have much better implementation then Apple.
Wragie
I was looking at both and eventually purchased the Galaxy. I had a Galaxy note 8 before and the 8.4 is "much gooder" ;-) I wanted a high resolution display and the amoled on the tab is fantastic. The Note had a good display but side by side the 8.4 is crisper with much more vibrant colors. It is amazing to see how much more detail you can see on things when viewing high resolution videos or images. I also needed a bit more processor more than my Note and the quad core really fly's along. Very noticeably on some of the more intensive apps I use. It is everything the sales droids put in the brochure for once. Honestly I think either of these are worth buying.
Hoon Kim
Honestly, if I had to choose, I would choose the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. The Quad-HD display, thin bezels/device, and the better specs won me over. I finally struggled out of the Apple ecosystem a few years ago, and I never looked back. I currently have a Nexus 10 (2 years old, I know) and I'm looking for the Android Lollipop update on November 3rd :D
P17
Samsung are great until they go wrong. Once you find your expensive Samsung phone or tablet starts playing up, then you wish you'd bought Apple. I have several friends who have waited over three months to have phones repaired (not replaced) and one friend who had a similar problem with a Note. In contrast, I have nothing but admiration for Apple whose products are supported by the best customer service in the business. In the 5 years since I bought my first Apple product, I have had a broken screen replaced on my iPhone 4, a whole new base for my MBPro (just because two rubber feet fell off) a power adaptor changed, an iPad replaced because of a slight problem with the on/off switch, and when my MBP was just about to go out of warranty, Apple replaced the entire screen unit even though I told them I had dropped my MBPro when I fell asleep. On Wednesday, Apple in Covent Garden, London, changed my MB Pro charger for a brand new one despite the warranty ending in March 2014. You'd be lucky to get an apology from Samsung for anything! Besides which, Apple products are built to last and Samsung are built to a strict cost to maximise profit, that's why you get plastic instead of metal. Apple's iOS is far superior to anything out there because of the control they exert on the Apps etc. I've had countless nightmares with Windows and my son's Android phone. In the long run, you're far better off using an Apple product.
David Camp
The Master is obviously trolling for iPad cult followers! Galaxy tab s 8.4 is so sweet. Fast, consistent and very well built. Love haptic feedback. Not on iPad mini 3 which is really a mini 2. Screen resolution on on galaxy tab s 8.4 is STUNNING! Super AMOLED crazy beautiful. Nice deep blacks, beautifully saturated color space. Last but not least...the more factor. The Galaxy tab s 8.4 just feels perfect for one handed uee. 16:10 aspect ratio is petfect! It's so very lightweight and fully customizable. This may be the perfect tablet. I should know since I own iPad 3, Dell Venue 8 Pro, sold my Nexus 2013. I LOVE THE AMAZING GALAXY TAB S 8.4!