Mobile Technology

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

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (9.7-inc...
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 (left) with the iPad Air 2
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 (left) with the iPad Air 2
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Battery
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Battery
Build
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Build
Camera megapixels
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Camera megapixels
Cellular option
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Cellular option
Processor
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Processor
Dimensions
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Dimensions
Display resolution
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Display resolution
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 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2 (left) with the 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
MicroSD card slot
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MicroSD card slot
Starting price
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Starting price
RAM
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RAM
Release
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Release
Software
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Software
Storage
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Storage
Weight
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Weight
Color options
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Color options
Split-screen multitasking (coming to iPad with iOS 9)
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Split-screen multitasking (coming to iPad with iOS 9)

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

Dimensions
Dimensions

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

Weight
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

Build
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

Color options
Color options

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

Display size

Display size
Display size

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

Display resolution

Display resolution
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

Display type
Display type

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

Battery

Battery
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

Cellular option
Cellular option

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

Camera megapixels

Camera megapixels
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

Storage
Storage

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

MicroSD

MicroSD card slot
MicroSD card slot

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

Fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensor
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

Processor
Processor

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

RAM

RAM
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

Software
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

Split-screen multitasking (coming to iPad with iOS 9)
Split-screen multitasking (coming to iPad with iOS 9)

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

Release
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

Starting price
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.

4 comments
Sheryl Hamlin
The Chrome browser on the Galaxy tab is horrendous. It forces you into mobile mode so each click can bring you someplace else and unwanted. There is no configuration parameter to change, such as on tbe Kindle Fire, which I had before Galaxy. If multiple tabs are open, the browser always reloads the page when you return to an open tab, thus losing your work or worse opening the mobile version of a page. Many javascript enabled pages do not work, as well as many videos. Galaxy Chrome is horrendous.
Morton
I'm really looking forward to trying the new S2. May just settle for an older iPad Air, since they're now selling for $400 retail, but the S2, being thinner is cool. Also, I'm starting to get annoyed with iOS and its lack of widgets, which I've come to love on Android.
mckaizu
I had ipad mini 3 which I get from my birthday present , and this is my first ipad ever.. after playing with about 4 month and comparing it with my friends android tablet., I found out.. its lack of apps... alot..., sometimes my apps crash and freeze a bit.., I cant do much more compare to what my friend can.. and it make me sad using ipad,
tlk673
My biggest concern is what will happen after 6 months? IOS will be operating smoothly as how it works at the beginning. But android? stay away!..