Just before Apple announced the iPad back in January 2010, the only tablets that were making news were Michael Arrington's CrunchPad and Notion Inks Adam – both of which are yet to see the “proper” light of the day.
While the Crunchpad has become the JooJoo controversially, Notion Ink is still playing with internal prototypes.
Almost a year down the line, Apple has already managed to carve a niche for itself in the almost non-existent tablet market. Since its launch back in April 2010, the iPad has gone on to become the most widely used tablet ever – selling over 7.5 million units to date.
It was too late when the rest of the pack realised that Apple now had a head start in the Tablet market. That however did not deter manufacturers like Samsung and Dell who have bought their own Tablets in to the fray soon after the iPad arrived. Notable amongst them is the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Lets see how this Tablet compares to the iPad and whether it has the oomph to convert a hardcore iOS user to at least consider giving the Galaxy Tab a chance.
We will compare the two tablets on a variety of factors and see who comes out tops
Looks are subjective. Agreed. But then, with Apple having a long history of making uber cool looking devices, Samsung had a tough fight on its hands. That said, there is very less in terms of design that one can implement when it comes to a tablet – mainly due to its form factor and the fact that most of its “visible” area encompasses the screen. From what I opine, there isn't a clear winner here. Of course, hard core Apple fanboys would not touch anything that doesn’t have the Apple logo with a one mile rod – but hell, the Galaxy Tab is surely a sleek looker. Make no mistake about that!
The screen has to be the most important aspect of any tablet. While the iPad has chosen to go with a large 9.7- inch display, the Galaxy Tab has a smaller 7-inch display. Also to be noted is the fact that the iPad has an IPS panel unlike the Galaxy Tab which romps home with “just” a TFT screen. The larger screen on the iPad also boasts of a larger resolution of 1024*768 in a 4:3 aspect ratio.
The Galaxy Tab on the other hand has a slightly lower resolution if 1024*600. But then, since the Galaxy Tab is significantly smaller, the pixel density on the Tab would be slightly better. Also, the Galaxy Tab has a 16:9 aspect ratio – better suited for wide screen movies. But then, for an engrossing movie experience, the larger the screen, the better the experience. The iPad is a winner here – even though it does have its own share of flaws.
Under the Skin
Lets now delve in to the hardware bit. The iPad has a blazing fast A4 chip for a mobile device that runs at 1Ghz. The Galaxy Tab isn't far behind with his Hummingbird processor which (also) runs at 1Ghz. This is the same processor being used in the Galaxy S smartphone. While the processors offer comparable computing prowess, the iPad falls short when It comes to the amount of RAM. With “just” 256MB of RAM, it has just half the amount of RAM the Galaxy Tab has. Although its debatable as to how much of a degradation in performance is experienced by an average iPad user.
Winner: Galaxy Tab
On the storage front, the Apple iPad is available in either 16, 32 or 64 GB options. On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab is available in two storage options: 16 GB and 32 GB. Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab does have microSD support using which you can increase the stock memory. That said, we feel, for tablets 64 GB of memory should be enough. Unless of course you are a hardcore HD movie freak. In any case, both the devices can have a maximum of 64 GB of data stored in them. However, the iPad can provide it out of the box and doesn't need a microSD card to do that.
On the connectivity front, both the devices are equally matched. The iPad has 3G ready versions and so does the Galaxy Tab. Both support contemporary Wi-Fi protocols. The only part where the Galaxy Tab betters the iPad is when it comes to Bluetooth, which comes with Bluetooth 3.0 support. Both the tablets support GPS (iPad only on 3G versions) as well.
Winner: Galaxy Tab
The browsers on both – the iPad and the Galaxy Tab are quite on par with each other. However, once the Froyo update arrives for the Galaxy Tab, it would be able to display full flash content on it. The iPad on the other hand – even without flash, offers a better browsing experience because of its larger display. Both the tablets support multi-touch gestures as well, which adds to the overall browsing experience. If we were asked to choose a winner, it would still be the iPad.
This is a complete no contest. While the iPad completely misses the bus here, the Galaxy Tab boasts of two cameras. Although the better rear camera can take images at just 3 megapixels, the fact is it HAS a camera.
The front camera is a 1.3 megapixel shooter. That said, we wonder why Samsung didn’t cram in a better camera with the Galaxy Tab – especially when they can put in a 5 megapixel sensor on a much smaller Galaxy S. The iPad loses out completely here as it has no camera at all.
Winner: Galaxy Tab
This is where the iPad get backs at the Galaxy Tab after it lost the camera contest! The iPad has access to the widest variety of applications that you would ever see on any tablet. Add to it, the fact that developers can tweak all applications designed for the iPhone or the iPod touch to be supported on the iPad means you have a mind boggling number of apps at your disposal. All this, just months after the launch of the product. The Galaxy Tab on the other hand has lesser applications but unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab applications might have compatibility issues because the Android market has applications designed for a wide variety of Android devices – and not just the Galaxy Tab.
If you ask me a simple question, “Who wins”, I'd say no one. While both these devices in the fray are broadly classified as tablets, from what we see, they appeal to different kind of audiences. The Galaxy Tab is easier to carry around. The iPad is a little bulkier but it too can be carried around – just as not freely as the Galaxy Tab. Unfortunately, what the Galaxy Tab gains on portability is lost when it comes to the user experience, which is much better on the iPad because it has a larger screen. That said, let us reaffirm that the Galaxy Tab is not at all visually drab. In fact, you'd love using it – until you come across the iPad. Are we hinting at something? Go figure!