Very few devices can compete with the iPad Air, one of the most beautiful and powerful devices in Apple’s line of products.
However, Samsung has made great progress, and the Galaxy Tab S is one of those few devices. Once you get to operate the Tab S, you’ll be shocked how elegant, stylish, fast and genuinely excellent device the tablet is.
Design and Display
Thickness and lightness have been two of the signature points in the design of Apple’s tablets, and this especially applies to the iPad Air, which was classified as one of the slimmest tablets. Well, the Galaxy Tab S manages to beat Apple in both of those categories. The Tab S looks brilliant, elegant, and extremely sleek. Samsung has opted for simple and minimalistic approach in the design section, and it has paid off. When you hold the Tab S in your hands, you just feel you’re holding a thing of beauty. The physical key has shrunk, and is now proportionate with the measurements of the device. We cannot say that the iPad Air doesn’t look good, it does. It really is sleek device with some metal touches that make it feel more premium. For comparison, the measurements of the device are as following: Galaxy Tab S 8.4 – 126x213x6.6 weighting 294 grams; iPad Air – 240×169.5×7.5 weighting 478 grams. It is worth noting that it has an 8.4 inch screen display, but the bigger, 10 inch Tab S weights less than the iPad Air (465 grams) and has the same thickness. Samsung’s device delivers better screen resolution and density, with the resolution set at 1600×2560 pixels translating to 359ppi. The iPad Air delivers resolution of 1536×2048 and density of 264ppi.
Hardware and Operating System
Both devices are extremely powerful, but they do have their weaknesses as well. For example, the Galaxy Tab S features an extremely powerful octa core processor (quad core 1.9GHz + quad core 1.3GHz). With the RAM memory set at 3GB, the device runs perfectly. The only problem is in the way the processor operates. To explain, the processor doesn’t operate all eight cores at once. Instead, it combines the best 4 cores for the appointed operation. When tagged with harder operations, it powers the more powerful cores, and for easy tasks, it uses the less powerful cores. This can sometimes cause a delay of a second or two when opening an application, which is the time needed for the processor to decide which cores to operate. The iPad Air, on the other hand, runs on dual core processor clocked at 1.3GHz and has 1GB of RAM memory. While power is not much important for iOS devices, the RAM memory certainly is. When you open more than one content rich website, the Safari browser can crash and shutter. The Tab S offers better flexibility when it comes to storage, as the device is available in 16 and 32GB versions, with the possibility to add 128GB more space with a microSD card. The iPad Air doesn’t support external memory, and is available in 16, 32 and 64GB versions.
Comparing the OS is a tricky task, since every user has its own preferences. While some prefer the simple, minimalistic and closed OS found in Apple’s devices, others prefer the open for third party and highly customizable Android. For information, the Tab S runs on the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, while the iPad Air runs on the iOS 7, but should get an update to the latest iOS 8. It is worth noting that Samsung has removed many of the widgets that previously cluttered the OS. Some of the new feature additions include the Magazine UX, fingerprint scanner and the support for Multi Window.
Samsung delivers a better camera, which is an 8-MP rear shooter, compared to the 5-MP sensor found in the iPad Air. Even though the colors taken with the device are slightly unrealistic, the camera is better. Additionally, the Tab S has a LED flash, allowing it to take pictures in low light conditions as well.
The battery found in the Tab S 8.4 is a 4900 mAh battery, capable of delivering 11 hours of multimedia and up to 80 hours of music play. The one in the iPad Air is an 8600 mAh battery, delivering 10 hours of multimedia. Several tests have shown that the Tab S lasts longer.
The price difference between the devices is not a deal breaker. While Apple’s devices are a lot more expensive than Android devices, that is not the case here. The price for the Tab S 8.4 is set at $600, while the one for the iPad Air is set at $650.