The new iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

The new iPad is a serious gadget as far as Apple is concerned. The trouble is that Apple is always concerned that far, especially when it comes to Android. So, just because Tim Cook and his cohorts went up on stage to tell us in a string of superlatives that there has never been anything in the history of the universe as good as the iPad 3, doesn’t necessarily mean that we should believe them.

Take, for example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, which will be one of the best Android tablet experiences available when it arrives in the shops; how does that compare to the iPad 3? Is the Apple tablet really the best of the best for 2012 or has it not even managed to clear the first competitor? Take a look at Pocket-lint’s iPad 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and find out.

Form Factor

1st: Note 10.1
256.7 x 175.3 x 8.6mm, 565g

2nd: The New iPad
241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm, 652g

With the frame of the next-gen iPad 3 not changing all that much from the iPad 2, that leaves the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 still very much in the driving seat as far as form factor goes. At nearly 100g lighter and a shade slimmer, it wins this round hands down. The only possible case that you could argue for the new iPad is in terms of the beauty of its industrial design and, yes, it is a looker. The thing is, so is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

Display

1st: The New iPad
9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536, LCD with IPS

2nd: Note 10.1
1280 x 800, 149ppi, Super PLS

Samsung is no stranger to stretching the boundaries when it comes to display technology. It was, after all, Samsung that supplied the panels for the iPads of old. On top of that, there’s also the Super AMOLEDs of Samsung’s mobile phone range to consider and its expertise in the AV field. All the same, it’s the new iPad that takes the crown as far as tablet displays go right now. The Super PLS technology in the 10.1 makes for an amazing viewing angle but the iPad 3 cleans up in the pixel department. Not only is the resolution huge but, in terms of density on that slightly smaller iPad 3 screen, it’s also going to make for a crisper picture. Naturally, we expect Samsung to unveil something impressive of its own some time soon but, right now, it’s a big display win for the iPad 3.

Engine Room

1st: The New iPad
Apple A5X

2nd: Note 10.1
1.4GHz dual-core processor

There’s not a whole lot know about the details of the SoC that lies in the heart of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Its siblings in the Galaxy Tab family rocked a Tegra 2 system which was very much on a par with the Apple A5 of the iPad 2 but we can’t be sure that that’s the same unit as in the Note 10.1.  What we do know is that the Apple A5X in the iPad 3 is a quad-core graphics chip and, whatever the clock speed, that trumps the dual-core set up in the Note 10.1. It’s a definite win for the iPad 3.

Imaging

1st: The New iPad
5MP rear, 0.3MP front, 1080p video at 30fps

2nd: Note 10.1
3MP back, 2MP front, flash, AF, 720p, 24fps

It’s not something that anyone was really expecting out of Cupertino, but Apple has put some serious work into revamping the optical abilities of the iPad. The iPad 3 is a veritable bottom kicker in this department, with a machine that’s as good at capturing stills as it is at shooting video. While the 720p capture was never really a problem, the jump up to a snapper with a resolution way beyond the old dreadful 0.7 megapixels, makes this gadget something that photographers can enjoy as much for catching the action as they can editing the results. We never had a problem with the Galaxy Note 10.1 in this department before. It seems now that Samsung has its work cut out.

Software

Tie: The New iPad
iOS 5.1

Tie: Note 10.1
Android 4.0 ICS + TouchWiz UX

One could sit here and argue until the cows come home, nestle in the straw and have a bit of a stretch and sleep the entire night before coming to any kind of conclusion about which is better - Android or iOS. If you’re not already in the know, the nutshell version is that iOS is super smooth and super simple but a bit restrictive whereas Android is much more flexible, customisable and fun but just missing that touch of ease of use and app support. So, that given, we’re calling this round a tie but we do recommend having a play with both OSs if you’re not familiar with them. You’ll work out pretty quickly which one you prefer.

Storage

1st: Note 10.1
16GB, 32GB or 64GB flash + microSD

2nd: The New iPad
16GB, 32GB or 64GB flash

Samsung seems keen on expandable storage throughout its smartphone and tablet range and that’s no bad thing. While, for some, the advantage might be all about stuffing as many files as possible on to any one device at any one time, the real bonus comes when considering the cost. While the top end 64GB of storage on the iPad 3 costs a top-end price, you can get the same amount of potential file space on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 by choosing the middle range 32GB version and picking up a far cheaper 32GB microSD card to make up the difference. Worth thinking about.

Connectivity

1st: The New iPad
3G, Wi-Fi, BT, LTE

2nd: Note 10.1
HSDPA+, Wi-Fi, BT, USB

With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity very much the standard trio these days, the only areas where the iPad 3 could really have caught up with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is in the speed of that cellular connectivity and that’s exactly what Apple has done. Waving around a 9.7-inch tablet for contactless payment isn’t particularly practical for those hoping for the inclusion of NFC technology, but LTE is something that will certainly be enjoyed by those living in the States and other countries with a 4G mobile infrastructure in place.

Battery

1st: Note 10.1
Up to 9 hours video

2nd: The New iPad
Up to 10 hours usage

It may seem strange given the statistics provided but we’re handing this round to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Yes, Apple claims up to 10 hours of battery life per charge but we’d be immensely surprised if that included anything like as much as the 9 hours of video output that the Note 10.1 promises. Far more likely is that you’d be talking a few hours of audio here, some gaming there, a movie and bit of web browsing and that’s about it. Rendering solid HD for 10 hours straight sounds like far too much. Hence the words “up to” and the word “usage”.

Conclusion

1St: The New iPad
2Nd: Note 10.1

Choosing the better tablet here, it’s hard not to hear one’s parents in one’s ear. The practical choice is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. It wins a lot of rounds against the iPad 3. The trouble is that it’s the sexiest, raciest, more daring and, ultimately, most exciting battle that it loses. The iPad 3 is the hot rod here with a brilliant screen and a huge engine under the hood to make it purr like a wild cat. Throw in that beefed up camera and its near unbeatable. Tablets are nothing if not items of luxury to get excited about and, of the two, it’s the iPad 3 that really gets the heart pounding. And the Samsung S-pen stylus really doesn’t help add to that wow factor.



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