Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8.4) vs Apple iPad mini Retina: What's the difference?

Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy Tab S tablets at an event in New York, with both 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch models joining the tablet race.

It's a tough market out there though and the competition is strong, so what will the new tablets bring to the mix? We have compared the 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab S to Apple's iPad mini with Retina display to see what the differences are and how Samsung's new offering stacks up.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S has a bigger, sharper, display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S features an 8.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution compared to the Apple iPad mini's 7.9-inch screen size that brings a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution to the party.

In terms of the numbers, the Galaxy Tab S is not only 0.5-inches larger, but it will also be sharper and deliver a little more detail thanks to its 359ppi pixel density in comparison to the iPad mini's 304ppi.

We thought the iPad mini with Retina display offered a great screen when we reviewed it, but the Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Tab S tablets looks fantastic: it's bright, vibrant and full of detail.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S is lighter and slimmer

Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab S and the Apple iPad mini offer curved, smooth, edges but the Apple iPad mini is a little more understated than the Galaxy Tab S thanks to its smooth finished rear as opposed to the Band-Aid back of the Samsung product.

Many thought Apple would bring the TouchID fingerprint sensor that it launched on the iPhone 5S to the iPad mini but this didn't turn out to be the case, while Samsung has opted for a fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Tab S.

Crunching the numbers in terms of measurements, the Galaxy Tab S comes in at 212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6mm and weighs 294g compared to the iPad mini's 200 x 134.7 x 7.5mm build and 331g weight.

The Galaxy Tab S is not only slimmer, but plenty lighter than Apple's option. But the iPad mini is a smaller device overall in height and width.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S has more megapixels and a flash

The camera is another area that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S trumps the Apple iPad mini, at least in terms of numbers.

The Galaxy Tab S has an 8-megapixel rear snapper with LED flash and a 2.1-megapixel front camera compared to the iPad mini's 5-megapixel rear camera and 1.2-megapixel front camera.

It might not be the most important factor of a tablet, but for those who enjoy taking pictures with their tablet, especially in low light, this is certainly something to consider.

Similar performance and battery power

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S offers an Exynos octa-core processor under its hood made up of a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, supported by 3GB of RAM, which is a lot for a tablet of this size.

Apple didn't cut any corners with its smaller tablet either though, bringing the same A7 processor with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion co-processor found in the larger iPad to the iPad mini, meaning yet another powerful device.

The Galaxy Tab S offers a 4900mAh battery capacity along with the S5's Ultra Power Saving mode so we suspect it is likely to be around the same as the iPad mini, if not a little better. Samsung's similar tablet, the Galaxy TabPro came with a 4800mAh capacity that is said to give you around 10 hours of internet browsing time, and we'd expect the same here or a slight improvement.

Android vs iOS

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S runs on the latest version of Android while the Apple iPad mini runs on the latest iOS so again, it will be down to personal taste as to which one you prefer or are accustomed to. Both systems are very different and both have inherent advantages.

Both devices come with their own unique features such as an Ultra Power Saving mode and the ability to confirm PayPal payments using your finger on the Galaxy Tab S, while the iPad mini comes with things like Apple's AirPlay, AirDrop and AirPrint functions.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S is probably going to be cheaper

It is likely you already know which of these two devices you want to spend your hard earned cash on, but if you are still sitting on the fence, the price might help you decide.

Although Samsung has yet to announce the UK price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, rumours have suggested it will start at £363 for the Wi-Fi only model, with which you will get either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. The microSD slot for further storage expansion up to 128GB is an advantage over the iPad.

The iPad mini with Retina dispaly, on the other hand, starts at £319 for the Wi-Fi only 16GB model but there is no microSD slot. If you want more storage, you are looking at between £399 and £559 for 32GB to 128GB.

Conclusion

If you look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S and the Apple iPad mini spec-for-spec, the Galaxy Tab S is the winner in terms of numbers.

The Galaxy Tab S has a larger, sharper display, a lighter and slimmer, a better camera and it is probably going to be cheaper than Apple's iPad mini.

However we all know that buying one of these tablets won't just be about the specs and design, as the operating system will play a huge part in the decision-making process.