The iPad 2 is now official, but is it the one you want to buy? Although the original iPad has had the lion's share of the tablet market since its launch, there are now plenty of other devices on offer with the Android-powered and bigger than ever Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V looking like one to consider

So, has the second coming of the Apple tablet done enough to stop the others snapping at its heals? We threw their spec sheets in the ring together to find out. It’s the Apple iPad 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V.

1st: iPad 2
241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm, 613g
2nd: SamTab 10.1V
246.2 x 170.4 x 10.9mm, 599g

The two things that count the most in modern day form factor are “how thin is it?” and “how heavy is it?” and Apple has made a few jaws drop with the launch of a tablet that’s 33 per cent thinner than the original and even skinnier than the iPhone 4. The iPad 2 is just 8.8mm in profile and only 613g in weight. Add onto the pile that Apple products are generally pretty damn aesthetically and ergonomically good and you’ve already got an excellent reason to forget about Android.

All the same, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is no slouch itself. It’s actually a fraction lighter at 599g but it’s probably the thickness that makes it just about lose out in this round. Those 2mm seem a bigger margin than the 14g.

1st: SamTab 10.1v
10.1-inch, 1280 x 800px, LCD
2nd: Apple iPad 2
9.7-inch, 1024x768px, LCD with IPS

Round one might have been a snap for the iPad 2 but, with no change to the viewing surface and those Retina Display hopes dashed against the rocks, the screen to watch definitely belongs to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

In fact, one of the bigger SamTab’s most popular featureis its large 10-inch display. The LCD screen has IPS which means that you get a decent viewing angle - the same as with the iPad 2 - but the 10.1 also has the advantage with its relatively high 1280x800px resolution, as well as a proper 16:9 aspect ratio for widescreen video viewing rather than the slightly awkward size that Apple presents.

Tie: Apple iPad 2
Apple A5 chip, 1GHz dual-core CPU
Tie: SamTab 10.1v
Tegra 2, 1GHz dual-core CPU

The second-generation iPad has been given a huge boost with the inclusion of Apple's new A5 chip, replacing the original model's A4 chipset. It's a dual-core processor which means that it measures up to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1’s Nvidia Tegra 2 in terms of power and, indeed, they’re both based on the architecture of the ARM Cortex-A9 family.

Apple is claiming that the performance jump works out as twice as fast as the original iPad with 9x the graphics power. However, in comparison to the Tegra 2 SoC it appears that we’re looking at something more or less equivalent.

Tie: Apple iPad 2
16/32/64GB flash
Tie: SamTab 10.1v
32/64GB flash

We like the way the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V dispenses with the piddly 16GB model. What we don’t like so much is how it loses expandable storage at the same time. Fortunately for Samsung, Apple doesn’t do SD either, so it’s a dead heat in this category.

Tie: Apple iPad 2
Up to 10 hour video playback
Tie: SamTab 10.1v 

It’s a tricky one to decipher this time seeing as each company has quoted its battery specs in a different way, but it's not impossible by any means. The original iPad ran a 6600mAh unit and managed the same 10 hour video playback as the sequel. Now, while the iPad 2 probably has something marginally more suped up to cope with the extra power under the hood, we can’t imagine that it’s much bigger than that on offer in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. What’s more, the SamTab has some pretty good low power units of its own. So, all things being equal, they look about the same.

1st: SamTab 10.1v
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
2nd: Apple iPad 2:
iOS 4.3

The recently announced Apple iOS 4.3, appearing on the iPad 2, looks good. Of that there is no doubt. In fairness, Google’s Android 3.0 looks pretty smashing as well. Now, we could chew the fat for quite some time on the ins and outs but the fact is that the Android OS simply has to win for two very good and very well-documented reasons. The first is that the Honeycomb offers a full browsing experience while the iPad will give you everything except Abode Flash which is a bit of a bummer because it’s still an important enough web tool to miss.

The second reason is that, although mobile hotspot creation has been added for iPhone 4 in iOS 4.3, it’s not present in the iPad 2. Now perhaps that’s not as relevant when talking about a tablet which has 3G anyway but you can bet that there’s a situation out there where you’ll miss it.

1st: Apple iPad 2
2nd: SamTab 10.1v

Quite a telling category this one, as pointed out quite neatly by Steve Jobs at the iPad 2 press conference. At the time of writing, Apple has 65,000 dedicated apps available for download for its tablets. Any Android tablet out there has just 100. Now, while this is bound to change within the next 6-12 months for Honeycomb, there is going to be a bit of a lean spell and playing Angry Birds small screen on your 10-inch tab is a little soul destroying. Big win for the iPad 2.

1st: Apple iPad 2
Wi-Fi, 3G, BT, HDMI
2nd: SamTab 10.1v
3G, Wi-Fi, BT, USB

While we’re not really going to quibble to hard about the iPad having no 4G support, where the Apple tablet really falls down in this area are things like missing USB ports and SD cards and not having DLNA either. Weirdly enough though, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V doesn’t do very well in this department either. It has a USB but no HDMI, no DLNA, no 4G and no SD card either - at least, not as it stands.

Even Apple has a silly cable you can buy for $39 to bring HDMI-out to the iPad 2. This round is rather like watching that video of two cyclists fighting but it seems that the Apple tablet has managed to weakling its way to a victory over its puny opponent.

1st: SamTab 10.1v
8MP rear, 2MP front, 1080p video
2nd: iPad 2
VGA front, 720p video rear

Frankly most people will be too overjoyed that there’s not one but two cameras on the iPad 2 to notice that Apple has still managed to lose this category. While Apple has refrained from talking megapixels, the important part of the specs is that there’s no LED flash like the one available on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and only 720p video capture to play with as well. So, even if the iPad 2 can compete with the 8MP front and 2MP rear, it’s still going to lose out in the imaging department.

Tie: Apple iPad 2
Wi-Fi: £439/£510/£612, 3G: £541/£612/£714
Tie: SamTab 10.1v
Unknown (£615?)

With no official word yet on the pricing of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V, it’s a little tricky to tell here. The rumours are of a figure of around $1000 in the States. Converted to pounds, that puts it on a par with the price of the iPad 2 in the UK. However, if the SamTab 10.1V works out less favourably in the exchange - as well it might - then the scales will tip in Apple’s favour.

Tie: Apple iPad 2
Tie: SamTab 10.1v

This one rather comes down to a case of software and imaging working in favour of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V - as well as a slightly better screen - against the lack of apps, HDMI and marginally sexier form factor of the iPad 2. On balance, we’d probably go for the SamTab on paper - despite the weird missing ports - and hope that the Android Market gets its act together pretty darn soon.

What do you think of the new iPad? Will you be investing in one or have you got another tablet in mind?