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Galaxy Tab S vs iPad Air specs comparison

We pit Samsung's top-end tablet against its biggest competitor
Fri Jun 13 2014, 10:46

SAMSUNG ANNOUNCED the Galaxy Tab S at an event in New York on Thursday, and the firm has been quick to boast about the tablet's "industry-leading" specifications, likely a dig at Apple's iPad Air tablet.

We have pitted the two tablets head to head on paper, to see which one really comes out on top.

iPad Air: 240x169.5x7.5mm, 478g
Galaxy Tab S: 213x177x6.6mm, 465g

When Apple first unveiled the iPad Air, it was keen to boast that it was - at 7.5mm thick - the skinniest tablet available on the market. However, Samsung has now stolen the crown, with the Galaxy Tab S measuring a mere 6.6mm. Samsung's latest tablet, despite its larger screen size, is slightly lighter too, with the 3G and 4G versions tipping the scales at 465g and 467g, respectively.

iPad Air: 9.7in 2048x1536 264ppi LED-Backlit IPS screen
Galaxy Tab S: 10.5in 2560x1600 288ppi Super AMOLED screen

The iPad, since the release of the third-generation model at least, has long been heralded as having one of the best tablet screens, with its Retina display boasting 2048x1536 resolution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S has 10.5in Super AMOLED display

Samsung, however, has once again toppled Apple's flagship device, with its 10.5in Galaxy Tab S boasting a higher, "industry-leading" 2560x1600 resolution touchscreen display. The screen also has Samsung's Super AMOLED technology and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, which should make for deep blacks and bright whites.

However, given that the screen on the Galaxy Tab S is larger than Apple's 9.7in tablet, it remains to be seen which comes out on top in terms of quality.

It's worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S is also available in an 8.4in model which boasts the same 2560x1600 resolution, pitting it against Apple's latest iPad Mini tablet.

iPad Air: iOS 7
Galaxy Tab S: Android 4.4 Kitkat, custom UI

It's always hard to judge a winner in the software category when comparing an Apple and a Samsung device, as most people already know whether they prefer iOS or Android.

Apple iPad Air is the iPad 5

The iPad Air runs Apple's latest iOS 7 release, and will be promptly updated to iOS 8 once it is released later in the year. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S runs the newest version of Google's Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system, which it has heavily customised in its own user interface (UI).

Fans of vanilla Android might not be too keen, as Samsung's custom UI sees the tablet's 10.5in screen stuffed full of widgets, custom applications and features. However, some of these likely will come in handy, such as Samsung's S Note app, the ability to answer a call through the tablet and its support for the tablet's onboard fingerprint scanner, adding an extra layer of security to the device.

Despite appearing on the flagship iPhone 5S, the iPad Air doesn't come with a Touch ID sensor.

Next: Processor, cameras, battery, pricing and storage.


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