iPad vs. Galaxy Tab: Comparing Apples and Galaxies

Apple recently launched the popular iPad tablet in South Africa at prices that compete well against import services as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Even when compared to the equivalent European and North American prices, South Africans seem to be getting a reasonable deal on the device.

Among concerns of whether one should wait to see if Apple announces the iPad 2 in the coming months it is also reasonable to wonder how the iPad stacks up to the Galaxy Tab.

Samsung launched the 16GB Galaxy Tab in South Africa during November 2010 with a recommended retail price of R7,999.

It’s smaller and lighter than the iPad, trading off display resolution as well as screen and battery size. In fact, the two devices have very different technical specifications, as illustrated by the table below.

Apple iPad vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab
Feature Apple iPad Samsung Galaxy Tab
Operating System iOS 4 Android 2.2
Display 9.7″ 1024×768 (132ppi) LED backlit LCD 7″ 1024×600 (170ppi) transflective TFT
Internal Storage 16GB 32GB 64GB 16GB 32GB
External storage N/A microSD up to 32GB
Camera N/A Rear: 3.0 Megapixel (AF), LED flash
Front: 1.3 Megapixel
Network (3G) 7.2 Mbps UMTS/HSDPA(850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE(850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Data only
7.2 Mbps UMTS/HSDPA(900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Data and voice
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) Bluetooth 3.0
Battery 25Wh (~6610mAh) lithium-polymer 4000 mAh (14.8Wh at 3.7V)
Processor 1GHz Apple A4, Samsung Hummingbird core 1GHz Samsung-Intrinsity, Hummingbird Core
RAM 256MiB 512MiB
Graphics PowerVR SGX535 PowerVR SGX540
Weight (3G) 730 grams 380 grams
Price (RRP) R5,599 R6,599 R7,599 R7,999 N/A

The above specifications are drawn directly from the manufacturer’s websites where possible and it’s worth noting that Samsung doesn’t seem to advertise that the Galaxy Tab display is also LED backlit. This is according to reports from various tech news and hardware analysis publications.

A key but somewhat obscure difference that may affect the average user is that of 900 MHz UMTS/HSPA support.

Cell C’s new cellular network runs mostly in the 900 MHz band and the 3G iPads don’t have built-in modems that support it.

This problem can be circumvented with devices like portable Wi-Fi enabled 3G modems, such as the MiFi range.

What the iPad lacks in 3G support in the 900 MHz band and RAM it makes up for with its battery capacity and display. 

While the iPad has a larger capacity battery than the Galaxy Tab it may not be indicative of overall battery life due to the differences in hardware, particularly the iPad’s larger screen. A more thorough analysis is required to determine which of the batteries lasts longer.

One such analysis was conducted by Anandtech, a well respected hardware analysis and news site. They reported that the Galaxy Tab demonstrated good battery life but was outshone by that of the iPad.

Given the various trade offs and numerous differences between the two devices and the platforms they run on, it will ultimately be up to the user to decide which set of features offers greater appeal to them.

There is also the plethora of new tablets that are due to be launched this year to consider, but if you’re looking for a tablet right now and have narrowed your choices to these two devices you should ideally find a way to experience both before making a decision.

One should also take the imminent decrease in price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab into account. 

The price cuts seem to have already made it through to retail as Kalahari.net was offering the Galaxy Tab for R6,999 at the time of writing.

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iPad vs. Galaxy Tab: Comparing Apples and Galaxies