From the release of the first iPad, tablets have created their own market that is growing fast and there’s no doubt that tablets nowadays can compete with netbooks and even laptops.
I’m going to time-travel in the past a bit and revisit the good ol’ iPad 2 and compare it to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet.
Build and Design
The guys at Samsung have built the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with light weight in mind, as the tablet is made entirely of plastic and it weighs 565g compared to the aluminum unibody on the Apple iPad 2 that weighs 607g which is fairly noticeable as it is 10% heavier.
Both devices look sleek and they’re very slim, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 being as thick as 8.6mm compared to the 8.8mm on the iPad 2 which is hardly noticeable.
Handling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is easier with its slimmer portrait waistline which makes for better typing while in portrait mode, as your thumbs don’t have to travel as much as on the iPad 2.
I have to say that the iPad 2 gives users a premium feel because of its aluminum coating and noticeable heavier weight.
The screen on the Tab 10.1 is gorgeous, packing a 10.1” PLS TFT display (149 ppi), which is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass. The screen is rather glossy, but it compensates in outdoors usage, as the sunlight legibility on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is pretty good.
Apple’s iPad 2 comes with a smaller 9.7” LED IPS display (132 ppi) which has a scratch-resistant oleophobic glass on top of it for fast cleaning. The display is good, but not great, as when you expose the screen to sunlight, you won’t see the details as good as on the Tab 10.1, but that gets thrown aside by the more natural colors that the iPad 2 gives.
Both devices perform great, giving users a smooth and responsive experience, but I’d rather incline to the iPad 2 when it comes to smoothness and responsiveness as the device feels somewhat better and gives you a more fluid ride compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 where it pinches the animations sometimes and doesn’t deliver as good as the iPad 2.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU that comes with the ULP GeForce GPU which handles everything you throw at it with no sweat at all.
Again, I think that the Apple iPad 2 performs better with its Apple A5 Dual-Core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU plus the PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU (see Infinity Blade and Unreal Engine).
Both devices come packed with 16/32/64GB of non-expandable storage with 1GB RAM for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 512MB on the iPad 2. I don’t know why they don’t put a damn microSD slot on the devices, but I think marketing could be the answer for this one.
Camera and Video
Regarding camera, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 does much better than the iPad 2 (I don’t know why Apple even bothered to put a camera like this on this device), having a 3.15 MP camera with autofocus and flash that can record in 720p @ 30fps plus a secondary 2 MP front facing camera for video conversations, whereas the iPad 2 has a low quality 0.7 MP camera with no flash that surprisingly can record in 720p @ 30fps and a VGA camera on the front for FaceTime.
Both the devices don’t feature great cameras, but the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a far better camera than the iPad 2.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs on Android 3.1 Honeycomb which is a great OS, created for tablets only. Apple’s iPad 2 runs on iOS 4 right out of the box, but it can be upgraded to the latest version of iOS and I think that the iOS could be better from my point of view because it’s much easier to use and everything feels in place.
The battery life on these two is kind of similar, but the Nvidia Tegra 2 on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 does a better job of preserving battery life with a stand-by time that lasts for up to 2120h (2G) / 1840h (3G) compared to the 720h on the iPad 2.
I would give the trophy to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 because it beats the iPad 2 in almost every aspect, but if you’re an Apple fanboy, I can’t argue with that or if you favor simplicity, you should go for the iPad 2.