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Galaxy Tab S7 Plus vs iPad Pro: 3 surprising similarities and 1 big differentiator

Looking to pick up a new top-end tablet? Then you’ll likely be considering either an iPad Pro or Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, and for good reason.

Both tablets have similar feature sets, top-notch hardware and convertible form factors that let you turn them into pseudo laptops. In fact, they’re so similar, that layperson or non-techie buyers may be confused with which they should get, which could be dangerous as the two tablets have key nuances differentiating them from one another.

Here to help you on your purchase journey, we’ve created this list detailing four things to consider when picking between the Apple iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S7 Plus.

Related: Best tablet

Both have stylus pens

The key thing linking the iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is that they both come with stylus pens. Specifically, the iPad Pro features an Apple Pencil while the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus features a new and improved S Pen.

Traditionally, we’ve viewed the Apple Pencil as being the superior of the two. Though the S Pens of yore have been more comfortable to hold, the Pencil has generally felt a touch more responsive and suffered less from latency. The newer Pro Pencil also has wireless charging, thanks to a clever side-facing magnetic docking system.

However, this time round things are a little more competitive as Samsung’s made a few key changes. For starters, latency has been cut down from over 40ms to just 9ms. During our hands-on with the Tab S7 Plus, we found this made it way more reactive and pleasant to use. Samsung has also added a similar magnetic charge system to the iPad’s that lets you top up the S Pen’s battery but attaching it to the Tab S7’s back.

Though we personally think a side dock makes more sense, this means on paper both are great for basic creative work and we can’t wait to see how the S Pen of the Tab S7 Plus compares to the Apple Pencil with prolonged testing come our full review.

Both have 120Hz screens

Another big change is that, for the first time ever with the Tab S7 Plus, there’s an Android tablet that can match the iPad Pro’s ProMotion tech.

Specifically, the Tab S7 Plus comes with a top-notch 12.3-inch OLED display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. The 120Hz refresh rate is a common sight on Android phones, like the Galaxy S20, and some tablets from the likes of Huawei.

But what differentiates it is that, like the new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the display is truly variable. This means it can intelligently adjust its refresh rate to boost performance or conserve battery depending on what the tablet is doing. Prior to now, the iPad Pro was the only mainstream tablet able to do this.

The only concern we have is around colour accuracy. Though the Tab S7 Plus’ screen looked great during our hands-on demo, in the past Samsung devices haven’t been able to match the colour accuracy and gamut coverage of their Apple rivals. If history repeats itself this time around, the iPad Pro will likely remain the better option for creatives.

Both are powerhouse performers, outside of one key metric

The iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S7 Plus have very different internals, but both are undeniably top-end devices.

The iPad Pro is powered by Apple’s stellar A13Z Bionic chip. To date, this remains one of the most efficient and powerful chips we’ve seen on a tablet proving capable of everything from 3D gaming to vector design work on things like Affinity Designer.

But, Samsung’s Tab S7 Plus is far from a slowpoke, running on the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865+. We haven’t had a chance to benchmark the tablet yet, but the CPUs are on paper impressive and should be more than powerful enough to keep the S7 Plus running smoothly for years to come. The chips also mean the Tab S7 Plus is the only one of the two to offer 5G connectivity, which will be a boon to power users who are regularly on the move.

Both have very different software

For tech-heads, this won’t be big news. But, for less technical buyers, this is the biggest metric you need to keep in mind picking between the two. The Tab S7’s Android 10 software and Apple’s iPadOS both offer very different experiences.

Google doesn’t officially optimise Android for tablets, having pulled out of the market many moons ago. So all the tablet focussed features on the Tab S7 Plus come from Samsung.

Thankfully, most look great with highlights including Dex and Multi-App support. The primary lets you stream apps to compatible Samsung Smartthings screens and TVs. The latter lets you have up to three apps running and screen at once, making it, on paper, a great and potentially iPad beating productivity aid.

But the downside is that most apps aren’t as optimised for the big screen as their iPadOS equivalents, which have been designed for tablet form factors from the get-go. iPadOS also has a more diverse selection of optimised creative apps and services.

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