New iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Special report: iPad 3 / New iPad : What You Need To Know
Hands on: iPad 3 Review

The new iPad from Apple is here. Some might say it’s not quite the revolution they were hoping for, but it’s a class act. A greater-than-1080p screen, quad-core GPU and that lovely iPad design put it right near the top of our most-wanted list. But how does it compare with the second-gen Galaxy Tab, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1? We put the specs on trial to find out.

Hot bods
New iPad – Anodised aluminium back, classic iPad 2 design
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – Widescreen, plastic back

The new iPad looks a lot like the last iPad. It has an aluminium anodised back, is thin and pretty light, and isn’t quite as long as the 10.1in Android tablets thanks to its 4:3 aspect ratio screen. iPad 2 owners won’t be dazzled by its spangly new-ness, but it’s a looker, no-doubt.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 takes a different approach. As something of a cut-price option compared to its predecessor, it uses a plastic back rather than a metal one. It’s much less impressive – grey plastic isn’t exactly cool these days. The design is otherwise good, though. Classic tablet – glossy black front, with hints of silvery goodness.

    New iPad
Dimensions and waistline
New iPad
– 9.4mm thick, 652g, 24cm long
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – 9.7mm thick, 588g, 25.6cm long

Now here’s a surprise. The new iPad is a little bit thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. It has a good excuse, though. Apple has packed-in a bigger battery to keep stamina the same as the previous generation. Weight has also bumped-up a bit – now 652g up from 601g (Wi-Fi only model). It’s an increase you’d notice side-by-side, but not a huge problem.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is significantly lighter – 588g – although it is a little larger. Its 10.1in screen makes the tablet longer, and it’s a mite thicker too. How come it’s lighter? Using a plastic back cover has helped the Samsung stay feather-light. Both tablets are both impressively thin and light regardless.
Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Battery life
New iPad –
10hr, 9hr with 3G/4G
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – 7000mAh, expected 8-10hr

The new iPad maintains the impressive battery performance of the iPad 2. Using the Wi-Fi only model, you’ll get 10 hours – all-day battery, in other words. You lose an hour if you switch on 3G/4G, but that’s hardly a bad figure, is it?

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has a large 7000mAh battery. Although Samsung has not released hour-rating figures for this battery, we expect it will hold up performance from the previous generation Galaxy Tab 10.1, with at least eight hours. That model featured a battery of the same capacity.
Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Not the slimmest – but that’s still pretty slim, ain’t it?

Processor grunt
New iPad – Apple A5x dual-core with quad-core GPU
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – dual-core 1GHz cortex A9

How next-gen is the new Apple A5x processor? Not quite as much as you might think. It’s actually a dual-core main unit, with a quad-core graphics bit. Apple was keen to big-up its quad-core skills, but – to be fair to the old dear – the A5x makes it fairly clear it’s a partial upgrade to the A5 model of the iPad 2. Plus, once more game developers get their hands on that quad-core GPU, you can expect amazing things.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 uses a rather pedestrian chip by today’s standards. It’s a dual-core A9 1GHz chip, making it very similar – if not identical – to the CPU of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Why? The Tab 2 is clearly meant to be a lower-cost option than its luxury predecessor. However, it means you’re likely to miss out on the quad-core goodies game developers will come up with in 2012.
New iPad
New iPad – 16/32/64GB, non expandable
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – 16/32GB, microSD

There were no storage surprises on storage during the new iPad launch event. Like the iPad 2, it’ll come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavours, and it won’t accept a memory card unless you buy the camera connection kit accessory – which is pretty limited anyway. What did we expect? 8GB and 128GB versions were rumoured, but we didn’t think they’d turn up anyway.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 misses out on a high-end 64GB option, but wins back major brownie points for including a microSD card slot. This feature was missing on the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, and means the Samsung claims the victory here.

Screen star?
New iPad
– 2,048 x 1,536, IPS, 9.7in
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – 1,280 x 800, PLS, 10.1in

Retina Display comes to the new iPad? As happened when the iPhone 4 was launched, the resolution has increased hugely in this iPad edition. It boasts four times the pixels of the old model, with a staggeringly-lovely IPS screen. With greater-than-1080p resolution, the new iPad has many more pixels than 99.5 percent of televisions in the world.

Samsung’s alternative is much less impressive – although it’s still a stonking screen. The resolution is the standard 1,280 x 800, seen in pretty much every 10.1in Android tablet of 2011. Yawn? A little, but the PLS screen – which is a Samsung tweak of IPS (used in iPads) – is great. Six months ago we’d have hailed this as a triumph, but times move on quickly in the tech world.
new iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Camera pro
New iPad – 5MP, no flash, 1080p video
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – 3.2MP, LED flash, 1080p video

The new iPad got a major photographic boost over the iPad 2. From 0.7MP to 5MP in a single leap, you’ll now be able to take decent photos rather than utterly shocking ones. Autofocus and face detection are in, as is 1080p video capture. But there’s no flash, which seems a very silly omission. In fairness, it stops the back from being spoiled by another cut-out.

The Samsung tablet does have a flash, but otherwise its specs are less impressive. With a 3.2-megapixel sensor, it’s the same as the previous-gen Tab model – which wasn’t impressive back in 2011.

Both tablets also have a user-facing camera for video chat.

Well connected?
New iPad
– 30pin dock, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 3G/4G
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – Samsung dock port, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 3G

Wireless connectivity is all about covering all bases, and both tablets do pretty well here. They offer 3G, comprehensive Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The new iPad gets a small win here, with Bluetooth 4.0 instead of 3.0. We can’t imagine too many people will care about this, though.

For non-UK folk, the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity in the new iPad is a huge benefit, able to drive mobile internet speeds of up to 73Mbps. As there are no readily available 4G networks in the UK yet, it’s not much use to us. 3G is, though, and having 4G to call upon improves future-proofing.

For non-wireless connectivity, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 wins out, with an HDMI video output – to get the same effect with a new iPad, you’d need a separate accessory.

Software slump
New iPad – iOS
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

The eternal tech conundrum – iOS or Android? iOS has a better App Store, is slicker and simpler. Android allows for more customisation, and more features without needing separate apps. Transferring files with Android is also much easier – you can drag ‘n’ drop where with an iPad you’re tied to iTunes.

This is a long-fought argument – occasionally within Trusted towers’ walls. This is perhaps the main question you have to answer when thinking about moving to tablet town.

New iPad – from £399
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – TBC

Here’s the problem. The new iPad clearly defeats the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 on specs. It has a much better screen, a more luxurious design and a faster processor – especially for graphics.

Apple has kept the iPad price at a reasonable £399, and to compete the Samsung needs to be below £300. Pricing for the tablet has not yet been revealed, but some Samsung suits may be looking a little nervous right now.

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