iPad Air vs Galaxy Note 10.1(2014) : Battle of the beasts


In our last post we compared Apple's new iPad Air to its predecessor and this time around we're gonna put it against its biggest Android competitor, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014). It's Android vs iOS , Apple vs Samsung all over again. So what happens when two of the best tablets go head to head against each other? We'll be comparing the two on the basis of design & build, performance, software and UI, display, camera and storage & pricing and see which tablet is right for you!

Design & build
The iPad has always been one of the best in terms of build quality. The new iPad Air comes with an aluminum frame with glass on front. Its only 7.5mm thick (or should I say 'thin') and weighs at only 470 grams making it really thin and light. As we have seen, every Apple device screams quality and the iPad is no different.

The Note 10.1 on the other hand, has an all plastic construction with a faux - leather Back as seen on the note 3, providing better grip and also improving the overall feel of the device. Despite the use of plastic, it has good build quality and is really comfortable to hold.

Although the note is a really well built device, it doesn't match to the feel and built of the iPad Air. The iPad is a bit thinner and much more lighter (by almost 70grams). Due to the aluminum , the iPad feels premium in hand, the Note 10.1? Not so much.

Performance
The iPad comes with a dual core A7 chip that could be clocked anywhere between 1.3 GHz to 1.6 GHz. That may sound low on paper but the A7 is one hell of a processor.

There are 3 versions of the Note 10.1 : the Wi-Fi and 3g ones running on Samsung's own Exynos 5420 octa (1.9ghz cortex A15 + 1.3ghz cortex A7) and the LTE one running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800. We will be considering the Exynos version in this comparison.

The A7 has proved to be one of the fastest SoC around despite its 2 cores and lower clock rate. However it can face some serious competition from the Note 10.1 with its 'true' octa core processor. The newer Exynos 5420 supports simultaneous use of both the cortex A15 and A7 chipsets which means the Note might just have a lot of raw power up it's sleeves. Both tablets can run every thing you throw at them but only benchmarks will decide which tablet is the fastest.

Software and UI
The iPad comes with iOS 7, Apple's latest release while the Note runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 4.3.

iOS 7 brings its fresh new look to the iPad Air but retains its simplicity. Its easy and almost lag- free on the A7 chip. The app store provides a greater number of apps as compared to Google's Play Store and these are all tablet optimized, not stretched out versions of mobile apps. But what's bad here is that iOS still lacks proper app  integration as seen on Android.

The Note comes with Android 4.3 out of the box + Samsung's TouchWiz UI that brings with it a ton of new features. Some of these features are great while some are, well, useless. Nevertheless, Android and TouchWiz provide great functionality to the Note. The s-pen stylus is also present that has its own set of software goodies. Samsung nails it in the multitasking field here ( at least as compared to ios ) with multi-window and mini apps and these are one of the best features here.

Both Android and iOS have their share of fans, but this one comes down to personal preference. Some may find iOS better, while others may disagree.

Display
The iPad has a 9.7" screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 with a pixel density of 264 PPI but the Note tackles iPad's retina display with an even higher resolution of  2560 x 1600 on its 10.1" screen. That means 299 PPI! What's more? The Note even allows the user to select a display mode among these 4 : adaptive, dynamic, normal and movie.

Though both the screens are fantastic, we'll have to give this one to the Note 10.1.

Camera
The iPad features a 5mp iSight camera capable of full HD video @ 30fps and a 1.2 HD (720) Facetime camera.

The Note equips itself with an 8mp camera that can do 1080p @ 30fps (the LTE version is capable of 1080 video @ 60fps) and a 2mp fro t facing camera also capable of full HD video.

The Note wins on paper with its higher megapixel count but we should know that quantity is no guarantee of quality. We'll wait for a camera comparison but until then the Note 10.1 has an edge.

Storage and pricing
Both the tablets come in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB variants but the iPad has a 128 GB version also available. The storage on the Note is expandable with the help of an SD card which is a big  plus point for it.

Thee iPad has the biggest share in the tablet market as it is arguably the most popular tablet around but that hasn't stopped Samsung to price is Note 10.1 at $50 more than the iPad.
The iPad Air (16GB) with Wi-Fi costs $499 vs $549 for Note 10.1 (16GB) with Wi-Fi.

VERDICT

So which one came out on top? Well there is no real winner here as both of them are really good tablets. It all depends on what people want in their tablet and different people have different choices. The Note 10.1 would appeal to those who love Android or those who would like to work with a stylus for some added functionality . However, the iPad Air could be popular among a larger number of people due to its light weight and thickness (allowing for greater mobility), amazing build quality, great performance and better apps.