Apple iPad 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 In Depth Comparison
Most companies involved in the smartphone and tablet markets crave for Apple’s success. Since the iPhone’s and iPad’s releases everybody wants to reach the same success. However, concerning the tablet market, Apple has managed to remain on top due to its iPad series even though the market was flooded with Android tablets. Recently however, competition has become fiercer as Android tablet makers upped the quality of their products to at least match that of the iPad series. One such tablet is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 which is a pretty good tablet. Just how good it is and how it compares to Apple’s iPad3, you will find out in this very article.
Before that, we can’t help but notice Samsung’s inability to bring a real iPad competitor to the table, the Galaxy Tab line being inferior to Apple’s tablet offerings even though they are in a similar price range. This is odd especially because Samsung is the world’s smartphones leader (by number of units sold) and its Samsung Galaxy S series goes head to head with Apple’s own smartphone series, the iPhone. Add that Samsung is the manufacturer behind some of iPad’s features such as the Retina display and its CPU. That makes for an interesting duel between the two tablets. So, without further ado, let’s see how they compare to each other.
When it comes to design, Apple’s products have an elegant style and the iPad 3 is no different. It is a stylish device with curved lines and a slim aspect. It might look delicate, but it definitely feels long lasting. Well, at least as long as you’re mot using it as a kitchen utensil.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 is not that much different in size. At 8.9 mm it is only 0.5 mm thinner than the iPad 3. There is a simple explanation for this difference: it all comes down to battery size. The iPad 3’s 11,560 mAh battery is the culprit for its extra thickness. It is also what makes the iPad 3 55 grams heavier (652 grams while the Galaxy Note weighs 597 grams). Both tablets are pretty sleek looking even though some might prefer Apple’s tablet shape. This round we have a draw.
As mentioned in the opening section of this article, Samsung is the manufacturer behind the third generation iPad’s Retina display. Needless to say it is one of the best displays on the market. It has good viewing angles and offers a very crisp image. Surely Samsung’s own tablet has an equally good display, right? Let’s find out.
The Galaxy Note’s display is a tad larger than that of the iPad 3’s. Measuring a diagonal of 10.1 inches compared to the iPad 3’s 9.7 inches, Galaxy Note’s display is only 0.4 inches larger. At the amazing resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels, the iPad 3 has a PPI density of 264. As impressive as that may be, one would think Samsung (the manufacturer behind iPad 3’s quality display) would at least match it in its own tablet. Well, not really. The Galaxy Note 10.1’s resolution of 800 x 1200 pixels is exactly the same as that of Galaxy Note’s resolution, which has a considerably smaller sized display (only 5.3 in diagonal). What does that mean? It means a smaller pixels per inch density in Samsung’s tablet, actually as small as 149 (think something like ASUS Transformer Prime’s display – yes the one from 2011). This makes for a very awkward situation in which Samsung manufactures lower quality displays for its own high-end tablet than for the direct competitor tablet. A situation that will probably feed the conspiracy theory fires regarding the existence of a settlement between Samsung and Apple.
When it comes to display quality (whether we’re talking about smartphones or tablets, high end or low end), our philosophy is that a PPI ratio of 200 is an absolute must, otherwise the quality of the display suffers. In this respect, while some people may be satisfied with the Galaxy Note 10.1’s display, a critical eye (especially one that saw the iPad 3’s display) will be disappointed. Things are very clear (ahem) for the iPad 3 as it is our winner this round.
Apple’s third generation tablet runs on the Apple A5X chipset: a dual core 1 GHz Cortex A9 CPU and a quad core PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU. It also comes equipped with 1 GB of RAM.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 comes equipped with one of its in-house chipsets, the Exynos 4212 (also used in Samsung’s Galaxy S3): a quad core 1.4 GHz CPU and a Mali-400MP GPU. Its CPU and GPU work together for wonderful results whether you are gaming or watching videos. Also, despite the iPad 3’s superior GPU, the Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 has better performance thanks to the tablets’ reduced resolution (a decisive factor when it comes to GPU power). Having also double the iPad’s RAM, this round is won by Samsung’s tablet.
Software & Features
This will be a tough decision to make. On the one hand, when it comes to Operating Systems, Apple has the upper hand running iOS which means a plethora of quality apps to choose from and access to immense audio-video and gaming libraries. The Galaxy Note 10.1 runs Google’s Android OS, not 4.1 sadly, as Samsung was able to only get Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) in its Galaxy Note 10.1. However, being easier to use and offering a vast selection of quality apps, Apple’s iOS is superior.
On the other hand, and this makes our decision for this round so much harder, Samsung’s tablet comes with two very interesting features, namely the S-Pen (which simply put is a stylus that is able to recognize 256 pressure levels) and a feature called Multiscreen. The S-Pen is, naturally, fitted only in apps that support it and in those apps the S-Pen makes the Galaxy Note 10.1 truly glow. For example, scribbling notes in Samsung’s Note app (which can also recognize mathematical formulas) is something unique to Samsung’s tablet by comparison with the iPad 3. Another app that fully uses the S-Pen is Adobe Photoshop Touch app (it’s free and it is optimized for work with the Galaxy Note’s stylus) easily transforming the Note 10.1 into a quality graphics tablet.
A few words about the Multiscreen feature. It allows the user to use multiple apps at the same time, for example browsing a web page on one side of the screen while editing an image on the other side. It comes really close to multitasking and it is something found only on windows powered tablets. The only real downside is that aren’t that many apps supported. Considering both the OS and features of the two tablets, we feel this round is a draw between the two.
Storage space and battery life
When it comes to storage space, both Samsung’s and Apple’s tablets come in 3 versions: 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. However, Samsung decided to fit its Galaxy Note 10.1 with a microSD card and what a wonderful decision it is, as it practically solves the need for space for the tablet’s users. Buy a microSD card and you will get all the space that you need for your tablet.
Apple’s third generation iPad has a 11,560 mAh lithium ion polymer battery which, according to Apple, offers up to 10 hours of video playback and 140 hours of audio playback. The Galaxy Note’s battery, a non removable 7,000 mAh battery performs admirably, mostly because the Galaxy Note doesn’t have a Retina display (which is very battery consuming), but after a day’s use the iPad’s battery managed to last longer (though not by much).
The Galaxy Note 10.1 has better support when it comes to storage space thanks to its microSD slot, but the iPad 3 has slightly better battery life, so this rounds ends in a draw.
When it comes to connectivity, both Apple and Samsung offer the best with their respective tablets. Both devices come with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, which means your web browsing and audio-video streaming experiences will be just perfect. Also, both the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the iPad 3 include Bluetooth 4.0. Apple’s tablet has a slight advantage thanks to its LTE version of the iPad 3, but at launch Samsung promised an LTE version will be available later. This round too, looks like a draw between the two tablets.
You might have noticed how most of the rounds ended in a draw. But let’s forget the mathematical point of view for a second and ask the real important question: did Samsung manage to overtake Apple’s leader on the tablet market? Is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 N8000 better than the iPad 3?
With features like Multiscreen and the S Pen (with its optimized apps) the Note 10.1 will certainly be more attractive to some customers, especially graphic artists. However what ruins the experience is the display. A tablet’s display is immensely important and it can make or break the experience. Unfortunately for Samsung, its tablet’s low quality display diminishes the experience brought by its new features. A 149 PPI density simply doesn’t cut it for a 2012 tablet that wants to take on the market’s leader.
With the iPad 3’s elegance in design and its ecosystem, Apple can rest assured its tablet will still remain the crowned leader of the market. That’s not to say Samsung’s tablet is worse. No and it will probably boost Samsung’s sales numbers significantly. But unless you are a graphic artist and / or you really want to use the S Pen, as a simple end user you may find the that the iPad offers a more refined experience.