The iPad Air is a powerfully-armed device that leaves almost every competitor defenseless in a one-on-one confrontation. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 could to be a worthy rival, having great specs and what’s more important, a smaller price. But does the price matter when it comes to the best device on the market? Let’s take a closer look to both devices and try to decide that.
Design and Build
The iPad Air is made of high-quality aluminum which gives it a premium look and it comes in two color tones. Considering its 9.7-inch display, the iPad Air is very light and compact, with well-made physical keys, which make the Air enjoyable to use.
The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is not that appealing compared to the iPad Air, of course, it’s bigger and thus heavier, but its plastic body doesn’t is far from having the premium look iPad Air has. The physical keys aren’t as well-made as we expected a Samsung device to have, all in all, it seems the Tab 3 10.1 isn’t as well-build as the Air.
Sometimes being smaller is best, as iPad Air kindly proves. A smaller display, in this case, means a higher resolution, 2048×1536 to be exact, with a pixel density of 264 ppi. All this resulting a greater clarity, cleaner and accurate images, plus the fact that the lighter or darker levels are no less than they should be. The colors are well balanced due to the Delta E low levels value, so the display is easier to read when outdoors, considering its brightness output allows it to reach up to 430 nits.
The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 has a resolution of 1280×800 and a pixel density of 149 ppi. If we do the math we can say the Tab 3 is almost half the tablet the iPad Air is. Plus the Tab 3 10.1 lacks important display features, its colors are not very balanced, everything is darker than it should and when outdoors, well, it’s not a surprise every image seems bluish. The Tab 3’s brightness output allows it to reach about 400 nits max.
Hardware and Software
The iPad Air comes with A7 64-bit SoC, with a dual-core Cyclone CPU at 1.4 GHz, plus PowerVR G6430 GPU and 1 GB of RAM. The iPad Air is available in 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, unfortunately with no option to expand that. The iOS 7 on the iPad Air is very easy to use, it comes with a simple icon grid layout and a Notification Center that allows you to see all kinds of stuff, like the calendar for instance, plus there are about 475,000 tablet-optimized apps on the iPad Air. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the device is everyone’s favorite tablet at the moment. The bigger 8820 mAh battery of the iPad Air promises a longer battery life, another reason to be the favorite.
The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor, clocked at 1.6 GHz, and completed by 1 GB or RAM. Regarding its internal storage capacities, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 comes with 16 GB AND 32 GB of storage, but instead, it features a microSD card slot for memory expansion. The TouchWiz Android on the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is the complete opposite to the iOS 7, it comes with many widgets that allow you to access a lot of things directly from your homescreen, which might be very useful. But compared to the iOS it’s more difficult learn and use, having a lot of settings within many apps, thing that could be very tiring, so a simplification of the interface should be on Samsung’s to-do list. Galaxy Tab 3 has much smaller 6800 mAh unit, and considering it has two operating systems, there might be a serious problem with its battery life, a problem potential buyers might take in consideration.
iPad Air’s Safari browser has been much improved due to the iOS 7, providing full-screen and better tabs view. Browsing has rapidly became more enjoyable thanks to the incredible fast browser and almost instant response, plus you could have tabs synced across multiple Apple devices. The tablet also features LET and HSPA+ connectivity, but there is no GPS receiver on this device.
The Galaxy Tab 3 comes with Samsung’s personal browser besides Google Chrome, unfortunately browsing isn’t as quick as with the Air. But the Tab 3 also features LTE and HSPA+ connectivity, so there might still be hope.
The iPad Air has a 5 MP camera that manages to provide more details and realistic colors, along with the fact that it records with 1080p, the iPad Air has, all in all, a pretty good camera for a tablet.
Meanwhile, the Tab 3 10.1 has a 3 MP camera plus a great set of options that allow you to “modify” a picture if you want, options you don’t have on the iPad. The Galaxy Tab 3 takes 720p video, which is, again, fine for a tablet, but probably not good enough considering Air’s 1080p.
In this case, probably bigger is better. The iPad Air has a smaller screen, thus a smaller image, but there is, although, the option to stretch the video so that it fills the screen, even if you risk cutting of the edges of the video. The device has stereo speakers but the fact that they are right next to each other, kind of eliminates the stereo effect.
The fact that the Tab 3 has a bigger screen would have been a bonus if the iPad didn’t have the stretch option, but that doesn’t mean a lower quality. The device has a suitable ratio for video playback and stereo speakers as well, but regarding the sound quality, it doesn’t compare to the iPad.
If it wasn’t obvious until now, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is inferior to its competitor. Even if the Tab 3 has its advantages, such as the Android OS (which, for some, can also be a disadvantage) or the memory expansion option, its only quality seems to be its low price, compared to the iPad Air, of course. Apple’s device is fully remarkable, it seems the tablet doesn’t have any flaws regarding both hardware and software, but we all know quality comes with a bigger price. The question is, how much is a potential buyer willing to spend for the perfect tablet?