It seems the Apple vs Android debate has been raging on since the very inception of the smartphone. Just like the Mac vs PC debate, the Apple vs Samsung rivalry represents the heated opinions of both brands’ loyalists.
In one corner, you have the Apple aficionados who vow to never part with their seamless, user-friendly, sleek, innovative devices. In the other, you have Android fans who prefer the more complex, more intricate, more open-ended nature of the operating system. Lately, this debate has manifested itself in the showdown between iPad vs Samsung Tablets.
On the surface, determining which is best seems as impossible as naming a true winner between Coke vs Pepsi. However, upon closer examination, there are ways to choose a winner based on factual evidence.
Let’s compare the specs of each below, paying extra special attention to the key differences between iPad vs Samsung Tablets. After that, we’ll go over some pros and cons of each and consider how these might impact the debate. In the end, we’ll be able to crown the champion.
iPad vs Samsung Tablets: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Released||April 3rd, 2010||November 7th, 2010|
|Current Version||iPad 10th generation (’22)|
iPad Pro 6th generation (’22)
iPad Air 5th generation (’22)
iPad Mini 6th generation (’21)
|Galaxy Tab S8 (’22)|
Galaxy Tab S8+ (’22)
Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (’22)
Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (’22)
Galaxy Tab S7 FE (’21)
Galaxy Tab A7 Lite (’21)
Galaxy Tab A8 (’21)
|Product Line||iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Mini||Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Tab A|
|Units Sold in 2022||14.8 million (Q2 2022)||7.1 million (Q2 2022)|
|Capabilities||Fingerprint, split screen, split keyboard, dual monitor, Handoff, Multi-Touch Display, app dock||Fingerprint, split screen, smartphone controls, PC controls, adaptive display, Kids Mode|
|Compatible Accessories||Apple Pencil, AirPods, Apple Watch, MacBook||Galaxy Tab Pen, Galaxy Buds|
iPad vs Samsung Tablets: What’s the Difference?
While these side-by-side comparisons certainly do a lot of heavy lifting in the iPad vs Samsung Tablets debate, it’s still worth diving right into the key differences between the two to make things clearer. From their differing prices to their very different operating systems and distinct capabilities, these are the most important differences between the iPad vs Samsung Tablets.
- Striking 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone
- A14 Bionic chip with 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU
- 12MP Wide back camera
- Landscape 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
- Touch ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
Firstly, and most obviously, there’s a drastic price difference between iPad vs Samsung Tablets. Apple iPhones have always tended to be more expensive than Samsung phones, so it’s not surprising to learn that this trend continues in the world of tablets, as well.
The cheapest iPad, the base model iPad 10th generation, retails for around $449 new. The cheapest Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Tab A7 Lite, retails for just $159 new. That’s a difference of nearly $300. You could almost buy three of the Tab A7 Lites for the price of just one iPad.
Conversely, the most expensive iPad and the most expensive Galaxy Tab are not that far off from one another. The iPad Pro 6th generation currently starts at $1,299. (That base price can increase depending on the kinds of upgrades you opt for, such as mobile data and increased storage.)
The Tab S8 Ultra, by comparison, retails for a starting price of $1,099. That’s just a $200 difference, and still in the four-figure range like the iPad Pro. It seems that the cheapest option is clear, while the most expensive option has a blurrier line.
Secondly, and — for those Apple vs Android diehards — just as importantly, there’s the difference in operating systems. Apple, of course, relies on its own proprietary operating system for all of its products.
In the past, at least for the first nine years of the iPad’s life, it relied on an iPad-friendly version of its standard iOS. This meant that every time the iPhone saw an update, the iPad would get the same. Since 2019, however, the iPad has relied on its own iPadOS. This sees different release dates than the iPhone’s standard iOS.
Samsung Tablets, on the other hand, have never had their own Tab-branded operating system. Samsung is one of several mobile brands that rely on the much bigger, much wider-reaching operating system known as Android.
Rooted in a special version of the Linux kernel, combined with various other openly sourced software and technology, the Galaxy Tab’s Android operating system shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has used a Samsung before. It’s not as basic or as limited as the iPadOS. And for Android fans, this is actually a huge plus.
- 14.6-inch Super AMOLED 2960x1848 display
- Snapdragon 8 Gen1 processor
- 8GB RAM
- microSD up to 1 TB
- Supports Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth v5.2
- 13MP plus 6MP rear cameras, 12MP plus 12MP front cameras
- USB Type-C
Thirdly, there are the actual capabilities of both tablets to consider. What can the iPad vs Samsung Tablets actually do? As it turns out, a whole heck of a lot — no matter which side you end up choosing. The iPad’s features and capabilities are pretty much in-line with the rest of the Apple product lineup.
There’s seamless integration between iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, MacBook, and AirPods, making for a truly exceptional user experience for those with every Apple product in their arsenal. Don’t forget compatibility with the Apple Pencil, either. The Galaxy Tab is no less limited in its capabilities than the iPad.
Offering its own version of many iPad features — including fingerprinting, split screen views, multitasking, and compatibility across tablets, smartphones, and PC — the Galaxy Tab doesn’t offer anything too crazy or too state-of-the-art to give itself a cutting edge over the iPad.
It’s certainly capable of plenty, but no more or no less than the iPad can do. It even has its own version of the Apple Pencil, dubbed the [“amazon link”B094XT3BKD” title=”Galaxy Tab Pen”].
The History of the iPad
While Apple didn’t officially debut the iPad until January 2010, the truth is that the tech giant was working on their own tablet computer since 2002 at the earliest. Though the current lineup consists of the iPad, the iPad Mini, the iPad Air, and the iPad Pro, the original version is undoubtedly the flagship product.
- 8-core CPU in the M2 chip
- Comes with apps like Safari, Messages, and Keynote
- Wi-Fi 6E and 5G capabilities
- 12.9" Liquid Retina XDR display (2732 x 2048 pixels)
- Works with Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
Apple loyalists might remember 1993’s Newton MessagePad. This tablet-esque PDA was something of a precursor to the iPad a whole 17 years before it came to fruition. Its poorly received launch and subsequent discontinuation gave the company lots of ideas.
The Failure of the MessagePad
Paying close attention to what worked and what didn’t about the Newton MessagePad, Apple spent the next decade-plus working hard on perfecting the tablet computer we now know as the iPad. The failure of the MessagePad proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the eventual release of the first-generation iPad in April of 2010 was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews from consumers and critics alike.
It went on to sell more than 15 million units before its discontinuation in March 2011. Just a decade later, the iPad will have sold more than 500 million units in total.
Today, Apple product enthusiasts have four different varieties of iPad to choose from: the base model iPad, the smaller iPad Mini, the thinner and lighter iPad Air, and the bigger and more powerful iPad Pro. Power, price, battery life, and functionality vary from iPad type to iPad type, but a few things remain consistent across the board.
This includes the customizable and efficient iPadOS, the massive iPad App Store, and the latest in Apple chip technology. All in all, the iPad continues to compete side by side with the best laptops and desktop computers today.
How Samsung Tablets Compete
Samsung announced their iPad rival a mere six months after the iconic Apple tablet launched, suggesting they’d been working on their Galaxy Tabs for quite some time. Considering just how long the iPad was rumored, it’s not surprising to learn that Samsung had plenty of time to get to work on their competing version.
Announced in September of 2010, and made available to the public two months later in November of that same year, the Galaxy Tab was welcomed with open arms by those who preferred an Android-powered tablet over an Apple-branded one.
At the start, Samsung simply had the Galaxy Tab series. There were no S, A, or E series like we’d see in later years. It was just… the Galaxy Tab. Interestingly enough, compared to the relatively basic iPad launch, Samsung had the foresight to announce variations on their base model practically from the get-go.
While the first-generation Galaxy Tab stood alone for the first year, Samsung soon had four additional versions in various sizes on the market at various points in 2011. (Comparing iPad vs Samsung Tablets, Apple didn’t have a new size until 2012, with the launch of the iPad Mini.)
This gave Samsung an immediate edge over the iPad, and not just because of the Apple vs Android thing we discussed earlier. Samsung likely knew they couldn’t compete with the computing power or the user-friendliness of the iPad, so they did the next best thing.
They diversified their competing tablet with different sizes and models in order to generate more interest. This, in effect, is how Samsung has competed ever since. From the Galaxy Tab S to Galaxy Tab A and Galaxy Tab E lines, Samsung always has a shiny new version of the Tab ready for release.
iPad: Pros and Cons
|Pros of the iPad||Cons of the iPad|
|Represents the best of the best in Apple tech||Much more expensive than rival tablets|
|Seamless compatibility with other Apple products and services||The range of size options makes choosing the right iPad more challenging|
|Access to exclusive iPad apps||As iPhones become more advanced, the iPad feels less and less necessary|
|Unrivaled user-friendliness||Very limited customization options|
Samsung Tablets: Pros and Cons
|Pros of a Samsung Tablet||Cons of a Samsung Tablet|
|Offers USB-C charging||Underwhelming processor and storage space|
|Delivers Dolby Atmos sound||Camera quality pales in comparison to the iPad|
|Perfectly suited for Android fans||Far too many options and variations for the average consumer to know the difference|
|More affordable than the iPad||Screen brightness is worse than the iPad’s|
iPad vs Samsung Tablets: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Interestingly enough, Apple developed the iPad long before the iPhone. However, the company ultimately decided to hold onto the iPad plans until after the unveiling and popularization of the iPhone.
- The tablet craze of the late 2000s and early 2010s can largely be accredited to the success of the PDA (or personal digital assistant) in the 1990s and early 2000s. These handheld devices with calendars, calculators, notes, and more can also be seen as predecessors to the smartphone.
- In the beginning, the goal of a tablet was to have a way to efficiently translate handwritten text to digital text. This became less important over time, but is still a staple on many tablets and tablet apps.
- It might seem like the Galaxy Tab was the first real iPad competitor, but this honor actually belongs to the Dell Streak. It arrived just two months after the iPad in June of 2010. That’s also five months before the first Galaxy Tab.
- Another aspect of the tablet industry not touched on here is the 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrid. These devices — such as the Surface Pro — allow users to swivel the screen around to hide the keyboard and function solely as touchscreen tablets.
iPad vs Samsung Tablets: Which One Is Best?
So, now that we’ve taken a look at the specs, the key differences, the pros and cons, and even the respective histories of the iPad vs Samsung Tablets, are we any closer to an answer as to which is truly the best? Not exactly.
Again and again, we’ve learned that many of the distinctions between each tablet brand boil down to a simple matter of preference. Are you an Apple fan? Or are you more of an Android fan? The answer to these questions will seemingly tell you which tablet is best for you. However, one is objectively superior based on specs and sales alone.
The winner? The iPad. You likely saw this one coming, but it nevertheless deserves to be reiterated. From the seamless handover from device to device to the sheer user-friendliness of the product itself, the iPad soars above the rest of the competition. In the end, it’s not even close, really.
Couple this with superior processing, better screen brightness, and a more streamlined lineup, and the answer is clear. Still, if you’ve used Android for years and find it more familiar or comfortable than Apple’s OS, then you aren’t wrong for opting for a Samsung tablet anyway. (They’re cheaper, too.)