At Samsung’s February Unpacked event, the Galaxy S22 smartphones took center stage, but three new premium tablets were also introduced. In every sense, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 ($699.99), Tab S8+ ($899.99), and Tab S8 Ultra ($1,099.99) are professional slates, but how do they compare against Apple’s iPad Air ($599) and iPad Pro (beginning at $799)?
Because we haven’t yet examined the Galaxy Tab S8 series, this comparison is solely based on specifications. Once we’ve had a chance to put Samsung’s new tablets to the test, we’ll update this post with more detailed findings.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 vs. Apple iPad
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 vs. Apple iPad Air
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S8||Apple iPad Air|
|Display Measurement||11 inches||10.9 inches|
|Display Decision||2,560 by 1,600 pixels||2,340 by 1,080 pixels|
|Processor||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1||Apple A14|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB|
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi 6e||LTE, Wi-Fi 6|
|Rear-Facing Cameras||13MP, 6MP||12MP|
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ vs. Apple iPad Pro 11″
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 8 Plus||Apple iPad Pro 11-inch|
|Show Measurement||12.4 inches||11 inches|
|Show Decision||2,800 by 1,752 pixels||2,778 by 1,170 pixels|
|Processor||Snapdragon Eight Gen 1||Apple M1|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi 6E||5G, Wi-Fi 6|
|Entrance-Dealing with Sensors||12MP||12MP|
|Rear-Dealing with Sensors||13MP, 6MP||12MP, 10MP, LiDAR, ToF|
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra vs. Apple iPad Pro 12.9″
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra||Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch|
|Display Size||14.6 inches||12.9 inches|
|Display Decision||2,960 by 1,848 pixels||2,732 by 2,048 pixels|
|Processor||Snapdragon Eight Gen 1||Apple M1|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|RAM||8GB, 12GB, 16GB||8GB, 16GB|
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi 6e||5G, Wi-Fi 6|
|Front-Facing Camera||12MP, 12MP||12MP|
|Rear-Dealing with Cameras||13MP, 6MP||12MP, 10MP, LiDAR|
Color and Design Options
Little distinguishes the Galaxy Tab S8 from the iPad in terms of design; both have a unibody metal frame and a narrow bezel around the display.
The farther up in both lineups you go, the fewer color options you have. The iPad Air is available in blue, gray, green, pink, and silver, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8+ are available in graphite, pink, or silver. The Tab S8 Ultra is exclusively available in graphite, but the iPad Pro is available in gray and silver.
At 0.25 inch thick, the Galaxy Tab S8 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are the thickest tablets in the range. They’re also the heaviest at 1.5 and 1.6 pounds. Meanwhile, the iPad Air is the lightest, weighing just over a pound, while the Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra tablets are the thinnest (0.22 inch).
Nothing about the build quality of the devices in either lineup should influence your decision. The iPad Air, on the other hand, may be your greatest bet for portability, as it is both thinner and lighter than Samsung’s smallest alternative.
Methods of Unlocking and Displays
Although the panels of Apple’s and Samsung’s flagship slates appear to be comparable, they are vastly different.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and an 11-inch 2,560-by-1,600 LCD. The iPad Air has a 10.9-inch, 2,360-by-1,640, 60Hz LCD display (across all five tablets on this list, the iPad Air is the only model with a 60Hz display). The Tab S8 has a higher pixel density than the iPad, at 274 against 264 pixels per inch. The power button on both variants include a fingerprint sensor.
The 12.4-inch, 2,580-by-1,752 (251ppi) AMOLED screen of the Galaxy Tab S8+, as well as the smaller iPad Pro’s 11-inch, 2,778-by-1,170 (264ppi) LED display, both have a 120Hz refresh rate. While the Tab S8+ has a fingerprint sensor built right into the touch screen, Apple’s tablet has Face ID for quick and safe visual confirmation.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has a large 14.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED display with 2,960-by-1,848 resolution (239ppi) on the front. The largest iPad Pro boasts a 12.4-inch mini-LED display with 2,732-by-2,048 pixels (264ppi) and a 120Hz refresh rate. Samsung uses an in-display fingerprint sensor on its largest slate once again, while Apple uses Face ID.
Face ID is undoubtedly the way of the future for unlocking smartphones, according to Apple. Because in-screen fingerprint sensors are generally less reliable than button-based fingerprint sensors, Apple wins this round. With button-based fingerprint sensors, the iPad Air, Tab S8, and Tab S8+ stand on similar ground to in-screen fingerprint sensors, which are more reliable than in-screen fingerprint sensors but slower than Face ID. If you want a huge screen, Samsung’s tablets (particularly the Tab S8 Ultra) are better, but nothing in its new lineup compares to the iPad Air’s portability.
Configurations and Hardware
Although each model in the Galaxy Tab S8 and iPad lines is capable of handling most productivity tasks, there are some important hardware variations between them.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform is used on all three of Samsung’s recent slates. The Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8+ include 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, respectively. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra comes in three storage options: 8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, and 16GB/512GB. The microSD card slot on all variants allows you to add up to a terabyte of storage.
The iPad Air is equipped with Apple’s A14 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB or 256GB of storage. Apple’s M1 CPU, which is also found in latest iMacs, is found in all iPad Pro versions. Both iPad Pro models come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage, or 16GB of RAM and 1TB or 2TB of storage, respectively. Although no expansion slot is available on the iPad, the iPad Pro does enable external storage through USB-C and Thunderbolt drives.
The Samsung Tab S8, S8+, and S8 Ultra feature battery capacities of 8,000mAh, 10,090mAh, and 11,200mAh, respectively. We can’t compare these numbers until we run our benchmarks and have battery usage hours to report because Apple doesn’t publish battery figures.
Wi-Fi 6 (Wi-Fi 6E in the case of Samsung models) and Bluetooth 5.0 are supported by all of the tablets, however only the Tab S8+ and iPad Pro have 5G connectivity. The iPad Air is also available in a cellular version, although it does not support 5G.
The high-end tablets in both lineups have more RAM than most common laptops, and the processors in the Samsung tablets and the iPad Pro are both cutting-edge, so none of them should struggle with your demanding workflow. The Tab S8 models’ inbuilt microSD card slot may appeal to you as a more practical expandable storage option, but the iPad Pro’s top-end 1TB and 2TB options are intriguing alternatives.
Cameras on the front and back
While the back camera stack for capturing photos and recording video is one of the most significant features on a smartphone, tablets prioritize front-facing cameras for video conversations. Thankfully, all of Samsung’s and Apple’s top slates should be capable of handling Zoom calls with ease.
All three Galaxy Tab S8 tablets have a 12MP camera on the front, with the Tab S8 Ultra adding a 12MP ultra-wide lens. All three Samsung tablets have dual-camera stacks on the back, with a 13MP primary sensor and a 6MP ultra-wide sensor.
Both iPad Pro versions have a 12MP f/2.4 wide-angle front-facing camera with Center Stage, which keeps you framed and in focus on FaceTime and some third-party video conferencing services like Zoom. A 12MP f/1.8 primary sensor and a 10MP f/2.4 ultra-wide lens, as well as a LiDAR scanner for AR and assistive functionalities, are housed on the rear of the Pro versions.
The iPad Air, as the cheapest tablet in the bunch, has the smallest cameras. It contains a 7MP f/2.2 selfie camera for video calls, as well as a 12MP f/1.8 rear camera for reference images and document scanning.
The cameras on all of these tablets should be adequate for any personal or professional use, but the iPad Air has a disadvantage for shooting broad images, and the iPad Pro‘s Center Stage can make it more appealing if you use FaceTime or Zoom frequently.
Special Features and Accessories
All of these tablets are excellent for remote work, and Samsung and Apple also provide a variety of accessories to assist you.
To begin, every iPad here, including the Galaxy Tab S8 trio, supports styli. The Samsung tablets come with a S Pen, but if you want a first-party stylus for the iPad, you’ll have to pay an additional $129 for the second-generation Apple Pencil.
Optional keyboards for Apple and Samsung slates are also available. The Samsung keyboard collection costs between $139.99 and $349.99, while Apple’s alternatives cost between $179 and $349. Remember that these devices all enable Bluetooth, so if you don’t mind foregoing the notebook-style folio feel, you may save a lot of money by purchasing an entirely separate wireless keyboard.
The Samsung tablets all come with Android 12, while the iPads all come with the most recent version of iPad OS. Because the Apple App Store offers many more tablet-optimized programs and iPads are often better for multitasking, Apple’s OS is now significantly stronger for tablets. Samsung’s tablets support the company’s DeX productivity mode for workstation integration, but don’t forget about Apple’s Sidecar mode for working with your Mac.
We like how Samsung includes the S pen with its tablets and wish Apple would do the same, at least with the iPad Pro. Samsung, on the other hand, has yet to demonstrate that it can rival Apple’s tablet accessories in terms of range and quality.
The Most Appropriate Tablet for You
On the surface, the Galaxy Tab S8 and iPad lines look to be fairly comparable. Of course, we won’t know for sure until we get an opportunity to test the Galaxy Tab range, but software and ecosystem will likely be more important to you than hardware. If you want to use Apple’s extensive library of tablet apps, you’ll need an iPad. The Galaxy Tab is a better fit if you already utilize Samsung’s DeX mode. More information will be available once we’ve evaluated the Galaxy Tabs.
Visit our stories on the best iPad to buy this year and the best tablets overall for more information.
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