Been getting a lot emails from people wanting to buy a tablet this Christmas, mostly as a gift to themselves. The top two contenders are the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Here’s a quick guide to all those who asked just to help you make that final decision.
For a more appropriate comparison, we’ll pit the 16GB iPad 3G + WiFi against the 16GB Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000. That should even the playing field for both with the inclusion of the 3G SIM slot.
photo credit: united gadget
Size and Form Factor
At 9.7″ across, the iPad is way bigger than the Galaxy Tab which is only 7″. The difference also reflects on the screen size and over-all weight of the devices.
The iPad is better for watching movies/videos, e-magazines and browsing the web due to the bigger screen real estate. This is more prominent if you are sharing the device with two or more people at the same time. You can place it at some distance and still be able to enjoy what you’re watching or reading.
The Galaxy Tab is better in a more personal setting like reading an eBook. It’s still good with watching videos or web browsing but more on a one-to-one basis. Since it’s also lighter than the iPad, it is easier to hold for a prolonged period of time. While the Galaxy Tab is fine when held with one hand, you’ll need both hands to manage the iPad.
Android Market vs. iTunes App Store
The iTunes App Store is undeniably the king of mobile app market. Both free and paid apps are available in the Philippines. Unfortunately, Google’s Android Market is only limited to free apps in the Philippines and the paid apps are nowhere in sight.
There are 3 times more available apps in the iTunes App Store than in the Android Market so you have a much wider selection with Apple as well.
As for app compatibility, the iTunes App has versions for the iPhone/iPod Touch and another HD version for the iPad. On the Android Market, there could be some resolution compatibility issues with the Galaxy Tab’s screen size and the app’s native resolution.
Support & Warranty
Up until today, the iPad is not officially released in the Philippines so there’s no local warranty to speak of when your device conks out. You’ll either send it back to GreenHills for repair or ship it to Apple Singapore for warranty claims.
With the Galaxy Tab, you can get support and warranty from Samsung Service Centers. If the rumors are correct though, Apple is set to officially release the iPad this month so warranty shouldn’t be a problem after then.
Mobile OS and Feature Differences
The iPad runs on iOS 4 which is specifically made for the device. On the other hand, Android Froyo isn’t really for tablet form factors. You’ll have to wait for Android Gingerbread to get the full compatibility with tablets like the Galaxy Tab.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab‘s 2 biggest advantages over the Apple iPad are the camera and the voice calling/SMS features. If these are very important to you, then there’s no contest here. Then, there’s the WiFi tethering on Froyo too (there’s WiFi tethering on the iPad when jailbroken via Cydia).
As a mobile device, the iPad scores points on battery life with up to 10 hours on a single charge. The Galaxy Tab comes at a distant 7 hours.
Multi-tasking is no longer an issue since the latest iOS 4.2 already solved that.
Price and Affordability
The 16GB iPad 3G+WiFi sells for about Php32,000 in the grey market. That’s Php3,000 cheaper than the Galaxy Tab which has a suggested retail price of Php34,990. The iPad 3G can even go down to a much as Php26k in some stores so there’s a huge difference there already.
If you can’t afford the straight cash payment, Smart has a postpaid plan for the Galaxy Tab. At Php2,000 a month, the Galaxy Tab is free and you’re locked to the network for 24 months. That brings you a Php1,000 for unlimited internet a month and Php24,000 for the Galaxy Tab over the 2-year period.
Paired Devices and other Factors
Perhaps, the least obvious among the things to consider when deciding between the two is the use case. What would be the primary use of the tablet and what devices will you pair it with?
If you already own a smartphone (say a Galaxy S), getting a tablet with a smaller form factor may not make sense since the size difference isn’t that much (becomes redundant). If not, then the Galaxy Tab can serve as a tablet and a smartphone at the same time — you’re getting two for the price of one.
If you’re heavy in content consumption, the iPad offers much longer battery life and if you’re always on the road, battery life trumps everything else. Really important if you also bring along a laptop or netbook with limited battery life.
There’s really no clear-cut winner here because the decision will heavily rely on how you will use it. For tablets, I’d put more weight on apps, battery life then price.