Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 vs. iPad Review: Why Apple Is Still The King Of Design

By iDesign Times Staff Reporter on August 17, 2012 5:54 PM EDT 0

Nexus 4 review vs. Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5 review
Who has the best designed smartphone? Apple or Samsung or Google? (Photo: Twitter / @TechnRevolution)

Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 earlier this week, making some serious waves in the word of tech-design. The new tablet is an improvement on the company's previous tablets, boasting new features and the inclusion of the popular S Pen stylus, but how does it stack up against the iPad?

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Apple revolutionized the tablet market with the debut of the original iPad, and two upgrades later they're the undisputed king of the tablet market. Samsung's latest tablet makes a valiant effort to dethrone the iPad, but in the end it's no match for Apple, falling short of the Google Nexus 7 as well.

The biggest advantage for the Galaxy Note 10.1 is the S Pen, a "smart" stylus pen that's cool, easy to use, and perfect for any graphic designers or online artists who don't want to shell out for a more expensive, professional tablet. The S Pen debuted with the oversized, Galaxy Note smartphone, but the new stylus is noticeably bigger, to match a tablet screen that's twice as large as the Galaxy Note's. The S Pen allows for incredible precision, and even lets you control the thickness of a line depending on how hard you press down.

Unfortunately, the S Pen's placement in a 4-inch slot at the bottom-left corner of the Galaxy Note 10.1 seems like an afterthought. The S Pen easily drops out and becomes inaccessible when the tablet is placed in its docking station. Why Samsung opted to place the stylus at the base of the tablet and not at the top is unclear.

Like the iPad, the Galaxy Note 10.1 comes in both black and white models (a step up from Samsung's grey-only Galaxy Tab 2).The new tablet is also thinner and slightly heavier than it's predecessor, with a wider bezel. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is 8.9 mm thick. The 3G version weighs approximately 600 grams, while the WiFi-only version weighs 3 grams less. For comparison, that's around 50 grams lighter than the new iPad. These dimensions mean the Galaxy Note 10.1 fits easily in a carrier bag and won't weigh you down.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 has a smooth plastic back that feels light, comfortable, and not cheap (a common criticism of Samsung's plasticky devices). The Galaxy Note 10.1 features speakers to the left and right of the bezel, and a power button at the top alongside a volume control, microSD slot (for additional storage of up to 64GB) and the headphone jack. The dock connector and microphone pinhole are found on bottom of the Galaxy Note 10.1.

The strongest argument for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is its size. If you subscribe to the belief that bigger is better than you'll prefer the 10.1-inch Samsung tablet to the 9.7-inch iPad and the puny, 7-inch Nexus 7. However, despite their screen sizes, Apple's retina display boasts a far better resolution (2,048x1,536 to the Galaxy Note 10.1's 1,280x800).

Both company's tablets offer the same memory capacity, with different models boasting 16, 32 and 64 GB of space. Both tablet's also feature similar cameras.

Apple wins when it comes to software. The iPad features iOS 5, the most powerful Apple mobile OS available, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 still uses Android 4.0.4 despite the recent release of the 4.1 Jelly Bean OS.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 costs $499-$549. That's pretty much the same pricing as Apple's iPad, and honestly, there's no comparing the two devices. If you're willing to shell out $500 for a tablet go for the iPad, if those prices are too rich for your blood your better off with the Google Nexus 7 ($199-$249).

So in conclusion, don't buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 unless your a graphic designer looking for a relatively cheap tablet. Otherwise, there's no reason to shell out for Samsung's new tablet when the iPad is a far better designed tablet for the same price.

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