The iPad Air was officially announced on October 22 as Apple's large 9.7-inch super-thin tablet offering that will compete with other rival 10-inch tablets. The main competitors to the iPad Air are likely to be the recently released and powerful Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. The latter device is likely the most powerful high-end Android tablet on the market today while the iPad Air is the large Apple flagship.

iPad Air

The iPad Air follows the model of its laptops and is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the iPad 4. The iPad Air. Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller says that the iPad Air is "This is our biggest leap forward ever with a full-size iPad." In many ways that is true. The iPad Air has the same screen size but weighs only 1 pound and boasts a more powerful chip with the A7 processing chil that makes it 72 times faster than the original iPad. The 64-bit A7 chip is also the one found on the iPhone 5s and the iPad Mini 2. The iPad Air design is generally attractive, the weight and slimness along with the 43 percent reduced bezels make it a nice feeling device to hold. It feels premium with the sleek aluminum build. There's no doubt the iPad Air build and design make it an attractive device.

The iPad Air specs also include the M7 coprocessor for the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. Apple claims that because of optimization to the A7 chip it offers the same 10-hour battery life asw it's predecessor. The 9.7-inch display is a Retina 2048x1536 display with 264ppi. The Retina display is one of the most requested features of the new iPad. When it comes to cameras the iPad Air has a rear facing 5-megapixel iSight camera with HDR photos and 1080p HD video recording and 3x zoom. It also has a front facing Facetime HD 1.2-megapixel camera with 720pHD video. Siri also naturally is present.

ipad, air, vs, samsung, galaxy, note, 10.1 Credit: Apple

The iPad Air has certain advantages compared to rival Android tablets because of the app support and software optimization that Apple has. There are 475,000 tablet apps in the Apple app store out of a total of a million apps. This is compared to the Google Play Store which has relatively few tablet optimized apps and those that are available are generally poorly ported and un-optimized. Google has said it will be focusing on that problem in November and working to rectify it, but ultimately Apple knows how to best optimize its hardware and software. The software ecosystem support in the Google Play Store for tablet apps just isn't as good. Hardware is important but how well it works with software is also equally important and plays a big part in a good tablet experience.

The iPad Air release date is set for November 1. The main area where people might have pause is when it comes to the pricing of the iPad Air. The iPad Air price is fairly hefty. The device comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions with both Wi-Fi and cellular options. The Wi-Fi prices range from $499 on the low end to $799 on the high-end. The cellular options range from $629 on the low end to $929 on the high end. Don't forget the cost of the data plan too. Overall this makes the iPad Air easily on of the most expensive tablets on the market compared to cheaper Android tablets like the Nexus 10 and even the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition

ipad, air, vs, samsung, galaxy, note, 10.1 Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is the main Android rival to the iPad Air when it comes to the larger tablet market. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is also one of the more powerful Android devices when it comes to specs, processor and battery. The 10.1-inch display is 2560x1600 Super Clear LCD with 299 pixels. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition display outstrips the iPad Air display in terms of raw pixels (299 ppi vs. 264), but taking into account the Retina most users probably won't see too much difference.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition pulls ahead notably when it comes to processor. It boasts a Quad-core Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3GHz with an Adreno 330 GPU with a staggering 3GB of RAM. There's no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is powerful tablet, perhaps the most powerful on the market. The international version has the roughly equally powerful Samsung Exynos 5 Octa core Samsung chip clocked at 1.9GHz. Either way it's a staggeringly powerful device capable of taking whatever you throw at it and multitasking to your heart's content. When it comes to battery life it's also well suited with a 8220mAh capacity combined with the battery optimization of the Snapdragon 800, you should be able to comfortably compete against the iPad Air, lasting 9 or 10 hours.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition also includes a 8-megapixel rear camera with 1920x1080 HD recording and a 2-megapixel front facing camera. Once again in terms of raw-megapixels the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition pull ahead. When it comes to internal memory the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 has several storage options including 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of stroage. However it also has a microSD card slot allowing further expansion of up to 64GB for a total amount that matches the 128GB of the iPad Air plus likely comes at a cheaper price for the memory expansion.

ipad, air, vs, samsung, galaxy, note, 10.1 Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition build and design are also fairly attractive and sturdy, although it is not as thin or light as the iPad Air. The dimensions are 9.57x6.75x0.31 inches at 547 grams which put it at 1.2 pounds to the 1 pound of the iPad Air. Frankly, it's not that much of a difference, 0.31-inches of thickness against the 0.29-inches of the iPad Air doesn't strike us as a big deal. It's an attractive device that comes in black and white with a stitched leather back and sleek aluminum build with an unobtrusive stylus slot. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 can find its greatest shortfall in terms of app support, like all Android tablets it lacks a good selection of tablet optimized Android apps, at least compared to the 475,000 Apple has. However Samsung has its own app store which it may soon be making dedicated for it devices. In many ways Samsung is trying to replicate Apple and become the Apple of Android devices.

On the other hand the TouchWiz UI and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean have good support on the part of Samsung. Samsung isn't HTC We can be sure that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition will be getting Android 4.4 KitKat and its promised software optimizations. In addition there is custom Samsung software, most notably the stylus and Air Touch commands and other software specific to the Note devices. This can make the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition a powerful competitor even in the software department. Then there's all the other things like Action memo, Pen Window, S-Finder, Screen write and scrapbook. Samsung claims that the devices comes with $600 of free software and content and comes preloaded with things like Hulu Plus membership, Google Play credit, Buisnessweek subscription and other things.

The major thing that may influence many users when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition compared to the iPad Air is the price. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition has been on the US market since October 10 and the 16GB Wi-Fi only variant has a starting price of $549.99. That's actually more than the $499 iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi only. The 32GB version Wi-Fi only is $599.99. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 also has 3G and Wi-Fi and 4G LTE and Wi-Fi variants. Right now only the Wi-Fi only versions are only the market with the 64GB version yet to come. Expect the price to be even higher, perhaps just as high at the iPad Air 128GB cellular, if not more. Basically when it comes to price neither the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition nor the iPad Air are inexpensive options.

Final Word

As far as we can see, if you are willing to shell out that much money for the iPad Air, you might as well go for the better processor, roughly on par screen and better camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is actually somewhat more expensive than the iPad Air, but it either matches or surpasses the iPad Air. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition only has the first two Wi-Fi variants on the market right now while the iPad Air and its Wi-Fi and cellular variants will be on the market by November 1. Samsung will likely be pushing it out soon as well.

ipad, air, vs, samsung, galaxy, note, 10.1 Credit: Apple

The main aspects that differentiate these two devices center around specs and software support. Both are premium devices and well designed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is a specs heavy beast with strong custom Samsung software that make it popular among business people, college students and other. The iPad Air has specs that roughly correspond the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition when taking into account it's Retina Display, A7 processor and strong software optimizations. Most users will find both devices to be powerful and satisfactory. Apple currently offers better tablet app support but Samsung and Google will be fixing that, Google is focusing on that in November and coming out with Android 4.4 KitKat which will be optimized allowing 20 percent increase in speed and efficiency and Samsung has its own app store and strong developer support. Ultimately it may simply come down to brand loyalty and personal preference between Android and iOS7. Apple does control iOS7 while Samsung must depend on Google and then modify TouchWiz to accommodate each successive Android update. We find ourselves unable to really declare either device a winner. Both of them are premium and expensive tablets with powerful specs and features.

Check out our other comparisons for the new iPad's:

iPad Mini 2 vs. Nexus 7: Should You Buy The Apple Or Google Compact Tablet? [REPORT]

Samsung Developer Conference 2013: What Product Releases Can You Expect From San Francisco Event? [REPORT]

iPhone 5s vs. Sony Xperia Z1S: Is There Finally A Mini Android Phone That Can Challenge Apple's 4-inch Devices? [REPORT]