Apple iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v: Tablet showdown

Which is the better tablet -- Apple's iPad 2 or Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1v?

Like the Samsung Galaxy S II Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v is made from sturdy feeling plastic and features a carbon-like finish on the rear. This adds a touch of style, and makes the tablet easy to grip. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v feels well constructed but manages to remain lightweight at 599g.

The 9.7in display of the iPad 2 is bright, crisp and clear and really brings content to life, particularly photos and videos. Though the iPad has the same oleophobic screen coating as the iPhone 4, its larger size means a few taps on the display quickly results in a grubby mess that is hard to clean. The iPad 2 also has another serious flaw — its display is virtually impossible to see in direct sunlight, which is a huge issue on a device that's designed for portability and travel.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v has a slightly larger display at 10.1in, but has the same fingerprint and sunlight legibility issues as the iPad 2. It's responsive to touch and smooth to tap, but the iPad 2 feels that little bit zippier during general use.

Apple iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v: Software and performance

The iPad 2 runs Apple's iOS4 operating system. It offers a familiar swipeable home screen enhanced by folders, and the consistent Apple UI look and feel extending across all of the standard applications. If you have never used an iPad before, you can expect a device that is easy to pick up and use, a well-populated App Store, and excellent multimedia capabilities. Web browsing is fast and efficient, and the iPad 2 is also a great device for viewing photos, watching videos and listening to music.

Though the streamlined iPad experience has won many fans, Apple's closed platform means the iPad 2 doesn't offer the same flexibility as Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab 10.1v. In particular, the iPad 2 has an inferior notification system to Android tablets, and Apple doesn't allow you to customise and display live widgets on the iPad 2 home screen. By the same token, the iPad 2 interface and overall user experience are far more polished than what is currently on offer from Android tablets. The iPad 2 feels much faster and smoother than any Android tablet we've tested.

Apple iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v: Tablet showdown

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v runs Android 3.0 "Honeycomb", which offers a completely redesigned interface aiming to take advantage of the larger screen of a tablet.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v runs Android 3.0 "Honeycomb", a new version of the Android platform that is optimised for tablet devices. Android 3.0 has a completely redesigned interface that aims to take advantage of the larger screen of a tablet. These new UI features include an "action bar", a contextual option group displayed at the top of the screen, five customisable home screens, recent apps for easier multitasking, a redesigned on-screen keyboard, a new browser and an improved copy and paste function. Android 3.0 Honeycomb also includes tabbed Web browsing, and support for 3D graphics. The new Android software for tablets is improving, but still lacks the polished and slick feel of the iPad 2.

Apple iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v: Other features

The Apple iPad 2 is powered by a dual-core processor called the A5. Apple claims the processor doubles the speed of the iPad 2 and makes graphics processing up to nine times faster. Apple hasn't specified the amount of RAM the iPad 2 has, but it is generally assumed to be 512MB.

The Apple iPad 2 also includes two cameras; one facing the front of the tablet, the other rear-facing. The rear camera records 720p HD video, and takes still photographs, but both cameras have low specifications — the front camera is VGA, while the rear camera is just 0.7 megapixels. Both cameras can be used with Apple's FaceTime video chat application, which debuted on the iPhone 4.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v Android tablet has a significantly better 8-megapixel rear camera on its rear that doubles as a 1080p HD video recorder, and a 2-megapixel front camera for video calls. The Galaxy Tab 10.1v is also powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, but, like the iPad 2, it has no microSD card slot for extra storage. The Galaxy Tab 10.1v has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, but uses a proprietary charging and synchronising port; the same port used on the original Galaxy Tab. The Galaxy Tab 10.1v also has one other significant advantage over the iPad 2 — its Web browser can display Flash video content.

The Apple iPad 2 is available through Apple retail stores and select authorised resellers. The iPad 2 is slightly cheaper than the original iPad, starting at $579 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi version.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v will be available for a limited time only, both online and in selected Vodafone stores. The device costs $729 as an outright purchase which includes 6GB data with a three month expiry, or a $259 upfront payment, plus $39 per month over 12 months. The latter includes 1.5GB of data per month.

What do you think about the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tags Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1iPad 2apple ipadApple iPad 2tabletsiPadAndroid tablets

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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