iPad 2 versus Samsung Galaxy Tab

28May11

I ordered an iPad 2 on the day that they were made available in the US (and had it shipped to a friend I was visiting a few weeks later). A few days later I got a note from one of the R&D guys at work saying that a Galaxy Tab was on its way to me. A shoot out was brewing, and this post is based on my experiences using the two devices on my US trip and since.

Firstly, neither is in my mind perfect. Each has its strengths and weaknesses (that I’ll cover in a little more detail shortly), and so I don’t consider there to be an outright winner. On the US trip the one that I wouldn’t leave home without was the Galaxy Tab, but there it had the advantage of 3G connectivity. I’ve subsequently done a trip to Germany where I left the Tab and took the iPad. Things might also have been different if I’d got a 3G ipad, but since the SIM locking situation was unclear I just wasn’t confident enough to order one that might have been stuck on AT&T.

iPad 2

I like:

  • The screen size – perfect for watching movies and TV shows on the train.
  • The smartcover, and the way it can be used as a stand or a rest.
  • Battery life, which seems to live up to the claims of 10hrs watching video and is more than up to the job of a day of meetings without needing a charger.
  • That I don’t have to buy all of my apps again (except for the HD and iPad specific versions).
  • Being able to do work stuff on it, using Good for email (Android is supported but not yet approved) and Citrix for remote access (would probably work on the Tab, I haven’t even tried).

I don’t like:

  • That the smartcover is already looking a bit grubby, and it leaves lines on the screen (where the gaps are between the main pads).
  • The soft keyboard – it’s less painful than the tiny iPhone one, but I make way too many mistakes using it.
  • That I had to take my laptop with me for the unboxing just so that I could plug it into iTunes.

Galaxy Tab

I like

  • The size. In a neat little leather case that I got I found that I could carry it around like a paperback book without feeling too self concious about having a device in my hands. It was great for the DC museums where I could skip the bag check lines, and catch up on Twitter and Google Reader whilst waiting for the kids.
  • DivX/Xvid (and MKV) videos just work, and having a MicroSD slot makes it easy to get them on there.
  • Swype – it’s just awesome for adding annotations to bookmarks and sending emails.

I don’t like

  • Having to re-enter passwords for Google accounts every time I swap SIMs.
  • That there’s no decent video conferencing software for a device that’s clearly up to the job.

Conclusion

As I said already there’s no clear winner. On a typical day I put them both in my bag. On the way to work I tend to favour the Tab (and its 3G) for catching up on tweets and RSS feeds, on the way home the bigger screen on the iPad usually wins for watching something (though I quite often find myself using the Tab too at the same time).

What has happened is my personal laptop is rarely leaving home these days. It just doesn’t have enough utility to justify the extra weight. I’m also seriously considering leaving the work laptop behind for future trips; I got by fine without it for 3 days in Germany recently, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to go a whole week.



2 Responses to “iPad 2 versus Samsung Galaxy Tab”

  1. 1 thomas wood

    Chris
    the review is interesting in only the fact that a tablet is more convenient than a laptop – the differences between the two devices is more along cost, and the usability – mainly apps.

    I too stopped carrying a laptop, but i found that i responded to emails less due the the inherent problem of typing on a large touch screen device – I tend to read email etc while standing, or on a subway/train rather than siting down at a desk.

    regards
    thomas

    • I’ve found that Swype makes me less guilty of being read mostly when I’m on the move.

      Equally, having a bluetooth keyboard is what transforms the iPad into a genuine productivity device.


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