Prizefight (week of November 24)
Apple iPad vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab
Apple iPad vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab
With the iPad tablet computer, Apple is poised to dominate yet another tech category (remember MP3 players) before the competition has a chance to react. For Apple's devotees, the iPad is nothing less than a slam dunk.
Samsung begs to differ. Its Galaxy Tab tablet is a clear threat to the iPad and a worthy consideration to anyone shopping around for a tablet. The Tab offers a smaller, more convenient size, Adobe Flash support, front and rear cameras, and the fastest growing mobile OS: Google's Android 2.2.
But can the Tab unseat the incumbent Apple iPad as the king of tablets? We're about to find out, as these two touch-screen titans square off in five rounds, and our CNET editors get real about which tablet has the goods.
Round 1: DesignWhen you carry around a tablet, you're going to draw attention to yourself. Design and looks count for a lot when you're shopping for a tablet, so here's where we examine the look, size, feel, and sex appeal of the devices.
|Apple iPad (16GB, AT&T, 3G)||5The iPad feels like a million bucks. It's big without being bulky. The fit and finish of the aluminum and glass is first class. For better or worse, it's become a status symbol.||5The iPad's thinness and large, sophisticated body add up to a stunner; but its slippery, convex silver backing make it breakable if you don't have a cover.||5The iPad brings Apple's high level of classy, sleek, and sturdy design. It's a little heavier than you'd like, but it feels solid and worth every penny you paid.||5|
Round 2: Controls and user interfaceSexiness is one thing, but are the tablets easy to use? In Round 2, we examine the design and usability of their user interfaces, onscreen keyboards, and navigation controls.
|Apple iPad (16GB, AT&T, 3G)||5My 2-year-old can use the iPad. It's almost unnerving how intuitive the UI is. Also, the onscreen keyboard is larger, more accurate, and responsive than the Tab's, which is a big deal for e-mail and Web browsing||5iPhone users will know exactly how to get around the iPad. The giant dimple control is conveniently placed and makes it simple for first-timers to pick up and handle right away.||5It doesn't matter if you've used an iPhone or an iPod. The OS on the iPad is so simple that my nieces and nephews who are almost 2 years old and older know how to use it. The performance was also snappier and more responsive overall.||5|
Round 3: Features and performanceWhat do these tablets offer under the hood? Here we examine the features in each device and rate which tablet offers more.
|Apple iPad (16GB, AT&T, 3G)||4The iPad would be cooler if it included a few cameras, especially with Apple's FaceTime video chat. Still, nothing can compare with the selection of music, movies, TV shows, apps, and games available through iTunes. Battery life exceeds expectations.||3Apps have to be specially developed for the iPad's large format. iTunes works seamlessly, but it's missing extra hardware features like a camera that would give the iPad more purpose.||3It lacks some of the hardware features, but this is the snappiest tablet that we've seen, with a longer battery life to boot. Apps are built specifically for the iPad, taking advantage of the larger size, and it makes a difference, but the Galaxy gets the edge here.||3.3|
Round 4: Web browsing and multimediaThe core features of any tablet are Web browsing and multimedia playback. Here, we'll tell you which tablet executes best on these bedrock features.
|Apple iPad (16GB, AT&T, 3G)||5Great browser? Check. Movie and TV rentals? Check. Largest online music store? Check. Subscription music support? Surprisingly, yes. Netflix streaming? Check. Killer games? Tons. Big screen to enjoy them on? Yep.||4Its larger screen makes browsing extremely easy, although a lack of Flash support hampers its usefulness. Streaming videos look great on the iPad.||5Safari plays like a desktop browser with multitouch. There's no Flash support, but having a larger screen is advantageous. The multimedia experience is amazing with its deep library of content from iTunes, polished media player, and a screen that enhances the experience.||4.7|
Round 5: ValueIt all comes down to dollars and sense (sic).
|Apple iPad (16GB, AT&T, 3G)||4Apple and AT&T broke new ground with their affordable, contract-free cellular data plans. Also, with Apple you know it's only going to release one iPad each year and lavish it with support. Also, Apple products historically hold their resale value well.||4A cheaper Wi-Fi-only model gives you options for keeping costs down. Its gorgeous, large screen is ideal for media hounds who can overlook the limited feature set.||4You'll start at $629 for a 3G/Wi-Fi iPad with 16GB and no contract obligations. The iPad's Wi-Fi-only model gives you more price flexibility. Tablets will eventually come down in price, but the iPad is the better bang for your buck.||4|
The winner is...
Apple iPad (16GB, AT&T, 3G) (4.4 pts)
The bad news isn't just that the Galaxy Tab lost--it's that the Tab lost in spite of being the best Android tablet we've seen yet. We really thought Samsung had a fighting chance with this one. Hopefully these tablet wars will start heating up soon. The iPad is cool, but it seems downright un-American not to have a Pepsi to its Coke.
To Samsung's credit, the Tab nobly paves its own road without copying the iPad. With time, the 7-inch screen may feel more natural for everyday use, and the apps for Android will likely evolve to make better use of the space. Until then, however, the iPad remains our top tablet pick.
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