Okay, Apple, so you got me to confess to liking your iPad mini 2 more than Google’s new Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 7. Big deal, since at the end of the day, the spanking new 7.9-incher is still pretty expensive. Maybe not unwarrantedly so, but darn pricey nevertheless.
Besides, you won a battle, yet the war is wide open. In other words, if you can’t double down on your victory with another in the 10-inch niche, it means nothing. And to make sure your iPad Air will be brought to its knees, I have backup in the ultimate 10-inch spec smackdown.
Windows RT-based backup, in the form of Nokia’s first ever tablet effort, the Lumia 2520. Plus the biggest, baddest, proudest slate Android is able to deliver… today, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. Now this is one tough clash and it’s only bound to get tougher, as Google’s second-generation Nexus 10 is looming on the horizon.
For now, let’s keep our eyes on the ball and do what we do best: pit maybe the best contenders to a particular mobile throne (in this case, the 10-inch tablet throne), and see which one comes out on top strictly as far as cold numbers, specs and features are concerned. Game on:
Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 vs. iPad Air vs. Lumia 2520 – design comparison
Craftsmanship at its finest. It’s the best description of all three of these jewels, albeit Nokia’s Lumia 2520 does come short of greatness in the weight department, tipping the scales at 615 grams. And it measures 8.9 mm in thickness, so it’s definitely out of contention.
And then there were two. Almost equally as slim (7.9 mm profile the GNote 10.1 and 7.5 mm the Air), but not so close in terms of weight as it may look from the outside. Samsung’s 10-incher, while not bulky, weighs 540 grams, a whopping 70 grams more than the iPad Air.
So yeah, I have to reluctantly give this one battle to Apple, especially since the iPad Air is the smoothest and more robust fellow of the two, rocking that iconic Cupertino all-metal chassis.
Mind-blowing, mind-blowing and… okay-ish. That’s Note 10.1, iPad Air and Lumia 2520’s screens in one word for you, with Nokia’s big guy losing right off the bat for the second time in a row, courtesy of a decent but not impressive 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution.
And again, there were two. The iPad Air, with a Retina 2,048 x 1,536 pix res panel (264 ppi pixel density), and the Note 10.1, rocking a 2,560 x 1,600 display (299 ppi). Oh, noes, is Apple throwing in the towel? It certainly looks that way, so point Samsung.
Processing speed, RAM and camera smackdown
This is where things get truly interesting, with both the Note 10.1 and Lumia 2520 packing Snapdragon 800 heat and Apple responding with a much hailed 64-bit A7 CPU. I’m afraid Nokia can’t finish round three on its feet either, abandoning due to low memory: 2 GB RAM, compared with 3 for Samsung.
As far as the S800 vs. A7 duel goes, I’m fully aware of what reviewers say, but if you’ll allow me, I think I’m going to call this a draw. Possibly because I’m biased, but most likely because I can’t se the iPad Air being zippier and more responsive in real life than the 10-inch Note with a measly 1 gig of RAM. I simply cannot.
Cameras? I don’t care that much and neither should you (taking photos with 10-inchers is stupid), but for the record, Nokia probably has the edge there, courtesy of a top-notch 6.7 MP rear snapper with Carl Zeiss optics.
Software and battery life
Contrasting iPad Air’s pre-loaded iOS 7 with Note 10.1’s Android 4.3 with Lumia 2520’s Windows RT 8.1 is like comparing fresh apples with fresh oranges with rotten tomatoes. The rotten tomatoes being Win RT, which is clearly on the rise, but still kind of lame.
So it’s bye-bye Nokia again (I lost count), with the Android vs. iOS debate taking far too long to be worth tackling right now. For the sake of keeping a clear record, let’s call it a draw.
And let’s call another draw in the battery division, but a three-way draw, as all of these beauties’ manufacturers claim their slates can go for up to ten hours on a single charge. Bollocks, yet we’ll need to run our own tests to prove them wrong.
Pricing, connectivity and accessories
No fingerprint recognition anywhere (no one needs it anyway), basically nothing else to make the iPad Air stand out, but plenty to skyrocket the Note 10.1 and Lumia 2520’s overall value. Like S Pen support and microSD on the former, HDMI, NFC, microSD and sleek optional keyboard dock for the latter.
It thus all comes down to the wire, with pricing being the last key piece of the puzzle and probably the most important of all. $500 for the 2520 (with 32 GB storage), $500 the iPad Air (16 GB variation) and $550 the 2014 10-inch Note (also with 16 GB memory).
So could Nokia win the war in the eleventh hour? No way Jose, as they’ve lost too many battles by very wide margins. As for the GNote 10.1 vs. iPad Air duel, in my book it goes down as an overall tie. Surprisingly, the Air is the cheaper of the two and unsurprisingly, it’s the better looking tab.
Meanwhile, the Note has the unique S Pen, the crisper display, three times Air’s RAM, an equally as impressive battery (on paper), silky smooth software and a fast and furious, albeit not as buzzed about processor. Did I or did I not tell you, Apple, that the war was not decided?