There were so few interesting new Android tablets released in the past several years that the iPad Pro was the only choice for students, professionals, and anyone else who wanted a more portable alternative to a laptop, one that could accomplish more or less the same tasks. But Samsung’s latest Android tablet, the Tab S4, is nowhere, and it’s in every way as good as we hoped it would be, providing the much-needed competition for the iPad Pro.
|Samsung Electronics Galaxy Tab S4
|Check Price on Amazon
|Apple MQDW2LL/A 10.5" iPad Pro Wi-Fi Only 64GB, Silver
|Check Price on Amazon
Design and Build
Design is subjective, and everyone has a different taste, but we believe that we can objectively say that both the Samsung Tab S4 and the iPad Pro are stunning. The former measures 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm and weighs 482 g (add one extra gram if you choose the Wi-Fi + LTE model), while the latter measures 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1 mm and weighs 469 g (477g for the Wi-Fi + LTE model).
They both have the same display size, 10.5-inches, but the Tab S4 has a higher resolution of 1600 x 2560. The iPad Pro has a resolution of only 1668 x 2224. It also doesn’t have as lovely colors as the Tab S4 because it uses an LED-backlit IPS LCD, whereas Samsung uses its own Super AMOLED display with an impressive contrast ratio. What the iPad Pro does have a very high refresh rate of 120 Hz, which makes all animation and motion feel incredibly fluid.
Camera and Speakers
If you ever decide to take pictures with your 10.5-inch tablet, you can rest assured knowing that both the Tab S4 and the iPad Pro offer very acceptable image quality. The Tab S4 has a 13-megapixel camera on the back and an 8-megapixel camera on the front, while the iPad Pro has a 12-megapixel camera on the back and a 7-megapixel camera on the front. If we had to pick a winner, we would give it to the iPad Pro because its low-light performance is slightly better, and the pictures it takes are more color-accurate.
A great tablet should also have great sound, and neither the Tab S4 nor the iPad Pro disappoints in this regard. They both have a quad-speaker setup that projects full sound with crisp highs and boomy bass. Of course, you wouldn’t want to rely on the speakers alone when listening to the latest Jeremy Soule soundtrack, but they’re excellent for a movie or TV show.
If you want to buy a tablet because you’re tired of hauling a heavy laptop and would like something much lighter that would still allow you to accomplish everything, performance is one of the most important things to consider.
The Tab S4 has a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of memory, and either 64 GB or 256 GB of storage. The iPad Pro has Apple’s A10X Fusion chip, 4 GB of memory, and 64 GB or 256 GB or 512 GB of storage.
In practice, both tablets are powerful enough, even for serious multitasking, and you would be hard-pressed to come across an app that would need more processing power. Because both tablets pack large batteries—the Tab 4 has a 7,300 mAh battery, while the iPad Pro packs an 8,134 mAh battery—you can enjoy their speedy performance for a whole day.
When it comes to the software side of things, it’s not just Android versus iOS. Samsung has something called DeX mode, which essentially allows you to turn your Tab S4 table into a PC-like experience with a single cable. Add a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, and you can use apps, review documents, and watch videos on a PC-like interface using your Tab S4. Many Android apps offer native DeX support, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, OneNote, Microsoft Remote Desktop, Skype, Acrobat Reader, and others.
The iPad Pro has its fair share of productivity-oriented features, including split-screen and drag-and-drop, but nothing like DeX mode. If you can see yourself using a single device for both work and fun, the Tab S4 seems like a better choice than the iPad Pro.
Both the Tab S4 and the iPad Pro support a stylus for natural writing and drawing. The Tab S4 has the S Pen, which offers a fine 0.7 mm tip and 4096 pressure levels for a sensation as graceful as putting pen to paper. The S Pen is designed to work as a presentation remote control in DeX mode, allowing you to command your slideshow with a simple press of a button.
The Apple Pencil is an excellent tool for content creators who need pixel-perfect precision when jotting down notes, painting digital art, and marking up emails.
The cheapest model of the Tab S4 and the iPad Pro both sell for the same amount. If you would like more storage space than 64 GB, the 256 GB model of the Tab 4 or will cost more for the 256GB version of the iPad Pro or even more for the 512 GB model of the iPad Pro.
You’ll probably also want a keyboard case in which case you should be ready to spend an extra fee for both of these for the iPad Pro.
As you might have already guessed, both the Tab S4 and the iPad Pro are pretty evenly matched. The biggest strength of the Tab S4 is DeX mode, which brings desktop-like user experience to a mobile operating system, making the tablet far more useful for day-to-day productivity. The iPad Pro, on the other hand, has a better camera and more storage options, but they come at a price.