In the smartphone market, Apple vs Samsung has been an ongoing battle, but when it came to the bigger screen, the tablets, Apple has been the king with its modern good looking updated iPads. No matter how much Samsung or any other company tried to match up to it, Apple always came out on top. The most recent attempt by Samsung is the S7 Tab and mind you, this one does put up a good fight and hence the need for this article.
Surprisingly both of these models look as if they are inspired by the Apple’s iPad Educated 11 (2018). Both offer rounded corners and narrower bezels than you are going to be ready to get on most tablets.
The Apple iPad Air 4 can be seen in 5 colours: Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue. It offers a single 12MP wide camera module. On the top edge of the iPad Air 4, you’ll find a new lock button. While it still wakes the device, just as it would on an iPad Pro, here it cleverly doubles as a Touch ID sensor. While that means no Face ID (as you’d find on its more expensive sibling), the front-facing camera does still offer 7MP photos and video recording.
Samsung is a little more conservative, offering ‘Mystic’ Bronze, Black, and Silver for both the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7 Plus. At 575g for the Tab S7 Plus and 498g for the Tab S7, it is reasonably light, but you’d still want to hold it with two hands. It’s also impressively thin at just 5.7mm, which makes it the thinnest tablet we’ve seen. Galaxy Tab S7 range offers two rear cameras – a 13MP main one and a 5MP ultra-wide one. Tab S7 Plus offers an in-screen fingerprint sensor. It’s undoubtedly clever tech, but it doesn’t work quite as fast as it does on mobile phones.
iPad Air 4 display in itself is now a 10.9-inch compared to 10.5in in the 2019 model. That’s enabled by the removal of the Home button, so you don’t have to put up with a less portable device to get that extra screen space. It has a 2360 x 1640 liquid retina one screen, sporting over 3.8 million pixels. It’s also fully laminated, includes anti-reflective coating and supports True Tone, like the iPad Pro. The pixel density is the same as on last year’s model, at 264 ppi
Tab S7 has a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen has a resolution of 2800 x 1752 and supports a fast 120Hz refresh rate making it smooth to operate. The Tab S7 sports a LTPS IPS LCD screen, with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen is a decent compromise between entertainment and productivity as most streaming content is made with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so you lose very little screen estate when watching Netflix or YouTube compared to an iPad which has a 4:3 ratio.
The iPad Air 4 camera setup can’t quite compete with the Pro’s multi-lens arrangement, but the rear-facing camera does see a boost from 8Mp to 12Mp and from f/2.4 to f/1.8 – that’s now the same wide-angle camera as in the Pro, albeit not accompanied by an ultra-wide-angle partner. You now get Smart HDR. Video recording goes up from 1080p at 30fps to 4K at up to 60fps; slow-mo now tops out at 240fps instead of 120fps; and there’s now continuous autofocus on video. Panorama is increased from 43MP to 63MP.
Galaxy Tab S7 has a dual-camera setup, with a main 13MP camera joined by a 5MP ultra-wide offering. There are people out there that take photos with their tablets and the cameras here will serve them well. The 5MP is an ultra-wide option, allowing you to capture more of a scene in a single shot. You get all sorts of camera modes such as Live Focus (for portraits), Pro Video, Night and Single Take that Samsung released with the S20 series. This last mode records a short video and then creates multiple clips and images out of it with different aspect ratios suited for social networks.
Apple has made big strides with its camera hardware and software in recent years, but the Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus are the clear winners, at least on paper, offering both 13MP and 5MP sensors.
Battery and Processor
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 meanwhile has an 8,000mAh battery while the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus has a massive 10,090mAh one. Despite that, Samsung claims the basic Tab S7 lasts longer – apparently holding out for up to 15 hours of video playback, compared to 14 on the Tab S7 Plus. That can presumably be explained by the larger, higher resolution screen on the Plus model.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series is equipped with the fastest processor currently available for the Android platform – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus. This is backed up with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, depending on what variant you choose.
Apple iPad Air 4 has a battery of 9270 mAh battery. the slate offers 10 hours of battery life, dropping to 9 when using cellular. The A14 Bionic has, Apple dutifully reports, 11.8 billion transistors, a new 6-core design, 4-core graphics architecture and a 16-core Neural Engine that’s capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second.
Price and Availability
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 begins at $649.99 / £619 / AU$1,149 for the Wi-Fi-only, 128GB model.
Meanwhile, it’s not often that you’d offer an Apple product as a cheaper alternative, but you can get the iPad Air 4 for $599 / £579 / AU$899 with an admittedly stingy 64GB of storage. As for the top-end model, a 256GB version with 4G (Apple doesn’t offer a 5G device yet), costs $879 / £859 / AU$1,329.
The iPad Air’s latest revision improves its design, but it remains a fairly modest upgrade outside of a not-insignificant performance bump. Meanwhile, the standard Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is blown out of the water in many regards by its ever-so-slightly larger brother with its beautiful AMOLED panel.
If you’re a fan of Apple’s ecosystem, the choice is simple, but if you’re feeling adventurous, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 and Galaxy Tab S7 Plus are very tempting.