Ever since I first laid eyes on the original iPad, I wanted a tablet. At the time I still had a flip phone, so the prospect of having a portable device that was controlled by touch was still so new and exciting. Years went by and I went through two iPhones and a Nintendo DS, and touch screens lost their novelty but tablets still called my name. This past Christmas when my whole family got tablets, I got to choose between the iPad and the Note 10.1.
ROUND 1: THE SCREEN
Both tablets have good quality screens, brightness sensitivity and colour range, but there’s no denying that the iPad’s retina display is sharper. We’re at this age in technology where we aren’t fixing problems with new developments, we’re making improvements we didn’t know we needed. There was nothing wrong with regular resolution screens until retina came on the market, now nothing compares to it. Needless to say, the iPad won this round.
ROUND 2: NOTETAKING
This is simple: if you prefer typing, iPad is better; if you prefer handwriting, Note is better. The iPad doesn’t have a built-in handwriting app, whereas the Note has a really advanced, smooth-running one with a pen specifically for it. But I’m not a fan of the Note’s keyboard, which is small and takes a little longer to respond than the iPad’s does. This round is a toss-up, since both have their merits. As someone who sketches a lot though, I love the Note’s pen and handwriting capability.
ROUND 3: THE APPS
I’d say the downloadable app selection is pretty much equal. You can site numbers, saying the Apple app store has so many more apps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all top quality, excellent apps. I just think the Apple app store has been around longer, so people have had more time to play around with it. The Note 10.1 has access to both the Android app store and Google Play, so there’s plenty of variety if you have a Google account.
What really made a difference to me was the native apps that came out-of-the-box with the tablets. Both had the regular notetaker, weather, email, etc apps. But the Samsung had a couple extras including an awesome tablet version of Adobe Photoshop! The icon-based interface takes a little getting used to, but this Photoshop program is so much better than any of the free ones I saw on the Apple app store. It has all the functionality of desktop photoshop, bringing the photo editing experience right to your fingertips and making it much more hands-on than using a mouse.
It was a close round in the app stores, but the Note takes the round with its out-of-the-box Photoshop.
ROUND 4: PORTABILITY
Portability means two things to me: 1) how easy it is to physically carry around, and 2) how easy it is to load data back and forth from tablet to computer. I do a lot of photo editing, so it needs to be easy for me to transfer my photos onto my tablet, edit them, and transfer them back to my laptop.
Anyone who has had an Apple product knows that they’re very elitist. The cables are far from standard, even within the company – the latest products have different ports than the older ones, so you can’t borrow your dad’s old iPhone charger for your new iPad, and that is super inconvenient. On top of that, you have to sync with iTunes every time you want to change something. This didn’t seem so bad until I tried to load something onto the Note.
With the Android, all you have to do is plug it in and drag-and-drop. It’s so simple, doesn’t completely refresh everything every time, and takes a fraction of the time that it takes to sync an iPad. For someone who regularly moves one document at a time back and forth, this was a huge selling point for me. That’s why Samsung takes the fourth round and wins the battle.
I ended up choosing the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Overall it is more customizable and has a more personal feel. Once you play around with enough Apple products, they all start to feel the same (although I’m hoping this changes with the new iOS, keep your fingers crossed). Now, half a year later, I still use my Note every day at home and at work, and I do not regret my choice at all.