The new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a sleek tablet that can do things the iPad cannot - making it a valid alternative to Apple's popular tablet. (Photo : Samsung)
Samsung just made buying a tablet a little harder. Before, if you were going to drop $499 on a 10-inch tablet, more likely than not, you were going to pick up Apple's new Retina iPad. Now, however, Samsung has added a great competitor to the market with the just-released Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. This ten-inch tablet offers a unique experience that is different from the iPad, so let's take a look at the two tablets to see which one might best fit you.
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The biggest difference will be that the Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with the S pen stylus that works incredibly well and is supported by first-party Samsung apps. The iPad has third-party stylus offerings, but none come close to the S pen. The Galaxy Note 10.1 can also run two apps simultaneously onscreen, and can function as a universal entertainment remote - two things the iPad can't do.
First off, the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and the new iPad start at $499. At that price, you can pick up a a 16GB Wi-Fi version of both. A 32GB Galaxy Note 10.1 is $50 cheaper than a 32GB iPad, which runs at $599. The iPad is the only one of the two to offer a 64GB model. For a heftier price (starting at $629 for the 16GB version) you can pick up a new iPad with 4G capabilities, something the Galaxy Note 10.1 does not offer.
Technically, both are sound tablets that should run almost anything you throw at it easily. The Galaxy Note 10.1 features a quad-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, while the latest Apple iPad uses a dual-core A5X processor.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Although a newer Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has been released, there is no information regarding when Samsung will upgrade the tablet to Jelly Bean. The Apple iPad currently runs iOS 5, and should be upgraded to iOS 6 around the time the new Apple operating system launches alongside the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini.
Which one is better? That will come down to a personal choice, as both operating systems offer a robust amount of apps (although Apple's apps are definitely more specialized and developed). If you're tied into Google, you might feel more at home using Android, and if you're an Apple fan, iOS 6 only promises to make that experience even better.
Display wise, Apple's Retina iPad wins. With a resolution of 2048X1536, it puts out 264 pixels per inch (ppi) using Apple's much-touted Retina Display. The Galaxy Note 10.1 on the other hand, uses the same resolution as the smaller Galaxy Note smartphone, 1280X800. This doesn't mean the Galaxy Note 10.1 is going to be a fuzzy television box from the 60's - it will still play HD videos and run games fine. Just don't expect it to be as sharp or vibrant as the Apple iPad's Retina Display.
In the end, we all know the iPad is a great tablet that is durable and has plenty of support behind it. But if you are looking for something a little different, and are interested in what using an optimized stylus on a tablet could be like, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is a great alternative.