As with all things in life, the job of reviewing a product spans a spectrum of options. At one end of the spectrum you have the quick hands on preview that masquerades itself as a review. At the other end you have the long term road test, spanning months of usage and truly addressing what the product is like to live with. Balancing needs on both ends of the spectrum is very difficult. Go too far to one side and you end up with nothing more than press release talking points. Go too far to the other and you end up with a review that’s potentially irrelevant by the time it’s published. My goal is to always strike a balance in delivering something deep that’s timely as well. Usually it comes at the expense of sleep, seeing as how there are a finite number of hours in a day.

Our recent review of the new iPad went into great detail on a number of topics – ranging from the display to the SoC, as well as discussing usability. I’ve got another post that I’ll do to talk about some findings on the usability side, but today I want to focus on something I left out of the original review: a comparison to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE. In the interest of not taking even longer to get the iPad review out, I trimmed the comparison points down to ASUS’ Transformer Prime and Motorola’s Xyboard for battery life and performance. As newer tablets, and with the TF Prime’s position as our favorite Android tablet, the comparison made sense. As many of you pointed out however, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also offered in an LTE flavor and would have made a great comparison. Before the TF Prime, there was the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and it was our most desired Android tablet for a while.

The Display

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE uses Samsung’s own 1280 x 800 Super PLS display, which a year ago we loved. How does it stack up to the iPad’s Retina Display? In brightness and contrast it’s definitely competitive:

Display Brightness

Display Brightness

Display Contrast

However once you start looking at color quality and gamut, the Galaxy Tab falls in line with the old standard. Samsung delivers similar a similar color gamut percentage to the iPad 2’s display, but the coverage area is different as you can see in the gallery below.

Display Color Gamut (sRGB)

Display Color Gamut (Adobe RGB)

Both are short of the new iPad’s nearly full coverage of the sRGB space.

The delta E values echo what our CIE charts tell us, color and grayscale accuracy is simply better on the new iPad:

Note that ASUS’ TF Prime actually does better in the grayscale dE tests than the iPad. Apple may have raised the bar, but we’re still not anywhere close to perfection here.

Once again we have shots, taken at the same magnification, of the subpixel structure of all of these displays in order of increasing pixel density:


Apple iPad 2, 1024 x 768, 9.7-inches


ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, 1280 x 800, 10.1-inches


Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, 1280 x 800, 10.1-inches


Apple iPad Retina Display (2012), 2048 x 1536, 9.7-inches


Apple iPhone 4S, 960 x 640, 3.5-inches

Performance

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 takes us back to a time when NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 was king. It was just a year ago that this was true. OMAP 4 was late, Tegra 3 was an eternity away and no one else had a dual-core Cortex A9 based SoC in shipping products. Unfortunately, by today’s standards, Tegra 2 is pretty slow. Not so much on the CPU side, but on the GPU side. Tegra 2 lacked the extra compute and efficiency improvements needed to really drive a 1280 x 800 display. Couple that with the bloat from Samsung’s TouchWiz update to Honeycomb and you don’t get a very smooth experience on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, especially compared to ASUS’ ICS enabled, Tegra 3 equipped Transformer Prime.

The GPU performance numbers support our subjective findings (more numbers here):

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen 720p

In our iPad review I talked about the gaming experience on Tegra 3 being pretty good using Tegra Zone titles. In fact, if a game is available for both iOS and Tegra Zone, the Tegra version typically looks better thanks to NVIDIA’s investment of additional developer resources for the title. Despite the visual gap, both platforms tend to offer good gaming experiences. The iOS app store is easier to navigate and compatibility with devices is less of a concern there, but developers on both sides of the fence try to deliver a ~30 fps experience regardless of platform. The Tegra 2 experience isn’t bad, but you do have to run games like GTA3 at lower quality settings to get similar frame rates to Tegra 3.

Battery Life

The iPad’s gigantic battery allowed it to last a bit longer on LTE than Motorola’s Xyboard 10.1, but what about compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1? On LTE the Galaxy Tab 10.1 doesn’t fare as well as the Xyboard:

Web Browsing Battery Life

A few of you asked about video playback battery life of the new iPad. Using our old 720p, no-bframes test I managed 10.02 hours on the new iPad – tangibly less than the iPad 2 but above what Apple claims you should expect from the new tablet. I need to put together a 1080p, high profile video playback test now that more tablets can play higher quality streams. Perhaps I’ll do that in preparation for the TF700 review...

Final Words

Ask and you shall receive (time permitting). For those of you who asked, I hope the data shared here is what you were looking for. I've updated our original iPad review with all of this data as well. In short, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE is a useful but not dramatically different comparison point from the Android camp. In the near term, ASUS' Transformer Pad Infinity is what I'm hoping will be some better competition.

On to the next one…

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  • Janet55 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Well, if only compare the specs, I would like choose the new iPad.
    As I went to the Apple sale store tried the New iPad, I really like the the retina display and better camera. And would upgrade to the iPad 3 soon!
    Hope can get much surprises from it and surprised with mirror playing 1080p on the TV! And I found some cool iPad tips&Apps from iFunia iPad Column, are very informative and useful.
    Reply
  • shank2001 - Saturday, April 14, 2012 - link

    I have the iPad 3, and let me tell you, everything on it feels so buttery smooth compared to any android tablet I've ever used including the very newest ones. The "feel" of the iPad 3s just blows the others out of the water, and the screen is absolutely to die for! I mostly posted this comment just to try out the new dictation feature. Flawless. So nice to not have to type anymore. There's a reason why iPads are selling like mad, once you actually use an iPad for a while, nothing else comes close. Reply

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