The 2012 iPad Followup: Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE Comparisonby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 2, 2012 8:01 PM EST
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 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:
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.
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:
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):
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.
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:
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...
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…