Samsung takes on iPad Pro with Galaxy Tab S4

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The Galaxy Tab S4 is clearly designed to take on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
The Galaxy Tab S4 is clearly designed to take on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. So we compared the two.
Screenshot: Samsung

Samsung just unveiled the first high-end Android tablet in years: With a 10.5-inch screen and a $649.99 price, the Galaxy Tab S4 takes aim squarely at the iPad Pro. As with Apple’s tablet, there’s an optional keyboard ($150) to turn this Android model into a 2-in-1 laptop.

We compare the two to highlight the differences.

Software sets them apart

While the Galaxy Tab S4 is similar to the iPad Pro in may ways, it can’t offer millions of applications designed for its large display. Large Android devices never found a market, so the majority of Android apps were designed for small smartphone displays.

By contrast, the iPad has been a huge success, with Apple selling 11.5 million of them last quarter alone, That’s led to over 2 million iOS apps designed for a tablet screen.

Users of the Tab S4 will have to depend heavily on Google’s own applications, but at least these concentrate on productivity. And the upcoming tablet includes Samsung DeX, an alternate Android homescreen that looks and acts more like a desktop PC than a typical tablet’s or phone’s homescreen . 

Watch Samsung’s official introduction to the Galaxy Tab S4:

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 vs. 10.5-inch iPad Pro

The latest Android tablet has a 10.5-inch screen with a 2560 by 1600 resolution. For comparison, the similarly-sized iPad Pro has a 2224 by 1668 display. A major difference between the two is that Samsung has dumped the home button, allowing for much smaller bezels. Apple is expected to do the same with the 2018 iPad Pro models.

The Galaxy Tab S4 runs Android 8.1 (Oreo) on an 2.45 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. This has four performance cores and four slower cores to save power. There’s 4GB of RAM. The iPad runs iOS 11.4.1 and will get an upgrade to iOS 12 in September. Apple put a 2.34 GHz hexa-core A10X chip in its tablet, along with 4GB of RAM.

There’s a USB-C port for an external display and other accessories in the Android device, while the iPad Pro depends on a Lightning port. The iOS connector can do the same jobs, but adapters are required.

Samsung included a pressure-sensitive S Pen, while the similar Apple Pencil ($99) is sold separately from all iPad models. Speaking of accessories, the Apple Smart Keyboard is $10 more than Samsung’s Bluetooth equivalent add-on.

Other Tab S4 features include four speakers, a 13 MP rear camera, and an 8 MP front camera. The iPad Pro also has four speakers, and it includes a 12 MP rear camera and a lower-res front cam.

Up to 16 hours of use is promised by Samsung from the 7300 mAh battery, while Apple promises 10 hours of battery life. That said, Apple has a history of under-promising and over-delivering on battery estimates, while its rival has the opposite.

Samsung wants $649.99 for a version with 64GB of built-in storage, or $749.99 for one with 256GB. Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro is the same price for 64GB of capacity, but $799 for 256GB of storage.

Unlike the iPad, there’s no 512GB version of the the Android tablet. But that device has a microSD memory card slot.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 can be pre-ordered now, and it launches August 10. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro launched last year. A replacement is expected soon. So remember that this is a comparison of Samsung’s 2018 tablet to Apple 2017 model.