Think of this as the bigger version of our iPad mini with Retina display vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 comparison smackdown. No, the comparison and video smackdown aren't larger, but today's subjects are the full size counterparts to those 8" tablets: the iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. These 10" tablets target those looking for a higher end tablet and both sell for $499 with WiFi only and 16 gigs of internal storage. They both weigh just 1 pound and are equally exquisitely slim. They have fast quad core CPUs and benchmark similarly on cross platform tests. So how do you choose?
First and foremost, do you want Android or iOS? Android provides greater customizability, from home screen layout to widgets to the possibility of installing custom ROMs (for you geeky types). Apple's iOS is fast, stable and extremely easy to use, but it's not really customizable. Android app selection has largely caught up with Apple's app store, but tablet-optimized apps that take advantage of bigger screens in an attractive manner are still in smaller supply with Android.
You say you want a killer display? Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 and the iPad Air offer some of the best displays you'll see on a tablet. The Tab Pro 10.1 has a 2560 x 1600 widescreen display that's bright and colorful. The iPad Air has a 4:3 aspect ratio display that's very color accurate, quite bright and has 2048 x 1536 resolution. The iPad Air display is 9.7" while the Galaxy's is 10.1", and the Galaxy has 298 PPI v. 264 PPI on the iPad Air. In other words, they're both very sharp displays and their resolutions are so high that it's unlikely you'd be able to see the small difference in pixel densities. The Galaxy's widescreen display is perfectly suited to movie playback, reducing the black bars that figure more prominently on the 4:3 iPad Air. But the iPad Air's aspect ratio is better suited to reading books, PDFs and even websites.
The iPad Air is available as a WiFi-only tablet or WiFi + 4G LTE. Currently there's no Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 with built-in LTE, though you can use a MiFi or your phone's mobile hotspot when out of WiFi network range. If you need built-in 3G/4G right now, the iPad Air is the obvious choice. In the US, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is available with 16 gigs of storage only. The iPad Air is available in a variety of storage capacities, including 16, 32, 64 and 128 gigs. Samsung mitigates the problem somewhat with a micro SDXC card slot, so you can expand storage.
As you've no doubt guessed, there are many more points to cover. So sit down with a cup of hot cocoa and watch our Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 vs. iPad Air Comparison Smackdown video.