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iPad Air vs. Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition


October 28, 2013

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air and the 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air and the 2014 edition of the Galaxy Note 10.1

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With the iPad Air now on store shelves, perhaps you're wondering how it sizes up next to (quite possibly) the best tablet Samsung has to offer. Is the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition worth a look? Join Gizmag, as we put the features and specs of the two side-by-side.


Sizes are pretty similar, though the iPad Air is slightly smaller in every dimension. It's five percent thinner and one percent shorter than the Note 10.1.


The iPad Air lives up to its name, as its ridiculously light build is its killer feature. Despite the minor difference in size, the iPad is 13 percent lighter.


The new iPad takes on the build and design aesthetic of its little brother, the iPad mini. That includes narrow side bezels, which have its screen taking up a higher proportion of its front than the Note 10.1's does.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 has the same faux leather (plastic) build as the Galaxy Note 3 phablet. It also has capacitive menu and back buttons, sitting alongside a physical home button, below its screen. The iPad Air, like all iOS devices, has a lone home button below its screen.


Both tablets are sold in black-ish and white color options, fancy names included.


Both tablets give you top-of-the-line screens. The Note's is sharper, but you won't likely have any complaints with the Retina Display in the latest iPad (it has the same 2,048 x 1,536 resolution as the last two full-sized iPads).

You'd think a 10.1-in screen would be somewhat bigger than a 9.7-in screen. And it technically is, but the iPad Air gives you 99 percent as much screen real estate, owing to its less oblong 4:3 aspect ratio.

That aspect ratio also makes the iPad more versatile in terms of orientation. The Note 10.1's 16:10 screen is probably going to make more sense in landscape than portrait. Samsung agrees, as evidenced by its button placement.


You can buy third-party iPad styluses that simulate touch from fingers, but the Galaxy Note series is centered around its bundled S Pen stylus. Samsung threw in a ton of software goodies to take advantage of that pen, including quick note-jotting, screen grabbing and annotating, and handwriting recognition.


The only differences here are the lack of a 128 GB option for the Note 10.1, and the Note's microSD card support.


Forget how the iPad Air's dual core A7 (clocked at 1.4 GHz) looks on paper, because it wins the performance showdown. The Note 10.1, however, should be plenty zippy for just about anyone, whether you snag the octa core Exynos processor in the Wi-Fi only and 3G versions, or the Snapdragon 800 in the LTE model.


The iPad Air has 1 GB of RAM, while the Note has 3 GB. On paper, this looks like cause for concern for the iPad. In experience, you have nothing to worry about here (more on that soon in our review).


Apple is advertising an extra hour of battery life over the Note 10.1, but we'll have to wait for some hands-on time to have anything solid on this front.


The Note's camera wins on megapixels, but we'd take that with many grains of salt, as its rear camera isn't really anything to write home about. Consider this another "incomplete" until we snap some test shots with the iPad Air.


Both tablets are sold in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with LTE options. As we mentioned, there's also a Wi-Fi + 3G model of the Note 10.1, limited mostly to regions that don't have LTE anyway.

Companion smartwatch

If you're interested in throwing down an extra US$300 for a smartwatch, then the Samsung Galaxy Gear is compatible with the Note 10.1.

As much as we enjoyed using the Gear with the Note 3, though, we don't think it makes much sense with a tablet. The point is that it puts some basic smartphone functionality on your wrist, courtesy of a constant Bluetooth connection. Less pocketable tablets just don't fit that bill nearly as well.


Both iOS and Android have their share of loyal fans, but the iPad's App Store has a larger and far superior selection of tablet apps. Google Play's tablet selection has improved in the last year or two, but it still features too many stretched-out smartphone apps to put it in the same echelon as the iPad App Store.

Unless you're deeply invested in the Android or Galaxy ecosystems, the biggest software advantage that the Note offers is the stylus integration we mentioned earlier. That's pointing at a much more niche target audience, though, so we'd give the software advantage to the iPad Air for most customers.

Starting prices

Samsung's tablets don't sell like the iPad (no other tablets do), but that doesn't mean Samsung is trying to undercut it on price. On the contrary, the Note 10.1 starts at US$50 more than the cheapest iPad Air. Both of those entry-level models give you 16 GB of storage, with Wi-Fi only connectivity.


Rather than picking "winners" in these showdowns, we prefer to try to target who will prefer one device, and who will prefer the other. For most people, though, we see the iPad Air coming out ahead. It has a lighter, more premium build, it has a performance edge, as well as terrific battery life. Most importantly, though, is the iPad's stacked App Store. There's a lot to love about Google Play, but again, its tablet selection still has a lot of catching up to do.

The big exception is if you're looking for a tablet with stylus input. If your job or personal life requires a lot of note-taking – or if you just prefer the greater precision that a stylus offers – then the Note 10.1 is one of your best options. Likewise, if you prefer Android, its greater flexibility, and the integrated Google services that go along with it, then the Note 10.1 looks like one of your best options for this holiday season.

For more on the iPad Air, you can hit up our review, as well as our comparison of it to its iPad forefathers. Or you can cast your net a little wider and check out our 2013 Tablet Comparison Guide.

Buy this on Amazon About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin

Good review. I LOVE my Note 10.1. To me it is superior to the Ipad. But can't argue your conclusions.


Hmmm... "The only differences here are the lack of a 128 GB option for the Note 10.1, and the Note's microSD card support."

Actually, for many people SD support is a significant advantage that most Samsung phone/tablet products share over many other Android and ALL Apple devices.

Cloud storage is all very well - where cheap, fast access is available - but I travel a lot and outside major cities around the world the reality is that such access just isn't available.

So if you want to watch movies or listen to music, being able to store it on a memory card or three is a VERY big plus. Of course some manufacturers would rather lock their systems down so that they can charge £80 for 16GB of memory.... but nobody would be dumb enough to fall for that....... Would they?


I think this is a good review. Being a Samsung owner, I would lean toward the Note more than the iPad. I think there is enough of a market that both would have customers for their product. I doubt any one product would fill everyones need.

I wonder why the iPad does not have a micro SD card slot.


Comparing the 2 for anything other than the hardware is kind of stupid. Android OS is controlled by Google. There is only so much that Samsung or any other company can do with it. Apple has always been good with software on their captive hardware.

Now if Samsung were to budget a sizable amount to develop a completely new OD based on some open source RTOS or Open / FreeBSD or the like and hire really smart and visionary software developers, resulting hardware and software combo might offer a better platform for comparison.


While Android is indeed "controlled by google" that is not a bad thing. I can create an app and host it on my site and you can load it. No such animal for an Ipad. Apple demands that all software be controlled by them. There are many android apps not on the google store but rather on web sites around the world. I will stick to a truly open platform thanks very much!

Also the note will allow truly unlimited memory since I can simply switch out memory as needed. Both have clouds, however lots of the time I am not online or near a cloud. :-)

Rodney Haas

You can compliment the Koreans on their mode of rapid theft or copying.

Thanks to the University of Cincinnatti.

Now that Apple makes the finest Computers and the devices all integrate and communicate, this makes the Apple devices much superior. No frozen snot at all.

Only Problem is that Apple has not figured out how to do a proper calendar.


Lewis Dickens

Frankly, to me there is no comparison. The iPad is just better.

I play with both at work and my phone is an Android phablet, but the iPad win in both UI, build quality and design.

The iPad is also 4x3, which is way, way better IMO for browsing or reading on a tablet. I always feel I am looking at web pages or magazines through a slit on the Samsungs.

Son-of Man

Difficult to beat Apple; however, for me, $400 is way too much for either one. I am now typing this comment using my NookHD7 and a wonderfully tactile Targus keyboard - purchased for a very reasonable price of less than $30.00. With the Nook HD now using Android and not its original proprietary software, it now has available to it more than 7,000 apps.

You keep the expensive iPad and I will continue using this amazing device. My only question. How can they make such a versatile tablet and sell it for this very low price of less than $130.

Charles Remarque

Charles Remarque

I prefer Android over iOS as an OS but I am not sure I prefer Samsung over Apple. Samsung's iteration of Android is a bit clunky IMHO.

With that said, I would buy neither of these devices for the money they are charging and would go with either a full Windows 8.1 tablet or at least a Surface 2 since browsing is 95% of what I do on a tablet.

Rann Xeroxx

Is there anywhere in the U.S. where you can actually find a 64GB 4G LTE samsung 10.1 2014 edition? I can't. I'd buy it in a blink if I could. Best Buy in Canada said they'd sell me one, if I drove up from Texas to buy it.

Mark Landsbaum

Great review, but you forgot to mention that the galaxy note has an infrared blaster. Very useful for TV and cable box control.

Darren Saari

I'm trying to work out what Booleanboy is watching that won't fit on 128gb internal storage, I can't imagine people needing to take their whole porn collection with them, but I guess I could be wrong.

Inappropriate Response

I have both iPads and Android tablets. My preference is the iPad. Primarily for the App Store. Also, it's not just the number of apps, but the quality of apps. There are too many apps on android that are poorly designed and implemented. Some apps work great on a Nexus 7 but not so well on a Galaxy Tab Note. Also the back and menu buttons on the Tab Note 10.1 are too easily accidentally touched and it ruins the viewing experience on the device. Very irritating.


Valiant attempt at a unbiased article, unfortunately the "I worship Apple" undertones are to strong (I see the the opposite in other articles too).

The author shows the deep knowledge on Apple mantra and clearly shows the extreme bias. For instance when the iPad loses in comparison it softens the blow. Had it been the other way around, like in the case of the screen resolution which is almost 30% more pixels (that is 1/3 MORE) that is nothing to dismiss. You can have a keyboard on screen and show the ENTIRE image that the iPad has.

But when it talks about weight the 15% extra (or approximately the weigth of 2 house keys) this becomes a huge deal.

Then there is the dimentions. The iPad is thinner and not as tall. It is smaller in every way? Actually NO, the boased author forgot to mentioned that the Note is narrower than the iPad Air.

Also, the MicroSD card is a HUGE deal. That means the 16GB, 32GB, 64GB Note can be upgraded to an 80GB/96GB/128GB note with just £80.

Oh the stylus that a tiny few people may want. It is funny how many companies have started to create that insignificant stylus need just because the iPad does not have it. But the problem is that adding a stylus later does not make a tablet a stylus tablet. You can not have a stylus ONLY input on the iPad.

Pricing, yes the BOTTOM LINE iPad air is cheaper than the Note but the 32 GB version is the same price. And we will see how much more "expensive" will the Notes be over the iPad Air.

Also no mention of the infra red, the multi view (cool muti tasking feature still no 100% supported by all apps) in the NOTE.

In conclusion, this was the first article I seen that actually tried to be unbiased.

There is more that I could mentioned about both devices which in my opinion do not compare. If you have an iOS device there is just one reason to have a NOTE (unless you want a really cool pen). And if you are in the Android ecosystem, the iPad Air does not offer enough magic to change platforms. So this comparison would only be for people thinking of getting a tablet. And I would agree with Charles, there are really nice lower priced tablets that can do so much. No reason to spend that much money on a tablet (which IMO are still toys).

Hope more people try this at it would be nice to have them. But unfortunately this is not one of them.

Thanks for trying.

Gadget Crumb

The biggest problem that I have with the iPad "cult", is that so many people bought into the Jobs belief that a stylus was "old fashioned". I do not know how modern it could be for someone with an iPad to pull out an extremely old fashioned piece of paper and number 2 pencil as their iPad takes a break on the desk (I see this quite a bit at meetings with my iPad friends). Finally, how inconvenient is it to have to fish through a file cabinet or otherwise for your notes that you took on paper? I, on the other hand, can write out my notes as if it is on paper, on my Galaxy Tab Note, and then retrieve them at a moments notice if someone asks me a question about something that took place during that meeting. Also, while others have to print and then scan their expense reports and sign them with a pen, I can pull up my RepliGo Reader PDF editor and sign my PDF expense report on the road and e-mail it to my boss (Take that iPad people). Furthermore, I mark up floor plans, etch out ideas and sign other official documents that are e-mailed to me and then I do not have to fax, but e-mail them back. To me, this is the thing that turns the note from simply something to read output, but to do much broader input. Why have a tablet, and then a piece of paper? I rarely use a pen now and days. I feel that Apple has convinced far too many people that the tablet is a toy, or something to stair at. I believe the tablet should do more than replace books, but paper and pen as well. What Apple overlooked, thank God Samsung took advantage of. I see no use (read zero) in an iPad because of this.

Yusuf Johnson

It used to be that Apple had the clear advantage on tablet hardware, not anymore. I've recently had a major data loss while updating iOS versions on my iPad 2, not because I didn't have a backup of that data, but because Apple deleted the very app that reads that data and refuses to let me downgrade to the previous version of iOS where the app still exists, leaving me with a useless encrypted backup file that they refuse to assist me in fishing out the data. I have no words to describe the feeling of frustration that brings. Being that specs are so similar(and in many cases better on the Galaxy), I see the iPad becoming more and more a consumer wish only for those who never had one. There is a growing number of people who realize you buy Apple products, but you don't own them.

Fernando Faria

I am sorry, but I always feel that internet bloggers tend to be iOS biased. But then again, maybe I am just reading too much into things. I couldnt disagree more with your wrap up on who should buy which of these two. For most people, neither of these tablets should be suggested. A $200 10inch Android Tablet should be what most people aim for, especially if it is their first tablet.

Neither tablets will make consumers from the other side of the fence jump ship. However, there is really very little reason for previous generation ipad users to upgrade to the ipad air. Unless of course it is mainly for the status symbol, which is the number 1 reason people buy Apple. The App store, while a valid consideration, its advantage is exaggerated. Practically any and all apps that are worthwhile, are available for both platforms. I never once met anyone who bought an ipad or an Android because of a specific app.

For the Android world, it is a more complicated issue. For previous Note owners, there is still little reason to upgrade to the 2014 version, although not as little as on the ipad side. There are definitely noticeable difference, but in my opinion, not enough to shell out another $500. For OTHER Android users however, it is something to really consider. Upgrading from your average 10inch tablet, to an S pen Stylus tablet is awesome. In fact it makes 10 times more sense doing this upgrade over buying the the Note 3 phone, or Note 8".

My personal preference?

Ipad (any generation) --- for the kids (and that is an honest recommendation as I feel kids would benefit the most for the OS and software selection.)

Samsung Note (10.1) --- for College students, independent contractors/Sales persons, and all Android lovers.

Android Tablets in general --- For the majority of budget conscious consumers that are looking for a tablet experience that's got all the bells and whistles.

Windows 8.1 (64) Tablet --- For THE serious productivity experience, that will only get better.

Hany Said

One of the reason why Apple doesn't support micro SD slot is that they want to encourage people to use iTune store contents rather than downloaded mp4 movies or mp3 files.

I am considering to buy a tablet now since my ipad mini was stolen last year. I haven't made my mind yet, but since I own a Samsung Smart TV, I am leaning toward to buy samsung note. Also I still watch a lot of movies or listens to music with files from my computer, it's a lot easier to dump on the tablet than Apple's.

Young-Sub Byun

Galaxy Vs iPad for me it's definitely the iPad, especially since the iPad Air. The price is a bit higher for the iPad but when it's become a daily tool that I use everyday at work for my meeting notes and to manage my team and projects, the price isn't the major aspect to choose the right device. Especially that my favorite app Beesy is only available on the iPad ;)!!

CM Conseil

I have both.

No comparison between the 2 devices . iPad air Number 1.

Alaa Shinnawi
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