iPad Air 5 vs Galaxy Tab S8 review – New technology Gadgets
If you are looking for a powerful mid-size tablet, there is no doubt that the iPad Air 5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 are excellent choices. Released within about a month of each other, their prices are similar, at least in the US, yet parts from vastly different ecosystems. There are definitely some fundamental differences that you should know before buying one. And there’s one area that I feel both companies could have done better. Starting with the screens,
Both are fully laminated, but the specifications and aspect ratios are completely different. So let’s see which one is better for you. The Tab S8 has an 11-inch screen, offers an adaptive refresh rate of 120 Hz, a resolution of 1600 x 2560, and a pixel density of 274 pixels per inch. The iPad Air 5 has a smaller 10.9-inch P3 display at 60Hz with a resolution of 1640 x 2360 and 264 pixels per inch. When you look at 11 inches versus 10.9 inches,
We’re not talking much of a difference, but the Tab S8 has an aspect ratio of 16:10 versus roughly 3:2 on the iPad Air 5. When you watch the video, you’ll notice a larger image on the Tab S8 with much smaller black bars on the top and bottom. So if that’s the primary use for this tablet, it’s definitely a bonus. The iPad Air 5 will give you a smaller overall image and noticeably larger black bars, but it will give you a physically wider tablet in portrait mode, which is great when you’re drawing
Or take notes with the Apple Pencil. The Tab S8 also has a 120Hz adaptive display, which means it can adjust the refresh rate on the fly to balance it out to provide a smooth or responsive user experience and maximize battery life. This is a feature offered by Apple, called ProMotion, but it is only available on the two iPad Pro models. The iPad Air 5 has a 60Hz screen, so the various animations provided by the user interface are not smooth. Now, there are other areas where you will notice 120Hz on the Tab S8 when you scroll
or while navigating around the home screen. Now, in terms of display quality, both are very good. As you’d expect at this price point, we don’t get the best displays from either company. These are reserved for the higher-end models. So if that’s something that interests you, check out the Super AMOLED displays on the Samsung Tab S8+ or Tab S8 Ultra, or you can use the Liquid XDR display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Now back to the iPad Air 5 and Tab S8.
When I consider the cost of these tablets, I’m very happy with the overall quality of the screens for everything I’ve done so far. Both screens are sharp, colors are vibrant, and whether you’re playing games, watching movies, browsing the web, or editing photos and videos, you’ll be happy with what you see. The iPad Air 5 screen is slightly less reflective. And if you plan on using your tablets in bright environments or outside and are going to have to deal with reflections, I recommend the iPad Air 5.
Either way, if you’re using your tablet a lot in tricky conditions, I’d consider adding a screen protector that also reduces reflections. And I’ll link to a few of the ones I use in the description. When we look at the size and design, the iPad Air 5 and Tab S8 appears to be quite similar, but, again, there are some differences worth noting. In terms of general construction, both are made of machined aluminum all the way through. Both have rounded corners and square edges and edges
small. I have no issues with build quality or with either bend. In addition to volume controls, both devices offer fingerprint sensors built into the power buttons for biometric authentication. On the Tab S8 it’s on the long edge and on the iPad Air 5 it’s on the short edge. Either way, once you program one finger of either hand, you’ll quickly get used to it. Now the Tab S8 also gives you a choice
Use facial recognition with the front camera. It’s less secure than a fingerprint sensor but more convenient, so you’ll have to choose if it’s right for you. Now, without a doubt, one of the important features of the Tab S8 is the micro SD card slot, which allows you to expand the internal storage space by up to 1 TB. This means that you can add a lot of storage space relatively inexpensively and you can use that extra storage for files and apps.
Not every app will now give you the option to move to a micro SD card, but the majority of apps and games I’ve tried to move did, and they still run smoothly from the card. And I’ll revisit this later in the config section because in the end it really matters. When we look at the audio system, both tablets have four speakers, but the iPad Air 5 has only two, while the S8 has four.
And I think the speakers on the iPad Air 5 are pretty good for a tablet at this price point, but in this case, they are outdone by the four AKG-tuned speakers on the Tab S8. And if you’re making a decision based on audio quality, the Tab S8 feels more complete, richer, and offers better audio overall. Now, personally, I use headphones for the vast majority of what I do, including watching and editing videos, streaming movies or music, and playing games.
Either way, we don’t get a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need to use a Bluetooth headphone or an adapter. Now, both devices have a USB-C port for charging and accessories, and I’ve been putting together accessory videos for each tablet. Now let’s get to the camera systems where the iPad Air 5 has a front camera.
Either way, we don’t get a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need to use a Bluetooth headphone or an adapter. Now, both devices have a USB-C port for charging and accessories, and I’ve been putting together accessory videos for each tablet. Now let’s get to the camera systems as the iPad Air 5 has a 12MP wide front camera versus the slightly higher 13MP 4K camera on the Tab S8. Here is a quick sample of the camera
And the microphone. This is a camera and microphone test on the Tab S8 and iPad Air 5. This should give you a good idea of what kind of picture quality you should expect and what kind of sound quality you’ll get. Now, both devices also have a feature where the front camera can track and follow a subject as it moves around the frame. And then they can zoom in and out to keep it framed properly. Apple calls this feature Center Stage
Samsung auto framing. The Apple app provides smoother hydration and tighter framing. Now, moving on to the rear cameras, the iPad Air 5 has a 12MP wide camera, and the Tab S8 has a dual-camera system with a 13MP wide camera and a 6MP ultra-wide camera. I’ve mentioned this a lot now, but I rarely use the rear cameras on my tablets other than testing out for reviews because I always have at least one of my phones with me.
Which is more convenient, but here are a couple of samples of both. (Light music) Now, if you’re looking to do more with your tablet and use it as a laptop replacement, they both have smart connectors that allow them to connect with custom keyboard cases. The Tab S8 has two Samsung variants that sell for between $150 and $200. The original Book Cover Keyboard has a trackpad, and a slot on the back protects the S Pen
While it’s stored, the back separates from the keyboard itself when you want to use the Tab S8 in tablet mode. The Ultra version of the Book Cover Keyboard is more compact when used. It’s more durable, but it doesn’t protect the S Pen when charging, and it doesn’t include a trackpad. Now the iPad Air 4 is compatible with Apple’s smaller Magic Keyboard which costs around $300. There are also some third-party options
From Logitech and ESR. Now, personally, I prefer the overall build quality, durability, and feel of the keys and trackpad on the Magic Keyboard. At the same time, I really like the fact that the Book Cover Keyboard protects the S Pen, and that I’m able to detach the back of the keyboard so I can use the Tab S8 in tablet mode while still protecting the back and enjoying room for the S Pen. This is also the time to talk about the stylus options.
So Samsung includes the S Pen for the price of the Tab S8, while with the iPad Air 5, you’ll need to purchase the second-generation Apple Pencil separately for about $130. So be sure to include that when comparing the cost if you’re planning to buy one of these. Now, the S Pen can be stored on the side or on the back of the Tab S8, but it only charges from the back. Store and charge the second-generation Apple Pencil
On the iPad Air 5 side. Now I have to admit that I’m not an artist, so I use both for taking notes, for marking up and signing documents, and for sketching, and both work fine for me. I experienced very low latency, and as I mentioned earlier, both screens are fully laminated so the image looks like it’s drawn on top of the screen. The tip of the pen appears to be in contact with the content that is already being created. If you don’t have a chance to use both,
I just want to mention that every pen has a completely different feel when it hits the screen. S Pen tip is smoother. So when you write or draw with it, it will feel more like using a real pen on a sheet of paper as the pages compress as you press down and apply pressure. The Apple Pencil has a sturdier tip. It has a slightly stiffer, higher click, and feels like you’re writing on a single sheet of paper on a hard surface.
Now this is one of those areas where it really comes down to personal preference. One is not definitively better than the other, and I hope this description of the feeling is helpful. Both pen options provide additional functionality by either double-clicking the Apple Pencil or the dedicated button on the S Pen. But only the S Pen has Bluetooth functionality that lets you wirelessly control media playback, take photos, or perform some other useful task. Now let’s quickly discuss performance as we’ll talk about both benchmarks and real-world uses.
So the Tab S8 comes with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, and both 128 and 256 GB variants come with 8 GB of RAM. The iPad Air 5 comes with a very cool M1 chip, and both the 64 and 256 GB models come with 8 GB of RAM. If you’re curious about standards, I’ll quickly cover it up and then move on to real-world use. So for single-core performance, we’re looking at 1702 on the iPad Air 5 versus 1043 on the Tab S8.
And for multi-core performance, we’re looking at 7220 versus 3194. Either way, a higher number is an indicator of better performance. So you can see that the M1 chip significantly outperforms the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, at least for better benchmark tests. But what about everyday use when you’re browsing the web, when you’re using various productivity apps, playing games, or multitasking? The Tab S8 comes with Android 12 and One UI 4.1, which I think does a great job
It continues to improve multitasking and the overall user experience. For example, multi-window dynamic switching lets you open three apps at the same time, which is great when I’m working on a video and pointing to multiple sources. Apple introduced some new multitasking capabilities with iPadOS 15, and the iPad Air 5 can have two apps open side by side. You can have popups and sliding windows, and you can new multitasking list to quickly see multiple windows within the same app.
So when you use these tablets with their tablet operating system, the features are very similar and I might give a slight edge to iPadOS because I find it more accurate and easier to use. But both devices can also be used as additional displays for compatible desktop and laptop computers. Apple calls this feature Sidecar and Samsung calls it the second screen. But the Tab S8 has one important advantage when you want more from a laptop or desktop-like experience because it has DeX. Now, if you are new to Samsung Tablets, then
DeX basically reboots the tablet with an operating system very similar to what you get from a laptop. You have a taskbar where you can minimize and see active applications. You have a physical desktop with icons on it. And you can run multiple floating windows or snap windows on the sides of the screen. Now, if you have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you can connect all three and then turn on a dual monitor set up with a complete external monitor with no black bars. In comparison, iPadOS only allows you to mirror your screen,
And it still doesn’t extend to the entire screen, so I’ll definitely give the edge to the Tab S8. Now, when we look at applications, OS support, and ecosystems, we find some interesting differences. In terms of the available apps, the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Galaxy Store have plenty of options for pretty much everything you need. Overall, I’d give the iPad Air 5 an advantage because the apps in general seem to be better optimized. But as I said in my recent videos,
The gap is still shrinking. Some creative apps like Affinity Photo and Procreate are still only available for iPad, but I’m really happy to see an Android version of LumaFusion on the horizon. When it comes to long-term OS support, Samsung has made some much-needed improvements and is now promising four years of OS updates and five years of six security updates. At the same time, Apple continues to lead in this department, and I can still update my eight-year-old iPad Air 2.
to the latest version of iPadOS 15. Long-term OS support isn’t something first-time buyers take into account when making their decision. But both devices have very powerful chipsets, plenty of RAM, and they aren’t budget devices, so they should continue to serve you well for years to come. Now, when we look at the two ecosystems, we see that Samsung has made some significant improvements over the past few years. They added integration between multiple devices, wireless file and text sharing,
and additional integration across devices. And while we again see Amazon continue to narrow the gap, Apple’s ecosystem is still more integrated due to years of experience and the fact that they have complete control over hardware and software. Now turning to battery life, I get 10 hours of typical use on the iPad Air 5 versus about 12 to 14 hours on the Tab S8. Now keep in mind that this is entirely due to what you do.
If you are watching a video over WiFi, it will consume much less battery power than if you are playing games or viewing the video. The Tab S8 is also capable of accepting faster charging at 45W versus 30W on the iPad Air 5. Keep in mind that the iPad Air 5 comes with a 20W charger while the Tab S8 doesn’t come with a charger at all. Now, as long as I don’t spend hours editing video or playing games, I have no problems with a day of regular use
One shipment with either of them. Now, of course, if I decide to end my day with a few hours of gaming, I’ll need to charge both devices. This is something I now used to do with every mobile device. Now, in terms of actual gameplay, both chips are very capable and any of the games I play can be played with ease. I have a lot of questions about PUBG settings. So on Tab S8, I can switch to HDR for graphics if I want an Extreme frame rate
Ultra HD graphics with Ultra frame rate. On the iPad Air 5, I can go to Balanced Graphics if I want a maximum frame rate, and I can go to Ultra HD graphics at Ultra frame rate. I also played Genshin Impact on both devices and had a very smooth and responsive gaming experience. I know the M1 chip is more powerful so it has a theoretical advantage, but I haven’t seen that translate into improved gameplay yet,
I will continue to update you in my follow-up videos. Now, of course, if you look to the future and know that games will continue to demand more and more resources, the extra space on the iPad Air 5 in terms of performance will likely become a factor. Now, both of us have done very well when paired with a console and stream games with Xbox Game Pass. I’ve played all the usual games I play, and since the displays are roughly the same size, I wouldn’t give either one a definitive advantage.
As long as I had a good internet connection, they both totally crushed every game I played without any issues. But the one area where I still prefer iPadOS is when it comes to pairing and unpairing a controller because it feels more reliable. Now we’re getting to the part where I might get some rejection but I think both companies could have done a better job. So the Tab S8 comes with 8GB of RAM and then 120GB for the 699 or 256GB for the 779.
The iPad Air 5 also comes in two versions, and both offer 8GB of RAM. The base model comes with 64 GB for 599, and there is a 256 GB model for the 749. I use prices on the Apple and Samsung websites but you can usually find better prices using the links in the description. So here are my thoughts on these two decisions starting with Samsung. I wish they had kept the 512GB option that was available on the Tab S7, but maybe they saw that not many people were buying,
Especially because you are able to inexpensively add internal storage using a micro SD card. And if that was the reason for taking it away, I understand. With Apple, I don’t understand exactly launching a 64GB device in 2022, especially because it has a very powerful chip, and Apple has great long-term support. There’s no reason the iPad Air 5 can’t still be a great device six, seven, or even eight years from now. But I’d be worried about running out of storage space.
Personally, I would have liked to see the 128 and 512GB, models. I would like to know what you think about the storage options for both devices. By now you should see how the Tab S8 Ultra compares to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. We hope this comparison is helpful. Click on my face to subscribe. You know what I always say, buy it well or buy it twice. Good luck and see you soon