Samsung announced the Galaxy Tab S3 at the beginning of March, while Apple announced its newest and cheapest iPad towards the end of March, bringing another two premium tablets to the party.
The Tab S3 is designed to be an entertainment powerhouse, while the new iPad cuts a couple of corners in order to bring its price down. We’ve compared the Tab S3 to the iPad Pro 9.7 in a separate feature, but here we are looking at how Apple’s latest slab compares to Samsung’s latest. Which is the right one for you?
New Apple iPad (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Design
- Both solid, premium designs
- iPad (2017) all aluminium, Tab S3 glass and metal
- Tab S3 slimmer and lighter
The new Apple iPad (2017) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 both offer lovely, solid builds with rounded corners and curved edges. They both have a fingerprint sensor within their home buttons beneath their displays and both have a centralised front camera at the top of their displays.
Both have branding on the rear, though Samsung also puts its logo on the front of the Tab S3 too. A rear camera is present on both devices, with Apple placing it in the top left-hand corner and Samsung putting it in the centre with a flash module underneath.
The Galaxy Tab S3 has a glass rear and metal frame, measures 237.3 x 169 x 6mm and weighs 429g. The new Apple iPad on the other hand, features an all aluminium finish like the rest of the iPad family, measures 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm and weighs 469g, meaning the two slabs are almost identical in terms of physical size but the Tab S3 is slimmer and lighter.
New Apple iPad (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Display
- Both 9.7-inch screens, iPad is LCD while Tab S3 is AMOLED
- Both have 2048 x 1536 resolution, 264ppi
- Tab S3 has Mobile HDR on board
Both the new Apple iPad (2017) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 have 9.7-inch displays. Apple opts for a Retina display on the iPad, which translates to a LED-backlit IPS LCD screen and a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 264ppi.
In previous iPad generations, like the iPad Air 2, Apple has offered a fully-laminated and anti-reflective screen, but the new iPad lacks this, offering just a fingerprint resistant coating, meaning there is a slight gap between the surface glass and display. In reality though, it doesn’t affect the experience too much.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 features a Super AMOLED display over LCD, offering colours that are likely to be punchier and more vibrant than the iPad, though less realistic. It too has a 2048 x 1536 resolution, resulting in the same pixel density as the iPad, but the Tab S3 also adds Mobile HDR, which makes it a better option for those who want to watch HDR content on their tablet.
New Apple iPad (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Cameras and hardware
- Tab S3 has higher resolution cameras on front and rear
- Tab S3 offers microSD support, new iPad has higher internal storage capacity option
- Tab S3 should have more impressive audio
The new Apple iPad features the A9 chip with embedded M9 coprocessor and 2GB of RAM and it is available in 32GB and 128GB storage options, neither of which have microSD support for storage expansion.
There are dual-speakers on board, rather than quad like the iPad Pro 9.7, and the new iPad (2017) comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning port for charging and a 10-hour battery life. There is also an 8-megapixel rear camera, capable of up to 1080p video recording, and a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera is present on the front.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has a quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM and it comes in one storage option of 32GB, but microSD is available for storage expansion up to 256GB. There is a 13-megapixel rear camera with a flash, capable of up to 4K video recording, while the front offers a 5-megapixel sensor.
The Tab S3 pays a little more attention to audio than the new iPad, offering multi-directional sound with quad-stereo speakers tuned by AKG, and it too has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Samsung claims the 6000mAh battery charged via USB Type-C, will offer up to 8 hours surfing the web and 12 hours video playback.
There are Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi and Cellular models available for both the new iPad (2017) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
New Apple iPad (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Software
- iPad runs on iOS 10, Tab S3 runs on Android 7.0
- Tab S3 compatible with S Pen and connection for keyboard
The new Apple iPad (2017) runs on iOS 10, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 runs on Android 7.0 with TouchWiz over the top. As they run on different platforms, the experience between these two devices won’t be the same, although many features will be present on both, such as the ability to split the screen and great app stores.
Some will prefer iOS, others will prefer Android. It’s all personal preference. What the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 does offer over the iPad however, is S Pen support, as well as a connection for attaching the dedicated keyboard.
The iPad Pro 9.7 is compatible with Apple Pencil and Apple’s Smart Keyboard, but the new iPad 2017 isn’t. The Galaxy Tab S3 will therefore make for a better working-on-the-go tablet for some, thanks to the included S Pen and ability to use the separate keyboard.
New Apple iPad (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Price
- iPad almost half the price of Tab S3
- Tab S3 includes S Pen in box
The new Apple iPad (2017) is the company’s cheapest tablet so far, starting at £339 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model. It comes in silver, space grey and gold colour options.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 starts at £599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi option, making it almost double the price. It is available in black and silver colours. The keyboard is sold separately but the S Pen is included in the box.
New Apple iPad (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Conclusion
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the winner in terms of specs and numbers. It offers a slimmer, lighter build, Mobile HDR, more RAM, microSD support, higher resolution cameras and more powerful audio. It also comes with the S Pen stylus in the box and it has connections for easy attachment of a keyboard.
The new Apple iPad (2017) is nearly £300 cheaper though. Something we never thought we’d be writing when talking about Apple. It misses out on a couple of things, such as the quad-speakers and laminated display, but it looks every bit an iPad and it delivers in terms of performance and experience too.
If you have the cash and you want the functionality of the Tab S3 but on iOS, then have a look at the iPad Pro 9.7. If you’re an Android fan and you want a tablet with plenty of power, a great design and some excellent bonus features, the Galaxy Tab S3 looks like it will be a very safe bet.