I currently own and use both an original 7” Samsung Galaxy Tab and an iPad (1st generation). I have found that I use each in very different ways, and sometimes in similar ways. Although, after looking back on how I have used them over the last several months, I have found a distinction between how I use both. I am not going to break down the specifications and compare them for which one is better. This review is centered around 4 core areas that I think most people will use their iPad or Galaxy Tab on a normal day in, day out basis. These areas are Business, Web Browsing, Entertainment, and E-book reader. In the end, I will not say which one I feel is better because, as I alluded to earlier, I have found I use each in very distinct ways. You will have to make that decision based on how you will end up using your tablet the most.
When I originally bought my Galaxy Tab I was working in a training environment as a manager. The company I worked for used a Microsoft Exchange Server environment and both the Galaxy Tab and iPad were pretty easy to set up for both email and calendar access. I did like that both could sync with multiple calendars so I was able to keep both my work calendar via Microsoft Exchange Client and our Google calendar at home on one calendar that I had access to wherever I was. I have found that working with Google calendars is a bit easier on the Galaxy Tab though, especially when you need to send invites to people. Accessing email is not a problem with either, but opening attachments is much easier in the Galaxy Tab than the iPad, especially when many are Adobe Acrobat files. I have found better free apps for the Galaxy Tab for viewing these files, and for $4.99 I was able to get Repligo Reader which allows me to highlight and make notes on Adobe Acrobat files as well. Since I do quite a bit with Microsoft Office Documents I have to say the Galaxy Tab is much easier for working with these documents, it was ready to go out of the box when I needed to view and make changes to documents on the go, and I have not had the same compatibility issues with the version of MS Office I use. With the iPad I was able to view the documents, but I had to buy an App to edit the documents when I was on the go, and the App I bought only worked up to MS Office 2007, the problem being, I work in 2010. One other area that I found the Galaxy Tab better at work was the ease of transferring files from my Galaxy Tab to other computers or devices. With the Micro SD card it is very easy to put a file on my Micro SD card and transfer it over to my laptop by simply undocking the card and putting it in my computer. This is really helpful when you have no internet or 3G connection, and with larger files that cannot be emailed because of size restrictions. I must say that I give the Galaxy Tab the edge when it comes to business use for me.
The Galaxy Tab does a good job at browsing the web, and the iPad does a great job. Both had browsers that were already installed and worked well, but I must say I really like the functionality of the Terra browser App for the iPad because it gives you the ability to use tabs within the browser and some other nice features with swipe gestures. I have found that I will reach for the iPad when I am going to spend more time web browsing because of the larger screen. I have not run into too many site compatibility issues with the iPad so I do not see that as a limitation. I have had a few though, and I have never experienced any site compatibility issues with the Galaxy Tab. The only exception is in the area of virtual training, which is what I do for a living, the Adobe® Connect™ App is better in Android than for the iPad. When I am on site with a client I will use my Galaxy Tab to demonstrate because it is a much crisper view and better layout. In terms of speed, I have not done any objective testing in this area, but subjectively, I can say that both are very comparable on my home network and using the AT&T 3G network. I am satisfied with how they browse, and only see a minor difference between the browsing speed of both devices and my desktop, which is hard-wired to the router. In the end, I will use the iPad more often for web browsing because of the screen size and appearance, but the Galaxy Tab does a good job, and when I am on site with a client it is definitely good enough so I do not need to carry both devices with me.
I will include listening to online music services, streaming video, and playing games in this section. This is one area where there is a hands down winner. The iPad is my go to tablet for any one of these items. The Galaxy Tab is ok with listening to online music and playing games, but the iPad is definitely better in appearance, sound and App design in these areas. I use Pandora quite a bit and prefer the layout on the iPad to the Galaxy Tab. When it comes to streaming video I have not found an equivalent on the Galaxy Tab to the Netflix App, not to mention the appearance of video on the iPad versus the Galaxy Tab. The only time that I will use the Galaxy Tab is when I am traveling and I have downloaded the video or movie that I plan to watch on the plane. This goes back the first part of the review on business use though, the Galaxy Tab is my primary tablet for business use and I am willing to sacrifice the attributes of the iPad in the entertainment arena to only carry one tablet. If I were looking at tablets primarily for listening to music, streaming or playing video, or playing games I would be choosing the iPad.
I use both devices as an e-book reader using the Kindle and Nook Apps. The screens are pretty similar when it comes to glare and I like the Kindle App because it will sync where I am at across devices. When it comes to reading, my decision is more about which tablet is closest to me at the time. At home it is normally the iPad and on the road it is normally the Galaxy Tab. I have to say that reading on a Kindle screen is better, but I am not going to buy both an e-book reader and a tablet so these two do very well. One advantage I do like about the tablet is the ability to use the Nook and Kindle Apps as well as some of the magazine Apps that are available. What I really like is there is no need to decide based on compromises regarding who offers what magazines, newspapers, or books, you just load the Apps you need and you can download what you would like. I do prefer the Kindle App and store on both tablets though. In the realm of the e-book reader, I am tablet agnostic, I use both equally.
In the end I use my Galaxy Tab more than my iPad, but that is because I spend more time working than I do using the tablets for pleasure. As a business device I think the Galaxy Tab is much more user-friendly in being able to open, read, edit, and transfer documents especially when you use MS Office and/or Google Docs as your primary software set. I do think I would use the iPad a lot more if my tablet was primarily for home use such as browsing the web and reading emails. I have not had the opportunity to use or work with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at this point, so it could change my opinions on the Web Browsing, but everything I have seen up to this point does not make me think it would outperform the iPad in the Entertainment arena. I hope this review was helpful and let me know how you normally use your Galaxy Tab or iPad. I know there are companies out there that are switching over to the iPad and I would like to hear if you are having some of the same problems I have had with your device.