In Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 vs. iPad Pro: which comes out on top?

South Korean tech giant unveils next-generation tablet to rival Apple’s device

007_galaxytabs6_product_images_mountain_gray_back_with_pen.jpg

Samsung is preparing to launch a tablet that promises to be one of the most powerful devices of its kind - and to pose serious competition to rival devices.  

Unveiled by the South Korean tech giant on Wednesday, the Galaxy Tab S6 is designed to deliver an experience that can rival a laptop computer while also offering intuitive touchscreen controls. 

Samsung has equipped the device with the latest offering from chipmaker Qualcomm, as well as a host of accessories - such as a magnetic keyboard - for experienced laptop users.

All the same, Samsung faces a battle to beat Apple’s latest tablet when the Galaxy Tab S6 goes on sale next month. 

The revamped iPad Pro was a critical hit when it launched in October last year - and the upcoming iPadOS operating system will give the tablet a more computer-like feel. 

So, which one is the better tablet?

Price and release

Prices for the Galaxy Tab S6 start at $649 (£540) and it’s expected to go on sale in the US on 6 September, says TechRadar. Official UK pricing has yet to be revealed, but the tablet is expected to go on sale at a later date in Britain. 

The iPad Pro, meanwhile, is already on sale and is available in two sizes. The range kicks off with the 11in model at £769, above which sits the 12.9in version at £969. 

It’s worth noting that Samsung will include its S Pen stylus in the box, while the Apple Pencil is an optional extra at £119. 

On price alone, the Galaxy Tab S6 beats Apple’s offering by quite a margin.

Winner: Galaxy Tab S6

Design and display

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Tab S6 with a 10.5in Super AMOLED display, packing a resolution of 2,560x1,600 pixels, Digital Trends reports. Its display may look large on paper, but the ultra-thin bezels make the Galaxy Tab S6 “a more compact device” than its predecessor. 

In fact, the new display “doesn’t look too different from the 11in iPad Pro”, the tech site argues. The bezel, for instance, is the same width around the entire edge of the display, giving it a near-identical look to its rival. 

“It’s on par with my experience using Apple’s redesigned iPad Pro models,” the site says. 

Even though the overall design of the Galaxy Tab S6 is similar to the new iPad Pro, the Samsung has marginally more rounded edges than its Apple rival. 

Unlike the iPad Pro, though, the Galaxy Tab S6 features a fingerprint scanner that’s located underneath the display. 

Given that the Galaxy Tab S6 matches the iPad Pro on design and is on a par with the 2,388×1,668 LED panel on the iPad Pro, we’d call this one a draw. 

Winner: draw

Performance and battery life
Apple iPad Pro

Apple

Underneath the Galaxy Tab S6’s sleek new body is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM, Mashable reports. Samsung claims that it’s so powerful that users can expect an 81% speed boost and 68% graphics improvement over the two-year-old Galaxy Tab S4.  

Powering the upgraded hardware is a 7,040mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than the outgoing model’s 7,300mAh pack, the tech site says. Still, the more efficient hardware means users should get around 15 hours of power on the new device, one hour more than the old tablet offered. 

Apple, meanwhile, uses its own processors to power its devices. The iPad Pro (pictured above) gets the company’s fastest mobile chip to date - the A12X - which packs even more power than the A12 chip found in the iPhone XS range.

“In use, it handled anything I threw at it, from complex multi-layered imagery in Affinity Photo to synth-heavy Korg Gadget compositions that choke my years-old iMac,” writes Stuff’s Craig Grannell. 

The 7,800mAh battery trumps the Galaxy Tab S6’s on paper, but Stuff reports that it delivers only around 10 hours of power with a mix of light-to-medium usage. 

That being said, the official battery life of Samsung’s new tablet has yet to be put to the test. Therefore, this section concludes with another draw. 

Winner: draw

Initital verdict

Samsung certainly seems to have scored a home run with its new Galaxy Tab S6. 

It’s significantly faster than the previous-generation model and now features a premium design that rivals, if not copies, the look of Apple’s top-spec tablet. 

As reviewers have yet to use the device as extensively as they have the iPad Pro, it’s impossible to say which of the two comes out on top in terms of performance and usability. 

However, the Galaxy Tab S6 looks to be a close match for the iPad Pro and is significantly cheaper, too. 

So the Galaxy Tab S6 gets an early lead on its rival, but a rematch will be in order once the new tablet makes its way on to the market.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (for now)

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