The Galaxy Tab S8 is a much better tablet than the 10th generation iPad |  Digital trends

The Galaxy Tab S8 is a much better tablet than the 10th generation iPad | Digital trends

For a while, the tablet industry has been pretty boring. This is not due to lack of compelling devices, but due to unbalanced competition. Apple’s iPads have reigned supreme, and with the arrival of iPadOS, Apple has made it clear that it’s serious about the tablet game.

The dominance was particularly evident at the entry level, where the $329 iPad was the default choice for an affordable and reliable tablet. This is no longer the case in 2022. The 10th generation “entry level” iPad now starts at $449. It looks fresh, offers USB-C nirvana, and comes with a new Magic Keyboard to sell its computing chops.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 placed in front of the tenth generation iPad.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Sounds good, right? It is – except it’s not the best tablet-style computing machine at its asking price.

That honor goes to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8. I’ve used both tablets a lot as my primary computing machine, and it’s almost shocking how the Samsung tablet does the tablet – and computing – part better than the iPad.

Spend your dollars where there is value

Galaxy Tab S8 atop the tenth generation iPad.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Let’s start with the basket value equation first. The Galaxy Tab S8 starts at $549, but offers double the storage for the price compared to the $449 you shell out for the 64GB iPad. The value gulf quickly becomes apparent when you opt for additional storage.

Samsung is charging $579 for the 256GB Wi-Fi model of the Galaxy Tab S8, while Apple jumps ahead with a price of $599 for the 256GB configuration of the iPad. It’s all downhill from there for Apple. Both Samsung and Apple sell a two-piece case, which features a kickstand in one half and a keyboard + trackpad combo in the other half.

Both keyboards are of decent quality, but if you prefer full-fledged function hotkeys, Samsung’s keyboard is the best option for you. It’s just tailor-made for Windows PC users, I think.

Neither keyboard is backlit, which is a shame, as Microsoft offers this perk for half the price on its own entry-level tablet. If it’s any consolation, you can use the Samsung keyboard with the Galaxy Tab S7 as well as the Galaxy Tab S8.

Using the tenth generation iPad with the Magic Keyboard.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The 10th generation iPad Magic Keyboard is an exclusive gem. The dimensions of Apple’s tablet differ only a hair’s breadth from the iPad Air, and yet you can’t pair the new keyboard with the latter. Conversely, you can’t use the magnetically levitated Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro – which again is only a few millimeters offset along the edges – with the 10th generation iPad.

This keyboard integrates perfectly with the iPad Air, however. I refuse to believe that Apple created this tiny size difference for the accessory lock, which reeks of greed and only hurts buyers.

For gold coins you get aging tech

Galaxy S22 Ultra alongside the Galaxy Tab S8 and the tenth generation iPad.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Let’s move on to the stylus situation. Samsung offers a great stylus with all the pressure sensitivity and tilt-recognition magic you need to free. It magnetically sticks to the back of the Tab S8 and charges simultaneously. There is no hassle of plug to charge.

Oh, you can also use this stylus with other current and previous generation Samsung tablets. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the S Pen of the tablet works perfectly with the Galaxy S22 Ultra too. It’s the kind of cross-device compatibility that buyers deserve if they pay full price for it.

Comparatively, the Apple Pencil situation for the vanilla iPad is frustratingly embarrassing. Apple wants you to pay $99 for it, while lacking the convenience of a customizable double-tap gesture that you get on the second-generation Apple Stylus. Additionally, it also does not charge magnetically.

The iPad (2022) with an Apple Pencil plugged in using a USB-C cable and adapter.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Instead, the first-generation Apple Pencil needs to be charged by plugging it into the tablet’s charging port. It was already an awful design choice with the 9th generation iPad, but to make matters worse, you now have to pay a Lightning tax because Apple removed its Lightning port from the iPad and put a USB-C port in it. its place.

That fee comes in the form of a $9 Lightning to USB-C dongle. Of course, Apple sells it separately and, yes, it looks worse. Plus, I just can’t get over the lingering fear of losing my precious little $9 dongle for powering an older generation stylus.

Samsung serves the superior Material

Using the Galaxy Tab S8 with the keyboard case.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

So let’s do the math using each tablet’s 256GB storage model. For the Galaxy Tab S8, the final bill for tablet + keyboard + stylus is $779. Additionally, the Samsung online store will give you $150 store credit for purchasing this bundle, which you can spend on other items like headphones or smartwatches.

At the Apple Store, your final bill for the tablet + keyboard + stylus combo is $947. When you factor in the Samsung credit you get with the Galaxy Tab S8, you’re essentially spending hundreds of dollars less than Apple will steal from your wallet.

On the hardware side, the Galaxy Tab S8 turns around the iPad again. It offers a smoother 120Hz refresh rate display, allows storage expansion up to 1TB via microSD card, louder and higher quality speakers and an additional 6-megapixel depth camera on the inside. ‘back.

The Galaxy Tab S8 also charges more than twice the rate with a maximum supported power of 45W, compared to the 20W limit for the 10th Gen iPad. But hardware lag is only half the story here. The real difference is in the software.

This Android Experience Means Business

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 in the hands of a user.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

I never thought I would see the day when Android would be usable on a tablet. But the The momentum that started with Android 12L has been beautifully executed by Samsung with One UI 5, and the end result is hugely rewarding for both work and play.

You get an app dock at the bottom of the screen on both devices. Samsung, however, lets you keep a minimized row of your dock apps always in view, instead of automatically hiding it, as is the case with iPadOS 16. A long press along the bottom edge will show or hide the dock on the Galaxy Tab S8 if desired. This functional versatility provides a more desktop-like experience comparable to iPadOS 16.

Now let’s talk about application windows. With the One UI 5 update, Samsung really upped the game and left the iPad software far behind. You can run as many app windows in pop-up mode as you want, and even adjust the transparency of app windows.

A simple drag-and-drop gesture from the dock is enough to run up to three applications in windowed mode in 2:1:1 aspect ratio. And iPadOS 16 can only run two apps, while the third has to be forced into slide-over mode, meaning it’s not always in your view.

Galaxy Tab S8 sitting at an angle above the tenth generation iPad.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Even in split-screen mode, you can’t freely adjust window sizes on the iPad, while One UI 5 lets you play with window sizing to your liking. Additionally, the Galaxy Tab S8’s larger screen aspect ratio ensures apps look almost natural in split-screen mode. On the iPad’s square screen, the elongated view isn’t exactly nice to see.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Gestures for launching apps in split-screen mode, pop-up mode, or even floating window format are simply ahead of iPadOS 16. Here’s a quick rundown of what I’m talking about:

Flexibility with split-screen multitasking and window resizing on @SamsungIndia Galaxy Tab S8 is a joy. Every time I return to the iPad, I sorely miss the convenience. It’s incredibly smooth. In addition, the final basket value of the Tab S8 with accessories is much lower than that of the iPad Gen 10.

— Nadeemonics (@nsnadeemsarwar) November 28, 2022

One UI 5 has actually improved the experience on Samsung devices in many ways, further widening the versatility gap with the iPad. Plus, Labs is a great place to explore experimental features. With the Side Panel, Samsung puts your most frequently used utilities exclusively at your fingertips.

Top view of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Widget stacking offers more customization on One UI 5, the Routines system is a boon for power users, and the lock screen customization options are a lot of fun too. Then there’s the flexibility of sideloading apps, something not at all possible on the Apple side of the ecosystem.

Except for ecosystem benefits like AirDrop, there are hardly any significant software tricks where the iPad can establish a noticeable lead over the Galaxy Tab S8. Call it an iPadOS knockoff, or an honest inspiration, but One UI 5 is simply better at this point, both for fun and for gaming.

Your next tablet purchase is obvious

The Galaxy Tab S8 is a remarkable piece of tablet engineering. The hardware is as polished as the iPad and even outperforms the Apple tablet on several metrics if you compare internal specs. But it’s not just hardware where Samsung outperforms Apple.

With One UI 5 running on Android 13, the Galaxy Tab S8’s software experience offers more functional versatility than the iPad, especially if you plan to do some serious work. Plus, Samsung’s commitment to five years of software updates is reassuring.

This holiday season, if you’re planning on splurging on a tablet and haven’t signed a blood oath to Apple’s ecosystem, the Galaxy Tab S8 should be an easy choice over the iPad. 10th generation. Even if you’re considering the 5th generation iPad Air, the Samsung tablet still offers better value for money without any compromises.

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