First of all, for a geek, there are thousands of articles out there which delve on the technical comparisons. Here I would stress more on the issues which were important for me while I tried to choose between these two. In the last two months I have been going through a lot of articles, discussion threads, agony statements regarding these two before I bought one and I thought I should share it because the information may be useful to some one out there who has the same profile as me (which is an antithesis of a tech literate multimedia consumer with altogether different priorities). And any comparison between these two is not complete without the profile of the user. So here it goes.
What do I want from a tablet?
Tablets are supposed to be meant for consumption, not productivity. It is typically for some one who is interested in lots of gaming, surfing net on the go, watching movies etc. But for me, when I thought about buying a tablet, it was only about improving my productivity. With my current postings in work, I will have to travel for at least for 2.5 hours a day. Also at home, I have realised that I can work more pretty much every where else than sitting religiously in front of my desk top. Why can’t I buy a net book which is cheaper and provides option of faster typing than a tablet? The answer is that during travelling or at home, the ease, mobility and convenience that tablet offers is more than that of a net book.
First of all, why Ipad2? Ipad2 obviously is a bench marker for tablets right now. And why Samsung 750? There are some other android tablets available out there like Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia transformer, Blackberry Playbook etc. But right now, Samsung 750 gives some real competition to Ipad2 in terms of compactness, screen resolution, specific features etc. Also it is the thinnest tablet out there.
For each domain I have tried to give a comparative scoring which highly reflects my personal needs.
Display Ipad2-7/10, Samsung 750-7/10
Samsung’s display is supposed to be a slightly better. But I don’t think there is a difference to really matter. Especially for the common day to day use that I have in mind.
Length and breadth ratio Ipad2-7/10, Samsung 750-5/10
Ipad has more breadth than Samsung tablet. This helps my purpose more because while you are typing on the on-screen keyboard on the landscape mode, the space available for you to see the page on which you are typing is more with ipad2. Samsung 750 is more suitable for movie watching in terms of aspect ratio but watching movies on tablet is not my top priority.
General performance Ipad2-9/10 Samsung 750-7/10
There is no competition for ipad2 here even though the technical specifications for 750 are top notch. The reason could be the apple operating system which is well optimised between the hardware and software. The responsiveness, the fluidity of movements on screen, the slickness of the shift between different modes…ipad2 is at least 10% better.
General functions and specifications Ipad2-7/10 Samsung 750- 8/10
As per specifications, 750 has double the RAM (1 GB) of ipad2. So it should do multitasking better but I doubt this. Also there is a multitasking tray for 750 where you can easily access different files and appliances which you are working on simultaneously. The multitasking options on ipad2 are a little rudimentary unless you are ready to shell out some extra money. There is also a fixed tray below screen in 750 which has options of ‘back’, ‘multitasking tray’, ‘notifications’ etc which I found useful. With ipad2 you do miss a notification tray for new mail etc. Also for every time you need to go back into another application, you need to click the home button. Samsung 750 offers a lot of flexibility in optimising the appearance and functions which is supposed to a huge point in its favour. But for me, it was not really a strong point. A big thing has been made out of the fact that cameras in ipad2 are not good enough compared to 750. Also ipad2 has only one speaker while Samsung 750 has two. But there were minor quabbles considering my intended purpose for buying the tablet. Internet browsing is better in 750 because of adobe flash (again supposed to be a big plus point) which again was not such a major tipping point for me.
File transfer Ipad2-2/10, Samsung 750- 7/10
Probably this is my biggest problem with ipad2. Basically I want to work with Microsoft office documents, pdf etc comfortably in my tablet and home pc without any glitches. But the problem with ipad2 is that whatever file transfer I do, it has to be through itunes, the proprietary software by apple. And you can’t sync your ipad2 with more than one computer. That is, suppose you are travelling and you want to transfer some document from/to your tablet to/from some computer, it is not possible. The moment you sync it with another computer, all the older files in your ipad will be lost. So you will have to carry your laptop also around. Also even while transferring files between your pc and ipad2, you can only transfer those files for which some software exists in your ipad2. Suppose that you have a microsoft power point file in your computer. You have to transfer that to your ipad2 even though office software is not being installed in your ipad2. This is not possible. Only option would be to mail it to yourself and access it through net as a read only file on your ipad2. But samsung 750 comes with an adapter through which you can insert pen drive. Also copying and transferring files to and fro is as simple as drag and drop gets. There are some options to work around this problems in ipad2 such as using internet widgets like dropbox where you can store your documents and access later on your computer through the internet. Also other softwares are available for making file transfer easy in ipad2. But I found these methods either relatively expensive or cumbersome.
Battery life Ipad2-9/10 Samsung 750-8/10
Battery life of 750 is supposed to be as good as Ipad2 which is around 10 hours which I doubt. Reports from users have not been that positive many times. But if it works for 4-5 hours it is fine for me. Also probably charging time for Samsung 750 is longer.
Widgets Ipad2-7/10 Samsung 750-7/10
Apple store wins hands down in terms of the sheer number of appliances specifically designed for tablets. When you read reviews comparing android tablets and ipad2, this is actually considered to be a very strong point in favor of ipad2. But I have never understood this. How many appliances do you really need? May be 20. Android market has widgets for all those things that really matter. And android market is much more cheaper. For my use, I need some widgets on which I can work on office documents, read and edit pdfs. With Samsung 750, polaris office and ebook reader which are pre-installed when you buy it takes care of these needs. They are not perfect, but probably none of the widgets designed for tablets are. If you buy Ipad2, you will have to buy quickoffice or documents to go or something like that to do this work which will cost you around Rs 500 to Rs 750. iBooks which is pre-installed in ipad2 can read pdfs but I am not sure whether editing is possible. But if you are ready to put in moolah, separate widgets are available for the same. I would have liked a screenplay writing widget also but I don’t find it absolute necessary because at any time I work on some treatments also. So I can very well work on a word document too if I am stuck with a tablet. Also even if I have to write an actual screenplay while stuck with a tablet, I can write as plain text and later import and format it automatically on something like celtx on my home pc (I have not tried it so don’t know about probable glitches). Also you can write it online on softwares like scriptbuddy. But if you really want a scriptwriting widget, you won’t get it in android market (some one please correct me if I am wrong here) while you can get some in apple market.
Now there are many interesting widgets like imovie, or garageband (helps you to create music) available in apple store. I have seen some people comment on net that they bought ipad2 just because of garageband. But for some one like me who is obsessively preoccupied about avoiding distractions, whittling down things at hand to 2-3 top priorities and then allocating maximum time to them, these appear like some toys to tinker with for some months before I get over them. But if you are really serious about creating music, probably you should give more weightage to ipad2. And also for gaming, ipad2 may offer a slight advantage over 750.
Customer service Ipad2-7/10 Samsung 750-4/10
Apple takes care of its customers even after they have bought the product. There is no contesting this fact. What happened to all those customers who bought the original 7 inch Samsung galaxy tab? They all are left out in the cold. No updates. No further upgrades. It can happen with 750 also.
Price Ipad2-3/10 Samsung 750-7/10
16 GB 3G model Ipad2 will cost you Rs 37000 while Samsung 750 will cost you Rs 34000. If you add some accessories like cover at a cost of Rs 2000 (and remember, for accessories apple charge lot more), buy the absolutely necessary widgets for ipad2 at minimum of around Rs 1000 (and I am quite sure that in real life it is going to be double of that within 1 month of use with all those widgets you will require to make file transfer and multitasking less cumbersome), the final cost will be around Rs 40,000 for ipad2 while with Samsung 750, with Rs 36000 I have a ready to use tablet. I wouldn’t buy 750 just because it would cost me only 4000 Rs less. But added to these fact is that both are not updatable to higher memory. So if I want to go on a long journey, and I want to carry 5-10 movies with me, 750 offers me the choice of carrying it in a pen drive while with ipad2, I have no choice at all other than buy an ipad2 with higher capacity (and higher price). Unless I carry my laptop also with me.
But the fact is not only that ipad2 carries an extra cost of around Rs 5000 even with much less flexibility, but it monopolises your transactions (through itunes) so that you will gradually get entangled in the apple ecosystem. Within one year of using ipad2, you will realise that many of the files you have gradually accumulated over this time for ipad2 would be useless (or less useful) if you buy an android phone or non-Mac computer. So there will be lot more pressure to buy an apple product again (Of course, some of that pressure would be positive pressure due to the smooth hassle free performance of the apple products).
Finally I bought the Samsung 750. It was not an easy decision. The main factor for me in favour of Ipad2 was its slick performance. But difficulties in file transfer, a fear being stuck with the trap of itunes, fear of spending more on a gadget which may not fulfill my need for a ‘productivity device’, all forced me to invest in Samsung 750. But overall Ipad2 may be a better gadget in itself if you examine it removed from all practical considerations. And if you plan to buy ipad2, I would suggest you to wait till beginning of 2012 as probably with ipad3 many of these issues may be resolved.