However, Samsung has been fighting the good fight on the Android tablet front for several years now, and its latest effort is a stunner. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is big, beautiful, and all geared up for productivity tasks.
So which of these two classy tablet lines is the better buy? Let’s take a closer look at what each has to offer.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra price and availability
The iPad Pro 2022 launched on October 18, 2022 in two sizes. Prices for the 11-inch model start from $799 / £899 / AU$1,399, while prices for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro start at $1,099 / £1,249 / AU$1,899.
Those prices are for the 128GB Wi-Fi-only models, it should be noted. Adding cellular connectivity and more storage (256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB) will bump the fee up significantly - the two top capacities also bump the RAM up from 8GB to 16GB.
At the very top of the scale, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 with 2TB of storage and 5G cellular connectivity will cost you $2,399 / £2,679 / AU$4,099.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra hit shops on February 9, 2022. Prices start from $1,099.99 / £999 / $1,799 for the 8GB RAM/128GB Wi-Fi model. Like the iPad, you can increase the storage (though only to 256GB or 512GB) and add 5G connectivity. Scaling up on storage also bumps up the RAM from 8GB to 12 or 16GB.
Topping the range is the 16/512GB cellular model for £1,399, though this isn’t available in the US - but a Wi-Fi version of that configuration costs $1,399.99. In Australia, the top model is the 16/256GB variant, which costs £1,249 / AU$2,199.
In summary, then, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is priced somewhere in between the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022, but closer to the former. Now that it’s a little older, you’ll likely be able to find a good deal to bring that price down further.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra design
Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and the iPad Pro 2022 duo feature flat surfaces and sharp, all-aluminum bodies, with minimal display bezels. The two manufacturers have clearly come to the same conclusions about what constitutes a modern, classy tablet design.
Unlike the Samsung, Apple’s premium tablet range comes in two sizes. The 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm and weighs 466g. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 measures 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm and weighs 682g.
At 326.4 x 208.6 x 5.5mm, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra dwarfs both in terms of surface area, but is also skinnier. It’s much heavier too, at 726g. As we said in our review, “this is one huge tablet”.
Samsung loses points for including a display notch. This decidedly Apple-ish feature is nowhere to be found on the iPad Pro duo. Thankfully, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s screen is so big, you probably won’t notice.
The iPad Pro 2022 only offers two colors, Silver and Space Gray, which is a bit boring. Not half as dull as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, though, which only comes in Graphite (aka dark gray).
Further Pro points go Apple’s way with the presence of a speedy Thunderbolt 4 connection stashed behind a familiar USB-C port, whereas the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has to make do with USB-C 3.2.
Both tablets support high quality stylus pens, and both have a magnetic attachment system – the iPad on the top edge, and the Samsung on the back. There’s an important difference here in that Samsung includes its S Pen as part of the package, whereas you’ll need to buy the Apple Pencil 2 ($129 / £139 / AU$219) separately.
Apple has enhanced Apple Pencil 2 connectivity for the new tablet, however. It can detect the stylus when it gets within 12mm, so when you hover the Pencil over a text box, it will expand. Handwriting recognition has also taken a step forward, though Samsung is no slouch in this regard either.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra display
We’ve just mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is much bigger than even the larger iPad Pro 2022, and that’s because of its gigantic screen.
While the iPad Pro 2022 offers 11-inch and 12.9-inch options, the Samsung gives you just the one 14.6-inch model. That’s bigger than a lot of laptops.
In terms of resolution, the 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 offers 1668 x 2388 (265ppi), while the larger model scales things up to 2048 x 2732 (265ppi). Samsung offers 1848 x 2960 (240ppi), which works out to be marginally less pixel-packed.
All three tablets give you a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes everything feel silky smooth.
Interestingly, the type of panel differs across all three of these models. The 11-inch iPad Pro is an IPS LCD, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a mini-LED LCD, while the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is an AMOLED.
As is often the case, Samsung wins for sheer eye-popping vibrancy. AMOLED beats any LCD panel hands-down thanks to its ability to light pixels individually, creating greater contrast and truly deep blacks.
Apple’s mini-LED 12.9-inch model closes the gap, with more backlighting zones than a standard LCD and an impressive 1600 nits peak brightness. The iPad 12.9-inch might get brighter, then, but the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s AMOLED screen boasts the more impressive output overall.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra camera
Cameras are never the most important consideration with tablets, so we’ll be brief. Both iPad Pro 2022 tablets feature dual-camera setups, consisting of a 12MP wide and a 10MP ultra-wide. You also get a ToF 3D LiDAR scanner for improved depth perception.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra also gives you a dual-camera system: one 13MP wide and a 6MP ultra-wide. We’d give Apple the edge here, but again, it’s not all that important.
Around front, the iPad Pro gives you a 12MP TrueDepth camera that supports Face ID authentication, while Center Stage tracks your face in video calls.
Samsung also brings something extra to the front camera party, with a dual 12MP system. One has a wide-angle lens while the other is ultra-wide, and Samsung's system can also follow you around during video calls - but so can Apple's.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra specs and performance
The iPad Pro 2022 runs on the truly laptop-class Apple M2 chip. This is the same basic chip that powers the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
This places the iPad Pro 2022 well ahead of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra on performance. Samsung’s premium tablet runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, which isn’t even the leading flagship Android smartphone chip these days.
Even last year’s iPad Pro, which ran on the Apple M1 chip (with a 15% slower CPU and a 35% slower GPU compared to the M2) absolutely obliterates the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra in most benchmark tests, and in our review of the latest model we found that it was extraordinarily powerful.
Aside from a raw performance advantage, Apple’s M2 also lets it do new things like record video in the demanding ProRes format.
Processor aside, the iPad Pro 2022 ships with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB storage options. Samsung’s tablet only gives you the choice of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra battery
The 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 ships with a 7,538mAh battery, while the 12.9-inch Pro comes with a 10,758mAh cell.
Samsung equips the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with an even larger 11,200mAh cell, though it’s worth remembering that Android tends to be more power-hungry, and that Samsung’s tablet sports a bigger display.
Apple claims “up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‐Fi or watching video”, while Samsung doesn’t get that specific.
In our reviews, we found that the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) could match Apple's claims, but for certain tasks the battery would also drain a lot faster. Just six hours of HDR video for example was enough to drain it. We found it took a lot more work to drain the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, with a 90-minute movie taking off 16%, so Samsung's slate has the edge here.
On the charging front, Samsung supports 45W wired charging which can apparently fill the battery in 82 minutes. Apple on the other hand supports a somewhat puny 20W charging.
While both of these tablets are excellent, the iPad Pro 2022 is a superior slate to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
Apple simply rules the tablet roost, and while the latest iPad Pro only really adds laptop-level Apple M2 power to the mix, it's easily one of the best tablets, at least if money is no object.
Of course, if you simply don’t get on with Apple’s ecosystem, or 12.9-inches simply isn’t enough screen space for you, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is a fine alternative pick. It’s a very good tablet indeed, and its display is even more impressive than its counterpart.
Given that you’re likely to be able to find a good deal on Samsung’s tablet these days, it might just be the better value premium tablet pick - and it's certainly the best Android tablet at the time of writing.
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