Tablet vs iPad: A Complete Product Comparison of These Devices

tablet vs ipad

The Major Differences You Need to Know (and Which Is Best for You)

If there is a debate that will never end, it is the tablet vs iPad debate.

Proponents of both devices swear by them.

Initially, this was a no-brainer – the iPad was it. But as Android-powered tablets are becoming better with each passing day, it is not that obvious a choice anymore. If you are looking for a quality tablet (especially one that offers excellent value for money, you’ll definitely come to the crossroads of tablet vs iPad.

Which should you purchase?

It may seem like a simple straightforward question with an equally straightforward answer but it actually isn’t. It calls for you to understand your exact needs and what you are actually looking for in your mobile device.

Before I show you which slate to buy between the iPad and its Android counterpart, let’s get a better understanding of each. By understanding these differences you will get a look at, not just the looks and performance of the devices, but the pedigree of the manufacturers as well.

Ready to get to the bottom of the tablet vs iPad conundrum? Let’s get to it then.

Tablet Vs iPad – The Heart of the Matter

When it comes to solving the tablet vs iPad debate, the first port of call is always the heart of the matter – the operating system (and other software).

The iPad –iOS-Powered

Apple’s iPads are powered by Apple’s own proprietary operating system dubbed iOS (formerly iPhone OS).

In all honesty, iOS is a fabulous and powerful operating system that is nearly flawless. That is if you can get past its rigidity (customization is limited). If you can, then here are the benefits you will enjoy from your iPad.

  • Awesome App Selection. Because most apps on the Apple App Store come with a price tag, developers are quick to create apps for Apple first. And they make sure they are good. If you are looking for a great app selection, then you know how the tablet vs iPad debate will end in your case.
  • Fast (and reliable) software updates. One area in which iOS trumps Android is in the software updates department. Every Apple device gets updated at the same time, including older models. This means if you are likely to have an Apple device that has all the latest features and functions. With Android tablets, updates are not as fast (unless your tablet is on the Android One program) and not all devices can handle the updates.
  • App compatibility is guaranteed. Because of the closed iOS system, all apps are developed to suit the operating system and screening for approval is very strict. Because of this, an app from the Apple App Store is a rarity.
  • Powerful Apps. Speaking of apps, the iPad supports some pretty powerful apps that are capable of some pretty intensive tasks like video editing and some heavy graphics designing. This is why the iPad is the mobile device of choice (as is the MacBook) for those who work with a lot of multimedia files. If you are such a one, then the tablet vs iPad debate is settled.

The biggest advantage that the iPad may have over Android tablets is the fact that Apple supports their devices with software updates for years. This makes it easy for you to stick to the same device for many years.

Android Driven Tablets

Apart from iOS, the only other operating system worth considering is Google’s Android. This is a great operating system too and does have some advantages over iOS too.

  • Great customization options. One of the best features of Android is the fact that it is highly customizable as opposed to Apple which is of a more rigid nature. But if you are a technophobe, the simplicity of the iPad might just be appealing to you as there is less of a learning curve. On the other hand, if you want a tablet that you can personalize to a great extent then the tablet vs iPad question is not an issue at all.
  • Vast hardware diversity. One of iOS’s biggest limitations is Android’s biggest advantage – the diversity of hardware it operates on. This is as an advantage because you get to choose the tablet you want, and have unlimited options as to the type of hardware specifications you want. With Apple’s iOS, you are limited to one brand and your hardware specifications are not your own but what Apple chooses to make. With Android the competition is so fierce you’ll find tablets that meet any specification standard. The iPad on the other hand only has 4 versions, namely 2 iPad Pros, a standard iPad, and an iPad mini.
  • Limited budget? No problem. Another great advantage that Android tablets have over their biggest rival the iPad is that there is a device at every price point. Sure, the cheaper they are the fewer features they have, but most are pretty decent tablets. With iPads, however, you have to be prepared to fork out more than the mainstream average (although you can get a good used one at a fair price).

I’m sure by now you are getting a clearer picture of the tablet vs iPad conundrum. But if you’re still vacillating between the 2, keep on reading. There’s still more to cover before we get to the bottom of the tablet vs iPad debate.

Hardware Considerations

Although we have touched a bit on the hardware aspects separating tablets from iPads, in order for you to make a more informed decision you’ll need to take a closer look at the hardware.

The iPad – Hardware Really Means Hard

When it comes to the iPad’s hardware you know exactly what you are getting – a device built like a tank. One thing that has made the iPad wildly more popular than Android tablets is that Apple is stricter when it comes to the build quality of its devices. Not only does Apple source the best components for the iPad, but it also makes sure they maintain their value for years to come by trying to stay ahead of the technological curve.

Android Tablets – Same Generic Name, Different Products

When it comes to software, Android is the same across the board. On the hardware side, it’s totally different. This is because anyone with the facilities and abilities to make a tablet can do so and run Android as their operating system.

What that ultimately means when you look for a tablet is that hardware quality is not guaranteed unless you get a device from established brands like Samsung, Huawei, Microsoft, and a few others. This is great because it gives you a wider array of tablets to choose from, but it can also bite you where the sun don’t shine if you try to dabble in unknown brands.

Which has the Better Security Features?

In this age, many people’s lives have become so intertwined with their mobile devices it’s difficult to separate them. From photos to relationships and even spilling over into their work, mobile devices have a footprint in nearly every area of their lives. Heck, some people even have their mobile devices monitoring their sleep.

What all this means is that security becomes a major issue to look into as you go about on your tablet vs iPad quest. And when it comes to security in mobile devices, it again involves the 2 core components of your device – software and hardware.

Let’s take a look at which of these devices offers you more security, not just from prying eyes, but from malicious attacks as well.

Device Security

The first line of security for any mobile device should always be the devices own security. This is because a mobile device like a tablet is pretty easy to steal. And if, like many of us, you keep some vital information in it, then you would want that information safe even if the device is in someone else’s hands.

Tablet vs iPad, which one is more secure in this aspect?

Well, if you had asked that question a couple of years back, the iPad would have won hands down due to the fact that it featured more advanced biometric locks than its Android counterparts. Today, however, nearly every Android tablet being released has some pretty effective biometric sensors such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition.

This is one area where the tablet vs iPad debate remains in a deadlock.

Software Security

The other level of security that is important in a mobile device is the software security.

Because your device will probably be connected to the internet on a regular basis, this opens you up to the risks of cyber-attacks. This is where a robust operating system comes to play.

Again, tablet vs iPad, which has a more secure operating system?

They both have a robust operating system. However, the iPad has an advantage in that:

  • Updates are fast. Because of it being a closed system, updating security patches is easier for iPads than it is for Android-powered tablets. With Android devices, it can take a while for such devices to reach some devices, especially because of compatibility issues.
  • It’s a closed platform. The other factor that helps make the iPad more secure than its Android counterpart is the fact that iOS is a closed platform as opposed to Android’s open source system. Because of it being open source it is easier to attack and thus most malware made is created to target Android devices. But because of the stringent measures Apple takes to ensure that its “ecosystem” is safe from malicious software, it is more secure.

When it comes to security, the iPad has a slight advantage of Android tablets making it worth the premium prices it commands.

Now that you have seen the technical aspects used to determine which device is better for you between the iPad and Android tablets, let’s look at a few examples so that you get a clearer picture of what the market has to offer.

The Best Options Available

Before we go window shopping, remember that the iPad only has 4 variations while the Android tablet market has so many different devices you can use one a day and not even get through them all in months. To make things easier, we’ll break the completion down into 2 categories – the best overall and the best budget option.

Ready? Let’s go.

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (Previous Model)
  • 10.5-inch Retina display with ProMotion, True Tone, and wide color
  • A10X Fusion chip
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 12MP back camera, 7MP FaceTime HD front camera
  • Four speaker audio

Key Features

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is possibly the best iPad ever made by Apple.

Coming with a 2224 x 1668 resolution 10.5-inch Retina display, this iPad Pro is not too big neither too small for most consumers – it’s just the perfect size. This makes the iPad Pro 10.5 easy and comfortable to handle, especially since it weighs a mere 1.03lbs. But ergonomics is not the only thing that makes the iPad Pro the best overall iPad.

When it comes to performance, the iPad Pro is truly that – a Pro. It handles every task thrown at it with great ease thanks to A10X Fusion chip that powers it. This makes the iPad run smooth, fast, and efficiently. As for hardware, it’s an iPad so you can only expect the best. Notably, you’ll find 4K recording, powerful speakers, and a 12MP camera with 5x digital zoom. Yes, I’m looking at you media junkies.

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Key Features

Giving the iPad Pro a run for its money is the Samsung Tab S3.

With power and performance that rival the iconic iPad, it’s no wonder then that the Samsung Tab S3 is also priced similarly.

The Samsung Tab S3 is a beautiful slate that comes with a powerful quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. Although not the latest chipset it’s powerful enough to carry out heavier tasks other tablets fear to tackle. A brilliant super AMOLED screen, very loud speakers, and a full-size stylus are just the tip of the iceberg as far as features are concerned.

If, after settling the tablet vs iPad debate, you’ve decided to go the Android route, then this is definitely the slate for you.

Apple iPad with WiFi, 128GB, Gold (2017 Model)
  • 9.7-inch Retina display, wide color and true tone
  • A9 third-generation chip with 64-bit architecture
  • M9 motion coprocessor
  • 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera
  • 8MP iSight camera

Key Features

I know it sounds like an oxymoron but budget and iPad are seemingly becoming easier to mention in the same breath. Especially since Apple decided to make the iPad 9.7 more affordable to budget-conscious consumers in 2017.

So if you’ve always wanted an iPad but the high prices kept it out of reach, there’s no better time than now to fulfill your dream. This iteration of the iPad is the iPad Air 2’s replacement so you know you are getting an exceptional machine.

Featuring Apple’s A9 chip, a 2048 x 1536 9.7-inch Retina, and a battery that will last you over 10 hours, this is one tablet you will enjoy for years to come. Although it is a budget iPad, it is still a bit more expensive than most of the other budget tablets on the market with its around $300.00 price tag. But that is $300.00 (Approximate price) you definitely won’t regret spending.

Huawei MediaPad T1 7.0 Quad Core 7" Android (KitKat) +EMUI Tablet 8GB, Silver/Black (US Warranty)
  • 7-inch tablet that incorporates a Spreadtrum SC7731G chip with the 28 nm quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A7 architecture
  • Supports Wi-Fi data connection
  • Screen resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels, 2-megapixel fixed-focus front camera and a 2 MP FF rear camera
  • Runs Android 4.4 (KitKat) operating system and EMUI 3.0 powered by Huawei

Key Features

Buying a budget Android tablet is risky business if you don’t know which to spend your precious money on.

And that’s where the Huawei MediaPad T1 comes to save the day. For around $100 you get a sturdy entry level tablet that will afford you great media consumption, web browsing, and a little bit more. Coming with a 7-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 600 x 1024 pixels, you will definitely get sharp contrast and bright colors.

Powered by a Spreadtrum SC7731G chip with a 28nm quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM and running on Android 4.4 KitKat, you definitely get a little more than what you would pay for with another brand. Couple that with a surprisingly good battery that can run for 8 hours and you have yourself a very good deal.

Which Fits Your Lifestyle (and Pocket)?

At the end of the day, the tablet vs iPad debate can only be solved by one person – you. The slate you will ultimately be happy with is the one that suits your lifestyle and budget. Sure, everyone may be raving about the iPad, but will you put it to full use or will many of the features and power remain untapped? At the end of the day, it is you who will have to live with your device, so tablet vs iPad, which is it?


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