Today, Apple finally announced the brand new 7.9-inch iPad mini which it will be offering ahead of the holiday shopping season. And while the 7-inch tablet field is littered with competition including the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD, there is another device called the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 that may pose a threat to the iPad mini this holiday season as well. Here is how the iPad mini stacks up against the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phablet.
The iPad mini will be Apple’s first attempt at a sub 9.7-inch tablet device while the Samsung Galaxy Note has already proven to be a popular device. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the successor to the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy Note that hit AT&T’s 4G LTE network earlier this year. And while the device was met with skepticism after its initial announcement, the device went on to sell more than 10 million times worldwide spawning this year’s successor.
Due to the size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s display, it may not be considered by some to be a true iPad Mini competitor. However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s display is large enough where it could potentially lure in consumers who want to marry the size of a small tablet with the power of a smartphone rather than purchasing just a tablet.
We already detailed a few of those reasons in our 5 Best iPad Mini Alternatives but now it’s time to take a deeper look at just how the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phablet matches up against Apple’s new iPad Mini tablet.
The release dates for both the iPad Mini and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 here in the United States are both a jumbled mess. While both have confirmed dates, there are still some mysteries left for the companies and carriers to answer.
Starting with the iPad Mini, it will be go up for pre-order on October 26th and then, the Wi-Fi only version of the device will start shipping on November 2nd. Apple though, hasn’t said when the 4G LTE iPad Mini will arrive for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. The company says that it will ship out a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi version which means that it will likely be released sometime in mid-November.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 release date situation is a little more complicated in that it features five launch carriers across several different dates, both announced and rumored.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 will launch on all five major U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. And while all five might share a common price, they won’t share a common release date it seems.
Thus far, only two Galaxy Note 2 U.S. carriers have revealed their Galaxy Note 2 U.S. release dates. AT&T will start taking pre-orders on October 25th for a November 9th release date while Sprint will carry the Galaxy Note 2 starting on October 25th.
T-Mobile is currently rumored to be releasing the phone tomorrow while release dates on U.S. Cellular and Verizon remain unknown.
This is an area where these devices will different greatly from each other because while one is a tablet, the other is a phablet which marries the features of a smaller tablet with those of a smartphone.
Samsung equipped the new Galaxy Note 2 with a design that is slimmer than the original Galaxy Note. Specifically, the measurements of the Galaxy Note 2 are 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm thin with a weight of 6.35 oz. That translates to 180 grams.
The design also features the usual plastic design that we’ve come to expect from Samsung. Yet, Samsung did make at least one upgrade to the Galaxy Note 2 design as its overall design looks more like a large Galaxy S III with its rounded edges. It also features a single home button, with no additional navigation keys.
The iPad mini , being the tablet that it is, is larger than the Galaxy Note 2. Its specific measurements including 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm. That means that the iPad mini is actually thinner than the Galaxy Note 2 while being much taller and wider at the same time.
In terms of weight, it’s much heavier checking in at 308 grams. The 4G LTE is a little heavier, checking in at 312 grams in weight.
Instead of plastic, the iPad mini is made of anodized aluminum, just like the back of the iPhone 5, as well as glass up front which not only give it an industrial look but will also provide quite a bit of durability.
The displays on both are going to be the key selling points for both Apple and Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD, which is a bump up over the 5.3-inch display of the original Galaxy Note. The display comes with 1280 x 720 resolution and features a 265 pixels-per-inch which down from the original. The screen allows for stylus input as well as the device’s S-Pen allows for users to draw and write directly on the screen.
Its display also offers 16:9 resolution which means it will provide true widescreen content, perfect for watching movies and TV.
The iPad mini comes with a 7.9-inch LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, a size that is much smaller than the 9.7-inch iPad’s Retina Display. No, this is not a Retina Display. Instead, it will feature 1024 x 768 resolution with 163 pixels-per-inch.
It will feature 4:3 aspect ratio which means that it won’t support true widescreen content.
Beyond the display and design, the Galaxy Note 2 and iPad mini both feature some pretty enticing hardware. The Galaxy Note 2 is much more powerful than its predecessor while the iPad mini takes bits and pieces from Apple’s other hardware.
First, here is the rundown of the major features of the Galaxy Note 2.
- 5.5-inch display with 1280×720 resolution
- 1.6GHz Quad-core Exynos Processor
- 16GB/32GB/64GB Storage
- 8MP Camera/1.9MP front-facing
- 3100mAh battery
- 2GB of RAM
And, here is how the iPad mini stacks up.
- 7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
- Apple dual-core A5 processor
- 16GB/32GB/64GB Storage
- 5MP iSight camera/FaceTime HD Camera
- 16.3-watt battery
- 512MB of RAM (Likely)
Key differences here include the processors, though both should run the operating system with minimal lag. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 also comes standard with an ergonomic S-Pen stylus that allows users to write and draw directly on the screen. It’s also equipped with unique software like S-Note, which is a simple note taking app designed for the S-Pen in particular.
The iPad mini will also likely offer stylus support but it won’t feature the unique apps that the Galaxy Note 2 does.
Additionally, we should point out that the Galaxy Note 2 will be able to be used like a phone whereas the iPad mini will not come with native phone capabilities.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, the company didn’t make any improvements to the cameras over the original Galaxy Note. It will feature a 1.9MP front-facing camera for video chatting and it will feature an 8MP rear camera, same as the previous model. That being said, the Galaxy Note 2 camera, while not top of the line, will certainly work for most people as it shoots good quality images and 1080p video.
A sample taken with the Galaxy Note 2 camera can be see below.
The iPad mini , unlike some of its competitors, will also feature two cameras. The first, a FaceTime HD front-facing camera for use with FaceTime. If the quality is the same as the iPhone 5’s, iPad mini users are in for a treat.
As for the rear, the iPad mini will feature a 5MP iSight camera, same as the third-generation iPad, that should shoot quality images. It will also be able to shoot 1080p video as well.
We can’t say how good yet because we haven’t been able to go hands-on but expect it to shoot images similar to the iPod touch.
Software – Jelly Bean vs. iOS 6
The iPad mini will of course be launching with iOS 6, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, but it will do so without any unique features, Like the fourth-generation iPad, it will come with the new Maps application, Siri, Facebook integration and more. It will also, unlike the iPhone 5, not have access to any official YouTube application which was taken away with iOS 6.
Some of the main features of iOS 6 can be seen in the video below.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 will fortunately be running the latest version of Android, right out of the box. That version of course is the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system that Google rolled out in July but hasn’t come to many devices. It will also have Samsung’s TouchWiz UI over the top and will come with some unique, powerful software as well.
The Galaxy Note 2 will feature software that takes advantage of the device’s S-Pen stylus including a new split-screen multitasking mode where users can take advantage of the massive screen by opening two apps on screen at once.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is, by far, Google’s best mobile operating system yet and the main features of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean can be seen below.
The company is rumored to be introducing Android 4.2 on October 29th and because the Galaxy Note 2 is so new, we expect that it will be getting that upgrade should it become available.
The iPad mini will, along with the new fourth-generation iPad, be available on three carriers in the United States. Fortunately, it’s the biggest three. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will be playing host to the iPad mini which means that for the first time, the iPad will be available on Sprint’s network.
All four will offer the device on their 4G LTE networks which allow for users to pull down data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than 3G. An example of those speeds can be seen in the video below.
However, this doesn’t mean that the networks are equal. While Verizon offers over 400 LTE markets in the U.S., both AT&T and Sprint offer less than 100 though both should eclipse the century mark by the end of the year.
We aren’t sure about data pricing yet but we imagine we will hear about that when the device goes up for pre-order this Friday.
As for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, it will feature 4G LTE access on at least four of the five carriers. That means AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. T-Mobile won’t have a 4G LTE network up until next year and as of yet, it’s unclear if T-Mobile will be future proofing the device. We imagine that it will, thanks to an FCC filing, but that’s still not confirmed.
Despite not having all of their release date information available, the iPad mini price and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 price here in the U.S. are both available, for the most part.
Apple will be selling the iPad mini in six different ways, meaning, three storage options for the Wi-Fi version and three for the 4G LTE model. All six, like the iPhone 5, will feature different pricing options.
Those options will likely remain consistent across the board at AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Here is how the iPad mini pricing breaks down.
- iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi Only -$329
- iPad mini 32GB Wi-Fi Only – $429
- iPad mini 64GB Wi-Fi Only – $529
And, the 4G LTE models.
- iPad mini 16GB 4G LTE – $459
- iPad mini 32GB 4G LTE – $559
- iPad mini 64GB 4G LTE – $659
The iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi only is actually only $30 more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and it doesn’t require the need for a contract. All five U.S. carriers will likely be offering the Galaxy Note 2 starting at $299.99 for the 16GB Galaxy Note 2. AT&T, Sprint and U.S. Cellular revealed that pricing and it’s likely that T-Mobile and Verizon will follow suit.
In fact, T-Mobile is currently rumored to cost exactly that, $299.99.
There is currently no word on whether U.S. carriers will launch 32GB and 64GB models but if they do, expect steep price tags.