Samsung will soon launch the Galaxy Tab S2, its new flagship tablet and successor to last year's Galaxy Tab S. Set to arrive in August, the Galaxy Tab S2 looks a lot like the iPad Air 2; it's just slightly thinner and lighter, and sports the classic Galaxy build.
The Galaxy Tab S2 and the iPad Air 2 offer plenty of screen real estate to view and edit documents and run business apps. Both come in 9.7-inch models, but the Galaxy also has an 8-inch version if you're looking for a smaller display or a more portable device (read more on portability below) .
Neither device disappoints when it comes to delivering stunning visuals, either. All models come with color-rich 2048 x 1536-pixel displays, with the Galaxy sporting a Super AMOLED display and the iPad featuring a Retina display. However, the difference between the two is minimal. Samsung has also adopted the iPad's 4:3 ratio, which the company says improves the readability over last year's Galaxy Tab S for viewing digital content. [Best Business Tablets 2015 (and Why We Love Them)]
The two tablets are similar in size and weight, but the Galaxy Tab S2 wins if you're looking for a slightly more portable device. Samsung claims the Galaxy is the thinnest and lightest metal tablet of its size, coming in at just 5.6 mm thin and 0.85 lbs. for the 9-inch model and 0.56 lbs. for the 8-inch model. The iPad Air 2 is slightly thicker, with a 6.1 mm frame, and heavier, at a 0.96 lbs. for the Wi-Fi only model and 0.98 lbs. for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version.
As previously mentioned, there is also an 8-inch version of the Galaxy, which is similar to the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 3. The iPad Air 2, however, comes only in the larger size.
Productivity essentially boils down to which operating system your business apps support. The Galaxy Tab S2 runs on Android Lollipop 5.0, and the iPad Air 2 runs on iOS. Both tablets support Microsoft Office apps, though — the Galaxy comes preloaded with Microsoft Office Solutions, and iPad users have access to the entire Microsoft Office suite via Office for iPad.
But it's the Galaxy Tab S2's built-in productivity tools, which are available only on Android devices, that make the device shine. These tools include features like multitasking, which splits the screen to let you work on multiple apps at the same time, and Pop-Up Window, which makes it easy to navigate among active apps. These capabilities make it much easier to get work done as a business user, which could be the deal breaker between the two devices for some users.
The iPad Air 2 is the first iPad to get the iPhone's Touch ID, which lets users easily unlock devices and make purchases by placing their finger on the home button. Similarly, the Galaxy Tab S2 is equipped with a similar biometric authentication feature called Fingerprint Scanner.
What basically sets the two tablets apart is how each operating system deals with viruses and malware. The Galaxy comes with anti-malware software and device management tools, but the iPad typically doesn't require any dedicated security software because Apple has strict policies on which apps it lets into the App Store.
Samsung has yet to announce pricing information for the Galaxy Tab S2, but users can likely expect a price range similar to that of last year's Galaxy Tab S, which was $400 for the 8.4-inch model and $500 for the 10.5-inch model.
The Apple iPad 2 currently starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi only version and $629 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Note that the Galaxy Tab S will come in 32GB and 64GB models, which are expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card, but the iPad's base prices are for the 16GB models. (The iPad Air 2 also comes in 64GB and 128GB models.)