Head-To-Head: Apple iPad Vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2

Face Off

The tablet wars of 2018 are not just about consumers. With their latest offerings in the tablet form factor, Apple and Samsung are targeting end users in specific vertical markets, rather than just going after the typical consumer use case. Both of the tech giants unveiled new tablets in March -- with Apple debuting a refreshed model of its entry-level iPad, and Samsung launching the ruggedized Galaxy Tab Active2. Which is the better fit for your needs? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center compares the new Apple iPad vs. the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2 on specs, features and price.

Target User

Apple launched its new iPad during an education-themed event at a Chicago school, as a way to highlight the applicability of the iOS tablet to K-12 settings. Apple said the iPad will be ideal for use with the forthcoming Schoolwork app, which will enable teachers to create assignments and view the progress of their students. The iPad is also, of course, aimed at consumer use.

By contrast, Samsung is targeting the Galaxy Tab Active2 for verticals including manufacturing, transportation and retail. Key uses for the Android tablet include replacing paper-centric processes like enterprise asset management (i.e., for field work such as managing inventories and doing inspections). Importantly, the Tab Active2 will be sold exclusively by Samsung's IT channel partners, so the tablet won't be available directly from Samsung.com or from retail stores.


One area where the two tablets diverge right from the start is on the display size and resolution. The iPad includes a 9.7-inch display, significantly larger than the Galaxy Tab Active2 with its 8-inch display. Samsung, for its part, says the 8-inch size is an advantage for use by workers out in the field because it allows for one-handed operation.

The iPad is also higher-res, at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, versus the 1,280 x 800 resolution of the Tab Active2. In terms of brightness, though, the two tablets come out similar: the iPad goes up to 500 nits of brightness, while the Tab Active2 reaches up to 480 nits, making them two of the brightest-screened tablets available.


Both tablets are intended for use with a digital pen. In contrast to previous versions of the entry-level iPad, the new iPad will work with the Apple Pencil. The Galaxy Tab Active2, meanwhile, works with Samsung's S Pen. The big difference here is that Samsung packages the S Pen in the box with the Tab Active2, while the Apple Pencil is sold separately from the iPad (for $99). The S Pen is also housed within the Tab Active2 itself (or, to be precise, the pen is housed in the rugged case that's included for the Tab Active2). The Apple Pencil has no such storage option within the iPad.

Lastly, Samsung notes that the S Pen is water resistant (it features an IP68 rating), meaning that users should be able to use the pen "even in the pouring rain," according to the company. Apple makes no such promises of water resistance with the Apple Pencil.


Both the iPad and the Galaxy Tab Active2 are available in WiFi-only models, as well as in models that support WiFi and LTE connectivity. For the Tab Active2, the two available carriers are Verizon and AT&T. The iPad has a wider variety of carriers available, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and smaller carriers.

In terms of port connectivity, the iPad features a Lightning connector for charging and data transfer, along with a Nano-SIM tray that supports Apple SIM. The Tab Active2 features a USB-C port for charging and data transfer, as well as a pogo pins connector for easy docking.

Battery Life

Apple promises up to 10 hours of battery life per charge for the WiFi-only iPad, and up to nine hours for using the iPad over cellular. Samsung doesn't offer a distinction on battery life between the two models of the Galaxy Tab Active2, revealing only that the tablet can get a max of 11 hours on a charge. Notably, the Tab Active2 offers the ability to swap out the battery for a fresh one.


The Galaxy Tab Active2 comes with a protective case that's made for the tablet, and which helps to provide a greater degree of ruggedness. The Tab Active2 meets military ruggedness standards (MIL-STD-810G) for drops, vibration, pressure, altitude, extreme temperatures and other potential impacts. The tablet also has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning that it should survive after a half-hour underwater, in waters as deep as five feet.

On the other hand, the iPad is not being promoted as a rugged tablet (even though that would have clear advantages in K-12 settings). Apple hasn't offered any details on water resistance, drop protection or other rugged features of the new iPad.

Processor & Storage

The new iPad uses Apple's quad-core A10 chip, which has a clock speed of up to 2.34 GHz. The Galaxy Tab Active2 is powered by Samsung's eight-core Exynos 7870 processor, which clocks at a speed well below that of the A10 -- up to 1.6 GHz. Thus, the new iPad may offer a noticeable performance boost over the Tab Active2.

On storage, the new iPad comes in 32 GB and 128 GB models. The Galaxy Tab Active2 features internal storage of 16 GB and microSD expandability of up to 256 GB.

Additional Features

Along with running Samsung's Knox security software, the Galaxy Tab Active2 includes capabilities for eFOTA (enterprise firmware over-the-air) management to ensure continuous security and control over the devices for business customers.

Meanwhile, Samsung said it has developed the Galaxy Tab Active2 to include an "enhanced touch" mode -- which enables the use of the tablet with many types of gloves.

For education use of the iPad, Apple said the forthcoming Schoolwork app will include an easier method for creating and distributing assignments, called Handouts. Additionally, Apple said it would provide 200 GB of free storage in iCloud to any student or teacher that has a Managed Apple ID.


At $329, Apple's iPad has a lower starting price than Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active2, which starts at $419.99 (for the WiFi-only models in both cases). Keep in mind, though, that the Tab Active2 pricing includes the S Pen stylus, while iPad buyers will need to pay an extra $99 for the Apple Pencil stylus (which brings the total cost to $428, a bit above the Tab Active2).

For the LTE-enabled models, the iPad starts at $459 and the Galaxy Tab Active2 has a starting price of $519.99.