For the past few years Apple's iPad has become an increasingly common sight in most offices, with many companies preferring its secure iOS operating system and user-friendly interface to those of competing tablets. But now Samsung has looked to establish its own position in the enterprise market with Android, creating its unashamedly productivity and security-focused Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet.
But with Apple already having a foot in the door, some have questioned whether the giant 12.2in tablet's software will be enough to persuade businesses to ditch the iPad.
Design and build
The iPad Air and Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 are about as different as you can get. The first and most obvious reason is the massive disparity between the two tablets' size. The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is an absolute beast, measuring in at 296x204x7.95mm. This makes the 240x170x7.5mm iPad Air look tiny.
The iPad is also significantly lighter than the 750g Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, weighing in at 468g, which means the iPad Air is far more travel friendly.
The iPad Air's button placement also made it slightly more pleasant to use on the move than the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. This is because Apple has chosen to place the Home button on the bottom short side of the iPad Air. Samsung took the opposite approach, placing the Home button on the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's bottom long side.
The iPad button placement means using the iPad in portrait – as most people do when trying to read a webpage or document on the move – is far more intuitive and easier to do than it is on the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. While the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's placement makes it easier to use the tablet in landscape, the appeal of this is diminished by the fact that it doesn't feature an attachable keyboard or kickstand, so it can't easily be used as a laptop replacement, like most other tablets with this button configuration can.
In terms of build quality, picking between the iPad Air and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is fairly difficult. Featuring an aluminium backplate, the iPad Air has a slightly more premium and robust feel. However, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's faux leather back and metal sides are far more scratch and dirt resistant than the iPad Air's. Running around London with the two tablets in our satchel, we found the iPad Air finished the day looking fairly scruffy and had picked up a fair amount of dirt. Having endured the same punishment, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 remained clean and respectable looking.
Another selling point for the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is that it can be charged using a regular micro USB cable. The fact the iPad Air has to be charged using a proprietary cable made by Apple has been an ongoing annoyance as it makes it more expensive and time consuming to replace or borrow chargers when caught without your own.
Winner: The iPad Air
Next: Display, operating system and software