The Apple iPad Air’s 9.7in 1536x2048, 264ppi in-plane switching (IPS) LCD Retina display should be slightly crisper than the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s 12.2in WQXGA, 2560x1600, 247ppi, Super Clear LCD screen.
But we struggled to pick a clear winner when it came to screen quality. Both displays are wonderfully crisp and vibrant, with great viewing angles and colour balance.
However, using the two tablets for business purposes, the Galaxy Note Pro’s extra screen space was a serious bonus, making it quicker and easier to edit spreadsheets and word documents. This was particularly true when using the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s S Pen stylus, but more on this later.
Winner: The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
Operating system and software
The Apple iPad Air runs using iOS 7 while the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung's Magazine UX skin.
We’ve always struggled to pick between iOS and Android when it comes to productivity, because both operating systems come pre-loaded with a variety of business-friendly applications and services. For iPad Air users, Apple has made Pages for documents, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations free on the App Store.
The iPad Air’s iOS 7 interface is also more user friendly than Android and features a host of consumer and BYOD-friendly features. Chief of these is its advanced iCloud integration. The integration makes it quick and easy to set up a new iPad, letting users automatically pull their settings from older Apple devices into the new iPad. It also makes it easy for users to store documents and files on the iCloud - though as a consumer service this may be less appealing to businesses.
Android comes with equivalent Google Drive, Now, Calendar and Gmail applications, and Samsung has done a brilliant job of bolstering Android's business applications and services offering with its new Magazine UX software.
Magazine UX is a custom skin for Android that radically redesigns the operating system's user interface. The most obvious way it does this is via the addition of new tiled widgets. The widgets can be organised to create a similar interface to that seen on HTC’s BlinkFeed news aggregator service. The widgets offer dynamic updates from a variety of news outlets and services, such as email and calendar.
Magazine UX also adds a number of enterprise-friendly applications, including pre-installing Evernote and Cisco WebEx Meetings - both of which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store - along with Samsung apps like e-Meeting and S Note. Cisco WebEx and Samsung e-Meeting are video conferencing tools. WebEx is useful as it lets users make and join video conference calls in full HD audio. It also has a useful screen-share feature that lets users show spreadsheets, presentation slides or documents to other people on a call.
Samsung e-Meeting is a free conference tool designed to let users take advantage of the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s S Pen stylus. The service is useful as it features a Whiteboard collaboration tool that lets users collaboratively scribble notes on a shared digital board.
S Note is a similarly useful application, which lets users scribble and save notes to their Evernote or Samsung account using the S Pen stylus. Combined with the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2’s multi-window and screen-splitting servies we found S Note made the tablet a fantastic research and note-taking tool.
The multi-window support is a key software feature differentiating the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 from the iPad Air, and lets users open certain applications as floating windows, while the split-screen feature lets you set the screen to run and display up to four applications at once. This meant we could have S Note open alongside a web article or document we were researching and taking notes on.
Winner: Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
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