Apple has just unveiled its latest premium tablet, the 2022 iPad Pro, and it seems poised to take over the high-end tablet market once again.
However, Samsung has been putting up a good fight on the Android tablet front for several years now, and its latest effort is amazing. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is big, beautiful, and fully equipped for productivity tasks.
So which of these two stylish lines of tablets is the best to buy? Let’s take a closer look at what each party has to offer.
Price and availability of iPad Pro 2022 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
iPad Pro 2022 launched on October 18, 2022 in two sizes. Prices for the 11-inch model start at $799 / £899 / AU$1,399, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099 / £1,249 / AU$1,899.
It should be noted that these prices are for the 128GB Wi-Fi models only. Adding cellular connectivity and more storage (256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB) will increase the fee significantly—and the top two RAM capacities increase from 8GB to 16GB.
At the top of the scale, the 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 2TB of storage and 5G cellular connectivity will set you back $2,399 / £2,679 / AU$4,099.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra hits stores on February 9, 2022. Prices start at $1,099.99 / £999 / AU$1,799 for the 8GB / 128GB Wi-Fi model. Like the iPad, you can increase storage (though only 256GB or 512GB) and add 5G connectivity. Expanding the storage also increases the amount of RAM from 8 GB to 12 or 16 GB.
The 16/512GB cellular model tops the range for £1,399, though this isn’t available in the US – but the Wi-Fi version of this configuration costs $1,399.99. In Australia, the top model is the 16/256GB variant, which costs £1,249 / AU$2,199.
In short, then, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is priced somewhere between the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022, but closer to the former. Now that it’s a little older, you’ll likely be able to find a good deal to bring that price down even further.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra design
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and iPad Pro 2022 duo feature flat surfaces and sharp all-aluminum bodies, with minimal screen bezels. The two manufacturers clearly came to the same conclusions about what constitutes a modern and elegant tablet design.
Unlike Samsung, Apple’s range of premium tablets comes in two sizes. The 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm and weighs 466 grams. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 measures 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm and weighs 682 grams.
At 326.4 x 208.6 x 5.5mm, it dwarfs the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra in terms of surface area, but it’s also much thinner. It’s much heavier too, at 726 grams. Like we said in our review, “This is one huge tablet.”
Samsung loses points for including a display. This Apple-ish feature is nowhere to be found on the iPad Pro duo. Fortunately, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s screen is so big, you probably won’t even notice.
The iPad Pro 2022 only offers two colors, silver and space gray, which is a bit boring. It’s not half as boring as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, though, which is only available in Graphite (aka Dark Gray).
The Pro’s bonus points go Apple’s way with a speedy Thunderbolt 4 connection hidden behind a familiar USB-C port, while the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra has to make do with USB-C 3.2.
Both devices support high-quality stylus pens, and they both have a magnetic attachment system—the iPad at the top edge, the Samsung one at the back. An important difference here is that Samsung includes its own S Pen as part of the package, while you’ll need to buy the Apple Pencil 2 ($129 / £139 / AU$219) separately.
However, Apple has beefed up the connectivity of the Apple Pencil 2 for the new tablet. It can detect the stylus when it is within 12mm, so when you move the pencil over a text box, it will expand. Handwriting recognition has also taken a step forward, although Samsung is not slacking in this regard either.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra screen
We just mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is much larger than the larger 2022 iPad Pro, due to its gigantic screen.
While the 2022 iPad Pro offers 11-inch and 12.9-inch options, Samsung only gives you the 14.6-inch model. That’s bigger than a lot of laptops.
In terms of resolution, the 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 offers 1668 x 2388 (265 pixels per inch), while the larger model measures in at 2048 x 2732 (265 pixels per inch). Samsung offers 1848 x 2960 (240ppi), which works out to be marginally less pixel-packed.
All three tablets give you a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes everything feel like silk.
Interestingly, the panel type is different across all three of these models. The 11-inch iPad Pro is an IPS LCD, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a small LED LCD, while the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is an AMOLED display.
As is often the case, Samsung wins with sheer liveliness. AMOLED outperforms any LCD panel thanks to its ability to light up pixels individually, creating greater contrast and truly deep blacks.
Apple’s 12.9-inch mini-LED model bridges the gap, with more backlit areas than a standard LCD and an impressive 1,600 nits of brightness. The 12.9-inch iPad might get brighter, but the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s AMOLED screen has a more impressive output overall.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra camera
Cameras are never the most important consideration with tablets, so we’ll be brief. Both iPad Pro 2022 tablets feature dual camera setups, consisting of a 12MP wide and 10MP ultrawide. You also get a ToF 3D LiDAR scanner for better depth perception.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra gives you a dual camera system: one 13MP wide camera and one 6MP ultra-wide camera. We’ll give Apple the edge here, but again, it’s not that important.
On the front, the iPad Pro gives you a 12MP TrueDepth camera that supports Face ID authentication, while the Center Stage tracks your face on video calls.
Samsung also brings something extra to the front-facing camera party, with a dual 12MP system. One has a wide-angle lens while the other is ultra-wide, and Samsung’s system can also follow you during video calls — and so can Apple’s.
iPad Pro 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra specifications and performance
The 2022 iPad Pro runs on a laptop-class Apple M2 chip. This is the same basic chip that powers the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
This puts the iPad Pro 2022 well ahead of the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra in performance. Samsung’s premium tablet runs on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, which isn’t even the leading chip for Android smartphones these days.
Even last year’s iPad Pro, which ran on an Apple M1 chip (with a 15% slower CPU and 35% slower GPU compared to the M2) outright beats the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra in most benchmark tests, and in our review of the latest model. We found that it was unusually strong.
Aside from the initial performance advantage, Apple’s M2 also enables new things to be done like recording video in the required ProRes format.
Apart from the processor, the iPad Pro 2022 comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB storage options. Samsung’s tablet only gives you the option of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
iPad Pro 2022 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra battery
The 2022 11-inch iPad Pro comes with a 7,538mAh battery, while the 12.9-inch Pro comes with a 10,758mAh cell.
Samsung supplies the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with a larger 11,200mAh cell, though it’s worth remembering that Android tends to be more power hungry, and Samsung’s tablet comes with a larger screen.
Apple claims “up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video,” while Samsung doesn’t specify that.
In our reviews, we’ve found that the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) can match Apple’s claims, but for some tasks, the battery may also drain faster. Just six hours of HDR video for example was enough to drain it. We found that it took a lot of work to drain the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, with a 90-minute movie getting 16%, so Samsung’s slate has the edge here.
On the charging front, Samsung supports 45W wired charging which can apparently fill the battery in 82 minutes. On the other hand, Apple supports a rather weak 20W charging.
Although both tablets are excellent, the 2022 iPad Pro is even better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
Apple simply rules the tablet, and while the latest iPad Pro adds laptop-only Apple M2 power to the mix, it’s easily one of the best tablets out there, at least if money were no object.
Of course, if you simply don’t get to grips with the Apple ecosystem, or 12.9 inches simply isn’t enough screen space for you, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is a good alternative choice. It’s a very good tablet indeed, and its screen is even more impressive than its counterpart.
Since you’re likely to be able to find a good deal on a Samsung tablet these days, this might be the best value premium tablet option — and it’s definitely the best Android tablet at the time of writing.