Alternatives to iPad Air: iPad Air vs best tablets from Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Google & more

6 alternatives to the iPad Air from Apple's biggest rivals

The iPad Air is Apple's fast, sleek and amazingly lightweight tablet. We love it, but there's no doubt that competition is hotting up. There are several impressive iPad Air alternatives from rivals such as Samsung, Sony Microsoft and Google, which we're going to share with you here.

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  • iPad Air alternatives
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
  • Surface Pro 3
  • Google Nexus 10
  • Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+
  • Kobo Arc 10HD
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iPad Air alternatives

The iPad Air is Apple's fast, sleek and amazingly lightweight tablet, and is the fifth generation of the tablet. We love it, but there's no doubt that competition is hotting up. There are several impressive iPad Air alternatives from rivals such as Samsung, Sony Microsoft and Google, which we're going to share with you here.

We'll start by talking about the iPad Air itself, though, so you know what the Android alternatives are up against.

The iPad Air has a 9.7in Retina display, so falls into the 10in tablet category. It runs Apple's gorgeous iOS 7 operating system, and will soon be able to run iOS 8, the new update to iOS coming in autumn. 

Inside the iPad Air is an A7 processor chip with a 64-bit architecture and an M7 motion processor. In short, that means it's super fast and beautifully smooth.

It sports two camera, the rear-facing 'iSight' camera and the front-facing FaceTime HD camera. The iSight camera can capture 5Mp photos and 1080p video, while the FaceTime HD camera can capture 1.2Mp photos or 720p HD video.

When it comes to dimensions, the iPad Air is wonderfully thin and light, at just 7.5mm thick and 469g.

The iPad Air will set you back at least £399. For that price, you'll get the 16GB WiFi-only model.

You can find out more in our iPad Air review.

So how does it compare with rivals? Use the slideshow controls above and right to take a look at our selection of iPad Air rivals and find out how their features stack up.

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The iPad Air is Apple's fast, sleek and amazingly lightweight tablet, and is the fifth generation of the tablet. We love it, but there's no doubt that competition is hotting up. There are several impressive iPad Air alternatives from rivals such as Samsung, Sony Microsoft and Google, which we're going to share with you here.

We'll start by talking about the iPad Air itself, though, so you know what the Android alternatives are up against.

The iPad Air has a 9.7in Retina display, so falls into the 10in tablet category. It runs Apple's gorgeous iOS 7 operating system, and will soon be able to run iOS 8, the new update to iOS coming in autumn. 

Inside the iPad Air is an A7 processor chip with a 64-bit architecture and an M7 motion processor. In short, that means it's super fast and beautifully smooth.

It sports two camera, the rear-facing 'iSight' camera and the front-facing FaceTime HD camera. The iSight camera can capture 5Mp photos and 1080p video, while the FaceTime HD camera can capture 1.2Mp photos or 720p HD video.

When it comes to dimensions, the iPad Air is wonderfully thin and light, at just 7.5mm thick and 469g.

The iPad Air will set you back at least £399. For that price, you'll get the 16GB WiFi-only model.

You can find out more in our iPad Air review.

So how does it compare with rivals? Use the slideshow controls above and right to take a look at our selection of iPad Air rivals and find out how their features stack up.

iPad Air vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Samsung's latest tablet offering comes in the form of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, which arrived alongside the smaller Galaxy Tab S 8.4 on 12 June. We're focusing on the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 here because we feel it's a closer match to the iPad Air, but you can find out more about the Tab S 8.4 here.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is priced the same as the iPad Air, starting at £399 for the 16GB WiFi-only model.

It has a bigger screen than the iPad Air, at 10.5in (hence the name), but it's actually thinner than the iPad Air, at 6.6mm. Therefore, the two devices weigh almost exactly the same.

When it comes to storage, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 offers 16GB or 32GB built in, but you'll be able to expand that thanks to the microSD slot for up to 128GB, which is the maximum capacity of iPad Air available.

The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 has more RAM than the iPad Air, better cameras and a fingerprint scanner. The iPad Air missed out on Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor, though we suspect the next generation of Apple's tablet, believed to be set for an October release, will sport the technology.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 10.5 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, but it's expected to get Android L when it's released later this year. See: Android L vs iOS 8.

To find out more, visit our Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 vs iPad Air comparison review.

iPad Air vs Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Also a strong contender for the iPad Air is Sony's Xperia Z2 Tablet. Like the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and iPad Air, it starts at £399 for the 16GB WiFi-only model, and it too is thinner and lighter than the iPad Air, and even thinner than the Tab S 10.5.

It measures just 6.4mm thick and weighs 429g, which is impressive for a tablet with a 10.1in display. It's actually the thinnest and lightest 10in tablet to be released so far.

The Xperia Z2 Tablet's display isn't quite as sharp as the iPad Air's, but it does have more RAM than Apple's offering and also has a better rear-facing camera, at 8.1 megapixels.

We're not keen on the design of the Xperia Z2 Tablet overall, though. Its bezels are rather wide and it's not as sleek and sophisticated as the iPad Air. However, it does have the added bonus of water- and dust resistance.

Find out more about how the iPad Air compares with the Xperia Z2 tablet here.

iPad Air vs Surface Pro 3

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is a bit of a strange one because, even though it's a tablet, it's arguably more closely related to the MacBook Air than the iPad Air.

We've talked about how the Surface Pro 3 compares with the MacBook Air here, but for the purpose of this article we're treating it as an iPad Air alternative, which it certainly is for some people.

Microsoft has marketed the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet that will be able to replace your laptop. Therefore it boasts internal hardware that trumps the iPad Air by a long shot. Each model has an ultrabook-class Intel chip inside, and Microsoft offers the option to go all the way up to 512GB internal storage for the Surface Pro 3. There's also the option of 4GB or 8GB RAM, compared with the standard 1GB in the iPad Air.

Unlike the other alternatives in this round-up, which all run Android, Microsoft's offering runs Windows 8.1, so it's a full version of the operating system just like the one you'll find on compatible desktop PCs and laptops.

The Surface Pro 3 is only really an alternative to the iPad Air for those who want to be able to carry around a tablet that can also replace their laptop, particularly because it'll set you back at least £639.

If you think the Surface Pro 3 could be the iPad alternative for you, check out our full Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs iPad Air comparison review.

iPad Air vs Google Nexus 10

The Google Nexus 10 is Google's 10in rival to the iPad Air. The biggest downside is that it hasn't been updated since way back in 2012. It's possible that there's a new Nexus 10 on the way, but there's no sign of it yet. You can find out all of the Google Nexus 10 2 rumours here.

The Nexus 10 has a plastic build so doesn't ooze quality like the iPad Air does, but it is comfortable to hold in either landscape or portrait mode. It's thicker and heavier than the iPad Air though, at 9mm and 604g.

There are two Nexus 10 storage options, 16GB and 32GB like many other Android tablets available. It doesn't include a microSD card, so 32GB will be the maximum capacity for this tablet.

The Nexus 10 does have an impressive display, though, at 300ppi compared with the iPad Air's 264ppi.

There's no 4G model of the Nexus 10, so it'll require tethering if you want to use it to access the internet while out and about.

Find out more about this iPad Air rival in PC Advisor's Google Nexus 10 review.

iPad Air vs Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+

Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is our fifth iPad Air rival, and is the cheapest of the lot so far with a starting price of £299.

This tablet looks a little different from most other 10in tablets, as it sports a cylindrical protrusion at the base. That cylinder is designed to make the tablet easier to hold, and also conceals a kickstand within it. It's a bit of an acquired taste though, and we're not so keen on it.

The Yoga Tablet is heavier and thicker than the iPad Air, and its 224ppi display isn't quite as crisp as the iPad Air's.

Its 8Mp camera on the rear is better than the iPad Air's 5Mp camera, though, and it has 2GB RAM compared with the iPad Air's 1GB.

Like some of the other Android tablets listed in this round-up, the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is available with 16GB or 32GB storage, and this one has a microSD slot to enable you to add up to 64GB mode storage.

Find out more about Lenovo's latest 10in tablet offering in PC Advisor's Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ review.

iPad Air vs Kobo Arc 10HD

The sixth and final iPad Air alternative in our round-up is the Kobo Arc 10HD. It's another 10in Android tablet, and like the Lenovo Yoga Tablet, it starts at £299.

The Kobo Arc 10HD is quite good-looking, but it's quite chunky and is heavier than many of the other tablets mentioned here at 627g. It has an impressive 300ppi display, though, and sports 2GB RAM compared with the iPad Air's 1GB.

Where the Kobo Arc 10HD really falls down, though, is that it's only available with 16GB of storage and there's no microSD slot for adding more. Plus, there's no rear-facing camera.

You can find out more about the Kobo Arc 10HD in PC Advisor's full review.

Comments

Comments

evuan said: With the new iPad Air 2 coming out I better sell my old iPad Air before the value of it drops. I usually search 1-13 different sites to find the best offer, but I just found this company that compares all the buyback companies in one spot, it’s called RecomHub.It’s like Kayak but for electronic devices that show you all the offers in one spot.

Sherlock Richie said: Samsung galaxy tab s is way better than [edited] ipad

paul williams said: The iPad Air is Apple's fast, sleek and amazingly lightweight tablet. Its not the fastest, nor the sleekest or the lightest, it is good though

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