The Samsung Galaxy Tab will go on sale for $600 at Verizon stores Nov. 11, and is expected to compete head-to-head with the iPad in both pricing and capabilities. But is $600 too much to pay for a tablet computer without a contract?
Although critics denounced the price of the Tab, because the cheapest 16GB iPad can be had for $500, the iPad rises to $700 for a 64GB iPad. Verizon is also offering a MiFi promotional bundle with the 16GB iPad totaling $630, so the price becomes less of an issue.
The iPad and the Galaxy Tab offer different features, but it's up to customers to decide what's worth the money and what isn't. Here are five ways to compare:
The iPad starts at $500 for 16GB and goes up to $700 for the 64GB model. However, Verizon's new promotional bundle with MiFi will cost you $630. The Galaxy Tab comes at only one price, $600, although it's unclear if it's the 16GB or 32GB model, which is comparable to the lowest and mid-range iPads.
Winner: Not knowing which model Verizon is selling, the slight edge goes to the iPad.
2. Data Plans
Verizon's tiered data plans released this week are the same for all mobile broadband devices: $20 per month for 1GB, $35 for 3GB, $50 for 5GB, and $80 for 10GB. (There's a $10 per 1 GB overage fee.)
The iPad offers a 9.7-inch screen, nearly 3 inches bigger than the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and at a slightly higher resolution. While both have 1GHz processors, only the Galaxy Tab offers 512MB or memory compared to the iPad's almost antiquated 256MB.
The Galaxy Tab also has two cameras, both front- and rear-facing, can make phone calls, and multitask. The iPad lacks all of that, but is expected to gain multitasking next month. The iPad has about three hours more of battery life than the Tab and up to 64GB of internal storage. As for fitting in one's hand, at less than a pound, the Tab can. The iPad is a two-handed proposition and weighs around 1.5 pounds.
4. Operating system
While I love my phone with Android 2.2, a tablet computer may fare differently on that operating system. Some say the Galaxy Tab overtaxes the platform and others say that Android applications written for smartphones won't perform as well on a larger screen. Meanwhile, Apple's iOS has proven that it can handle the iPad capably and easily.
Both devices can run numerous applications in their platforms, with the iOS offering more than 300,000 and the Android Market featuring around 90,000. But don't mistake quantity for quality, since probably only 10 percent of the apps are ones you might actually want.
Winner: 10 percent of users
Shopping for an iPad or a Galaxy Tab shows the machines closely matching each other in many areas save one--the operating system. If a business finds that the Apple iOS works best for its employees and their tasks, it wouldn't make sense to change horses mid-race. While the Galaxy Tab may be the first real competitor for the iPad, I think waiting until next year, when the new Android 3.0 platform will be unveiled, will probably save you from the problems plaguing tablet computers on Android 2.2.
Reach or follow Barbara E. Hernandez on Twitter: @bhern.