Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Which tablet should you buy?

Apple and Samsung are two big names in the world of smartphones and tablets. In fact, many people associate Android with Samsung — rather than Google. Both manufacturers build solid products and cater to different audiences in this department. Apple recently released the iPad Air 5 (2022) — an M1-powered tablet with a middle-range price tag. Samsung on the other hand revealed its Galaxy Tab S8 lineup. This is the Apple iPad Air 5 (2022) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 — the battle between two very different tablets. If you decide to buy the iPad Air 5, don’t forget to take a look at our lists of best cases and chargers. Similarly, if you buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, it’s important to protect it with a case. This helps reduce potential damages if an accident occurs.

Navigate this article:

  • Apple iPad Air 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Specifications
  • Build and Design
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Cameras
  • Battery Life and Charging
  • Apple iPad Air 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Which tablet should you buy?

Apple iPad Air 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Specifications

Apple iPad Air 5 Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
CPU Apple M1 chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Body
  • 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm
  • 461 g (462 g for Cellular model)
  • 253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm
  • 503 g (507 g for Cellular model)
Display
  • Liquid Retina display
  • 10.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution
  • 264 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Wide color display (P3)
  • True Tone display
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Fully laminated display
  • Antireflective coating
  • 1.8% reflectivity
  • 500 nits brightness
  • Supports Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
  • 11-inch LTPS TFT LCD
  • 2560-by-1600-pixel resolution
  • 276 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • 120Hz refresh rate
Cameras
  • 12MP Wide camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Five-element lens
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63MP)
  • Smart HDR 3
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Photo geotagging
  • Auto image stability
  • Burst mode
  • Primary: 13MP, AF
  • Ultra-wide: 6MP
Memory
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB/256GB SSD
  • 8GB/12GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB SSD
  • microSD card support (up to 1TB)
Battery Built‐in 28.6‐watt-hour rechargeable lithium‑polymer battery 8,000mAh
Connectivity
  • 4G/5G on cellular model
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G/5G on cellular model
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Security Touch ID Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
OS iPadOS 15 One UI 4.1 based on Android 12
Colors
  • Space Gray
  • Starlight
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Blue
  • Graphite
  • Silver
  • Pink Gold
Material Aluminum Metal
Price Starts at $599 Starts at $699

Build and Design

iPad Air 2022 in blue

Build and design are two important aspects to weigh when buying a new tablet. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy a delicate slab of glass that will shatter if the wind blows on it. Additionally, you may not want to carry around an ugly-looking one that features outdated design elements. Fortunately, both the Apple iPad Air 5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 feature solid builds and futuristic tablet exteriors. We will break down the characteristics of each chassis to help you decide which works best for you.

Starting with the rear side of the iPad Air 5, this Apple tablet features an aluminum back with the company’s logo centered. It includes one camera in the top corner but is otherwise a smooth, metallic artwork that reflects minimalism. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 has a similar metallic build. Though, it does feature some different elements that make it distinct. For example, it has a more prominent camera system that tops the S Pen’s holding area. Personally, I prefer the iPad’s design because it’s simply cleaner. However, ultimately, both tablets look premium and feature edge-to-edge displays with thin bezels on the front-facing side. It’s also worth noting that the iPad Air is available in five colors — while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 offers only three.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus screen

The display can be one of the most important points to consider when buying a new tablet. As a large screen mostly aimed at visual media consumption, many customers wouldn’t want a tablet with a low resolution. In this battle, we have a clear winner, despite both devices offering decent displays.

iPad Air 2022

For starters, both tablets feature edge-to-edge displays with thin bezels. They’re futuristic windows that unlock endless digital possibilities. However, how clear and fluid these digital worlds you explore are depend on the tablet you go for. We’re crowning the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 for having a clearer pixel resolution of 2560-by-1600, higher pixel density of 276 pixels per inch (ppi), and a faster refresh rate of 120Hz. The iPad Air 5, on the other hand, goes for 2360-by-1640p, 264 ppi, and 60Hz respectively. You likely won’t be able to tell the difference between the two when it comes to the resolution and pixel density. However, the faster refresh rate might become apparent, especially if you use your tablet for gaming.

Performance

m1 chip overview

Apple advertises the iPad as a PC replacement. To many people, this is a senseless statement, and that’s understandable. After all, most tablets haven’t matured enough to execute all desktop computer tasks. However, another percentage of users are fine with using just a tablet — depending on the majors they’re studying or the nature of their jobs. In this battle, we also have a clear winner.

The iPad Air 5 is powered by Apple’s M1 chip. This SoC was originally designed for the Mac lineup, but it then made its way to some iPad models. So a desktop processor fuels this neat slab of glass. When it comes to benchmark results, the M1 chip defeats the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in single- and multi-core performance tests. Additionally, the M1 has a higher overall score than its rival. It’s worth noting, though, that the Samsung tablet supports microSD cards. So if your workflow depends on that, you might want to go for this option. Finally, tablet app support is more prevalent on iPadOS than on Android. So by going for the iPad, you’re getting better-optimized apps.

Cameras

AirPods Pro open case next to MacBook Air M1 and iPad Air 5

Cameras aren’t typically the main selling point for a tablet. These devices tend to focus on the display and performance rather than the quality of their cameras. However, it’s important to highlight this aspect in this comparison for those who plan to use their slabs for photography. In this round, the winner is obvious as well.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 side view

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 has a dual rear camera system — a wide and an ultra-wide lens. The primary camera has a 13MP resolution which beats Apple’s single wide camera. That’s not to mention that the Samsung tablet has a flashlight for photography in dark environments. When it comes to the front-facing side, Apple’s camera has a 122º field of view (FoV) that wins over Samsung’s 120º FoV. The difference is too minor to affect your decision on which tablet to buy, though.

Battery Life and Charging

Solid battery life is essential on a tablet. After all, it’s designed to be a portable productivity and entertainment device. We haven’t been able to do side-by-side battery tests for the iPad Air 5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8. However, they both offer all-day battery lives when used moderately. So if you plan on using your tablet for note-taking, music listening, or video watching, you will be fine for a day on a single charge.

Speaking of charging — both tablets have USB Type-C ports for charging and data transfer. Apple’s iPad Air 5 comes with a 20W brick. It will fill up your battery from 0 to 100% in around 2 hours and 15 minutes — according to our tests. Surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 doesn’t come with a charging brick, so you will have to buy your own separately.


Apple iPad Air 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Which tablet should you buy?

The Apple iPad Air 5 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 are two very different tablets — despite their similarities. If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, it makes sense to buy the iPad Air. If you’re looking for a better display and don’t want to pay extra for a stylus, the Samsung tablet comes with an S Pen. In the iPad’s case, you would have to buy the Apple Pencil 2 separately. It’s worth pointing out that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 costs an additional $100 in the US. So if you’re on a more limited budget, you might want to go for the $599 iPad Air 5. Ultimately, both tablets are solid — offering excellent performance in a futuristic form factor.

    Apple iPad Air 5 (2022)

    Apple iPad Air 5 (2022)

    The new 5th-generation iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 processor. It supports 5G for the first time, and it comes in an array of beautiful colors.

    View on Amazon

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

    Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is the entry level tablet of the company’s latest flagship lineup, featuring an 11-inch screen.

    View on Amazon

Which of the two tablets will you be buying, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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