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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air (2021): Comparing Affordable Yet Powerful Tablets

When they launched, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Apple iPad Air 4 proved that you don’t need to spend a pretty penny for a decent tablet that doesn’t compromise on performance, features, and design. After all, the former just screams premium, while the latter makes you think twice about getting an iPad Pro.

Across the board, both slates are more or less on par with each other, and they’re also similarly priced. However, there are some key differences between them—besides their operating systems, that is. We compare the two to help you decide which one is better for you.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Tab S7Apple iPad Air
 SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S7 11-inch Android Tablet 128GB Wi-Fi Bluetooth S Pen Fast Charging USB-C Port,...2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Green (4th Generation)
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Display11″ LTPS TFT, 120Hz10.9″ Liquid Retina IPS LCD
Resolution2560 x 1600 (274 ppi)2360 x 1640 (264 ppi)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 865+Apple A14 Bionic
Storage and RAM6GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, 8GB/512GB4GB/64GB, 4GB/256GB
Operating SystemAndroid 10iPadOS 14
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6
Battery8,000 mAh7,606 mAh (unofficial estimation)
CameraRear: 13MP, 5 MP
Front: 8MP
Rear: 12MP
Front: 7MP
Dimensions9.9″ x 6.5″ x 0.2″9.7″ x 7″ x 0.2″
Weight1.1 lbs1 lb
ColorsMystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Bronze, Mystic NavySilver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, Sky Blue

Design

Both are good-looking tablets, but the iPad Air 4 beats the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 by a hair because of its sleeker finish.

Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Design
Notice the visible antennas on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (in photo).

Right off the bat, the iPad Air 4 took design cues from the iPad Pro, particularly in the front. Case in point, it does away with the Home Button with Touch ID in favor of a larger screen real estate. Now it has its fingerprint reader in its power button, the same as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

Regarding build quality, both tablets sport an aluminum body that’s premium to the touch. They boast thin bezels and measure only 0.2 inches thick to boot. However, the Galaxy Tab S7’s antennas are noticeable, making it less seamless in comparison. It does have a dedicated spot to store its included S Pen on the back, right by its dual-camera setup—speaking of, the iPad Air 4 only has one main snapper, but it’s backed by the Neural Engine in its chip. On the other hand, the Apple Pencil, which is sold separately, sticks to the side of the iPad Air 4.

Neither one has a headphone jack, so audiophiles will have to make do with the companies’ wireless offerings, such as the Galaxy Buds Pro or the AirPods Pro. If nothing else, Apple did make the jump from the Lightning port to USB-C. The Galaxy Tab S7 also uses USB-C for charging and data transfer, for the record.

As for color options, the Galaxy Tab S7 has Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, Mystic Bronze, and Mystic Navy. You get more choices with the iPad Air 4, as it’s available in five colors: Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue.

Click here to see our comparison between the Galaxy Buds Pro and AirPods Pro.

Display

Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 blows the iPad Air 4 out of the water in terms of screen quality.

Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Display
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (in photo) has a brighter and more vibrant display.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 has an 11-inch LTPS TFT display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution, 274 PPI, and refresh rate of 120Hz. It also covers the 152 percent of the sRGB gamut and 499 nits.

In contrast, the iPad Air 4 has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display with a 2360 x 1640 resolution, which works out to 264 PPI. Apple didn’t state its refresh rate, but it’s at 60Hz. The tablet also produces 102 percent of the sRGB gamut and peaks at 440 nits.

Long story short, the Galaxy Tab S7 has a better screen than the iPad Air 4. It has a more accurate color reproduction, and it’s more vibrant, brighter, and smoother as well. In the latter’s defense, it’s still visible outdoors even when it’s sunny and colors are decent, but it can’t really hold a candle to Samsung’s slate in this regard.

Performance

The iPad Air 4 is a powerhouse compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Performance
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ can’t compete with the iPad Air 4’s (in photo) A14 Bionic chip.

Under the hood, the iPad Air 4 has Apple’s proprietary A14 Bionic chip, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865+ processor. Both can deliver a solid and snappy performance, but there’s a clear winner here: iPad Air 4.

On that note, the iPad Air 4 scores more than 4,200 points on Geekbench 5, besting the Galaxy Tab S7’s average score of 3,000. Again, that doesn’ mean the latter is slow. It can handle multiple tabs on Google Chrome and the like, but it’s definitely slower than the former.

However, the Galaxy Tab S7 can last longer on a single charge, housing a pretty sizable 8,000 mAh battery. Apple didn’t say how much milliamperes the iPad Air 4’s battery has, but it’s estimated to be about 7,606 mAh. The results are consistent with their specs, though, where Samsung’s tablet can go above 13 hours as opposed to an average of 10 hours.

Click here for our comparison between the Galaxy Tab S7 and iPad Pro.

Accessories

The iPad Air 4’s Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil may be more expensive than any of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7’s accessories, but they’re noticeably better.

Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Accessories
A closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7’s two-piece Bookcover Keyboard (left) and the iPad Air 4’s Magic Keyboard (right) and its floating hinge.

When it comes to their keyboards, the Galaxy Tab S7’s Bookcover Keyboard leaves a lot to be desired. It’s minimal to the point that it doesn’t have a shortcut row, and even then, the keys are still spaced too close together that it can’t provide a comfortable typing experience. Moreover, it’s a two-piece affair, consisting of a back cover that doubles as a kickstand and the keyboard itself. In a word, it’s finicky.

As for Apple’s, you get to choose between the Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard. Basically, the former is a cheaper alternative. Its keys aren’t that clicky, and there’s no backlighting. To no one’s surprise, the latter is better in every way. It isn’t cramped and has backlighting and a floating hinge to easily adjust angles, but it’s on the heavy side. In other words, it gets hard to hold the iPad Air 4 real quick with the case on because of the weight.

Turning to their styluses, Samsung improved the S Pen by reducing the latency from 42ms to 9ms, leveling the playing field with the Apple Pencil. It’s also thicker too, but not as much as Apple’s stylus, which is still more comfortable to hold.

Productivity

While the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 has DeX, the iPad Air 4’s iPadOS 14 interface is wonderfully simpler and easier to use.

Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Productivity
Here’s the interface of the iPad Air 4 (in photo).

Now the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is quite a productivity machine, thanks to DeX. For those who don’t know, it’s a feature that turns the interface of the tablet into something more akin to a desktop. Put differently, it more or less offers a similar experience as a laptop that way, complete with the taskbar at the bottom of the screen.

However, the iPad Air 4 is tough to beat. After all, iPadOS 14 takes simplicity to the next level. It even lets you open up to three apps simultaneously with Slide Over and Split View at the same time or Picture in Picture for videos. On top of that, the tablet itself has more than enough raw power for multitasking.

Price

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is more affordable than the iPad Air 4.

Galaxy Tab S7 vs iPad Air Price
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (in photo) has an S Pen included.

When it comes to their starting prices, the iPad Air 4 is cheaper, but the base model only has 64GB of storage. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is slightly more expensive, but it has 128GB of storage and ships with an S Pen out of the box, as noted earlier. In short, the latter gives more bang for your buck.

Expanding more on their capacities, the iPad Air 4 maxes out at 256GB of storage. With the Galaxy Tab S7, you get more options: 256GB and 512GB, both of which even up the RAM from 6GB to 8GB.

There’s also the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus that builds on the standard variant with a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display and a larger 10,090 mAh battery. Then there are the 5G versions, which are already self-explanatory. Along a similar vein, the iPad Air 4 also has a Wi-Fi + Cellular model, which doesn’t need any explanation of what it brings to the table as well.

Verdict

There’s more to love about the iPad Air 4 than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

It’s hard to say which one wins since each one has their own advantages. You could say that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is better for multimedia because of its superior display, not to mention that it’s more affordable and is bundled with an S Pen too. But you could also say that the iPad Air 4 is better for productivity because of its speedier performance and relatively better accessories.

However, if we had to choose, we’d go with the Apple iPad Air 4 here. Sure, it may be behind in display quality, but it’s snappier and arguably looks better. In addition, it’s better for productivity because of its Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, as well as iPadOS 14. Even though you’ll have to spend more to get the entire package, it’s worth it.

FAQs

📌 Is iPad Air 4 better than Galaxy Tab S7?

In some ways, the iPad Air 4 is better than the Galaxy Tab S7, including speed and quality of accessories such as the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard as compared to the S Pen and Bookcover Keyboard, respectively. However, it has a lower-quality screen, and it’s pricier as well.

📌 Can Galaxy Tab S7 replace a laptop?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is compatible with DeX. With the feature on, the tablet will have a desktop interface similar to a laptop, including the taskbar and all.

📌 Can iPad Air 2020 replace a laptop?

Yes, the iPad Air 4 runs on iPadOS 14, and it’s been improved to the point that the tablet can be used as a portable, productivity machine.

📌 Is Galaxy Tab S7 worth buying?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is an excellent tablet that balances performance and features. It has a top-notch display with accurate color reproduction and high max brightness, making it a first-rate slate for watching movies and the like.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.