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Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (2021): Which Premium Tablet Should You Get?

With a new generation of the iPad Pro hitting the shelves, tablet shoppers need an extra round of comparison-shopping before making their pick. Below we compare the latest Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd Generation) with one of the best Android tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, to give you a better idea of how Apple’s new premium devices stack up against the competition.

Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Tablet Comparison Chart

ModelApple iPad Pro 11-inchSamsung Galaxy Tab S6
2020 Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, Wi-Fi, 128GB) - Space Gray (2nd Generation) Samsung Galaxy Tab S6- 10.5' 128GB, Wifi Tablet - SM-T860NZBAXAR, Cloud Blue 
PriceCheck Price Check Price 
Rating
 

 
Display Size11″10.5″
Resolution2388 x 1668 pixels2560 x 1600 pixels
Pixel Density264 ppi287 ppi
Height9.74″9.62″
Width7.02″6.28″
Depth0.23″0.22″
Weight1.04 lbs0.92 lbs
System ChipA12Z BionicQualcomm Snapdragon 855
GPUM12 Coprocessorn/a
RAM6GB6GB, 8GB
Internal Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB
Front Camera7MP8MP
Rear Camera12MP Wide
10MP Ultra Wide
LiDAR Scanner
4K video @ 24/30/60 fps
13MP Wide
5MP Ultra Wide
4K video @ 30 fps
StylusApple Pencil (1st, 2nd Gen)S Pen
KeyboardMagic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard FolioBookCover Keyboard
ColorsSilver, Space GrayCloud Blue, Rose Blush, Mountain Grey
Battery LifeUp to 10 hoursUp to 15 hours
ReleasedMarch 2020August 2019

Design

The Apple iPad Pro 11-inch and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 have premium designs and lightweight builds.

Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (iPad Pro 2020) Design
You’ll find many design similarities between the iPad Pro 11-inch (left) and the Galaxy Tab S6 (right).

With such narrow bezels on their displays, the iPad Pro 11-inch and Galaxy Tab S6 sport similar minimalist aesthetics especially when viewed up front. The iPad Pro’s display is slightly larger, but more noticeable is that it’s wider when held in portrait orientation. The Galaxy Tab S6 meanwhile feels taller as a result, and it makes it a bit easier to handle with one hand. Both are incredibly light at around a pound each, so you won’t have any issues portability-wise.

Flip over to the back and you’ll spot a lot more differences aside from the obvious logos. First off, the camera housing for the iPad Pro is larger, a rounded rectangle with two lenses and an extra sensor inside. On the Galaxy Tab S6 is an oblong panel for its twin cameras, but standing out a lot more is a long indent in the casing that’s meant to hold the S Pen. While it’s nice that there’s a way to ensure the included stylus sticks with its partner tablet, we’d have to say that the iPad Pro’s solution is much more elegant: a simple hidden magnetic strip at the side for the Apple Pencil.

Both tablets have four speakers spread along its edges for maximum coverage. Apple has completely done away with fingerprint scanners, opting for just Face ID for biometric security, but Samsung still kept a fingerprint sensor underneath the display. Overall, the iPad Pro 2020 and Galaxy Tab S6 are both so nice to look at and hold that you’d love having them in your hands all the time.

Performance

The Apple iPad Pro 11-inch is faster while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is better for multitasking.

Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (iPad Pro 2020) Performance
For the fastest tablet in the west, the iPad Pro won’t fail as your computing weapon of choice.

Unsurprisingly, the iPad Pro remains largely uncontested in speed in the pure tablet arena. Its new A12Z chip is a processing beast that enables the iPad Pro to run, and even switch between, demanding apps with ease. Geekbench gives it a score of 1113 and 4608 on single-core and multi-core tests, a huge lead over the Galaxy Tab S6’s 712 and 2460, respectively. The iPad Pro can even beat laptops like the 13-inch MacBook Pro in transcoding 4K videos.

So while the iPad Pro is nigh unbeatable in a raw muscle power contest, the Galaxy Tab S6 makes for a better productivity tablet. It has a desktop-like interface called Samsung DeX that you can switch to with a single shortcut. In addition to the typical split-screens, this mode also enables multi-window views, enabling quicker access between several apps. Even better, you can connect the Tab S6 to a monitor via HDMI cable to expand your workspace further.

Despite its smaller display size, the Galaxy Tab S6 packs more pixels in every inch of its screen. Its Super AMOLED delivers deeper black levels while remaining vivid and vibrant. The Liquid Retina display of the iPad Pro remains just as impressive, and it’s brighter and more fluid than ever. These are two tablets that will definitely keep your eyes glued to them.

Cameras and Storage

The Apple iPad Pro 11-inch has an extra AR sensor and larger storage options than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6.

Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (iPad Pro 2020) Cameras and Storage
Augmented reality apps render faster and look more realistic on the iPad Pro 2020.

If you’ve taken photos or recorded videos with a large tablet before, you know how awkward it can be. Still, that’s not stopping Apple from further improving the cameras on the latest iPad Pro, adding a 10MP Ultra Wide camera as well as a LiDAR scanner into an array that looks just like the iPhone 11 Pro. You’ll be able to get a wider field of view for family photos and landscape shots, while the LiDAR enhances AR applications and promises more immersive experiences later on.

The dual cameras on the Galaxy Tab S6 isn’t just for show either. Samsung claims its Ultra Wide lens captures a maximum 123-degree field of view, similar to the human eye. Both camera setups can record in 4K resolution, while their front-facing cameras are more than adequate for crisp video calls. We’d still give the edge to the iPad Pro’s image processing software in delivering better image quality, though it’s not too relevant given how everyone will reach for their phones first when thinking of taking a photo.

Internal storage on the iPad Pro 2020 goes up to 1TB, with the corresponding skyrocketing price of course. Meanwhile, you can only choose between a 128GB or 256GB variant for the Galaxy Tab S6. This is offset by the MicroSD slot allowing you to expand memory by up to 512GB. We should also note that RAM sizes vary on each S6 variant: the 128GB version has 6GB while the 256GB has 8GB RAM, making it slightly faster.

Battery and Accessories

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 includes a stylus and has a longer run time than the Apple iPad Pro 11-inch.

Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (iPad Pro 2020) Battery and Accessories
Getting the S Pen without any additional spend gives the Galaxy Tab S6 amazing value.

As good as the Apple Pencil is, you’d still have to fork over an extra $100 (or $130 for the 2nd Gen) for it on top of the already expensive price tag of the iPad Pro. In contrast, not only is the Galaxy Tab S6 more affordable, it also includes the S Pen free of charge. This enhances the Tab S6’s out-of-the-box experience incredibly. The S Pen is just as impressive and responsive as the Apple Pencil, though there’s a noticeable gap if you’re drawing lines quickly. Still, you can have fun using Air Gestures with it to control certain apps.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 also has the advantage in the keyboard case accessory department. The BookCover Keyboard feels better to type on than the Smart Keyboard Folio of the iPad Pro. Moreover, it already includes a touch pad to enable cursor support and provide a desktop experience. Apple is late to the party here, releasing the Magic Keyboard a few months after the iPad Pro 2020. It’s got a clever floating design as well as a trackpad, but it has an eye-popping $299 price tag.

Finally, the Galaxy Tab S6 handily beats the iPad Pro on battery life. It can last up to 15 hours on average brightness settings and continuous browsing and streaming, while the iPad Pro 11-inch can get up to 10 hours on a full charge. Samsung also added a Game Booster feature on the Tab S6. When turned on, all other apps that consume battery life are closed, so your game gets all the power it needs.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 offers better value, but the iPad Pro 11-inch is the faster, more powerful tablet.

You can save a huge amount with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 and still get a fantastic tablet that compares favorably against Apple’s top offering. If budget is tight, or you need a more productivity-focused device, the Galaxy Tab S6 is the pick. It’s a cost-effective premium tablet that enables multitasking and media playback currently unmatched by other Android models. You get the S Pen for free and enjoy plenty of battery life for all-day use.

Still, if you’re after raw power, the Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd Generation) is well worth the extra, but keep in mind that it’s a hefty cost indeed. You’d be sorely tempted to get the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard at the very least, and that adds to the price tag even more, even though they vastly improve the tablet experience. You’ll find the iPadOS to be a smoother operating system overall, and the App Store has a much wider array of pro-level apps that can utilize the speed and muscle of the iPad Pro.

Last update on 2020-12-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.