Apple iPad Pro 11in (2018) vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 full review

There are two new iPad Pro models but how do they compare with one of the best Android tablets around, the Galaxy Tab S4? Here we compare the slates on various elements including price, design, specs and more to see which is best for you.

Apple's new tablet have the advantage of being newer but the Galaxy Tab S4 is still a worthy challenger. For a specific look at one of the new models, read our iPad Pro 11in (2018) review over on Macworld.

Price

The new iPad Pros for 2018 start at £769/$799 and £969/$999 depending on what size you want. That's a pretty big jump from the 2017 models, of which the 10.5in model is still on sale at £619/$649. Order them from Apple.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 seemed pretty pricey when we reviewed it but not its a comparitive bargain at under £600. You can get it from £599/$650. Buy it from Samsung.

Adding to this is that Samsung includes the S Pen stylus while the Apple Pencil 2 is a whopping £119/$129.

On both sides of the fence you'll need to splash out on the accompanying keyboard case if you want a laptop-like experience - which is sort of the point with these tablets. Samsung's Book Cover is £119/$149 and the Apple Smart Keyboard is £179/$179 for the 11in model and £199/$199 for the 12.9in.

Samsung certainly wins this round with it's cheaper pricing across the board and bundled S Pen.

You can see the new pricing structure below:

  iPad Pro 11 (2018) iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) Galaxy Tab S4
64GB  £769/$799  £969/$999 £599/$650
256GB  £919/$949  £1119/$1149 £699/$750 
512GB  £1119/$1149  £1319/$1349
1TB  £1519/$1549  £1719/$1749

To avoid complicating the table, we've stuck to Wi-Fi only models rather than including the cellular options.

iPad Pro 2018

Design & Build

Despite coming from these two competitive companies, the iPad Pro 2018 and Galaxy Tab S4 have very similar designs.

Apple has essentially done the same thing that Samsung did between the Tab S3 and Tab S4. That is to get rid of the front mounted physical Home button and its Touch ID fingerprint sensor in order to have a larger screen.

This wasn't a huge change on the Galaxy due to Android's on-screen navigation buttons, but for existing iPad users it will mean learning a new set of gestures which are like the iPhone XS handsets.

So this year the iPad Pro has an 11in display inside the same sized chassis as the older 10.5 and the 12.9in iPad Pro has the same screen but in a smaller frame. They're both incredibly thin at 5.9mm but the Tab S4 isn't far off at 7.1mm.

Galaxy Tab S4 design

Really, the big difference in this area is that the Galaxy Tab S4 has a glass rear cover while the iPad Pro sticks to aluminium. Usually, in the phone world anyway, glass would enable wireless charging but that's not the case here.

It means the Tab S4 is heavier than the smaller iPad Pad (despite it's larger screen, at 482g vs 468g. It's not a huge difference so you should continue on to read about specs and features which is the main area of variance here.

Specs & Features

The iPad Pro is closer than ever to the Galaxy Tab S4 in specs because Apple has, much to the shock of many, switched it's Lightning port to USB-C. 

On both sides this means you can connect the tablet to an external display (with the right cables) but the iPad Pro can reverse charge so can be used like a power bank to top up your phone or other devices which could prove really useful.

iPad Pro USB-C

If you're not fussed about connecting to a monitor, then choosing the right screen size will be important. They're all top-notch in terms of tech in the tablet world so the question is whether the 10.5in display on the Tab S4 is big enough.

Jumping to the 11in iPad Pro won't make much difference, but the 12.9in model is a lot bigger and gives almost the same real estate as a 13.3in laptop. If you're needing a tablet to replace your laptop this this could be the best choice if you can afford it.

In terms of core specs, they're similar despite having different processors. The main difference is that the iPad Pro is available in large storage capacities - 512GB or even 1TB - but the Galaxy Tab S4 fights back on this front with a microSD card so you can add up to 400GB more.

Cameras shouldn't sway your decision much and battery life should be similar across the board too. All these tablets have four speaker audio systems, but the Galaxy Tab S4 is the only one with a headphone jack should it be a deal breaker.

Galaxy Tab S4 DeX

What's hugely important here is whether you opt for iOS or Android. 

This is very difficult to compare as the right one will rest heavily on your personal experience and needs. If you're a long time user of either operating system and you're happy with it then you should probably stick with it.

If you're new to both, then you should take a look at whether iOS or Android supports the apps you want to use as well as trying them out in person to see what you like more in real world usage. At the end of the day, they're both excellent systems.

Samsung offers is own DeX (desktop experience) software (see above) which allows you to use Android a bit like Windows - it's not flawless but works pretty well, especially if you hook it up to peripherals.

Meanwhile, Apple has tweaked iOS 12 to help the iPad Pro suit its typical users including the ability to run apps side-by-side (which you can also do on Android).

Here's a full specs table comparing all the iPad Pro models with the Galaxy Tab S4:

  iPad Pro 11 (2018) iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) Galaxy Tab S4
Display 11in Liquid Retina, 264ppi 12.9in Liquid Retina, 264ppi 10.5in AMOLED, 287ppi
Processor A12X Bionic A12X Bionic Snapdragon 835
RAM Unkown Unkown 4GB
Storage 64/256/512GB/1TB 64/256/512GB/1TB 64/256GB - expandable
Cameras 12Mp rear, 7Mp front 12Mp rear, 7Mp front 13Mp rear, 8Mp front
Operating system iOS 12 iOS 12  Android 8 Oreo
Connectivity USB-C USB-C USB-C
Biometrics Face ID Face ID  Iris scanner
Speakers Four Four Four
Headphone jack No No Yes
Battery 29.37Wh 36.71Wh 7300mAh
Dimensions 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1 mm
Weight 468g 631g 482g

Verdict

In terms of value for money, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 wins hands-down here. At under £600/$650 it's a lot cheaper than the iPad Pro and includes the S Pen. Add the Apple Pencil 2 and Smart Keyboard and you're looking at over a grand.

Much of the specs sheet is similar with top-notch screens, decent cameras, USB-C and core specs. The iPad Pro comes with more storage but at serious cost. 

Really you need to choose between Android and iOS - if money is not an issue - and the answer to that will be very personal and subjective.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Specs

  • Android Oreo
  • 10.5in, SuperAMOLED, 2560x1600, 287ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, octa-core processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64/256GB storage
  • MicroSD (400GB)
  • S Pen, 4096 pressure levels
  • 13Mp rear camera, f/1.9 with auto focus
  • 8Mp front camera, f/1.9
  • Wi-Fi 11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB 3.1 gen 1
  • Quad speakers with AKG tuning and Dolby Atmos
  • 7300mAh battery with Fast Charging
  • Up to 16 hours video playback
  • 249x164x7.1mm
  • 482g (Wi-Fi) 483g (LTE)
  • Black or Grey

Apple iPad Pro 11in (2018): Specs

  • iOS 12
  • A12X Bionic processor, Neural Engine, M12 coprocessor
  • 64/256/512GB/1TB of storage
  • 11in (2388x1668 at 264ppi) LED 'Liquid Retina' screen, True Tone, ProMotion
  • 12Mp rear-facing camera, f/1,8, flash, 4K video, slow-mo at 240fps
  • 7Mp front-facing camera, 1080p video, 'Retina Flash' feature, Portrait Mode, Animoji
  • Four-speaker audio
  • Face ID facial recognition
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Nano-SIM/eSIM
  • USB-C connector, no headphone port
  • 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm
  • 468g