Samsung kickstarted the year by announcing a slew of new tablets at CES 2014. The Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 comes with some seriously impressive specs and its 8.4-inch display is denser than the Apple Retina iPad mini's display. Samsung has yet again brought some tough competition to Apple's smaller tablet and will also challenge the likes of the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX in the 8-inch tablet space dominated by the iPad mini. We put both devices in the ring for a specs comparison, to see which one comes out on top, on paper, at least.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
The Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 has taken some design cues from the Note 3 as it features the similar faux leather casing. The 8.4-inch display packs in a massive 2560×1600 pixels of resolution, which brings it pixel density all the way up to 359 ppi. This is very much in Retina territory. Samsung ropes in a Super Clear LCD but there is no word on any kind of display protection.

The sleek and light Tab Pro 8.4

The sleek and light Tab Pro 8.4

It's not just about the super high-res display, the tablet has the potential to offer blazing performance too. It is powered by Snapdragon 800 processor that clocks at 2.3GHz with 2GB of RAM. Moreover, it also gets the latest flavour of the Android i.e. 4.4 KitKat, along with a layer of Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI. On the camera front, one will find an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front-facing camera, which is par for the course for this segment. The rear camera can record at 1080p@60fps and the front facing can also shoot full HD videos at 30fps. The Tab Pro 8.4 will support 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE, depending on the model. In addition, there's Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/A-GPS and GLONASS. It also comes with an infrared port, but there’s no NFC, which is a surprising omission. The 16GB and 32GB storage options can be expanded further up to 64GB via microSD card slot. The tablet has a 4,800mAh battery, which sounds plenty, but will that high-res display have an adverse impact?

Apple iPad mini with Retina display

New iPad mini with iOS 7

New iPad mini with iOS 7

The iPad Retina mini has maintained all the aesthetics seen in Apple devices in the past and updates a design that won hearts when the first-generation slate launched. There's a smaller 7.9-inch display in a slim aluminium unibody. In comparison to the Samsung tablet, the display has a lower 1536×2048 pixels resolution, and Apple's tablet also comes up short in terms of pixel density with about 324 ppi. The iPad mini runs iOS 7.0.4 and unlike the Samsung tablet, all of the future OS updates will be available immediately upon release, which is always a point in Apple's corner. It also gets the latest Apple-designed 64-bit A7 chipset, which has been shown to be one of the fastest mobile chipsets in the world. Though there is no expandable memory slot, Apple offers several storage options; the iPad mini is available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB configurations. On the camera front, you will find a 5MP rear and 1.2MP front-facing cameras, which are lower than Samsung's camera specs.

So how do the two tablets compare? Take a look at the side-by-side table below:

 

Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

iPad mini with Retina display

Display Size

8.4-inch

7.9-inch

Resolution

2560 x 1600 pixels

1536 x 2048

Pixel Density (PPI)

359

324

Scratch Resistant

NA

  Oleophobic coating

Display Type

Super Clear LCD

IPS

Dimensions

219 x 128.5 x 7.2 mm

137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm

Weight

336g

331g

Sensors

Accelerometer, Gyro, Compass

Accelerometer, Gyro, Compass

 

 

 

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, quad-core at 2.3GHz

Apple A7 (dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone (ARM v8-based))

RAM

2GB

1GB

OS version out of the box

Android  4.4 KitKat, Touch Wiz

iOS 7.0.4

On-Board Memory

16/32GB

16/32/64/128GB

Memory card Support

Yes, up to 64GB

No

Battery

4,800mAh

23.8 Wh (4,400mAh)

 

 

 

Voice functionality

No

No

GPS

A-GPS and  GLONAAS

A-GPS and  GLONAAS (except Wi-Fi only)

Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

  802.11 a/b/g/n

Bluetooth

v4.0

v4.0

 

 

 

Primary Camera

8MP sensor

5MP sensor

Secondary Camera

2MP sensor

1.2MP sensor

 

 

 

Price

Not announced

Rs 28,900 (16GB Wi-Fi only)

Verdict:
Samsung has managed to maximise screen estate in a smaller and sleeker profile. At 336 grams and a mere 7.2mm thick, the 8.4-inch Galaxy Tab Pro isn’t just sleeker than the iPad Retina mini, but also packs in higher pixel density in spite of the larger display. It also gets an 8MP rear camera compared to the 5MP found in the iPad mini, which allows a lot more room to work with, if not immediately delivering better pictures.

Where the iPad mini does have the upper hand is in the processor department. Despite utilising a Snapdragon 800 and having 2GB RAM, Apple's A7 has proved to be a more powerful chipset in benchmarks.

Both devices also get the latest iteration of their respective leading OSes. The Tab Pro also has the advantage in terms of storage options with the stock 16GB or 32GB storage further expandable up to 64 GB via the microSD card slot. On the other hand, one will have to pay a high premium of Rs 7,000 for choosing the 32GB iPad mini over the 16GB one. And the premium increases with the higher storage configurations. Needless to say, the iPad doesn’t support microSD slot, so you are stuck with whatever you have and any cloud storage.

All this means that Samsung could finally have a competent challenger for the Retina iPad mini. Having said that, pricing will remain the key factor and if Samsung manages to undercut the iPad mini (as is very likely), there could be a new king in the small tablet market.

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