Speed is essential when it comes owning the latest premium tablet. Where’s the fun in spending £400 on the latest iPad if it’s not going to make short work of all those graphically gorgeous apps? Battery life and storage space are important too, but nothing beats processing power for tablet bragging rights.
That’s why we were surprised to see the iPad Air outpaced by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) in our expert lab testing. In fact, Apple-made tablets were roundly trounced by Android devices. Read on below for the full results.
Tablet reviews – our verdict on all the latest tablets
According to our benchmarking tests, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) isn’t just the fastest tablet money can buy. Aside from Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2, which has innards that are more akin to a laptop, it’s the fastest tablet we’ve ever tested. That’s largely thanks to its 1.9GHz quad-core processor, which is well-equipped to handle all your video streaming, web browsing and 3D gaming needs.
What do the results mean?
We use the industry-recognised Geekbench software to accurately assess a tablet’s speed. This is designed to test multi-core performance by replicating a series of everyday tasks. Each of these tests is given a score, which are then combined and weighted to calculate a final numeric score.
What does this actually mean? Well, a higher score means a faster tablet, so if one device has double the score of another it should be twice as speedy. This will come in handy when you’re quickly flitting between watching BBC iPlayer and making a quick note with Google Drive.
Geekbench speed tests aren’t everything, but they do offer a great indication of how a tablet will perform in real life. As well, as how it compares with similar products like phones and tablets. That’s why we use them to generate a star rating to indicate how powerful the processor is. This is alongside a series of our own speed tests to put these tablets through their paces – including video streaming from YouTube and transferring large amounts of data. We then use these results to generate a test score.
Here’s our league table below for the raw Geekbench scores:
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition): 2856
Apple iPad Air 16GB 2687
Google Nexus 7 (2): 2675
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: 2667
Advent Vega Tegra Note 7″: 2612
iPad mini with Retina display 16GB: 2512
Tesco Hudl: 1926
Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8GB: 807
Apple iPad 2 16GB: 502
All tablets tested were wi-fi only models.
For more information on how we test have a look at this page http://www.which.co.uk/technology/computing/guides/how-we-test-tablets
Should you buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) on speed alone?
Well, not exactly. Speed benchmarks are undeniably important when buying a top-end tablet, but so are other factors like battery life, storage space and pricing. Despite their premium mantra, our testing found that Apple’s iPads aren’t as fast as many of their cheaper Android competitors. The iPad mini with Retina display (£319) proved slower than both Google’s Nexus 7 (£199) and the Advent Vega Tegra Note 7″ (£129).
Even more significantly, the iPad 2 (£329) was by far the most pedestrian tablet in our testing. It finished well behind more affordable alternatives like the Tesco Hudl and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 8GB – both of which cost £200 less to buy. Given the iPad 2 is almost three years old, this finding comes as no surprise, but it’s important to bear in mind if you’re in the market for a new tablet.
Although most manufacturers’ flagship devices can swiftly multi-task across apps, more dated products will be futureproof for a much shorter amount of time. Choose between an iPad Air and a Galaxy Note 10.1, and you’ll end up with a great tablet either way. Choose between a similarly-priced Kindle Fire HDX and an iPad 2, and you could regret investing in the Apple product.