Apple vs Samsung: Who makes better tablets for gaming?

Apple and Samsung offer many tablets but which company makes better tablets for gaming? (Image via Apple || Samsung)
Apple and Samsung offer many devices, but which company makes better gaming tablets? (Image via Apple || Samsung)

If you’re in the market for a tablet, you’re probably stuck between two companies: Apple vs Samsung. Both companies offer devices that compete neck-to-neck with each other and offer great displays, processors, and build quality.

While iPads offer the benefits of Apple’s strong ecosystem, tight hardware-software control, and tablet-specific iPadOS, Samsung tablets enjoy the benefit of the openness of Android and Samsung’s own ecosystem with Galaxy devices.

In this article, we will have an Apple vs Samsung comparison and take a look at their tablet offerings to help you decide which one best fits your needs.

Note: This is a subjective brand comparison and therefore reflects the author’s opinions.


Apple vs Samsung gaming tablets: Display comparison

Samsung tablet leads with display quality compared to Apple's (Image via Samsung)
Samsung tablet leads with display quality compared to Apple's (Image via Samsung)

The latest M4 iPad Pro features a new Ultra Retina XDR display with OLED technology that delivers incredible contrast and HDR performance. That said, the cheaper and older iPad models in the market still use dated LCD panels.

These older panels do not compete with the display quality of the AMOLED found on most Samsung tablets. Moreover, Apple continues to use 60Hz refresh rate panels on its iPad Air and iPad Mini lineups, which are decent for day-to-day tasks but fail to provide a smooth gaming experience.

On the other hand, Samsung offers great displays across the board. The S9 and S9 Ultra Tab compete well with the iPad Pro in terms of picture quality and media-watching experience.

Overall, Samsung offers better display technology across the board when compared to Apple’s iPad offerings.


Apple vs Samsung gaming tablets: Operating systems

iPadOS offers better optimization for gaming than Android (Image via Apple)
iPadOS offers better optimization for gaming than Android (Image via Apple)

Samsung's One UI skin offers a feature-rich experience for day-to-day tasks when stacked on top of Android. However, its weight often leads to stutters on low-powered tablets when gaming or performing day-to-day tasks.

On the other hand, Apple's iPadOS feels more polished and optimized across all iPad models. The excellent optimization results in better gaming performance on iPads compared to the Android versions of the respective games. The App Store also offers a wide selection of quality games designed to utilize the iPad's hardware to its full potential.

Android used to have an edge in retro game support. However, thanks to the Delta emulator, iPads can now run older Nintendo games for a quality retro gaming experience.

It's important to note that while iPadOS does offer controller support, Apple's implementation can be inconsistent, with some third-party Bluetooth controllers simply not functioning on iPads. That said, Apple's iPadOS is overall a better choice for gaming performance thanks to its superior optimization.


Apple vs Samsung gaming tablets: Performance comparison

Apple's Bionic and M-series chips consistently lead in benchmark and performance (Image via Apple)
Apple's Bionic and M-series chips consistently lead in benchmark and performance (Image via Apple)

Apple equips its entire iPad lineup with its in-house Bionic or M-series chips. These chips, combined with Apple’s focus on OS optimization, ensure a smooth and fine-tuned experience across the board. Games like Genshin Impact or Call of Duty: Mobile run at higher settings and provide a smoother experience even after long hours of gaming.

On the other hand, the performance of Samsung tablets can be all over the place depending on the model you buy. While some like the Samsung Tab S9 Ultra feature the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, others can still use budget processors like the Exynos 1380.

This inconsistency can lead to significant performance differences between Samsung and Apple tablets, even if they fall within similar price ranges.

Overall, the Apple tablets offer a clear advantage in terms of gaming performance across the board, when compared to Samsung where good performance is restricted to just the high end.


Apple vs Samsung gaming tablets: Verdict

iPads win the Apple vs Samsung comparison by offering better value with its more optimized gaming performance (Image via Apple)
iPads win the Apple vs Samsung comparison by offering better value with its more optimized gaming performance (Image via Apple)

Samsung tablets are decent value if you’re looking for a large-screen media device that won’t be used for high-end gaming.

However, the clear winner for gaming performance is the iPad lineup from Apple. It offers significantly more value for money for gamers by featuring a well-optimized library of games, solid user experience, timely updates, and powerful processors across the board.

Hence, even if the upfront cost of an iPad may seem higher, Apple tablets are overall better value and last longer than most Samsung offerings.


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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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