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iPad vs tablet – what’s the difference, and which one is better for you?

Here's an explanation of what's different between an iPad and a tablet...
Last Updated on February 5, 2024
tablet vs ipad
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If you want to settle the “iPad vs tablet” debate and decide which one you should get, then you have landed on the right page.

Now technically speaking, every iPad is a tablet. But often, iPads are distinguished from tablets for two main reasons: they are manufactured by Apple and run on the iPadOS system. Meanwhile, other tablets that are NOT manufactured by Apple either run on Android or some other operating system like Fire OS or even Windows. 

With this in mind, you can see why people want to know the difference between Apple tablets and other non-Apple tablets. To help you understand the difference, we have compared tablets and iPads based on various specifications. 

Apple iPads vs tablets: What is the difference?

One of the main differences between Apple iPads and other non-Apple tablets is the operating system. 

List of Apple iPads available on Amazon

To get a better idea, we have listed iPads that are available on Amazon –

Release DateTabletWhere to buy
2022iPad Pro (6th generation)View on Amazon
2022iPad Air (5th generation)View on Amazon
2021iPad Mini (6th generation)View on Amazon
2021iPad (10th generation)View on Amazon
2021iPad (9th generation)View on Amazon

List of Android and other tablets on Amazon

Before we dive into the actual comparison, you can have a look at tablets available online to get a better idea –

Release dateTabletWhere to buy
2023Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+View on Amazon
2023OnePlus PadView on Amazon
2023Lenovo Tab P12View on Amazon
2022Microsoft Surface Pro 9View on Amazon
2023Amazon Fire tablet 10 (2023)View on Amazon

Apple iPad vs tablet – Performance

Now, performance depends on the kind of tablet or iPad you get. For instance, if you get the iPad Pro (6th gen), it comes with the M2 chip, which can replace your laptop (or MacBook). In fact, the iPad Pro (6th gen) happens to be one of the best tablets for photo editing as well as illustrations and content creation in general. 

However, if you don’t need so much computing power, then the iPad Mini 6 will be a more suitable option. As you can guess, this iPad costs significantly less and is ideal for casual workload and entertainment. 

Similarly, you can get equally powerful Android and Windows tablets if you have a big budget. Some good examples would be the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, which sports the latest Snapdragon chip, or the Microsoft Surface Pro, which is equipped with an Intel Core 12th-gen processor. 

Again, if you need a tablet for casual use or if you’re looking for a budget option, then there are several affordable as well as mid-range tablets. Some great examples would be OnePlus tablet, Samsung Tab A8, or Lenovo M10. 

Apple iPad vs tablet – Operating system

As mentioned earlier, Apple iPads make use of the iPadOS system, which is usually considered “clean” and user-friendly. iPad owners can download apps from the Apple app store, which has limited choices when compared to the Google Play Store. However, users can get access to exclusive Apple apps like Procreate, which can come in handy if you’re a creator. 

On the other hand, Samsung, Lenovo, OnePlus, and several other tablets run on the Android system, which is usually considered more flexible than iPadOS. Plus, manufacturers often have their own version of Android OS. For example, the OnePlus Pad has OxygenOS, which is based on Android.

Meanwhile, there are a few tablets that run on Windows, like the Microsoft Surface Pro 9. Users can download apps from the Microsoft Store as well as other platforms, which is quite flexible. These tablets are usually convertible, which means you can use these devices as tablets as well as mini laptops. 

Apple iPad vs tablet – Design

Now, Apple’s iPads have a premium-looking durable build. Let’s take the example of the iPad Air (5th gen). This tablet comes with an aluminum chassis, a sheen-glossy metal finish, soft pastel colors, and the usual Apple logo at the center. 

On the other hand, the design of a non-Apple tablet depends on the kind of tablet you get. For example, if you get a high-end device like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+, then these devices usually look premium and have a metal chassis. However, if you go for budget tablets like Lenovo M10 or Amazon Fire tablet 10 (2023), then they come with plastic bodies. While a plastic body may not look premium, it usually absorbs shock. 

Apple iPad vs tablet – Display

Apple devices, including iPads, usually come with a Liquid Retina display, which promises to deliver clear, crisp visuals. Most iPads use IPS LCD or OLED displays and have a resolution of 264ppi or more, so you can expect high-resolution visuals. Additionally, iPads also offer True Tone, which adjusts the color temperature of the display based on surrounding light, and ProMotion, which adjusts the refresh rate for smoother motion.

Meanwhile, tablets from other brands come with various combinations of display technologies and resolutions – so it all comes down to your budget. If you go for a high-end tablet, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, then you will get premium features like an AMOLED 2X display, WQXGA+ resolution, and 120Hz refresh rate. However, if you choose a budget option, then you won’t have too many of these features.

Further, much like iPads, Android and other tablets also have features like automatic display light adjustments, eye comfort, and motion blur. 

Apple iPad vs tablet – Battery Life

Now, tablets, in general, offer a battery life ranging from 8 to 12 hours, which typically lasts for a whole day. Compared to laptops, tablets consume less power, and hence they offer better battery life. 

Apple iPads are known for having all-day battery life, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’re some of the best devices in this regard. For example, the iPad Pro (6th gen) has a battery life of about 18 hours, which should last you the whole day.

Meanwhile, some non-Apple options also offer good battery life. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ offers all-day battery life, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 offers 15.5 hours. 

Apple iPad vs tablet – Price

Apple devices are usually considered premium and high-end options, so they usually come with a hefty price tag. The powerful iPad Pro (6th gen), when maxed out, can cost up to $2,099.00, which can be quite an investment. And if you decide to get the Apple Pencil and other accessories, then the costs would only add up. However, there are budget options available as well, like the iPad Air (5th gen) and iPad Mini 6, which cost $899 and $649, respectively. 

Meanwhile, non-Apple tablets obviously offer more options over a wider budget. You can find some of the best tablets under $200, mid-range options, and high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and S9 series. For instance, the Lenovo M10 Plus costs around $209, while Samsung Galaxy S9+ costs $999.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th Generation) M2 Chip

A white iPad Pro

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To sum up, the main differences between iPads and tablets from other manufacturers are operating systems, processors, and software. The right tablet for you comes down to your preferences, budget, and requirements. If you want a powerful tablet to replace your laptop occasionally, then you can check out iPad Pro (6th gen) or other iPads. Of course, there are a few budget options here. Meanwhile, if you want a budget tablet with powerful performance, then you should explore budget Android and Windows tablets – as there’s a wider variety here.

Nitisha is a content writer and editor and she has over 3 years of experience in writing about video games and tech.