Artist Review : iPad Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for drawing

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If you are an artist and looking for a multipurpose drawing tablet for making digital art, the Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 are two great choices.

These are two very different tablets and they are suited for two very different sets of artists.

Apple iPad pro vs Samsung Galaxy tab S4 for drawing

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 can be said as a flagship at discount. This is a top-of-the-line Samsung tablet from a few years back.

As the new models arrived, the S4 has seen a huge drop in price, in spite of still having great features for today’s standards. Making it a great choice for budget-conscious artists.

The iPad Pro on the other hand is “Crème de la crème” (the best of the best).

It comes with support for the most accurate stylus and has an impressive list of features consisting of everything that you would expect in a modern compact tablet.

But the important thing to notice is – in spite of the huge price difference, the actual drawing experience on the iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is not that different.

If you are someone looking for a new drawing tablet and wondering whether you should go all out and get the iPad Pro, or take the smarter route and go with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, this comparison will help you figure out which of the two tablets will suit your needs better.

iPad Pro vs Samsung galaxy tab s4 – Screen

ipad pro vs samsung galaxy tab s4 featured

A screen is the centerpiece of a drawing tablet. After all, that is where everything happens.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 comes with a 10.5-inch screen. The iPad Pro, on the other hand, is available in two variants consisting of an 11 inch and a 12.9-inch tablet.

The major difference between the displays of these two devices is – the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has an AMOLED screen, whereas the iPad Pro has a LED screen.

Generally speaking, AMOLED screens are known for their good contrasts and colors.

11 inch Apple iPad Pro uses a highly refined LED screen which is as good as the Samsung AMOLED screens, and since these screens have slightly better (natural) color calibration, they take the lead.

But the real winner is the 12.9 inch iPad Pro which uses a mini-LED screen that has superior contrasts, color, and brightness.

Display brightness

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 comes with a brightness of 500 nits, which is 100 nits lower than the 11-inch iPad Pro that has 600 nits of max brightness.

A display with higher brightness is ideal as the screen is more visible (and comfortable to look at) outdoors or when working in a bright environment.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro takes the lead what it comes to display brightness.

Unlike using a single backlight unit, the backlight on the 12.9 inch iPad Pro is made of a matrix of small LEDs that have a sustained brightness of 1000 nits and can go up to 1600 nits when viewing certain content.

From comparing the screen so far we have seen that the screen of Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is very comparable to the 11-inch iPad Pro – in spite of their price difference. ie… you get great value for your money.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro, on the other hand, takes a big lead and has a better screen than both the aforementioned tablets.

Refresh rate of the screen

Apple iPad Pro comes with a refresh rate of 120hz, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has a refresh rate of 60hz.

Because of its higher refresh rate, drawing on the iPad Pro feels slightly smoother when compared to the Galaxy Tab S4.

Here is the footage of drawing on a 120 Hz screen vs drawing on a 60 Hz screen. (White stylus is the Apple Pencil, Blue one is the S-Pen)

apple-pencil-vs-S-Pen-comparison

As you can see, the difference is very subtle especially looking at the real-time footage on the right side.

Which tablet has a better stylus

Apple pencil vs Samsung S-pen
Apple Pencil vs Samsung S-Pen

A stylus is the most essential part of the drawing device.

Out of all the options available in the market today, there are only a handful of styluses that are actually good.

The Apple Pencil and Samsung S-Pen are two of the best stylus that you can get.

Both these stylus are very accurate and draws consistent and reliable strokes.

Comparing the two styluses you will find the Apple Pencil is slightly better in terms of features and build quality. But the overall drawing experience on both of them is very comparable.

Starting from what you get in the box – the Samsung galaxy tab s4 comes with the s-pen pre-included in the box. Whereas the Apple pencil (Amazon) has to be purchased separately.

Design and feel of the stylus

As the name suggests, the Apple Pencil overall feels like a real pencil, whereas the S Pen kind of feels more like a ball point pen.

Comparing the dimensions – the Apple Pencil is slightly longer in length, and the Samsung S-Pen has a wider body.

While some people prefer the holding position of the S Pen due to its wider body, others feel the Apple Pencil has a better grip due to its textured surface.

Features (pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition and buttons)

apple pencil features
Apple Pencil

Pressure Sensitivity – Apple pencil and S-pen have pressure enabled stylus.

This means that the thickness of the strokes depends on how hard you are pressing.

The Apple pencil does not have an official pressure range. Whereas the Samsung s-pen comes with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. In practical uses both the stylus performed equally well.

Apple pencil tilt support
Tilt support for shading

Tilt Recognition – On top of pressure sensitivity, the Apple Pencil also comes with “tilt recognition”.

The tilt recognition allows the pen to change the behavior of the strokes depending upon the angle it is tilted.

So when you tilt the brush, the stylus goes into shading mode. It is one of the very interesting features of the Apple pencil and many artists really love it.

Samsung’s S-pen also comes with tilt support but it is only supported in a handful of drawing apps like Artrage, Sketchup, and infinite painter.

Samsung S-pen button
S-Pen Butoon

Buttons – Both the S-pen and Apple pencil has a single shortcut button on the pen. The S-pen has a physical button that switches between a pen and an eraser.

Apple pencil comes with a touch-based button that switches between brush/eraser. The touch button can be customized to do other functions as per your needs.

The technology used: how do Apple Pencil and S-pen works?

In general, Apple Pencil and the Samsung S Pen do the same task of drawing and writing stuff. But the underlying technology and how they work completely different from each other.

The Apple pencil uses an active pen, which needs a battery inside of a pen to work. On the other hand, the S-pen uses EMR based technology and does not need batteries to work.

As a result, the S-pen does not need to be charged ever (you can know more about this Here), whereas the Apple Pencil needs charging.

Well, this may not be a big deal breaker as the charging in the Apple pencil is very streamlined. The Apple Pencil charges wirelessly by magnetically sticking on one of the edges of the tablet.

On top of that, it can work a long time on a full charge and has features like quick charge in case of emergencies.

Surface Texture

In many tablets made for drawing purposes (like Wacom), the top glass layer have a matte finish.

The matt finished glass reduces glare and more comfortable to look at. The texture on the glass provides a little friction to the stylus which is a good thing as it stops the pen from slipping around on the glass surface.

Both the Apple iPad Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 comes with a glossy surface.

Although glossy screens have better transparency, but they have a very distracting reflection and glare issues, which is not ideal.

To counter that – many artists use a matte finish screen protector (Amazon) to further protect the screen from pen scratches as well as give it some texture for a better hold.

Drawing Apps (IOS vs Android)

procreate app for ipad
Procreate(IOS)

Drawing apps are the next – important part of the equation when looking for a drawing tablet.

Although both the iPad and Samsung come with their own default pen app. They are not the best out there and lack key drawing features.

Luckily, there are plenty of really good apps on Android as well as IOS which are almost as good as their desktop counterparts.

For iPads, you have apps like Procreate, Clip studio paint, Affinity photo. These apps are made specifically for iPads and loaded with features.

On the Android side, you have apps such as Sketchbook, Ibis painter x, Infinite Painter which are equally good.

Power and performance

Making digital art is a resource-intensive task, especially when you are working on a high-resolution project with multiple layers and complicated brushes and textures.

You want something that is powerful enough to handle these tasks, that gives you a lag free experiance.

The Snapdragon 835 processor in the Galaxy Tab S4 is one of the flagship processors from a few years ago. On its own, it is sufficiently powerful enough to perform all of the above-mentioned tasks as well as handle multi-tasking workflow.

But when compared to Apple’s M1 chip, it is a no match.

The M1 chip in the iPad Pro is the same processor that Apple uses in their Macbook Pro lineup of laptops.

It is not just better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, but it is the most powerful processor in any tablet available in the market right now.

With that said, for the price the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (Amazon) comes at, you are still getting a great processor.

Price and value for money

Last update on 2021-07-22 at 21:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Price plays a major role in making the purchasing decision.

Most often than not the device that better suits your needs turns out to be more expensive than what you would expect.

From what we have seen so far, it is clearly evident that iPad Pro is a more capable device both in terms of raw power and drawing capabilities.

Apple iPad Pro can be expensive (click here to see the latest price on Amazon). Even the 11-inch version with the lowest storage capacity comes with a hefty price tag.

If you are planning to use it for some work-related purposes than small storage will not be sufficient for you.

You will probably go for a higher specked version which can cost two or even three times more than the base price. Along with that, the Apple Pencil (Amazon) has to be purchased separately, and that is not cheap either.

Now Samsung Galaxy tab s4 (Amazon) is cheaper than the iPad and has all the things you need (including s-pen) right in the box.

You don’t really need to spend anything extra on accessories if you don’t want to. In true terms, the Samsung galaxy tab s4 is a better value for money.

Connectivity – USB-Cs is the new norm

Both the iPad as well as Samsung galaxy tab s4 comes with the latest USB type-c port. The port allows you to charge as well as transfer data.

Earlier the iPads did not allow plugging in external hard drives but now after the latest software update, you can plug any storage device.

Accessories

Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Accessories
Accessories

At the bottom of the Samsung Tab and the Apple iPad Pro, you will find a connection pin that snaps to the keyboard accessory.

The keyboard accessory is available separately for both devices.

These keyboards magnetically attach to the tablet and can also work as a tablet stand. These keyboards are made for typing-heavy work.

Samsung Dex in a tablet mode
Samsung Dex in digitizer mode

The Samsung Galaxy tab s4 has a feature called Samsung Dex. It allows you to plug your tablet into an external monitor and use the tablet as a desktop.

You can also use the Samsung tablet like a traditional drawing pad where you look at the monitor and draw artwork on the tablet.

Other than the keyboard and Samsung Dex the Galaxy tab also supports an external mouse that can be useful during the Samsung Dex mode.

Earlier – the mouse was not supported on iPads but now after their latest software update, you can plug wired, wireless or a Bluetooth mouse.

Summary – Is iPad Pro better than Samsung Galaxy Tab s4

From the comparison it is obvious that iPad Pro is a better tablet for drawing, but it also comes with a massive price tag.

When we talk about raw drawing features such as the quality of screen or the stylues performace – although there is a differnce, but the differnce is not big enough to justify that massive price jump.

For most people, which includes hobyists, beginners and artist with intermediate level skills, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is a smarter choice.

The iPad Pro is better suited for experts, professionals and real die hard hobbyists.

iPad Pro
by Apple
  • 11 or 12.9 inches LCD screen
  • Feature-rich device
  • One of the best stylus
  • No memory card slot
  • Addition charges for more memory
If you are willing to spend a little extra for getting superior hardware and stylus than Apple iPad Pro is the right choice.
CHECK ON AMAZON
Galaxy Tab S4
by Samsung
  • 10.5-inch AMOLED screen
  • More feature – less price
  • Samsung Dex support
  • Limited drawing apps
  • Only available in one size
If you want more flexibility and a feature-packed tablet at a reasonable price than Samsung Galaxy tab S4 is the right tablet.
CHECK ON AMAZON

Related
Drawing tablets for pro Artists
Top Android tablets for Drawing
Portable Drawing tablet

 

Aaron Levie

Aaron Levie loves painting. he started as a traditional watercolor artist and later switched to digital. He really likes freedom and control that digital art provides.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Rafael

    The S-pen has yes incline levels, this is one of the main features that I use to draw creating shading using the pencil. The slope of the S-Pen pen works great in the Autodesk Sketchup and Infinite Painter applications.

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