Last week, Apple unveiled the iPad Air 5 tablet, surprising buyers with a shockingly powerful upgrade. The mid-range iPad has the same M1 System-on-Chip (SoC) as the 2021 iPad Pro and several Macs. Benchmarks revealed Apple did not make changes to the M1 SoC in the iPad Air 5, supporting the idea that mid-range Android tablets can’t match its performance. But a new development indicates the iPad Air 5 is not just a big headache for Google, but also for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 flagship tablet.
The Galaxy Tab S8 series represents the best possible Android alternative to the iPad Pro. But the three Galaxy Tab S8 versions all suffer from the same app throttling problem as the Galaxy S22.
What is the difference between the iPad Air and the iPad Pro?
With the new iPad Air 5, you get a 10.9-inch display, the M1 SoC, 64GB of storage, and 8GB of RAM all for $599. These are the base iPad Air 5 specs that will satisfy the needs of most tablet users.
The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799. The $200 price bump gets you double the storage, a slightly larger and brighter screen that comes with ProMotion support, a second ultra-wide camera and LiDAR sensor on the back, and Face ID authentication instead of Touch ID.
The Galaxy Tab S8 tablets are all supposed to be iPad Pro rivals. The cheapest model starts at $700. You’ll have to pay $200 more for the Plus and then another $200 on top of that for the Ultra. You read that properly — the S8 tops out at $1,100.
Samsung’s flagship tablets start with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and feature OLED screens. The base model has an 11-inch display, which means it’s about as big as the iPad Air 5.
All Galaxy Tab S8 models feature the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, which is an A15 Bionic alternative, not an M1 competitor. And the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 can’t even outperform the iPhone 13 chip in benchmarks or real-life tests.
Even without the throttling issues, the new Snapdragon doesn’t play in the same league as the M1.
Samsung’s app throttling controversy
Samsung preloaded an app on various Android devices that can reduce the performance of thousands of apps. It’s called Game Optimization Service or GOS, and it’s supposed to mainly impact games. Unfortunately, it impacts thousands of apps that shouldn’t be affected.
GOS reduces performance to prevent overheating on the Galaxy S22 and other phones. This prevents battery drain, as the CPU speed is lowered.
Also of note, GOS throttles both the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200. These are the two SoCs that power the Galaxy S22 series line.
The Galaxy Tab S8 suffers from the same problem, even though the tablets are much larger than Galaxy S22 phones. In theory, Samsung could have significantly improved the three tablets’ cooling system. And all of them feature much larger batteries, so battery life worries aren’t as serious. Yet GOS is very much enabled.
Having the best Android flagship tablet throttle performance is an absolute nightmare, especially when the iPad Air 5 delivers iPad Pro performance. And the new iPad Air is $100 cheaper than the most affordable Galaxy Tab S8.
Samsung issued a fix for the Galaxy S22 in some regions, allowing users to bypass GOS throttling. Moreover, Samsung apologized to shareholders this week, indicating how important this Galaxy S22 controversy is. But it’s unclear when the Galaxy Tab S8 fix will roll out.
Galaxy Tab S8 line excluded from Geekbench 5
News that Apple hasn’t modified M1 performance for the iPad Air 5 has to be a devastating blow for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 ambitions. Especially since the new iPad Air dropped at the same time as news that the Galaxy Tab S8 suffers from the infamous app throttling issue.
What’s worse is that the Galaxy Tab S8 tablets will suffer the same fate as the Galaxy S22 phones when it comes to benchmarks. Android Police reports that Geekbench will delist the S8 series from its website for cheating. The blog was able to verify that the Galaxy Tab S8 tablets throttle the performance of resource-intensive apps, but it does not throttle benchmark test apps.
That’s a humiliating start for the Galaxy Tab S8 that indicates the iPad Pro is still the best “Pro” tablet choice in town. Or the iPad Air 5, if you’re on a tighter budget.
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