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Video Recording Side-by-Side: iPad 2 vs. Galaxy Tab 10.1

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The latest generation of tablets all feature HD video recording capability. Combine that with video editing apps, and you have an all-in-one video production unit that may not be able to compete with professional HD camcorders, but is still good enough for the web. But which of the tablets is best at recording HD video? We wanted to find out, which is why we did a little side-by-side test, recording some footage on Apple’s (s AAPL) iPad 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tab simultaneously. Check out the video below for the results:

The first thing you’ll notice is that the iPad 2’s colors seem more crisp, and the overall recording is brighter, whereas the Galaxy 10.1 seems darker and a little more washed out. The contrast is so big that sometimes it actually feels like you’re watching two different scenes. Take the cab passing by a minute into the video, for example: The iPad shows it being bright red, while the Galaxy 10.1 captured it in washed-out orange. It looks like the iPad 2 has the upper hand here.

However, there are a number of instances when the iPad 2 struggles with bright spots, leading to solarizing effects that make it look like the camera’s chip simply stumbled. White markings on the street seem to be particularly challenging for the iPad, as you can see about 14 seconds in. Around 0:22, the entire street starts to flash like an ’80s dance video. The Galaxy 10.1 didn’t have any similar issues, so mark this as a win for Samsung.

Bright recording situations continue to challenge the iPad 2 once I take the two devices inside our building. When panning from a low-lit area straight to the window, the Galaxy 10.1 still looks pretty dark, but it manages to hold the picture. The iPad 2, on the other hand, produces more solarizing flashes and is blinded by the outside light, incapable of adequately recording any of the people passing outside the window by at around 1:48.

The Galaxy 10.1 also seems to do better in our dark office elevator, and it again has the upper hand once the doors to our office open around 2:10. It’s immediately able to capture what’s going on inside, whereas the iPad 2 has a notable fade from bright white to adjust to the new light conditions.

To sum up, iPad 2’s video may look better under optimal conditions, but the Galaxy 10.1 seems more reliable during abrupt changes in lighting. The flare-ups of the iPad 2 are particularly concerning, and kind of make you wonder whether iPad 2 owners should always carry a backup Flip camera, just in case.

17 Responses to “Video Recording Side-by-Side: iPad 2 vs. Galaxy Tab 10.1”

  1. Does the iPad have some stabilization? Watching the two images side by side, it’s amazing how the Galaxy Tab bounces around while the iPad stays rock steady.

    @Roger Mattews makes a great point about the focal length differences. I prefer a wider angle view in most cases, as it’s easier to capture groups and even better for headshot interviews (it brings the camera/microphone closer to the person speaking).

    • The iPad doesn’t have a “high retina display” (Where the hell did you hear that term?) So how’s about doing a little research before you TRY and bash Apple (and fail miserably)

  2. id say the tab wins hands down, and that comes from a film student who only uses apple products to make films. considering its not a real camera, and has no manual controls, the tab bounces around light conditions really well. the cab wasnt red, it was orange and changed to red because of the solarizing, which is more than likely a software issue. the ipad handled light poorly.

    • Then as a film student u should really notice that the cab really is RED…. The only problem here with solarizing is the white-yellow stripe on the side of the cab that is blueish when it enters the view..

      Color is better with iPad2, lighting sucks tho

  3. Seems like the iPad 2 has a better sensor in terms of dynamic range. Does anyone agree?

    What causes that solarizing effect with the iPad 2? Would it be a software or hardware issue?


    • Why would we agree with your better dynamic range comment when nothing in the video points in that direction ?

      I suppose the solarizing effect could be a “black sun” cmos effect on a color sensor.

  4. Roger Matthews

    Its a pity that these two clips are different in terms of their magnification. The iPad is less “zoomed in” than the Galaxy and so it looks crisper and sharper.

    So, in reality, it is really hard to differenciate between the two devices based upon this test!