It’s interesting to watch the two giants of the mobile tech world — Apple and Samsung — battle it out to create great products. It’s a win-win situation for consumers.
While there are lots of similarities between the two company’s smartphones and tablets, there are also some key differences. One big difference I noticed watching the Samsung Unpacked event is the approaches the companies take to tablet thermal management.
You can’t change the laws of physics. The more performance you want to get out of a device, the more heat there is to deal with.
While end users only really care about cooling when their device gets uncomfortably warm — sometimes alarmingly so — to the touch, effective thermal management can also improve performance and longevity of a device.
Heat is a silent killer of devices.
Not only does it cause premature battery wear, but the constant heating and cooling cycles can cause solder joints responsible for holding components onto the mainboard to fracture. Also, when a device gets hot, one of the strategies used to cool it down is to throttle back on performance.
And effective cooling can have a huge difference on performance. The M2 chip that Apple users in the new iPad Pro is the same chip found in the MacBook pro, but it runs some 3% slower, a difference that comes down mostly to cooling.
Samsung is taking no chances when it comes to cooling with its new Tab S9, and has built a number of mechanisms into the tablet. Incorporated into the structure are layers of TIM — Thermal Interface Materials — that are used to carry the heat both up towards the display and down to the back of the case for dissipation.
But there’s more.
The Tab S9 is the first Galaxy Tab series tablet to feature vapor chamber technology to more effectively move the heat from critical components, and safely dissipate it to the outside environment.
I push my iPad Pro quite hard running apps such as DaVinci Resolve, and while for the most part it copes pretty well with these demands, there are times when things start to get hot and it could benefit from better cooling, allowing it to unlock even more power from that M2 chip.