I’m sure many of you have seen the hilarious iPad vs. Surface iPads are similar devices, i.e. they are both designed to be just tablets but the Surface Pro is in a class of its own. However, since this is a common question, I thought I would actually do a comparison of all three.
Yes, I know that there are some fine Android tablets out there as well but, for now let’s keep this an old-fashioned Apple vs. Microsoft thing.
Below is a comparison of basic models of the iPad 32 GB 4th gen to the Surface RT 32 GB and Surface Pro 64 GB models. All entries in orange are common tech specs that can be found anywhere. All entries in green are ones that are productivity related and not mentioned as often but are probably the most important aspects from a practical usability standpoint:
|Surface RT||Surface Pro||iPad
|Purpose||Tablet||Laptop in tablet form||Tablet|
|Operating System||Windows 8 RT||Windows 8||iOS 6|
|CPU||Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3||3rd Gen Intel® dual-core TM i5 (2.6 GHz)||A6X chip, dual-core (1.4GHz)|
|Weight (in lbs)||1.5||2.0||1.44|
|Battery Life||8 hours||5 hours||10 hours|
|Storage||32GB, 64B – expandable||64GB, 128GB – expandable||16, 32, 64, 128GB|
|USB Port||Yes – 2.0||Yes – 3.0||No|
|HD Video-Out Port||Yes – microHDMI||Yes – mini Display||No|
|Free Cloud Storage||7 GB||7GB||5 GB|
|Printing||Yes – most printers||Yes – all printers||Yes – only AirPrint printers|
|MS Office||Yes – pre-installed with Office RT||Yes – Full||No|
|Run two apps at once||Yes||Yes||No|
|Number of Apps in Store||160,000||Almost any Windows app made in the past 10 years, probably millions.||350,000|
|Keyboard||Attached or Bluetooth at an extra cost||Attached or Bluetooth at an extra cost||Bluetooth only at an extra cost|
|Camera||Two 720p HD LifeCams||Two 720p HD LifeCams||two: 1080p & 720p cameras|
|Adapters||Only cables are needed||Only cables are needed||Everything must be connected via lightning adapters.|
|Price||$199 for students and $349 for everyone else||$899||$599|
So, which is the best device? The answer is: “it depends on what you want to use it for”.
For sheer availability of apps, surfing the web, and picture taking, I would say the iPad is the right device for you.
For school work, web surfing, MS Office applications, Xbox games, I would say go with a iPad you have to use programs that might cause compatibility issues and on the Surface Pro, you need to purchase Microsoft Office as an extra expense.
And if you need a device that looks and feels like a tablet but does everything a Windows laptop can do, then Surface Pro is the device for you.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.