Microsoft Surface tablet vs iPad Pro – which is best? Well, there is no totally clear answer on that because they both have their own advantages and disadvantages. It really does depend on which features matter most to you. Anyway, with that said, let’s get right into it and go through the different features of each tablet…
The physical design
Regarding the physical aspects of both tablets, they each have advantages. The iPad Pro is the thinnest (and therefore lightest) of the two at just 0.24 inches versus 0.27 inches for the Surface Pro. The iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard is also lighter than the Surface’s Type Cover. However, the Surface does have its own kickstand. Also, the Surface has a microSD card slot, a full-size USB port, and a mini DisplayPort, whereas the iPad Pro has none of those things.
Keyboards and pens
Sometimes, typing on a screen can feel a bit fiddly, especially if you are writing anything more than just a few words. Thankfully, both tablets have the option of a keyboard, effectively turning them into mini laptops. The Surface Pro wins in this regard, with its backlit water-resistant keyboard having nicer keys, and it’s cheaper too.
For those wanting to be able to write or draw using a pen or pencil device, both tablets can do this. On first glance, it seems like the Surface Pro is the winner in this regard, as the Surface Pen comes free, whereas you have to pay extra for an Apple Pencil. The Surface Pen has an eraser on the back of it, just like you would with a traditional pencil. You can even click it to launch OneNote. The Surface Pen also attaches to the side of the tablet. However, there are some advantages to the Apple Pencil. It has a lower latency, is compatible with more pen-enabled apps, and is sensitive to pressure and angle of the pen.
Display and photo quality
If a bright display is important to you, the 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro wins in this regard, but the 12.9-inch version is only a little bit brighter than the Surface Pro. Some people may prefer the brighter picture and better contrast on the iPad. However, some may prefer the warmer colors displayed on the Surface Pro. But the iOD 9.3 on the iPad does now have a feature called Night Shift which makes the screen warmer and more like paper, which is better for reading in the evening.
Taking photos with a large tablet can be a bit of an awkward experience perhaps, but if that’s what you want to do, both tablets come with rear cameras in addition to their front ones. However, the iPad Pro takes better quality photos than the Surface Pro.
If audio is your thing, the iPad will be better for you, with 4 speakers providing good quality sound across the frequencies. The Surface Pro only has two speakers and they don’t go as loud.
If performance is important to you, the Surface Pro clearly wins hands down. In a Geekbench 3 test of the speed of the processor, the Surface Pro was considerably faster than the iPad Pro. Similarly, in a test of the graphics, the Surface Pro came out far ahead.
In terms of multi-tasking, you will probably find the Surface Pro to be better. While the iPad does have a Split View mode for viewing two pages/apps next to each other, Window 10 includes the Task Bar, which is a quick way to be able to open new apps. While some people may find Windows 10’s tiles layout to be visually busy, others may find it a good way to find what they are looking for.
What about apps?
Well, as I said in my previous post, Android Tablet vs iPad Comparison, the advantage that Apple apps have is that they all have to be approved by Apple. Although this means there are fewer apps to choose from than with Windows apps, they tend to have fewer problems. However, if you want to use any Microsoft Office apps, the Surface Pro is probably the better option. For games, though, the iPad definitely wins.
Apple products are known for their long battery life, and the iPad Pro is certainly no exception. In a test of continuously using the tablets for web surfing, the iPad Pro lasted over 10 hours, whereas the Surface Pro lasted only a little over 6 hours. While 6 hours may be plenty for many people, those needing to use their tablet for extended periods when traveling or away from the home/office will greatly benefit from the longer battery life of the iPad.
Brain full of too much information? Here’s a quick summary of the main good points of each tablet:
- MicroSD card slot, full-size USB port, mini DisplayPort
- Better keyboard
- Faster performance
- Better for multi-tasking
- More apps
- Thinner and lighter
- Brighter display
- Better quality photos
- Clearer audio
- Better for gaming
- Longer battery life
So there you go. If you want a high-performance tablet that is great for multitasking and also functioning as a mini laptop, the Surface Pro is probably the best choice. However, if you want a light tablet with a bright screen, high-quality audio, and a long battery life, the iPad Pro is the one for you.