Microsoft Surface vs. iPad

Microsoft unveiled Surface yesterday and though it’s not yet available in the market, it’s already being compared to Apple’s iPad.  So let’s look at how the tablets compare with each other.

Physical Appearance

Surface: The RT and Windows 8 Pro both have a 10.6” ClearType Full HD DIsplay.  The RT weighs 676g while the Pro weighs more at 903g.  The RT measure 9.3mm in thickness while the Pro is at 13.5mm.   And both are encased in VaporMg which gives both devices a sleek finish while offering more comfort in holding it as it is easier to grip.

New iPad:  The WI-FI and Cellular versions of the new iPad weighs 652g and 662g respectively, notably lighter than both versions of the Surface.  Both are 9.4mm thick slightly thicker than the RT version but remarkably thinner than the Pro version.  It features a 9.7” Multi-touch screen and boasts of the über clear Retina Display.


Surface: It has two cameras, the front LifeCam for chatting and the rear LifeCam angled at 22⁰ so users can flip out the Kickstand and record meetings and events hands-free.

iPad: It features a 5 megapixel iSight camera that features a backside illumination sensor that captures great-looking pictures whether by sunlight or candlelight.  It uses advanced optics for the best possible photos. An ƒ/2.4 aperture and a five-element lens, to capture light efficiently for a sharper overall image. And it also features a hybrid infrared filter to keep out harmful IR light for more accurate, uniform colours.  It also features a FaceTime camera in front for video calling.


Surface: Windows 8 and Windows RT.

iPad: iOS 5 (though iOS 6 for iPad 2 and older should be available by the end of the year).


Surface: ARM chips for the RT version and Intel chips for the WIndows 8 Pro version.

iPad: Apple’s custom-designed chip – A5X

Input and Output

Surface: The RT features microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae while the Pro features microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae.  Both features speakers and dual microphones tuned for Skype.

iPad: Both the WIFI and cellular versions feature 30-pin dock connector ports, built-in speakers and microphones, and 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack.


Surface: The RT features a 31.5 W-h battery while the Pro features a 42 W-h battery.  No data yet as to how long these batteries last.

iPad: Built-in 42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery with up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music and 9 hours of surfing on the web using cellular network and charges via power adapter or USB to computer system.


Surface: The RT will be available in 32GB and 64GB while the Pro will be available in 64GB and 128GB.

iPad: Both the WiFi and Cellular versions are available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.


Surface: Touch or Type Cover offers both protection and functionality. It doubles as a screen cover when not in use and as a keyboard, either touch or type based, when needed.  The Pro comes with a Pen and Palm Block for added input method.

iPad: SmartCover offers protection and a way to free your hands when watching videos or surfing the net.  The Apple wireless keyboard is compatible with the iPad.

While the Surface has some attractive specs, the device has yet to become available on the market and it’s set to run an OS yet to be launched.  Apple’s iPad has held down the market in light of several Android tablets emerging onto the market, leaving only e-readers to marginally compete with the iPad’s success in terms of sales.  Both Microsoft and Apple have promising OS updates slated for later this year, and both ecosystems are doing their best to leverage cloud services for a fluid user experience.

Apple still has an edge over Microsoft, with current market dominance and experience in the hardware business, whereas this is Microsoft’s first attempt at producing its own mobile device.  One thing that will help Microsoft in the long run is its plans around SmartGlass, integrating its devices and services, even on rival gadgets.  A valiant attempt by Microsoft, we’ll have to wait until early next year to see if the Surface has more than a skin-deep impact on the market.