Competing Microsoft Surface vs iPad tablet race

We’ve been bringing you plenty of news about the newly announced Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT tablets. These were unveiled in a blaze of publicity at a special Microsoft event and are attracting a lot of interest. Almost inevitably the reveal of the two Surface tablets has led us to wonder about the Microsoft Surface vs. the iPad in the tablet race.

So far we’ve shown you a video of the Surface RT, a look at the clever Touch Cover and Type Cover that also act as keyboards for the Microsoft tablets and some of the first available specs. Whenever a new tablet is announced though it begs the question of whether it might be a genuine iPad rival and that’s what we’re wondering today. We have some specs and details of the Surface tablets, although full details are not yet available such as processor speed, memory and battery life. However going on what we know so far we’ll compare details of Apple’s New iPad (iPad 3), the Surface for Windows 8 Pro and the Surface for Windows RT.

The two Surface tablets are both bigger and heavier than the iPad which might go against them but the Windows 8 Pro version has a larger built-in storage option, up to 128GB, and as mentioned previously whereas the iPad has a neat Smart Cover or Smart Case accessory the Microsoft Touch Cover or Touch Case also feature keyboards for the Surface. Over at Laptop Magazine a handy chart shows the specs so far known of the Surface tablets compared to the current iPad (third generation).

Looking at processors the iPad has an A5X dual-core CPU while the Surface Windows RT has an NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip and the Surface Windows Pro has an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor. The iPad currently runs on iOS 5 (with iOS 6 to come in the fall) while the Surface Windows RT will run Windows 8 RT and the Surface Windows Pro will run Windows 8 Pro (unsurprisingly).

Display-wise the iPad has a 9.7-inch display with resolution of 2048 x 1536. The Surface Windows RT has a 10.6-inch display while the Surface Windows Pro also has a 10.6-inch display. Although Laptop mag says the display resolutions are not yet known, this report says that the Windows Pro version will have 1080p HD resolution though that is not the case with the Windows RT Surface.

Looking at storage then the new iPad comes with 16, 32 or 64GB of built-in storage, the Surface Windows RT has 32 or 64GB while the Surface Windows Pro has 64 or 128GB. For dimensions the iPad measures 9.5-inches x 7.31-inches x 0.37 inches. Full dimensions for the two Surface tablets have not been detailed but the Surface Windows RT is 0.37-inches thick while the Surface Windows Pro is 0.53-inches thick. The iPad weighs 1.44 lb whereas the Surface Windows RT weighs 1.49 lb and the Surface Windows Pro weighs 1.99 lb.

Finally we’ll detail the ports and the iPad has a 10-pin port while the Surface Windows RT has microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video and 2×2 MiMO Antennae and the Surface Windows Pro has microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort and 2×2 MiMO Antennae. We know the price of the iPad starts at $499 but no pricing has been announced yet for the Microsoft Surface tablets. As far as release dates the iPad is already available. The Surface Windows RT tablet is due in the fall, around the same time as the release of the Windows 8 OS while the Surface Window 8 Pro is due around three months after that.

Based on what we know so far then, do you think the tablet race is now on between Apple and Microsoft? Are the Surface tablets credible alternatives and if so are you tempted to purchase one when they become available. Send your comments to let us know your thoughts on this.


4 thoughts on “Competing Microsoft Surface vs iPad tablet race”

  1. Life without walls says:

    I’m gonna quit smoking right now, all saved will be enough to buy at least two of MS Surface. Apple is unusable in any version of it, except for online chat perhaps.

  2. BC says:

    Interesting article – you mention the display, but then don’t note that the iPad is almost double the resolution of the highest priced Surface. You don’t mention the fact that the speed of the A5X processor (which is quad-core BTW) is almost 4 times faster than either of the other devices. The iPad can add Wacom or keyboard inputs via bluetooth if you like, but that isn’t what a tablet is about. Seems to me that the “windows makers” just still don;t get this is a new class of machine – not an “ultra-book” it;s a whole new way to think about what people do with portable devices. If I want more power, I’d buy a notebook or use my desktop – this is something altogether different.

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