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Battle of 2017: iPad Pro VS Surface Pro

by Ralph Theodory | June 11, 2017June 11, 2017 1:00 pm PDT

Apple’s newborn iPad Pro was released at WWDC17 where the upgraded internals and iOS11 are set to take iPad to a new era of performance and productivity. But how does it compare to Microsoft’s newly released Surface Pro? How does the aluminum beauty stand against its magnesium competitor? There is such a big difference between the two leaders in the Pro tablet category, here is the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch VS the new Surface Pro.

Design and portability

Apple’s iPad Pro is built in a beautiful rigid aluminum body, weighing at around 1.5 Lbs (680 grams) with a 6.9 millimeters of thickness despite having a camera hump. For such a large device, a protective case will both protect your precious device and gets rid of the annoying camera hump. On the other hand, the Magnesium alloy Surface Pro is slightly heavier at 1.7 Lbs (786 grams) with a thicker 8.5 body without any protrusions.

 

Due to their large footprint, both devices were not designed for a single handed use. With the added weight of their keyboard cases and accessories, it is far better to use them on a table or with both hands. To compare, iPad’s thin aesthetics makes it easier to hold and use on the move, making it more portable. Whereas the heavier Surface Pro shines in its amazing built-in kickstand. Whether it’s on your hand, a table or your lap, the Surface will feel much more steady while using.

Displays and Pens

Microsoft’s Surface features a 12.3-inch pixel sense display with a resolution of 2736 × 1824 (267 PPI). iPad’s 12.9-inch screen sports almost the same PPI at (264 PPI) with a resolution of 2732-by-2048. However, iPad’s new 120Hz refresh rate is a game changer, compared to a traditional 60Hz screen. Animations, scrolling and navigating around the device should feel a lot smoother.s you guessed, the next big thing in displays is refresh rates, not that Microsoft’s beautiful pixel sense is

As you guessed, the next big thing in displays is refresh rates, not that Microsoft’s beautiful pixel sense is under-performing by any means, but iPad true tone high rate display sets a new standard in the Pro category.

When it comes to Pens, both now are not included out of the box, as Microsoft used to include a Surface Pen with the Pro 4. After Microsoft’s Pen upgrade, both Pens seem to stand on the same ground, but because of iPad’s high refresh rate, latency stands at an all-time low of 20 ms making the Apple pencil the fastest digital pen in the world. However, we’re still in love with the Surface Pen’s programmable buttons, long battery life and eraser back.

Media consumption is relatively better on the Surface with its 2:3 aspect ratio which is narrower than the 4:3 screen on the iPad, on the other hand, the wider iPad Pro screen offers more screen real estate for the Apple Pencil users.

Software and Performance

This is where our competitors go in separate ways. Comparing a full Windows computer to an iOS device seems rather odd, and the lack of professional apps on iOS makes us wonder if the iPad Pro actually delivers as its name states. Somehow, this is all about to change with iOS 11 as the new user interface takes a near macOS approach. With a dock, drag and drop, split view and file management (Finally!) making iPad’s iOS one step closer to evolve into a true touch based professional operating system, However, iOS11 is only released to developers and will be available for the public in the Fall.

Windows 10 still offers more applications, design and productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop and much more, its recent creator update enabled better tools to organize and access Pen features.

When it comes to performance, both devices succeed to deliver top of class performance. It still fascinates us how a tablet is able to run full windows apps. The iPad also runs through apps with its new A10x fusion chip without any signs of lag or problems and an excellent performance, whereas the new Surface Pro sports Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors with notebook-like performance and power. No benchmarks can fully compare these two different platforms, it’d be more appropriate to state that each one excels in its own way.

Technology and Features

The new iPad Pro is equipped with the same ultra fast Touch ID that was introduced on the iPhone 6S, 4 speakers that offer a unique stereo audio sensation and the same camera as the iPhone 7 (not that you’ll be taking many photos with your iPad). On the other side of the table, A Surface Pro leans on its signature kickstand, with Window’s Hello facial recognition, a magnetic charger that disconnects with any strong force would have pulled it to the ground with its charger cable, the best in the business type cover with a multi-touch trackpad, LTE advanced and designer accessories like the Surface Dial.

Surface Pro’s type cover comes in four colors (Black, Burgundy, Platinum and Cobalt Blue) where the device itself comes in three variants of processors – Intel Core M3, i5, or i7 – and each has different versions depending on memory and storage options with a minimum of (4GB of ram and 128 GB of storage). The M3 and i5 variants rely on passive cooling rather than a traditional fan to take a similar approach to the silent iPad Pro that comes in three colors (Space Gray, Gold and Silver)  and different storage options starting with a minimum of 64 GB.

Battery life and Pricing

Both devices deliver a strong all day battery life. Apple promises the same 10 hour battery life  as usual of surfing the web on Wi‐Fi, watching video, or listening to music, the 41 watt-hour battery also supports fast charging that charges twice as fast. However, the cellular models are capped at 9 hours. somehow. Microsoft, on the other hand, claims that the new Surface Pro has 13.5 hours on the i5 model with Wi-Fi connected and automatic brightness disabled, meaning that the M3 model should last longer in battery tests.

Since the Surface can deliver notebook like power, pricing can have an impact on performance, the M3 model starts at $799 with 4GB of RAM only and 128 GB of storage which is good for basic tasks, The recommended i5 model that brings real performance and capability starts at $1,299 with 8GB of RAM which matches the newly updated MacBook Pro price.

 

The iPad base model performs the same as its higher priced variants that only differ in storage size and cellular connectivity. Starting at $800 with 64 GBs of storage all the way up to 512 GBs of storage at  $1,099.

To conclude, we believe that both devices excel in their own way, the two incredible pro tablets are a true proof that competition can drive fast and great innovation.

What would you prefer Apple’s iPad Pro or Microsoft’s Surface Pro? Leave us a comment below and share this article with your friends to let them know about the two wonderful new devices!

Here is a more detailed comparison:

Apple - iPad Pro (2nd Generation) Microsoft - Surface Pro 4
Display Size 12.9-inch, 2732 x 2048 pixel display (265 ppi) 12.3-inch, 1824 x 2736 pixel display (267 ppi)
Resolution X 2732 1824
Resolution Y 2048 2736
Display Type Retina Display LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display PixelSense
Operating System iOS 10.3.2 (at launch) Windows 10 Pro
Processor A10X Fusion chip with 64‑bit architecture 6th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, or i7
RAM N/A 4GB, 8GB, 16GB
Storage
  • 64GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
External Storage No Yes
Main Camera (Back) 12MP 8MP
Secondary Camera (Front) 7MP 5MP
Networks
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B: 800, 1900
  • GSM/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • LTE Advanced: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41
  • UMTS/HSPA/​HSPA+/DC-HSDPA: 850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.0
Battery Built‐in 41‐watt‐hour rechargeable lithium‑polymer battery Up to 9 hours of video playback
NFC No N/A
Connectivity
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Lightning port
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • USB 3.0
  • Mini DisplayPort
Sensors
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Barometer
  • Gyro
  • Touch ID
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Gyroscope
GPS
  • Assisted GPS (Cellular models only)
  • Digital compass
  • GLONASS (Cellular models only)
  • iBeacon
Height 12 inches (30.48 cm) 292.1 mm (11.50 inches)
Width 8.68 inches (22.05 cm) 201.42 mm (7.93 inches)
Depth 0.27 inches (6.9 mm) 8.4 mm (0.33 inches)
Weight 677 g (23.88 oz) 786 g (27.73 oz)
Colors Space Gray, Gold, Silver Silver
Supported Audio Formats AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV N/A
Supported Video Formats H.264 video up to 4K, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG‑4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M‑JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format N/A

Ralph Theodory

Ralph Theodory is a Tech enthusiast all the way from Aleppo Syria, currently studying in Germany, behind the iOS concept series and Syria’s first...

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