Apple iPad Air vs Nexus 10 vs Microsoft Surface 2 specs comparison
Apple has traditionally held the upper hand in tablet graphics and the iPad Air ups the ante in both CPU and GPU power with the Apple A7 chip. That looks to be the same chip Apple is using in the iPhone 5s, a somewhat strange decision since we’ve been accustomed to getting an Ax version of Apple’s chips with more graphical oomph in iPads. Not this time probably.
In terms of the performance gain, Apple put it simple and clear: the new iPad Air has up to 8x faster CPU performance and 72x faster graphics performance in comparison to the original. The company is usually pretty spot on with those numbers, so we have no reason to distrust them.
The new iPad Air is also 2x faster opening files and supports Wi-Fi n (not the latest 802.11ac Apple bragged about including in the new Macbook Pros).
Most importantly, at all this Apple manages to keep the 10-hour battery life. However how will this all stack up against the big competitors, the Google Nexus 10 and the Microsoft Surface 2? Take a look at the spec comparison right below.
Apple iPad Air vs Google Nexus 10 vs Microsoft Surface 2
|OS||iOS (7.x)||Android (4.4.2, 4.4, 4.3, 4.2.2, 4.2.1, 4.2)||Windows (RT 8.1)|
|Dimensions||9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches (240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm)||10.39 x 6.99 x 0.35 inches (263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9 mm)||10.81 x 6.79 x 0.35 inches (275 x 172 x 9 mm)|
|Weight||16.86 oz (478 g)|
the average is 14.6 oz (416 g)
|21.27 oz (603 g)|
the average is 14.6 oz (416 g)
| 23.84 oz (676 g)|
the average is 14.6 oz (416 g)
|Physical size||9.7 inches||10.1 inches||10.6 inches|
|Resolution||2048 x 1536 pixels||2560 x 1600 pixels||1920 x 1080 pixels|
Pixel density - The pixel density of a display represents the number of pixels over an area of one inch. It’s measured in “pixels per inch”, or ppi. The higher the number, the more detailed and good-looking the display is.
|264 ppi||300 ppi||208 ppi|
Technology - There are two main screen technologies currently used in phones and tablets: LCD and AMOLED. The former usually features a light source and liquid crystals, while the latter is based on organic light-emitting diodes. Newer LCD variations like IPS-LCD and Super-LCD allow for very accurate color reproduction and very wide viewing angles, where no significant image quality loss is observed. Current AMOLED screens differ in such a way that they can exhibit much more saturated colors (sometimes too much) and incredibly high contrast levels, which is due to black color being completely black in AMOLED displays.
|IPS LCD||True RGB Real Stripe PLS||IPS LCD|
|Colors||16 777 216||16 777 216|
|Camera||5 megapixels||5 megapixels||5 megapixels|
Aperture size - The aperture of a camera is the opening through which light travels before it reaches the camera sensor. The smaller the number is, the bigger this opening is, allowing for more light to pass.
|Camcorder||1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)||1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)||1920x1080 (1080p HD)|
|Features||Digital image stabilization|
|Front-facing camera||1.2 megapixels||1.9 megapixels||3.5 megapixels|
|Video capture||1280x720 (720p HD)|
System chip - Most modern handsets use an advanced chip that includes many of the device’s hardware modules like the processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and sometimes even the wireless radio. This field shows what particular system chip (or System-on-a-Chip) is used in the phone.
|Apple A7 with 64-bit architecture||Samsung Exynos 5||NVIDIA Tegra 4 (T40)|
Processor - The processor is the main computing component of a phone and is a major factor when it comes to the overall speed of the device. Some more powerful smartphones use dual-core and quad-core processors designed to deliver greater performance.
|Dual core, 1400 MHz, Cyclone||Dual core, 1700 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15||Quad core, 1700 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15|
|Graphics processor||PowerVR G6430||ARM Mali-T604||Yes|
System memory - System memory, or RAM memory is the type of memory that the device uses to temporarily store data from the OS or currently-running apps. The more RAM available to the device, the better the performance will be when multiple or heavier programs are running.
|1024 MB RAM / LPDDR3||2048 MB RAM (Dual-channel)||2048 MB RAM (Dual-channel) / LPDDR3|
|Built-in storage||128 GB||32 GB||32 GB|
|Storage expansion||microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC|
|Stand-by time||20.8 days (500 hours)|
the average is 36 days (861 h)
| 15.0 days (360 hours)|
the average is 36 days (861 h)
|Music playback||90.00 hours|
|Video playback||9.00 hours||10.00 hours|
|Capacity||8820 mAh||9000 mAh|
|Type||Li - Polymer||Li - Polymer|
|Not user replaceable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
CDMA - Code Division Multiple Access. A technique of multiplexing, also called spread spectrum, in which analog signals are converted into digital form for transmission. For each communication channel, the signals are encoded in a sequence known to the transmitter and the receiver for that channel. The foremost application is digital cellular phone technology from QUALCOMM that operates in the 800MHz band and 1.9GHz PCS band. CDMA phones are noted for their excellent call quality and long battery life.
|800, 1900 MHz|
|GSM||850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz|
|UMTS||850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz|
|FDD LTE||700 (band 13), 700 (band 17), 800 (band 18), 800 (band 19), 800 (band 20), 850 (band 5), 850 (band 26), 900 (band 8), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3), 1900 (band 2), 1900 (band 25), 2100 (band 1), 2600 (band 7) MHz|
|Data||LTE, HSPA (unspecified), UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, EV-DO Rev.A, EV-DO Rev.B|
|MSRP price||$ 929||$ 499||$ 449|
4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8645; Member since: 14 May 2012)
2520 isn't anything special. It's basically DOA.
8. buccob (Posts: 1481; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
hey Papa what do you think about Tablet Z? It should be next to those... (though kind of small battery)
10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8645; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Tablet Z shouldn't isn't worth mentioning anymore. iPad Air puts it to shame completely.
19. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
Disagree. Z is still an outstanding tablet if you want Android. Thin, super light weight, smooth, and great build quality makes this a great tablet to get.
3. harvardale (Posts: 13; Member since: 22 Jul 2011)
True. But an unfair comparison as the new Nexus 10 will be announced next week.
5. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
The new nexus 10 will be the best tablet once released. But, At least the iPad air will be best for 10 days, good job apple.
6. Santi_Santi (unregistered)
why is the Nexus 10 on that comparison?
7. buccob (Posts: 1481; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Why isn't this compared to Sony Tablet Z which is thinner... and a bit better specs...
PA just want to make the iPad look better in comparisson..
11. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8645; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Google's flagship vs. Microsoft's flagship vs. Apple's flagship.
There you go.
21. Taters (Posts: 3260; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Tablet Z has worst specs than the Nexus 10.....people these days.
9. loyals (Posts: 129; Member since: 10 Nov 2012)
nexus 10 was a big flop. Apps n game quality is no where near ipad. nexus 10 is absolute waste of money , if u wanted to use it for apps n stuff . no app is decent. all upscaled ones.
12. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8645; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I can tell you never used a Nexus 10 before.
15. Santi_Santi (unregistered)
+1 for you, there
13. erikiksaz (Posts: 119; Member since: 22 Apr 2010)
Plus the nexus 10 has been selling for mid 300s new for months now.
14. ady_lad (Posts: 73; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)
So wait, you are comparing a 1 year old tablet (Nexus 10) with a brand new one, and another one that is yet to be launched? And by the way...why not the full Windows 8 Surface since most of the people do this comparisson when buying a tablet? Sure...this is a fair comparisson PA.
16. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4069; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
They should have waited for the new Nexus 10 to be released (which should be any day now), but they were right to use the Surface 2 and not the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro is a full laptop replacement with Intel's Haswell processor and 4+ GB of RAM, and full Windows 8.1. Plus it's $1000 for the base model, which is MUCH higher than these tablets. The Surface 2 is closer in price and OS practicality.
18. 1113douglas (Posts: 192; Member since: 04 Jul 2013)
IS EVERYONE FORGETTING ABOUT THE NOTE 10.1! Best tablet on the market by longshot!
20. Taters (Posts: 3260; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
The Nexus 10 was so ahead of its time that its crazy. Best tablet I have used by far and I would still put it ahead based on the PPI.
22. kimnurseboi (Posts: 2; Member since: 14 Sep 2013)
Nokia 2520 is much sexier and much more innovative! ....
23. junkerbunk (Posts: 2; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)
HOW IS THE AIR BETTER THAN THE NEXUS 10??? Sure, the Air is 5 ounces lighter. I am not complaining about 5 ounces of extra weight when I have 330PPI display, 1.7GHZ Processor, and 20 Hours of up time with a ONE YEAR OLD DEVICE! While the NEW Air only has 264PPI, 1.3 GHZ processor, and only 10 hours of battery life? I can deal with 5 ounces to have a much faster processor, twice as long battery life, and much more rich/higher quality display. Especially when my tablet is one year old and this is Apple's latest and greatest. This just shows you how people are so easily succeptible to marketing that these basic facts are overlooked.
24. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4069; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
First, the Nexus 10 has a 300 ppi display, not 330 ppi. Second, despite being clocked 400 MHz lower, the A7 in the iPad Air MAJORLY outclasses the Exynos 5250, in both CPU and GPU power. The A7 even beats the Exynos 5420, Samsung's current flagship SoC, and it has 2 more A15 cores than the 5250 at a higher clock speed (1.8 GHz). It's not always about cores and clock speeds, it's about architecture, and the dual Cyclone cores + PowerVR G6430 GPU in the A7 either beats or matches everything on the market right now, whether it be quad core 1.8 GHz Cortex A15 or quad core 2.3 GHz Krait 400.
Here's a link to benchmarks of the iPhone 5S, which has the same 1.3 Ghz A7;
And here's a link to the Nexus 10 benchmarks;
If you don't want to look through them, here's a simple run down;
Mozilla Kraken benchmark in ms, the lower the better;
iPhone 5S - 5,904.9 ms
Nexus 10 - 11,146 ms
Google Octane v1, the higher the better;
iPhone 5S - 5,500
Nexus 10 - 2,748
The iPhone 5S and the new iPads have essentially twice the CPU performance of the Nexus 10. In GPU, it's the same story.
"This just shows you how people are so easily susceptible* to marketing that these basic facts are overlooked."
By only looking at the basic facts, you made some very bold statements that were entirely false. This just shows you how manufacturers gain people's bias by just playing the numbers game with cores and clock speeds, and you're a perfect example.
25. junkerbunk (Posts: 2; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)
Wow great post Berzerk000. I see there is much more to consider beyond the stated specs to determine performance. Thanks for the revealing post. I learned something today.