Apple iPad Air vs Microsoft Surface 2
Interface and Functionality
Interestingly, these new tablets are accompanied with updated software experiences too – albeit, there’s more of a profound change with the iPad Air’s iOS 7 experience. Comparing the two, the Surface 2’s updated Windows 8.1 RT experience continues to sport the more appealing visual flare, as its homescreen once again catches our attention more with its dynamic and animated presentation. Of course, the iOS 7 experience brings along some exciting changes too, but aside from its new layered design, translucency, and new animations, it still bears many of the classis elements of iOS – and that’s having a simplified presentation.
However, seeing that iOS has been on the market longer, it benefits from having a richer and more diverse apps ecosystem. Therefore, it naturally sees a ton more tablet-optimized apps than its competitor. On the flip side, we can’t knock on the Surface 2, mainly because it’s slowly building a healthy lineup of its own.
Notifications are better organized with the iPad Air’s implementation, since everything is pooled into the centralized hub of its notifications center. You’d think that Microsoft would adopt a similar implementation, since the process is widely used by other platforms, but instead, notifications are mostly handled by live tiles on the start screen. Unfortunately, it’s a messy process, seeing that notifications can be littered throughout different areas.
However, the Surface 2 does a better job with multi-tasking, much like it did before. With the enhancements made with the Windows 8.1 RT experience, it enables us to juggle around two apps side-by-side – allowing us to resize their windows to better fit our needs. We actually find this implementation far more practical than the way it’s handled with the iPad Air.
Trying out the on-screen keyboards of both tablets, there’s not one that’s more advantageous than the other – that’s because they’re spacious, responsive, and offer really good auto-correct. Due to the widescreen nature of the Surface 2’s display, its on-screen landscape keyboard is wider, but we’re still able to encompass the iPad Air’s on-screen keyboard comfortably. Alternatively, they also feature split-style keyboards that are ideal when typing in portrait.
Processor and Memory
There’s nothing that these two tablets can handle, since their internal hardware help to keep their performances top-notch, smooth and zippy in fact. A rarity in the tablet space, the iPad Air boasts a 64-bit base dual-core 1.4GHz Apple A7 processor with 1GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the Surface 2 is also outfitted with an impressive gear as well – a mighty quad-core 1.7GHz NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor with 2GB of RAM. Thankfully, there’s barely any evidence of lag with their performances! Rather, everything is accompanied with tight and instant responses that make them oh-so snappy.
In terms of storage options, the Apple iPad Air is available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities – with each separated by a $100 cost. Conversely, the Surface 2 is only made available in two capacities, 32GB and 64GB, but it has the added benefit of supplementing its tally thanks to its microSD card slot and USB 3.0 port.
Internet and Connectivity
Already proving to us that these two are relenting with their performances, it doesn’t surprise us that they also deliver a very engaging web browsing. Connected via Wi-Fi, they’re both more than equipped in loading up complex pages rich with multimedia content. Better yet, the combination between their smooth navigational controls and sharp looking displays, all help to solidify their excellent experiences.
At the moment, it’s only the iPad Air that’s made available with cellular 4G LTE connectivity – in addition to Wi-Fi models. Despite that, they’re both stuffed with all of the usual connectivity features we expect to find nowadays, so they consist of aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.
1. alterecho (Posts: 721; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)
"especially when the Surface 2 is more PC-like than your average tablet."
Actually, Microsoft made the PC tablet-like, so that when people use their tablet, they get the impression they are on a PC.
2. darkvadervip (Posts: 260; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
Is this just the surface 2 or the pro because the pro blows the iPad air away. Can I get a motion for that
15. stealthd (Posts: 818; Member since: 12 Jun 2011)
It's also much more expensive and has much worse battery life. They're really in different categories.
3. xIJoeyBoyIx (Posts: 7; Member since: 25 Oct 2013)
I'm not a apple fan but the new ipad is a great piece of kit the look and fell is phenomenal. If only android could add more tablet optimized apps and someone like Samsung make a tablet that is made from aluminium but yet has great specs then would that only be an ipad beater but also a fantastic project. I'm just surprised that it hasn't been done yet.
6. Jason2k13 (Posts: 464; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)
so it has to be made out of aluminium to be considered premium?
16. stealthd (Posts: 818; Member since: 12 Jun 2011)
I think it was a suggestion, not a requirement. The point is the plastic Samsung uses definitely isn't premium. Plastic can seem premium, but the slimy glossy plastic they've been using isn't it. The Note 3's texture is better.
19. xIJoeyBoyIx (Posts: 7; Member since: 25 Oct 2013)
Personally I think premium is when software and hardware and aesthetics work perfectly. The Samsung note 2014 edition is a beast of a tablet, great screen and great performance but yet still doesn't do it for be with the build quality. If I am paying over £400 for a tablet I want it to feel better in the hand. I use a nexus 10 and I still believe its the best android tablet you can buy and that's not made from aluminium. Also to answer your questions no aluminium doesn't need to be considered premium but it helps product seem more money worth.
21. Jason2k13 (Posts: 464; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)
90% of people i see with ipads or samsung tablets uses a cover/case... they probably have the same view as you about having the "premium feeling".
7. taikucing (unregistered)
My $12 Chinese MP3 player with speaker is made of aluminium. My $5 Chinese iPod nano clone is made of aluminium. So my cheap MP3 player is premium?
You want an iPhone beater? Goophone i5S
You want an iPad clone with aluminium case? Chinese can make it.
You want someone like Samsung make a tablet that is made from aluminium? Your wish comes true --> Motorola Xoom
11. c.hack (Posts: 487; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)
What a surprise. Another droidtroll thinks his slow laggy Nexsucks with the toy camera, stuttering screen, and loads of malware can even compete. At least it finally has 4G. Too bad it has nothing else to compete.
4. thezunelune (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Nov 2013)
Thank you for a fair review. They are so hard to come by, seriously.
5. MojoDojo (Posts: 76; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
If one follow your comparison one would think that the conclusion will be to buy a Surface 2. It wins in most of the inportant comparisons between the two, and the categories it doest win in, it eqauls. Except the app ecosystem. Yet Surface 2 got 8 and Ipad Air got 9.2!!
An example of what you can do with the Surface 2:
8. rusticguy (Posts: 2810; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
Surface 2 will start getting 9 + once it captures 10% of market share.
9. HASHTAG (unregistered)
How does market share have to do anything w/ the score it gets?
10. MojoDojo (Posts: 76; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Are you serious? I dont know if your comment is funny or stupid. Maybe both.
17. stealthd (Posts: 818; Member since: 12 Jun 2011)
Tablets are pretty much useless without a decent app ecosystem. Unless you're content with just using the browser and the few apps available. The surface 2's screen is also lower res, processor isn't as fast. Then there's Windows 8's still awful tablet/desktop hybrid UI. I think it's pretty clear why the Surface didn't win.
12. alaahershy (Posts: 34; Member since: 02 Jan 2013)
iPad Air ---> Who care it's on ios 7
Surface ---> I care It's 8.1
14. shammont (Posts: 26; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)
These 2 devices are pretty equal. Go with which ever gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. I personally would pick the Surface. I have a Galaxy Tab2(Android) and a Surface Pro. The Tab2 is so clunky and jerky. It is just not smooth like the Apple and Microsoft products. I would take 100 bucks for the Tab2 and it is brand new. Anyone interested let me know.
18. pookiewood (Posts: 462; Member since: 05 Mar 2012)
Can't wait to get a Surface 2. Almost there!
20. sgodsell (Posts: 180; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)
Still only one browser (Internet Explorer) on Surface 2. Not to mention a really limited app selection.