Microsoft Surface Pro 2 vs Apple iPad 4 vs Google Nexus 10: Silicon Valley MMA

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 vs Apple iPad 4 vs Google Nexus 10: Silicon Valley MMA
We are pitting the current "vertical integration" tablets of the Silicon Valley's big three household names - Microsoft, Apple and Google - to gauge the different paths they are taking into creating their own hardware to go with their renowned software.

Of course, both Google and Microsoft are new at this game, introducing their own tablets just last year, whereas Apple has been a vertically integrated maker for decades now. Still, the Windows and Android brains did very well, and now with the introduction of Surface Pro 2 Microsoft has a chance to be commercially successful as well. Let's see who did what here.


Google took a familiar for its company philosophy approach with the Nexus 10, stressing on top-notch specs yet moderate pricing at the time of introduction, rather than exterior design, which explains why it went with Samsung as an OEM at the first place. Apple's way with the iPad 4 is also well-expected, as it created an elegant device with premium design and an app ecosystem to match, but somewhat limited expansion options. 

Microsoft, as usual, threw the kitchen sink at the problem, creating the most powerful of the three devices, with the full Windows 8 might behind its back, with premium looks as well, and somewhat cruder, yet flexible design with expandability. The idea of a tablet is to be a thin and light take-anywhere device, though, so we'll see how Microsoft's 2-pound gorilla will fare in the market, despite the promise of Win 8, its device drivers and the legacy programs support behind its back.


Nexus 10 sports the most resolute display of the three, with the record 2560x1600 pixels for its 10.1" display, and unsurpassed 300ppi pixel density. Next in line is the iPad 4 with the "Retina Display" and 264ppi, while the Surface Pro 2 keeps the "mere" Full HD screen of its predecessor, meaning the 10.6" panel sports 208ppi pixel density, but is the largest of the three.

All three screens, however, are of excellent quality in terms of colors, brightness, viewing angles and reflectivity, so you won't go wrong with any of them. Apple's iPad 4 display, and the ClearType panel of the new Surface Pro 2, are likely to be more suited for screen purists.

Horse power

We can easily give this round to the Surface Pro 2, as its 4th generation Intel Core i5 "Haswell" architecture will blow out of the water Apple's A6X and Samsung's Exynos 5 chipsets in sheer power alone. With great power comes a small fan, though, and since Microsoft says the Pro 2 is much quieter than its predecessor, we'd wager to guess that there is still a fan inside to cool the scorching Core i5. The ultra low-voltage Haswells that don't require a fan are seemingly not ready for prime time in a retail device just yet. Microsoft bundles its tablet with 4/8 GB of RAM, whereas Apple's iOS makes do with 1 GB, and Google's Android flies with 2 GB of RAM, the exact amount on the Nexus 10, so all three are well-equipped to handle the multitasking demands of their respective operating systems.


Apple's notorious for being stingy on the internal memory amount, as it makes a bundle on iPad versions with more than 16 GB, and Google seems to have followed suit with just 16 GB as well, and no card slot for expansion. Microsoft, on the other hand, ships the basic Surface Pro 2 with 64 GB, plus a memory card slot, though Win 8 is likely to end up occupying quite a bit of the internal storage amount, so don't pop the champagne just yet.


Microsoft's tablet comes with pressure-sensitive stylus, Dolby speakers, a full USB 3.0 and a mini DisplayPort, so you are all set without needing much of additional accessories, plus now it has similar 8-10 hours of battery life as the Android and iOS tablets. Pair that with Windows 8 that has support for more than a million device drivers that can be hooked directly to the tablet, and it is becoming a more serious productivity machine than both the iPad 4 and the Nexus 10. 

The iOS and Android slates are thus more media and information consumption oriented, compared to the Surface Pro 2, and it shows in the price range, as the aluminum iPad 4 will start you off at $500, the plastic Nexus 10 begins at $400, while the magnesium-clad Surface Pro 2 tablet commands a veritable PC price of $899. 

Whether the Surface Pro 2 WinTel prowess will be enough to entice buyers for paying as much for one as for an iPad 4 and Nexus 10 combined, remains to be seen. Let's not forget we might see new editions of the iPad and Nexus tablet franchises still by year-end, so the Surface Pro 2 might have an even steeper climb ahead of it. What do you think?

DeviceMicrosoft Surface Pro 2Apple iPad 4Google Nexus 10
OSWindows (8.1 Pro)iOS (7.01)Android (4.3, 4.2.2, 4.2.1, 4.2)
Dimensions10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 inches (275 x 173 x 13 mm)9.50 x 7.31 x 0.37 inches (241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm)10.39 x 6.99 x 0.35 inches (263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9 mm)
Weight32.00 oz (907 g)
the average is 17.4 oz (496 g)
23.35 oz (662 g)
the average is 17.4 oz (496 g)
21.27 oz (603 g)
the average is 17.4 oz (496 g)
Design featuresStylus  
Physical size10.6 inches9.7 inches10.1 inches
Resolution1920 x 1080 pixels2048 x 1536 pixels2560 x 1600 pixels
Pixel density
208 ppi264 ppi300 ppi
System chip
  Intel Core i5Apple A6XSamsung Exynos 5
Dual core, 2.6 GHzDual core, 1400 MHz, Apple SwiftDual core, 1700 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15
Graphics processorIntel 4400PowerVR SGX 554ARM Mali-T604
System memory
4096 MB RAM1024 MB RAM2048 MB RAM (Dual-channel)
Built-in storage64 GB16 GB16 GB
Storage expansionmicroSD, microSDHC, microSDXC  
CameraYes5 megapixels5 megapixels
Flash  LED
Camcorder1280x720 (720p HD)1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)
Front-facing cameraYes1.2 megapixels1.9 megapixels
Video capture 1280x720 (720p HD)1280x720 (720p HD) 

Wi-FiYes802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz802.11 a, b, g, n
Dual antennas, MIMO MIMO
USBUSB 3.0YesUSB 2.0
ConnectorFull-size USBProprietarymicroUSB
HDMI DisplayPortYesMicro HDMI (Type D)

Officially announced23 Sep 201323 Oct 201229 Oct 2012
Scheduled release
22 Oct 2013 (Official)  
MSRP price   
$ 899$ 499$ 399



1. papss unregistered

The tablets shouldn't even be compared to a i5 powerhouse..

3. android_hitman unregistered

how can you compare x86 architecture vs arm!!! are you that limited? surface pro 2 runs FULL WINDOWS NATIVE APPS.... this is another PA article to BIAS M$ latest release.. and surface 2 pro is really the best tablet out there

6. papss unregistered

That's what I mean dude.. Its not even a comparison.

13. android_hitman unregistered

i was referring to PA not to you :)

44. softfurryanus

Posts: 232; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

Unfortunately PA doesn't care.. Remember iPhone 5 vs Note 3 comparison a few weeks ago? Yea, pretty soon they'll post "Old Spice deodorant vs the Galaxy Note 10.1's S-pen"

8. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I don't agree it's the best. They just play in different categories. Ipad 4 and Nexus 10 are tablets, the Pro 2 is a laptop replacement. How can you compare a tablet that costs DOUBLE and WEIGHTS 300 grams more? The one they should be comparing to is the Surface 2, both for price and use!

24. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I don't even know why they are comparing these, with the pro... Its not even in the same price category

41. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

why did they compare the surface 2 pro instead of the surface 2? Its obvious the pro smashes the others in performance and quality.

2. timezone

Posts: 87; Member since: Jun 16, 2013

The surface tablets are amazing. Get rid of the fan, make it lighter, thinner and less costly. Then I'm all in.

22. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Until Intel gets some more power reduction they can't use thegood i5s without the fan, wait a few years they are working on getting laptop chips into tablets that can be passively cooled.

37. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

turns out it might take another 5 years to get it cheaper after more OEMS make a true Surface pro Competitor like sony and HP are doing

4. sri_tech

Posts: 188; Member since: May 21, 2013

Even the low res surface RT display beat retina iPAD display in many cases. I am sure the new 1080p display will do even better.

27. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

I work in Tech and people are always bashing RT. I actually want and RT device. I'd prefer 8-9" so I'll probably wait until the end of the year to see what all comes out before picking one. I have a very capable Laptop and PC. RT is perfect for me as a browsing/app device.

5. scriptwriter

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

value for money = Nexus 10 wins everytime. I might buy one......oh wait...i already did!!!

7. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

Surface Pro 2 wins Build quality hardware spec runs desktop apps Tablets apps its a workstation/tablet/laptop when you need it It a Pro Machine

9. HalaMadrid

Posts: 92; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Ipad 4 > All

11. mohammed2222

Posts: 31; Member since: Feb 07, 2013


17. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

Lol blinded by the forbidden fruit.

10. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Surface pro FTW

12. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

sorry but nexus 10 had the most points

19. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

In what way?

21. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Well its kinda the cheapest And is one of the most portable

39. 1113douglas

Posts: 200; Member since: Jul 04, 2013

in every way, and every aspect the nexus 10 is the best.if you want the best tablet out their though, i wouldn't recommend it. i would recommend the galaxy note 10.1 2014 edition. thats by FAR the best tablet worldwide

45. softfurryanus

Posts: 232; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

You are brilliant.

14. jellmoo

Posts: 2596; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Why on earth would you use the Pro as opposed to the Surface 2 for this comparison? The Surface 2 is designed for the same target market as the iPad and the Nexus 10, the Pro is not.

23. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

You sir scored the jackpot! The surface pro is meant to compete against laptops and notebooks, even tho I'll still buy ASUS offering over this, its a great deal

29. rodneyej1

Posts: 3576; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

YOU ARE RIGHT❗... This guy is extremely biased, and is obviously trying to make the Surface look bad... Even when he points out it's strong points he has to finish with something negative... A fair review would've been done with the Surface 2.... Typical PA BS.... What is the Surface 2 priced at like $499❔.... What an idiot..

15. rperki8

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 21, 2011

Correction in display section: says: unsurpassed 200ppi pixel density should be: unsurpassed 300ppi pixel density

16. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

So why compare the x86 Core i5 powered Surface Pro 2 with ARM powered tablets? This is like me saying the Apple and Android tablets are useless because they don't run steam, counterstrike, Heroes of newerth, World of tanks, Diablo 1-2-3, Path of exile, Mirrors Edge, Homeworld 2, League of Legends, WoW etc, while my Surface Pro does.

18. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

i must admit this article is a bit pointless when comparing two very different types of products that are leagues away from each other in terms of production and capabilities. Tablets are for one purpose, consumption. The Pro 2 is some far far beyond simply consumption and that is why they do not compare.

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