Apple iPad 4 vs Microsoft Surface RT

Finding itself in a new venture with its first all in-house tablet, Microsoft finds itself in a unfamiliar position in being the underdog – whereas in the PC industry, they have a dominant presence. Now that the fourth-generation iPad is making the rounds, it’s going to be one very interesting showdown between it and the Microsoft Surface RT. Sporting the same starting price points, these are arguably the most highly prized premier tablets at the moment, so we’re all dying to find out how they fare against one another head on. Let’s start, shall we?


Utilizing all the best ingredients that are required to make them stand out above the heap, it’s rather difficult to concretely specify which of the two has the better design. In all seriousness, we love each of their distinctive looks, as they both employ premium materials and solid constructions to appease our desire for quality gadgets. Plainly different from one another, the iPad 4 has a more rounded feel in the rear, which is further aided by the clean look of its brushed aluminum casing. At the same time, the Microsoft Surface RT has a unique look as well with its tapered edges and its choice of using a magnesium composite dubbed by Microsoft as “VaporMg.” Sharing the same thickness of 0.37-inches, they’re definitely skinny in frame, but the Surface RT opts for a wider look with its 16:9 aspect ratio – while the iPad 4 goes for the somewhat more boxy appearance.

Below their displays, when they’re held in their appropriate orientations, we find their respective home buttons – the familiar recessed button of the iPad 4 and a capacitive Start one for the Surface RT. Although they’re different, we didn’t experience any accidental presses.

Looking around the trims of both tablets, they obviously share many commonalities – like their 3.5mm headset jacks, power buttons, volume controls, microphones, and proprietary power ports (Lightning docking port for the iPad 4 and a magnetic power connector on the Surface RT). However, it’s worth pointing out that the Surface RT has more benefits with its stereo speakers, full-sized USB port to accommodate accessories/peripherals, and an always-useful microHDMI port for quick video-out functionality. And finally, we surely appreciate the kickstand on the Surface as well!

Complete in every way imaginable, these two are sporting both front and rear facing cameras. Although it’s a close race in the front, as the iPad 4 sports a 1.2-megapixel snapper and the Surface being outfitted with a 1-megapixel one (both of which can shoot videos in 720p), there’s a huge disparity with their rear cameras. In fact, the iPad 4 flexes its muscles with its higher count 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, which so happens to feature an F2.4 lens and 1080p video recording. Meanwhile, the Surface is given a paltry fixed focus 1-megapixel camera that’s able to record video in up to 800p resolution.


Visually, the Surface has the more ideal display for watching videos, due to the 16:9 aspect ratio of its 10.6-inch screen. However, we can’t argue the fact that the iPad 4’s 9.7-inch Retina Display is the sharper looking one between the two, since it’s flaunting the higher resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, which absolutely crushes the Surface’s scary low 1366 x 768 resolution. With their homescreens, it’s hardly noticeable from a normal distance away as to which is more detailed, but upon opening up the web browser, it becomes evident that the iPad 4’s details are unmatched. Beyond resolution, they’re both quite pleasant to use, since they exhibit vibrant color tones and wide viewing angles – though, the iPad 4’s has more accurate colors and is is slightly more visible outdoors with the sun’s presence.



1. mydi.maus unregistered

surface is the best,apple loose same ol rotten apple...

2. SleepingOz unregistered

I'm far from being an apple fanboy but how exactly did apple lose?

3. VJo003

Posts: 365; Member since: Mar 11, 2012


7. nobelset

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

Like always. Price, productivity.

15. ahmed_ali_yossef2010

Posts: 164; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

what price !!! did you read the review they are at the same price "500$"

16. arsenaljimenez

Posts: 199; Member since: May 03, 2012

Actually at 500, you can't get the 32 GB version of the iPad

19. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Right. Also, no expandable storage, no factory keyboard option, and it's still just a ipod with a large screen.

32. JeffdaBeat unregistered

So...let's get a few things straight. You can pretty much use any bluetooth keyboard with the iPad. Apple even makes one. Also...HD space? Check this out: If you are buying the 32GB version, it seems so much space is taken by the OS and preinstalled apps that you're only left with 16GB. Apple's OS is less than 1GB. So thankfully the surface does have expandable HD.

44. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

I am not a fan boy of Apple. However an iPod is far from a large screen iPod. Apps on iPads are much nicer and offer a lot more. The use of Docs to Go is much nicer. Now as for expandable memory most of the world needs around 32gbs. I have a GNote that has 16 plus 16 sd card. In my case it's not close to being full. I have a 32gb iPad which is pretty full because of movies and TV shows.

26. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

He Didn't say Lose, he said Loose. Loose! Footloose kick off your Sunday shoes!

18. ahmed_ali_yossef2010

Posts: 164; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

are you reading another review

22. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

All the way Microsoft Surface RT !

24. bensch

Posts: 7; Member since: Nov 06, 2012

I am not an apple fan but I have to admit that the ipad seems like a very interesting product. The surface, however, would be my choice. The article did not take into account the ipad's 4 monster GPU, which is a quadcore. It absolutely murders any other tablet on the market in terms of 3D performance. It even surpasses the new adreno 320 by many, many points. But again, the surface wins in terms of every-day practicality. USB port, hdmi and 16:9 aspect ratio are the winners in this case.

34. AnTuTu

Posts: 1624; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Surface wins in productivity, design, platform, support, price, speed, multitasking, reputation and in every damn way.

36. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Wins in platform? Support? Big LOL to that

37. AnTuTu

Posts: 1624; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Big LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL​L to you that you don't understand technology dude :)

35. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

That was a short video

48. lolmoi97

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 24, 2016

Surface screen and os was s**t GO APPLE

4. OHaZZaR

Posts: 131; Member since: Aug 19, 2011

For those of you who need one of the better displays, likes having an app store with hundreds of thousands of games and apps, simplicity and having 29 Gigs of memory when buying a 32Gb model, get an iPad 4. If you need productivity, break-proof design and a solid keyboard, and 16 gigs of memory instead of 32 GB, get the microsoft Surface.

8. MEeee

Posts: 440; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

and if you want to save $100, get the Surface.

5. Mfa901

Posts: 291; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

Where is the physical keyboard of surface

6. Ueliton

Posts: 34; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

This guy is the best reviewer PA has. By far! No sign of bias.

9. Kronic

Posts: 321; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

iPad 4 is the obvious winner. It has much better specs.

10. g2a5b0e unregistered

Clearly. Because better specs automatically equal a better device.

20. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

If specs were everything, high-end Androids and Alienwares would win every competition they were entered in

39. Googlethis

Posts: 179; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Don't know about alien ware in the specs department. but android usually beats in specs in the phone and tablet catagory.

41. alfistas

Posts: 6; Member since: Nov 11, 2012

Both Tegra and Exynos have proven inferior to Apple's offerings... The A6X though dual core is a far more advanced design. Thus performs better on pretty much EVERYTHING.

42. alfistas

Posts: 6; Member since: Nov 11, 2012

iPad 4 wins because it has MORE and BETTER software. It is an unfair comparison. We need to give Microsoft Developers at least 18 Moths to prepare good software titles for us... I only hope Microsoft continues to release their own Tablets. The surface is truly gorgeous!!

47. cccccc

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 21, 2013

What are you talking about. . Microsoft doesn't make the third party apps for anything.

11. pongkie

Posts: 663; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

thats just the RTs but if compared to the Pro.

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