Introduction:


Oh boy people! We’re nearing that time of the year when companies go all out to get products into the face of hungry consumers, who are starving for some good ‘ol fashion tech goodness. If you’re looking to snag a deal on a fancy new tablet this upcoming holiday season, you’ll have plenty to choose from, naturally – though, it seems like certain ones have a better balance between price, features, and performance. Apple and Microsoft have been in a never-ending quest to outduel one another, but in the tablet space, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing for Apple – and nothing but catching up for Microsoft.

Last year’s Microsoft Surface tablet didn’t pan out quite the way Microsoft envisioned, as it clearly didn’t do enough to capture the hearts of minds of consumers. In fact, it felt simply underpowered in comparison to the rest of the field at that time. This year, though, its successor is outfitted with beefier specs and an updated experience that’s more befitting for a flagship device, but the new iPad Air also has some new tricks under its sleeve – a totally new design that’s accompanied with a refreshingly updated experience as well. So what tablet is going to reign supreme this time? Let’s find out!


Design


When these two employ quality characteristics that makes them premium devices in the arena, it’s really tough deciding which design we like better. With the iPad Air, it’s most notable for its thin and light construction – a marvel to behold no doubt, since it feels exquisitely easy in the hand. At the same time, its build quality isn’t compromised, since it’s constructed from that brushed aluminum material we’re familiar seeing with the beloved line. Even though it’s technically thicker and heavier than its rival, the Surface continues to have a slick industrial design that’s highlighted most by its angular cutouts and sturdy “VaporMg” chassis. Best of all, the Surface 2 packs along a very useful kickstand – a rare item to find with tablets.

Between them, we absolutely love how the Surface 2 features ports that are commonly found with today’s laptops – like a full-sized USB 3.0 port, microHDMI out port, microSD card slot, and a magnetic power connection port. They’re actually all quite useful and show the flexibility of the tablet, whereas with the iPad Air, it only packs along a Lightning docking port, which requires the purchase of an additional adapter to gain video-out functionality.


Display:


Last year’s Surface disappointed many with its low-resolution display, but Microsoft has seemingly quieted any concerns with its successor. Happily, we’re presented with a 10.6-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD screen, which is a pleasant treat when compared to the iPad Air’s 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 Retina Display. Indeed, its pixel density count of 208 ppi doesn’t match the iPad Air’s higher 264 ppi tally, but in all honesty, the difference is negligible – especially when they exhibit the same sharpness from a normal viewing distance.

Relying on good old IPS LCD technology, they produce colors that are neutral in tone. However, the iPad Air’s screen is brighter and offers better viewing angles, allowing it to shine when it’s viewed outdoors with the sun present. Don’t get us wrong, we appreciate how the Surface 2’s display is up with the times, but the iPad Air’s Retina Display continues to prove itself as being the more attractive one.

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