Google Nexus 10 vs Microsoft Surface RT

Introduction and Design

Attempting feverishly to make a splash in the tablet market, the Microsoft Surface RT is the poster child for Microsoft’s new tablet platform in Windows RT. No doubt there’s an uphill battle ahead of its path already, seeing that it’s a new platform and all, but more importantly, it begs the question on how well it can compete with that other poster child taking space over in Android land – the Google Nexus 10. As we’ve seen already, there’s a ton of buzz surrounding these impressive tablets, but all things considered, it’s certain that most people are dying to know which one is going to give you the most bang for the buck.


Seeing that price constraints make the Nexus 10’s design a bit more modest, rather than premium taste that so many people crave with high-end devices, we’re going to stick with the Surface RT for having the better looking design. Overall, the two are very similar in size, but it’s the tapered edges and “VaporMg” body of the Surface RT that comes off as something a unconventional amongst tablet designs we’ve seen. Well, it’s not to say that the Nexus 10 is an ugly duckling, but rather it’s too cookie cutter to take away from the unique and delicate appearance of its rival.

Below its screen, we can spot the distinct Windows capacitive Start button on the Surface RT. Meanwhile, the Nexus 10 packs a very useful pulsating LED notification light beneath its display.

Fortunately, both tablets feature distinctive and springy power buttons and volume controls that are easily accessible around their trims. Making it convenient for us, it’s nice to know that the microUSB port of the Nexus 10 provides for charging and data connectivity, which isn’t a simple thing with the Surface RT because it employs a proprietary charging port. On the other hand, we appreciate that Microsoft’s slab incorporates a full-sized USB port that enables a host of peripherals to connect to it - such as keyboard, mice, and flash drives. And finally, we also love that the two offer quick and easy video-out functionality with their microHDMI ports. Along their bottom trims, though, proprietary docking ports on the two allow accessories to interact – such as the Touch and Type Covers for the Surface, though, it’s unknown at the moment what’s going to work with Google’s beauty.

When it comes to cameras, the Nexus 10 manhandles its competition seeing that the Surface RT is packing paltry 1-megapixel front and rear cameras, which have the ability to shoot video in up to 800p resolution. Conversely, the Nexus 10 is more ahead of the times with its 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing snapper – with both being able to shoot video in 1080p and 720p respectively.


Being the less expensive tablet, it’s amazing to know that the Nexus 10 is sporting the higher resolution with its display. Specifically, it’s a 10-inch 2650 x 1600 True RGB Real Stripe PLS display that delivers a class-leading pixel density of 300 ppi for tablets. Needless to say, its detail superiority over the Surface RT’s display is blatantly obvious, as there is a considerable level of sharpness with its appearance. We’re not saying that the 10.6-inch 1366 x 768 display (148 ppi) is abysmal, but it’s not as stunning to eye Adding to its sheer brilliance, the Nexus 10 has the higher brightness output to make it more visible in outdoor settings, and it produces colors that are more vibrant – thus, giving it that alluring wow factor from afar.

Interface and Functionality:

Clearly the more mature platform, there’s that sense of completeness attached to the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean experience of the Google Nexus 10, which as we’ve come to know, has been refined throughout the years. However, for a v1.0 platform, Windows RT definitely looks snazzy with the dynamic live tiles of its start screen, but it lacks some key elements to make it a power user friendly platform – such as a unified notifications hub and a healthy ecosystem of third party apps. Seeing that it breaths more personalization and integrates with many of Google’s services, the Nexus 10 undoubtedly has the arsenal to attract consumers and keep then entangled within Android’s versatile ecosystem.

On the surface, it seems as the two share similar functions with their core organizers apps, but yet again, Android’s maturity shows it worth in keeping us organized on the go. Yes, you get some basic organizing functions with the Surface RT experience, but it’s nowhere close to the impressive offering of Android’s more satisfying on the Nexus 10 – thanks to wealth of features offered by its Gmail app.

Noteworthy to say the least, the Surface RT adheres to our productivity needs as well with its suite of familiar Office apps. Considering it’s packing the same experience we’d get on a normal PC, there’s no kidding that we’re gravitating to it more than the Nexus 10. Throw in the optional Type Cover accessory, you gain all the familiar surroundings of what you’d get using your laptop.

Naturally, typing in landscape is the preferable way to go with these two, since their on-screen keyboards provide us with spacious layouts and quick responses. In portrait, though, we like how there’s a split style option with the Surface RT, which makes the process of inputting text a bit more comfortable. Then again, the Jelly Bean keyboard offers some Swype-like gestures as an alternative way in both portrait and landscape. Overall, they both work well for the occasion.

Processor and Memory:

Crazy to believe, it’s the Surface RT that’s sporting the more favorable hardware with its quad-core 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip with 2GB of RAM, which on paper seems more appealing than the dual-core 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos processor with 2GB of RAM inside of the Nexus 10. Regardless of what looks better on paper, their performances mirror one another identically with all tasks. Generally speaking, we’re greeted with peppy performances with very moments when they exhibit any kind of lag, and for the most part, they exhibit speeds that no doubt live up to their high-end status.

If we’re able to wish upon a star, we’d desperately ask to see a microSD slot in the Nexus 10, but sadly, it’s stuck with either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Showing off its versatility, the Surface RT packs that beloved microSD slot in addition to the 32GB of memory it’s packing. Even better, its full-sized USB port allows us to connect external and flash drives too.

Internet and Connectivity:

Obviously, it’s not a shocker that the web browsing experience is wonderful with these two beauties, especially when they dish up qualities such as fast page loads, oh-so fluid navigational controls, and proper page rendering. Additionally, there are specific features that make the two web browsers so inviting to use. Specifically, we like Chrome’s extensive sharing functionality and the useful gestures in play that allow us to switch between tabs quickly. And with Internet Explorer on the Surface RT, it’s nearly an exact facsimile to what we get out of the desktop experience.

Interestingly, these are only Wi-Fi only tablets we’re dealing with – for now, that is. Currently, there’s no word on whether or not we’ll be seeing cellular connected versions of either tablet. Aside from that, they carry along other common connectivity features like aGPS and Bluetooth, but it’s the Nexus 10 that’s packing NFC for easy multimedia sharing.


Normally, we’d say that the numerical figure attached to cameras don’t matter when it comes to defining their quality, but with this comparison, we beg to differ. Hands down, the 5-megapixel camera of the Nexus 10 blows away the measly 1-megapixel snapper of the Surface RT right out of the water. Above all, it’s the sharper visuals produced by the Nexus 10 that obliterates the hazy and flat images put out by the Surface RT. In terms of color reproduction, we notice more saturation going on with the Surface RT as well. Sure, it’d take a lot for us to instinctively use a tablet to snap photos, but if these are the only things around at the moment, we’d undeniably stick with the Nexus 10.

Quite simply folks, it’s hard to imagine we’re dealing with “high-def” video recording here, but the Nexus 10 appears to be the lesser of two evils. As a whole, they’re nothing impressive over other things, however, it’s the slightly better looking details of the Nexus 10’s results that makes us choose it more. Unfortunately, they share the same distractive element of heavy artifacting, which regrettably softens their results.

Google Nexus 10 Sample Video:

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Microsoft Surface RT Sample Video:

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Frankly, there are specific aspects with their music players that stand out – such as the cool 3D carousel feature of the Google Play Music app and the overall dynamic visual of the Surface RT’s music player. Partly due to the positioning of its speakers, which disperse audio towards us as we’re holding it, the Nexus 10 pumps out the stronger volume tones.

Posing very little for the two, high-definition 1080p videos play flawlessly thanks to their speedy processor. However, the added brilliance factor of the Nexus 10’s display makes it easily the preferred tablet to watch videos.


Impressively, battery life is extremely extensive with both tablets, as they’re able to carry on close to two solid days of normal usage with fully charged batteries. Without question, that’s a little better than average, which should pose no issues for power users as well.


Microsoft, for its part, has done a tremendous job in bringing to market a competitive tablet in the Surface RT. On the hardware side, it has a stunning design that’s very unique amongst most things, but on the software end, we see that there’s still plenty of growing up needed for it to tangle with Google has going on with Android. Yeah, it’s not the coolest or most stylish looking tablet we’ve seen around, but we can’t help ourselves drool over the super affordable price tag attached to the Nexus 10. At $400 for the base versions, versus $500 for the Surface RT, there is without doubt a lot more value found with the Nexus 10 – and not to mention, it actually performs handsomely in many areas over its rival. From its snazzy looking display to the complete feel of the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean experience, it goes to show why the Nexus 10 is the clear winner in this comparison. Not only are you going to save a cool $100 in the process, but we’re certain you’ll appreciate the experience more as well.

Google Nexus 10 vs Microsoft Surface RT

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