Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad 4

As it turned out, the Microsoft Surface RT stood no chance in trying to crack the strong visage put up by the Apple iPad, even though it seemed poised to do so with its interesting design and brand spanking new platform. Maybe the Redmond based company was merely feeling out its chance with its Windows RT powered tablet? Now that they have the real deal thing in the Surface Pro, it might actually be the one to start that avalanche of momentum that Microsoft needs to break through the surface in this competitive market that’s still firmly held together by Apple’s pride and joy.


Without question, both of these tablets are sporting designs that are unique and distinctive from the usual conventional designs that are recycled over and over. However, the more we look at them, we can’t help but fall back on the iconic design of the iPad 4, as it sports so many premium elements to its entire construction. In addition to being the skinnier and lighter tablet, it also exudes the slightly more premium taste with its solid brushed aluminum casing. Heck, the Surface Pro is still appealing and whatnot, but its bulkier size doesn’t make it as comfortable to handle – then again, the overall increase in size is warranted considering the kind of components it’s packing inside.

Obviously, since the Surface Pro is more akin to being an ultrabook laptop, it’s worth noting that it’s featuring an arsenal of useful ports that make it far more versatile than the iPad 4. Specifically, it’s donning a full sized USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort for video-out functionality, and a microSD card slot – all of which deepens its worth over most traditional tablets. As for some of the commonalities between the two, they include their power buttons, volume controls, proprietary charging ports, microphones, and 3.5mm headset jack. Yet another small detail with like about the Surface Pro, it employs magnetic connections with a couple of its ports to lessen any damage that might occur in the event they’re accidentally pulled.

Whoa! There is seriously no competition in the camera department, as the iPad 4 is armed with a likeable 5-megapixel auto-focus camera that shoots video in 1080p – and a front-facing 1.2-megapixel one enabled for 720p video recording. In comparison, the Surface Pro gets nothing stellar with its 0.9-megapixel fixed focused front and rear cameras, which have the ability to shoot video in up to 720p.


Now this is where it gets interesting, since the two have stunning looking displays over most of the crop. Still, the more we look at them, the biggest differentiator is the slightly more detailed and stronger brightness output of the iPad 4’s 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 IPS-LCD based Retina Display, which produces the higher pixel density if 264 ppi. Honestly, from a far distance away, it’s nearly indistinguishable to meticulously notice its finer details, but nonetheless, it’s evident upon closer inspection. Taking a gander at the Surface Pro’s 10.6-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS LCD display, it’s still attractive on many fronts, but it doesn’t have enough to steer us away from the Retina Display of the iPad 4.



1. Furbal unregistered

$699 for a tablet vs $899 touchscreen ultrabook. Ill take the ultrabook.

10. imsickwithsmartphone

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

nevermine..... GO APPLE!! GO APPLE!!

13. feres13

Posts: 307; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Should compare it to the 32 GB iPad since even that ipad comes with more storage than the 64 GB surface pro So it's 599$ vs 899$

26. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

You can easily free more storage, mostly by moving the recovery partitions to external storage. There's a LifeHacker article on it. You technically get more storage from a 128GB Surface than you do from a 128GB muckbook (by like 3GB from the factory, more if you move the unneeded files off the main drive)

33. Lumache

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

Actually after a little cleanup you can get 40GB free on a Surface Pro 64GB. ALSO, you can add multiple other storage options to it. You can print without a special printer. You can add up SDHC 64GB cards. I have a 32gb in Mine now. My 128 has all my office productivity tools installed, including ADUC tool set, SDKs and Office. VPN Software, HEAT and ITunes and other stuff and I have 76.8GB free. Oh and all I had to do to print to my printer was call up word and click print. I didn't even have to install drivers - it found the device and did it for me. Freaked me out a little but yea. The USB port rocks, the file system. The HDMI out port and OS support for it. With a USB wireless Mouse and keyboard I bought for $14.99 I can control Netflix on my big screen from across the house. Here is how I see it: IPAD easy to use,not easy to use as a Business tool, Pricey for what you get. Surface Pro - what I have DREAMED of for many years. Its an ULTRA ULTRABOOK. -Posted from the Pro 128

14. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I chose Microsoft Surface Pro!

47. MobileKicker

Posts: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

Cause u hate apple Fools hate apple ipad

22. wp8forever unregistered

phonearena understand this , it looks like a tablet , BUT IS NOT LOL, so don't compare a toy , to a full computer ,try to flash an android device , jailbreak and iphone , root , and so so so so so so on with and ipad or any android tablet , guess what is not happening .

48. MobileKicker

Posts: 212; Member since: Sep 19, 2013

Of course android didn't took over apple in the tablet & notebook market It can never overcome the iPads and the legend MacBooks Wait a minute... Where are all the android lovers can't see

2. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

kinda pointless, like comparing a MacBook Air to a gaming laptop

3. the_best

Posts: 139; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

In the end there can only be one winner! Who in the world would want 1 million apps, when they can have every app ever created.. But pricing and apple religion will take some time to overcome.

11. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

Not to mention the fact that it can run Android apps using Bluestack, and ability to run older PC games and emullators. The iPad is also very capable though. I personally prefer a 4:3 ratio of the iPad for a tablet. 16:9 looks lame to hold. The main problem with the iPad is the dependance on iTunes for media transfer and file management.

27. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

It may seem "lame" to hold, but after playing with one (Surface RT, mind you) for about a half hour at the local Best Buy, I think that the shape is preferable, as it works better with the OS, and when using for widescreen movies or side-by-side apps, there's more actual usable room. That said, after using it, I'd still spend the extra dough for an Asus Tai Chi or some of the other ultrabook/tablet hybrids. As much as I'd be using the device on a counter or as a photo frame when it's not in use, the angle of the kickstand was less than perfect for multiple-height uses (though great if it's on a desk or table and you're sitting before it), where a laptop or an adjustable hinge angle is preferable

34. Lumache

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

The pro is significantly 'BEEFIER' than the RT. Its about 2 Lbs. And Yea a Tai Chi though? What is the double sided screen about? When would I need that? But I see your point. Hey man if an Ultrabook is what your heart desires, go for it and let us know what you got and how you like it and why. Would love to hear all about it.

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I posted in other threads that I think the Surface Pro is a real opportunity for MS. Get the weight down, bump up the processor, RAM and storage, and they have something that could munch the iPad and mid-tier notebook markets. Office helps leverage MS' offering. I just hope MS doesn't go and f*ck up this opportunity.

12. CardiWPfan

Posts: 129; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

I have one word for ya The Surface Pro 2 coming in October 2013!! Watch the evolution unfolds!!

30. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

I am definitely watching to see what v. 2.0 of the Surface Pro looks like. Either SP v. 2.0 or maybe one of the hardware partners step up to the plate. Sony Duo v. 2.0 could be a contender, too. Surface Pro concept could be the next big thing. They proved the concept could be produced. Now they just need to make it compelling.

35. Lumache

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

If Microsoft says October 2013 that means February 2014. My case in point? The Surface Pro I am typing this on.

16. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

Unfortunately, MS has a way of f*cking up opportunities. However the Surface Pro may at the very least become a viable niche player. The RT platform is probably doomed however. It's a shame because I really like it.

5. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

First time iPad is the lesser priced device. But still these are totally different tablets. A consumption device and a productivity device. I'm already saving up to get a Windows 8 tab just so I can run visual basic.

28. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Not the first time. HTC Jetstream comes to mind.... Grossly overpriced for what it was.

6. duwiegeneral

Posts: 48; Member since: Dec 07, 2012


15. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

my point exactly kids or teens buy toy oh iPad other people get surface pro once they have enough money though :D

7. Basharhd99

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

windows vs ios, takes pictures on android :/ great job phonearena

8. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Microsoft should adjust the pricing of their surface pro, for $900 dollars I could get a new laptop with better storage,faster processor,battery life and so many more

29. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

True, but I think the Surface is for a niche market. I don't think they expect huge sales numbers, rather to be a benchmark for the platform, like a Nexus, if you will, for Windows 8. Not always the best value or highest-spec, but well-rounded and a good buy.

36. Lumache

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

But that Laptop will weigh like 5Lbs. You are not going to get a better spec ultrabook in the 999$ arena. But I hear ya. Spend extra for what you want. So far this Pro is fast and a pleasure to own. I had some driver issues but I think "THINK" recent updates resolved them.

9. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Like seriously, has the world gone Apple crazy to start comparing computers to Ipads? Its a shame, a very big one.

17. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 2012

It's like comparing a Lion to a Cat!!! Makes me laugh....i can do anything with my surface pro, anything at all!!!....... Apple can't beat this monster just like they could not do it back inn theMAc days...

18. davkaramagi

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 21, 2011

I think it's quite unfair to compare the iPad and Surface Pro. To me the serve different purposes and appeal to users with different usage patterns. If you are looking for a content consumption gadget, love games and for this narrowly scoped work related task usage, iPad makes sense. And price point makes sense for this limited scope. But, if you want the best of both worlds, something that can run legacy apps, do some real work but in tablet format, Surface Pro is king, albeit, you have to choke up the money!! Granted W8 lacks the bulk of apps for content consumption or plethora of games we now are used to like other tablets, it's catching & fast. They only need to make use of ecosystem including xbox games cleverly to bridge gaps. Key selling point that MS should push to justify $900 is that Surface Pro (can be argued) can replace an iPad and Laptop if someone is in the market for the 2 items ($500+$700)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.