Microsoft Surface vs. Apple iPad


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     From the release of the iPad in 2010, the demand for tablet computers has been increasing significantly. Microsoft, in an attempt to compete against Apple and their iPad, released the Microsoft Surface in mid-2012. The two tablet devices are similar in some ways and different in others. Which one is best for you depends on your personal needs, and each device has strengths and weaknesses. Here are the differences in features between the two.



     Externally, the Microsoft Surface series features a similar design as the Apple iPad, with a significant change including a USB drive and a micro-HDMI port. The shape of both tablet devices are somewhat similar, however, the Microsoft Surface feels more boxy, and the iPad seems to fit much better in your hands, making use of it much more compelling and familiar. The latest version of the iPad, or the fourth generation, adds the Apple A6X processor with a quad-core graphics processor, a 5 megapixel camera, HD 1080p video recording, voice dictation, and 4G (LTE) and also replaces the 30-pin connector with an all-digital Lightning connector. The Surface allows users to easily connect to Microsoft RT-certified mice and printers with its USB port, while the iPad connects through their Bluetooth radio application.

     The Microsoft Surface’s screen display is measured at 10.6 inches with a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, while the Apple’s 4th generation iPad includes a screen display measurement of 9.7 inches with a superior 2048 x 1536 retina display. The audio differences are noticeable as well. When tested, Microsoft Surface’s dual speaker system was significantly weaker than the iPad’s single speaker system, which surprisingly had produced a modicum of bass as well as a crisp, clear sound.

     The camera features on both differentiate completely, with the Surface’s front/rear facing cameras being weaker than the iPad’s. The Microsoft Surface features a 1- megapixel camera, while the iPad features a 5 megapixel camera that faces the rear, and a 1.2 megapixel camera that faces the front. 

     Some extra features the Surface provides are the fold-out kickstand, which allows it to stand on its own to provide an easier means to view media, and the touch-sensitive keyboard, or the standard Type Cover keyboard.



     There are certain performance and power capabilities for both devices that outshine one another. These categories include Email, Messaging, Battery Life, Processing Speed, Connectivity, and Cloud capabilities. 

     The Mail Application that the Surface provides is much more intuitive than the iPad’s. The Surface uses a three-pane interface, which makes the application generally easier to use than the iPad’s two-pane interface. The searching options on the Surface are not as optimal and advanced as the iPad’s, limiting the search criteria down to just a single overarching search for individual messages. Sending attachments via the Surface’s Mail app is very similar to sending an email from your desktop, while the iPad’s Mail app limits users to attaching just photos and videos, word processing documents have to be emailed from within their respective apps.

     Messaging on both the Surface and iPad is handled by each device’s own proprietary messaging app, so differentiating between the two is mostly a matter of aesthetic preference.

     The battery life in the Apple iPad lasts close to four hours more than the Microsoft Surface. The iPad has a battery  life, at a full charge, lasting close to 13 hours, while the Surface lasts about 8 and a half hours.

     Connectivity and Processing Speeds between the two devices are minimal in differences. Opening various gaming applications and the camera applications for the Surface took about double the amount of time it took the iPad to open them. The amounts of time to connect to websites on both devices were almost similar, only the iPad was very slightly faster. In the end, the Microsoft Surface is not slow, the iPad is just faster.

     Both cloud services will prove helpful for business users, but the Surface’s SkyDrive app allows users to upload and download videos and music from third-party apps, while the iPad’s iCloud doesn’t. The iCloud may be more user-friendly, but SkyDrive one-ups it with better overall functionality.


Now that you have chosen a tablet device, find out how to integrate it with your work environment