Windows Surface Tablet vs. iPad

In a somewhat awesome but not unsurprising event, Microsoft decided to release their very own tablet.  The term “Tablet PC”, as I was told was coined by Bill Gates and his gang in 2001 and although that product was not warmly welcomed, it paved the way for all succeeding tablets including the iPad.  And now Microsoft looks to go back to the war it has started by introducing a product with their own logo and not only running the upcoming Windows 8 OS.  It will be months before it will be released but we can help but ask ourselves:  Has the iPad killer finally arrived?  Let the Surface vs iPad rumble begin.


 

Performance

One reason why there are more Android tablets as there are Windows-based tablets is the processor. Windows 7 only runs on x86 processors, i.e. those from Intel and AMD. These processors do not lack power but they consume more power. A Windows tablet typically drains faster than Androids because the ARM processors used in the latter utilize battery power better without sacrificing performance. And when it comes to mobile devices, battery life is an important factor.

Windows 8 will run in both ARM and X86 devices as proved by the Windows Surface Tablet RT and Pro models. The RT one runs on NVIDIA’s processor although the company is yet to disclose which one. If you read between the lines, it could be the quad-core Tegra SoC – the one that rules almost all upcoming Android slates this year. The Pro version is powered by Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 which is not the best of the bunch although it delicately balances performance and battery life.

The iPad is among the most powerful tablet out there and there are a lot of tests to prove that. Until we see the iPad and the Surface tablets run the same apps then we wouldn’t be able to tell which is faster. If you own a laptop running on Core i5 you know that it is fast but that does not automatically apply here. The Surface tablet’s battery pack (which is rated at 31.5 Wh) should be considered.

 

Design

With all the various tablets out there, it is becoming hard to imagine what the next products would look like. The Surface tablets are not particularly awe-inspiring in terms of design. However, you could be easily caught by the peripherals that come with them.

That keyboard you are seeing is also its cover and like the one in the iPad, attaches to the tablet magnetically. It is ridiculously thin so it’s almost impossible that it would have that tactile feel. They come in two types, the thin Touch Cover and the Type Cover (the one you see on the very first image). The difference in thickness lies in the construction of each keyboard; the Touch Cover does not have actual keys while the other one has although they are still very thin. The common keyboard use capacitance to detect which keys are pressed; the Surface keyboards use accelerometers which means they don’t only detect which keys are pressed, they can also tell how strong and how fast you are typing.

While the iPad only has that 30-pin dock for connectivity, the Surface tablet has three: a USB 2.0 port, HDMI and microSD slot. This is not unique of course since a lot of Android tabs have these ports and even more. Internal memory options are 32 GB and 64 GB and there is no word yet if we can choose 3G or Wi-Fi only models like we can with the iPad.

The kickstand is also very thin but it is stronger than it looks. Folding it out is smooth and convincing that it would not collapse that easily. With its thinness you would think that it would fall if you blew into it but it didn’t. Another score for the guys at Redmond.

 

Software

There is not much to say here except that it runs on Windows 8. You have probably heard about it and its touch-optimized Metro Interface. If you want to try it out then you can download the consumer preview here. Take note that it will replace your operating system so do think twice before installing it.

It would be intriguing how people would welcome Windows 8 apps. For me it feels awkward to call them “apps” since I am used to calling Windows applications as programs. Will we have more games like the ones we usually see on iTunes or are they more on productivity like Word or Evernote? While we also play on Windows PCs, it is usually our computer at work. Maybe the Surface tablets will be what the iPad is to the Apple’s MacBook Air. We’ll know that as soon as the Windows 7 successor hits mainstream.

 

Price

The iPad is no cheap tablet but Apple still managed to sell thousands of it. The reason for this was simple: you get what you pay for with the iPad. It looks great, it runs great and it manages to last long enough. Microsoft could have a hard time convincing people to buy the Surface tablets if they match the iPad in price. Why would I choose it when there is already a product that lots of people love? Add the fact that there are sub-$200 Android tablets running on four-core processors that are coming then it gets even harder. There is no news as to what these Surface tablets would cost you but hopefully Microsoft will not go Apple’s route.

MerchantProductPriceBuy Now
AmazonWindows RT Surface 32 GB Tablet

Surface to Windows RT is supported by the ARM processor and NVIDIA Tegra is confirmed by three quad-core processors. Has a size of 10.6 inch HD

Too Low to Display

used from: 558.99

Go to Store
Product prices and availability are accurate as of Apr 17 7:00:09 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

MerchantProductPriceBuy Now
AmazonApple iPad 4 With Retina Display With Wi-Fi 16GB In Black

APPLE IPAD 4 WITH RETINA DISPLAY WITH WI-FI 16GB IN BLACK - MD510LLA. 9.7" (DIAGONAL) LED-BACKLIT DISPLAY WITH IPS TECHNOLOGY. MULTI-TOUCH SCREEN.

Too Low to Display

used from: 489.99

Go to Store
Product prices and availability are accurate as of Apr 16 23:56:48 UTC but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

 

Verdict

It’s premature to judge a product which has had limited time with the press.  But my first impression with the Windows Surface tablets is that it would do well.  The industrial design is there and Windows 8 could be the next best operating system in the planet.  If these tablets could help people be more productive as well as provide entertainment then it has already surpassed the iPad.  Its fate may lie on the developers and the apps that they will be creating or recreating for this new version of Windows.  I am excited on how everything will turn out.

 

Let us know below what your opinions are in the Surface vs iPad debate.

 

Photos courtesy of Pocket-lint.

Be Sociable, Share!

Related posts:

  1. Apple Siri Vs. Windows TellMe
  2. Tablet Comparison: iPad Mini vs. Kindle Fire
  3. Sony Tablet S vs. iPad 2