Microsoft Surface RT vs iPad 4 comparison review
By David Court | PC Advisor | Published: 16:19, 21 November 2012
The age-old battle of Microsoft vs Apple has been given a new lease of life, this time in the form of tablet PCs. The Microsoft Surface RT and Apple iPad are two of the most sought after tablets on the market, so naturally we wanted to see which one is best. Here is our very own Microsoft Surface RT vs iPad 4 comparison review.
The bottom price of each tablet is exactly the same, it is worth pointing out that the £399 price of the surface does not include a Touch Cover, which is an accessory that is pretty integral to the slick use of the Windows tablet. If you want the Touch Cover - and you really should - then you have to factor in another £80 as the price jumps up to £479. Coincidentally that is the exactly same price as a 32GB Pad 4.
On the face of it, there's not a huge amount of difference between the iPad 4 and the Microsoft Surface. The Surface RT just pips the iPad 4 in terms of which is thinner, measuring in at 9.3mm compared to 9.4mm.
Oddly the table's turn when it comes to weight, with the iPad 4 weighing 662g compared to the barely heftier 678g of the Surface. As we said earlier, these measurements are both too close to really separate the two.
The difference between the two tablets become more apparent when you look at the two screen sizes. With Microsoft's Surface coming in nearly an inch bigger (diagonally) at 10.6in and the iPad 4 measuring 9.7in.
While the screen size of the surface is bigger than the iPad 4, the screen resolution is significantly lower. The two tablets' resolutions and pixels per inch (ppi) tell a different story - a story where the iPad 4 convincingly whips the Surface. The Surface's 148ppi ClearType HD display looks pretty good at normal viewing distances and in general is pretty good for your everyday tablet needs, but the iPad 4's Retina Display with 264ppi really is in a league of its own.
Comparing the processors is a bit of a tricky one, as our usual benchmarking tool doesn't work on the Surface.
That said it is worth mentioning that the iPad 4 features an upgraded A6X chip that set a new tablet record of 1769 using Geekbench 2, to put that into perspective the iPad 3 had a score around the region of 750. In laymen's terms that means the iPad 4 has a very powerful processor.
The only real way we can compare the two is in terms of what each was like to use on a day-to-day basis. From this we would have to conclude that the iPad 4's processor seemed to be the better of the two as the overall experience what slicker. That's not to say that the Surface was a jumpy slow coach, far from it, we were actually impressed with the Surface's performance; animations are smooth and the more demanding tasks like pinch zooming in Internet Explorer and Bing Maps are extremely responsive. However, we did notice a delay here and there, especially when opening some apps. Something that we did not find with the iPad 4.
Apple iPad storage options are pretty much set in stone now - £399 for 16GB Wi-Fi only ranging all the way up to £659 for 64GB with Wi-Fi and 3G/4G cellular data. As usual the iPad 4 features no microSD card slot for expandable storage.
The Microsoft Surface RT really hammers the iPad 4, when it comes to storage options, offering twice as much storage - 32GB instead of 16GB - for £399. Like the iPad 4, the Surface is also available to buy with 64GB of internal storage. The real kicker is that the Surface also features a microSD card slot, which lets you add up to another 64GB of storage, which in theory means the Surface can have up to 128GB of space.