In its new "honestly" commercial, Microsoft shows us a man who has just purchased a Surface 2. "This deal was way too good to believe", says the happy purchaser, with a bag tucked under his arm. "Instead of paying too much for an iPad, I got this Surface 2", he adds, before telling the camera it comes with Office (a Surface commercial that mentions that? Amazing!) and Outlook, free Skype calls to over 60 countries, and 200 GB of cloud storage ("others charge for that").
He’s clearly happy with his purchase, so I don’t want to burst his bubble, but I’m going to anyway.
The line that annoys me is this: "Instead of paying too much for an iPad, I got this Surface 2". That’s like saying "Instead of paying too much for a jacket, I bought a pair of trousers". The guy is an idiot.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people who buy Surface 2 are idiots -- they aren’t. The Surface 2 is a great slate. But clearly people who buy the Surface 2 have different needs from those who choose to buy an iPad.
If what you require from your device is Office, Outlook, Skype and cloud storage, you don’t want an iPad in the first place -- you want a laptop. Or a Windows tablet that you can -- at least some of the time -- use as a laptop.
If on the other hand, you want a selection of apps that is second to none, including some of the best mobile games around, and a device that is designed to be held rather than placed on a surface, a brighter and sharper display, higher quality photos and overall better performance, then go for an iPad.
I own an iPad and a Nexus 7, and I use Windows 8.1. I download apps across all three operating systems and I can tell you this: iOS has the best apps hands down. Android’s selection isn’t as good (and personally I hate all the annoying adverts found in children’s apps) but it’s still excellent -- there’s just more crap to wade through. The Windows apps are fine, and if you don’t know any better you probably won’t know what you’re missing. And if you’re the sort of person who thinks you’ve got a bargain by choosing Surface over iPad, then you won’t know any better.
Ultimately, the choice between the iPad and Surface should never, ever come down to price. If what you want is an iPad, but what you buy is Surface -- purely because it’s cheaper -- you will only ever be disappointed and spend time regretting your purchase. Similarly, if what you want is a device to do work on, with some occasional entertainment, then Surface will be a wise move for you (productivity wise I can work faster on a Surface device than I can on an iPad).
Of course, if you think the iPad is overpriced and you aren’t shopping for a device to work on, you might want to pick up an affordable Android tablet instead, you’ll make even greater savings. Maybe do some research before heading to the shops next time Mr random man in advert.
Oh, and enjoy your 200 GB of free Surface storage that others charge for. I’m sure you know that after two years Microsoft will start charging you for it too -- you do know that, right?