Can Microsoft's new Surface Pro beat Apple's iPad Pro?
Microsoft has been on a tear lately releasing some killer hardware products. There’s been the Xbox One S, its new Surface line of laptops, and as of today, the new Surface Pro. Microsoft opted to name the device “the new Surface Pro” instead of the Surface Pro 5—and we gotta say, we kind of like that. It gives is a distinctively fresh feel and makes it sound like a more welcoming device for people who haven’t used one before.
Of course, those same people have the option of picturing up another tablet/hybrid—that made by Apple. While the two devices aren’t totally comparable, they are both high-end tablets that want to corner that end of the market. Apple is rumored to be unveiling a new 12.9in iPad Pro at WWDC next month, but as for now we wanted to look at how the new Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) compares to Apple’s existing 12.9in iPad Pro (2016).
12.9in iPad Pro (2016) vs The New Surface Pro (2017): Design and Specs
The New Surface Pro (2017)
Display: 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 pixel at 267 pixels per inch
Storage: Solid state drive (SSD) options of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Processors: Intel 7th Gen Kaby Lake Core m3, i5, i7
RAM: 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Cameras: 8MP front, 5MP rear
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, micro SD
Size: 292.10 x 201.42 x 8.5 mm
Weight: 786 grams
Battery Life: 13.5 hours
12.9in iPad Pro (2016)
Display: 12.9in 2732×2048 pixel at 264 pixels per inch
Storage: 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB
Processors: 64-bit A9X and M9
OS: iOS 10
Cameras: front 1.2MP 720p HD camera and a rear 8MP 1080p HD camera
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, optional 4G
Size: 305.7 mm × 220.6 mm × 6.9 mm
Weight: 713 grams
Battery Life: 10 hours
Look, I’m going to be honest from the get go and say I’m a HUGE Apple fan. I think the iPhone and the Mac are some of the best computing devices you can buy. That being said, from a quick rundown of the specs alone it really does look like the new Surface Pro handily beats the 12.9in iPad Pro if you are looking for a tablet/hybrid device that will allow you to do away with carrying around a separate laptop.
Unsurprisingly, this is exactly the same thing I said when I last compared the existing iPad Pro with the 2016 Surface Pro 4.
The biggest difference between the two is still that the new Surface Pro comes in many more options that the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro essentially gives you three options: 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB-sized models (one without 4G and one with). All three models have 4GB of RAM and the same A9X chip.
But the new Surface Pro is packed with Intel’s new Kaby Lake Core M3, i5, and a much more powerful i7 processor. The Surface Pro also gives you the option of an insane amount of storage too: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. And RAM? You’ve got the option of 4GB, 8GB, or a crazy 16GB.
The Surface Pro also still gives you plenty of more ports including a full sized USB 3.0 port and a microSD card slot. That being said, what the Surface doesn’t give you is a cellular connection–yep, there’s STILL no 4G option.
Finally, on the camera front, both the iPad Pro and new Surface Pro have 8MP rear cameras, but the Surface Pro also offer a 5MP front camera where the iPad Pro only gives you 1.2MP. This is unchanged from prior models.
On the design front, however, the iPad Pro wins: it’s both slimmer and weighs less than the Surface Pro. That being said, the Surface Pro needs to be thicker because it needs to pack in room for those extra ports–like USB 3.0.
As for the battery, the new Surface Pro CRUSHES the iPad Pro. The Surface Pro gets you 13.5 hours of battery life versus the iPad Pro’s 10 hours.
12.9in iPad Pro (2016) vs The New Surface Pro (2017): Display
The display of the iPad Pro is physically larger at 12.9-inches, compared to the Surface Pro’s 12.3-inches. Both come in at a similar pixel density of 264 and 267 ppi, respectively.
But the iPad Pro has a slightly higher resolution at 2732×2048 pixels versus the Surface Pro’s 2736 x 1824.
12.9in iPad Pro (2016) vs The New Surface Pro (2017): OS
This is another area where–if you are comparing the iPad Pro and Surface Pro as hybrids “we don’t need no laptops anymore” devices–then the new Surface Pro wins hands down.
That’s because it runs Windows 10 Pro, a full desktop OS along with desktop-class apps. The iPad Pro runs iOS 10–while there are a lot of apps for that, it doesn’t compare to being able to run a full desktop OS like Windows 10 Pro or macOS.
12.9in iPad Pro (2016) vs The New Surface Pro (2017): Accessory Support
Again, were’ looking at these two devices as laptop replacements–and again the new Surface Pro wins here. That’s because it supports an insane amount of accessories.
The iPad Pro works with Apple’s new Pencil Stylus and Smart Keyboard Cover (both will cost you extra), but that’s it. The Surface Pro includes the stylus when you buy it and also offers an optional keyboard cover.
However, its keyboard cover also features a trackpad–meaning you can use the Surface as you can a laptop, that is: how you’re used to. The Surface Pro also supports mice (just plug it into the USB port or connect via Bluetooth).
12.9in iPad Pro (2016) vs The New Surface Pro (2017): Price & Verdict
As a laptop or desktop replacement, the new Surface Pro blows away the iPad Pro. It is a TRUE laptop replacement because it runs a desktop-class OS and apps and offers a wide range of accessories and ports. However, keep in mind Apple may be interdicting a new 12.9in iPad Pro in just a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if, and how, Apple strikes back.
If you opt for a new Surface Pro over an iPad Pro you’re going to be paying for it. The iPad Pro costs £729 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model, £819 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model, and £909 for the 256GB Wi-Fi model.