Which is right for you, iPad Pro or Surface Pro 3/4? We detail it out for you to make the decision easy.
Technology: App / Software
Games & Software: iOS
Games & Software: MacOSX
Games & Software: Windows PC
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet is an all in one computing device. It's both a laptop that runs a fully functioning "desktop" version of the Windows operating system as well as a tablet. Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets originally came out to mixed reviews, largely because the Windows 8 operating system wasn't very good.
When the Surface Pro 3 came out, and the operating system was upgraded to Windows 10, things changed. Here was tablet that was the right size, not too heavy, had great battery life, and just happened to be an incredibly powerful laptop as well. In laptop mode it could keep up or surpass pretty much any notebook or ultrabook in terms of specs and speed. Snap of the magnetic keyboard and you have a table that was every bit as good as an iPad. The best of both worlds.
Now Apple is introducing the iPad Pro. It's larger than previous iPads, more powerful, and even works with a stylus and keyboard. Sound like a Surface Pro 3? It pretty much is on the surface (pun intended), but also really isn't when you dig deeper.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3With Microsoft's hardware you get a product that is really a laptop replacement. It comes with 12 inch display with a 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution. It terms of size, it's 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.36 inches (292.10 x 201.42 x 9.14 mm) and weighs in at 1.76 pounds (0.79 kg). It's loaded with Bluetooth, wifi, and front and rear facing 5MP cameras. Beyond video calls (Skype, etc), cameras on a tablet are silly if you ask me.
The stylus that comes with the Pro 3 is a major upgrade over the Pro 2 model. The old stylus was a "dumb" stylus and while it worked, it didn't work well. The new stylus is powered and works really well and is very accurate. Still, a stylus isn't a useful feature unless you plan to to design work. And even there, most designers still prefer paper and pencil. The stylus is half gimmick, half cool thing.
In terms of processing power, the Pro 3 lets you choose an Intel i3, i5, or i7 CPU. Solid state hard drives (SSD) range from 64Gb to 512Gb. RAM will come in either 4Gb or 8Gb.
The sweet spot for the Surface, in my opinion, is the i7 configuration with 256Gb SSD and 8Gb RAM. It's an incredibly powerful PC in a tiny package. That configuration will run you around $1350. Add in a keyboard (that's right, it doesn't include one) for $130 and you have a $1500 computer. That's not chump change. The next best option is the i5 model with 128Gb SSD for $899.
Another benefit here is that you can add in a docking station ($200) that let's you quickly pop the Surface in so it can connect to a large monitor, full size keyboard and mouse, and other peripherals. This is a must for business and power users.
Apple iPad ProOn Apple's side, the iPad Pro will offer a 12.9 inch screen with 2732 x 2048 pixel resolution. You know Apple, go retina or go home. This display will surely do better than the Surface Pro 3, but maybe not the upcoming Surface Pro 4. I think the resolution wars are getting silly, these ultra high pizel densities have long become meaningless. Reminds me of the mega-pixel wars on cameras. At a certain point, more doesn't really mean much.
The iPad Pro will offer an 8 mega pixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera. As I've mentioned, cameras on tablets are silly. So it's really only the front camera you care about for video calls so 1.2 mega pixels seems small since it only offers 720p recording abilities. A finger print scanner for Apple's Touch ID system is included as well. The device weighs in at 1.57 pounds and measures 12 x 8.68 x 0.27 inches (305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9 mm), which is superior to the Surface Pro 3 numbers.
On the processing side, the iPad Pro will use an Apple A9X CPU and come with either a 32Gb or 128Gb SSD. RAM is expected to be 4Gb. The 128Gb wifi model will run you $949 (the cellular versions is $1079). Add in the $169 keyboard and $99 stylus and you're at $1,217 for the 128Gb wifi model. That's a lot of money for a tablet only device, but that is often the Apple way.
iPad Pro or Surface Pro - Which Is Right For You?Fortunately, this is actually a very easy question to answer. If you're looking for a tablet and you're an iPhone user then an Apple iPad is the logical choice for you. Either regular versions or iPad Pro. Many might suggest that designers will love it but I'm betting that the stylus won't be as useful as you might think, even for a designer.
If you're an Apple user and looking for a Mac Book Air replacement, this isn't it. And that's the biggest downfall to the iPad Pro. It's not a laptop replacement. It runs iOS 9, not Mac OS X. It runs apps from the app store, not full blown software packages that require OS X. I really think Apple blew it on this one. They flat out copied the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 but failed to implement it's best feature which is that it can run a full desktop level operating system. That means the iPad Pro is once again just a really big iPhone without the phone call abilities, nothing more.
If you're a Windows user looking to replace a laptop or desktop machine then the Surface Pro 3 might be a great choice for you. It's an ultra portable, yet very powerful laptop with the bonus of also being a table. It runs anything Windows 8 or Windows 10 can run as well as apps from the Microsoft App Store (which is pretty pathetic to be fair).
So it's really depends on what you are looking for and what type of user you are. But I don't think there are many shades of gray in the decision making process, you're either looking for one or the other. My vote is for the Microsoft hardware since it can do so much more. Of course, I might be biased as I type this on my Surface Pro 3.
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