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Surface 2 vs. iPad Air: Apple and Microsoft Spec Smackdown

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple and Microsoft have a pretty well-established rivalry at this point. Microsoft dominated Apple in sales for a long time, but Apple managed to grab on to the mobile market and take hold of a huge share, one that Microsoft can only dream of at this point. Still, Microsoft has continued to prod and pick on Apple at every opportunity lately so it’s only right that the company’s most recent device, the Surface 2, is compared to Apple’s iPad. These are the flagship tablet offerings from both companies. How do they compare with one another? We put them head-to-head in a spec showdown to find out.


iPad (4th Gen.)

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Surface 2


Size 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 (mm)  274 x 171 x 8.9 (mm)
Weight 662g 680g
Screen 9.7-inch LCD 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD 
Resolution 2048 x 1536 pixels 1920×1080pixels
OS iOS 7 Windows 8.1 RT
Storage 16/32/64GB 32/64GB
SD Card Slot No Yes
Processor Dual-core A6X Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+ Wi-Fi
Camera Front 1.2MP, Rear 5MP Front 3.5MP, Rear 5MP
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
Battery 11,560mAh (10 hours of use) 10 hours of use
Charger Lightning connector Micro USB
Marketplace Apple App Store Windows Store
Price $500+ $450+

Apple and Microsoft are after different audiences with their tablets. The Surface 2 is targeted toward people with productivity in mind and comes with the computing power to run things like word processors and spreadsheets at the same time. With the Quad-cord Nvidia Tegra 4 and 2GB of RAM inside it, the Surface 2 has plenty of power to do that and more. It’s got the makings of a multimedia device, and the addition of a 1080p display furthers the possibility of using the Surface 2 for play as well as for work.

Apple’s iPad, on the other hand, thrives because of its ecosystem. It has a huge amount of apps available for it, a selection that blows away anything available through the Windows Store no matter how fast it’s growing. That gives iPad owners a bit more versatility as they can find apps that make the iPad capable of doing just about anything they want it to do. Additionally, with its beautiful Retina display and an operating system that runs smoothly, the iPad might not be as powerful as the Surface 2 but it still positions itself nicely as a device built for entertainment.

If you’re hoping to be able to travel with your tablet and get some work done, you’ll likely want to turn to the Surface 2 before the iPad because of its impressive internals and the incentives of Microsoft Office RT products and SkyDrive storage that are included with the device. If you’re looking for something that is going to be more of a distraction device, playing movies and games to keep you entertained on commutes, the iPad will serve you well. We suggest playing with both devices to get a feel for them and figure out what you’re going to get out of them before making a decision. You can get your hands on the Surface 2 starting October 22, 2013.

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AJ Dellinger
AJ Dellinger is a freelance reporter from Madison, Wisconsin with an affinity for all things tech. He has been published by…
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