Microsoft Surface Pro full review

Microsoft has announced the Surface Pro, its own-brand Windows 8 tablet. We've put it head-to-head with the Apple iPad, looking at the differences. See also: Microsoft Surface Tablet release date and specs. UPDATE: see our full Surface Pro 3 review.

Microsoft has revealed two Surface tablets which will join the tablet market later this year with the launch of Windows 8. Read: Microsoft Surface Tablets launch: As it happened.

Microsoft Surface Pro tablet

The higher spec model is the Surface Pro which will have to take on Apple's iPad. We've pulled together all we know about the two and compared them.

Check out our: Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad comparison review.

We haven't had the two up against each other in our test lab so we will stick to looking at the specifications and dimensions of the tablets.

See also: Microsoft Surface review.

See also: iPad review.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Dimensions

The Surface Pro is a heftier tablet than the iPad with a weight of 903g and a thickness of 13.5mm. The iPad is slender in comparison at 662g for the heavier Wi-Fi and 3G model and measures in at 9.4mm.

What the Surface Pro lacks in fineness it hopes to make up for in other areas. Read on to find out more.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Screen

First things first, the Surface Pro has a larger screen than the iPad at 10.6in rather than 9.7in.

Microsoft lists the screen as 'ClearType Full HD Display' so it has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This gives it a pixel density of 208ppi. This is outdone by the iPad's 2048 x 1536 resolution and Retina quality pixel density of 264ppi.

Microsoft Surface Pro tablet screen

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Processor

At the heart of any tablet is its processor which is all important to how well it works. The iPad has an Apple A5X dual-core processor which is based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture and has quad-core graphics.

Microsoft has installed one of Intel's third generation Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors inside the Surface Pro. We don’t know the exact model but at the least this will be dual-core with a clock speed of 1.7GHz and integrated Intel HD4000 graphics.

If Microsoft is true to its word, the Surface Pro will offer Ultrabook laptop level performance and the ability to run modern desktop games such as Diablo 3.

Group test: What's the best tablet PC?

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Storage

The iPad comes in a wide range of storage options - 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. However, it has no expansion possibility via card slots.

Microsoft eclipses this with the Surface Pro which comes in 64GB and 128GB models and to top things off has a microSDXC card slot for additional capacity.

Apple iPad

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Cameras

Individually, these tablets both possess dual cameras. The iPad has a 5Mp rear facing camera and a VGA quality front facing shooter. It's clear from the pictures of the Surface that it has two cameras which Microsoft calls 'LifeCams' but the firm hasn't given any more details such as resolution.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Connectivity

The Surface Pro has on-board USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort and a 2x2 multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antennae for Wi-Fi. However, Microsoft hasn't listed Bluetooth connectivity.

The iPad has 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Physical ports are restricted to the sole proprietary 30-pin dock connector.

Microsoft Surface Pro tablet side

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Software

As you would expect the tablets are very different when it comes to software. The Surface Pro runs on Windows 8 Pro while the iPad sports Apple's own iOS. Apps will therefore be differenct, with access to either the Apple App Store or Windows 8 Store.

However, the Surface Pro has a trick up its sleeve. Since it runs on Windows 8 Pro, you can install full-blown x86 Windows software and use it in the desktop part of the OS.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad: Battery

The Surface Pro has a 42Wh battery which the iPad only pips slightly with its 42.5Wh counterpart. They are very evenly matched on paper but actual battery life may not be the same. Apple claims up to 10 hours for the iPad but Microsoft has not given a figure.

We will update this article when we find out more about the Surface Pro.


Microsoft Surface Pro: Specs

  • Windows 8 Pro
  • 275x173x13.5mm
  • 900g
  • VaporMg casing
  • Dark Titanium color
  • Volume and Power buttons
  • Storage: 64GB, 128GB
  • 10.6in ClearType Full HD Display
  • 1920x1080 pixels
  • 16:9 (widescreen)
  • 10-point multi-touch
  • Pen Input
  • 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 4GB RAM—Dual Channel Memory
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • 42 W-h battery
  • Two 720p HD LifeCams, front- and rear-facing with TruColor
  • Microphone, Stereo speakers
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • microSDXC card slot
  • Headset jack
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Cover port
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Compass
  • 48W power supply (including 5W USB for accessory charging)
  • 1-year limited hardware warranty

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