Hybrid PC devices blend form and function like never before, combining the power of a conventional laptop with the portability of a tablet, and two of the industry’s leading models, are the Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface lines. The Microsoft Surface Pro will be released at Harvey Norman in November along with the iPad Pro, and both of these top tablets present an impressive package of features and upgrades. However, only one can reside alone at the top of the table in this direct comparison to the two models.
Screen: Surface Pro 4
While the Surface Pro 4 exchanges the old 12 inch screen for a new 12.3 inch screen, the iPad Pro counters with a larger 12.9 inch display, and the ratings of these two high definition screens differ by just a few pixels per square inch. However, the slightly more compact display combined with a directly comparable quality means a slightly sharper image for the Surface Pro 4.
Stylus: Surface Pro 4
Apple, noting the success of dedicated input utensils in similar products, introduced its new Apple Pencil, allowing users to use the device as a precision notepad as well as a tablet and laptop. Nevertheless, the well-considered design of the Surface Pen gives it the incumbent’s edge in this category, and with upgrades from previous iterations such as over 1,000 levels of pressure detection and magnetic storage at the side of the Surface for convenience, the head start that Microsoft had in developing their signature stylus has afforded them a comfortable win. The Surface Pen also ships standard, unlike the Apple Pencil which must be purchased separately.
Keyboard: Surface Pro 4
Both the Surface Pro 4 and iPad pro are designed chiefly as tablets, and so do not ship with a bundled keyboard. Either offers the option to use an available keyboard attachment or sync a Bluetooth keyboard for heavier typing jobs, but unlike the iPad’s keyboard, the redesigned Surface Pro Touch Cover incorporates a full sized touchpad as well as an improved key input system for faster typing and increased productivity.
Processor: iPad Pro
The A9X processor that drives the iPad Pro is not only one of the most powerful mobile chips on the market, it outperforms all but the highest end conventional laptops released within the past year. In contrast, the base model Surface Pro has a less robust Intel m3 processor, but it can be upgraded to a comparable i5 processor by upgrading to the next trim level and the top flight Intel Core i7 chip is a desktop-quality processor that far outpaces the iPad Pro.
OS: Surface Pro 4
The iPad Pro features the latest version of iOS, which introduces a host of improvements to the mobile operating system including critical updates to the Siri personal assistant app, but the Surface Pro 4 ups the ante by running a full desktop OS right out of the box. The latest Surface is a platform for Windows 10, and runs full-sized applications compared to the apps supported with iOS.
The Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro are unquestionably the finest products on the market, and deciding which is best for you is a matter of comparing their strengths. Those who are already established with the Apple ecosystem and need access to utilities such as Apple Pay or iTunes are best served with an iPad Pro, while users looking for the most authentic laptop experience available in a hybrid device should turn to the Surface Pro 4.