How Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Fares vs. Apple iPad Pro

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-10-09
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Fares vs. Apple iPad Pro
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    How Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Fares vs. Apple iPad Pro

    The Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro both have new features that will appeal to enterprise users and consumers. Here's how the tablets stack up against each other.
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    Let's Start With Display Size
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    Let's Start With Display Size

    The Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro have different display sizes. The Surface Pro 4 comes with a 12.3-inch touch screen boasting a resolution of 2,736 by 1,824. The iPad Pro, meanwhile, has a slightly larger 12.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2,732 by 2,048. If display quality matters, therefore, the iPad Pro wins out—at least on paper.
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    An Inside Look at the Key Specs
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    An Inside Look at the Key Specs

    The iPad Pro launches with many of the features an Apple customer would expect, including the company's A9X processor that Apple says delivers even more power than many competing notebooks. The iPad Pro also comes with the M9 motion coprocessor. Choices abound on the Surface Pro 4 side, where Microsoft is offering the sixth-generation Intel Core m3, i5 or i7 processor. It's hard to tell until benchmarking is completed, but the Intel Core processor may be more powerful than those in Apple's iPad Pro.
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    What Operating System Do You Prefer?
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    What Operating System Do You Prefer?

    Before choosing between the iPad Pro and the Surface Book 4, customers should take a hard look at their operating systems and decide which one they prefer. The Surface Book 4 comes with Windows 10 Pro, which should be sufficient for most enterprise customers and consumers. The iPad Pro, meanwhile, runs on iOS 9 and takes advantage of that operating system's new features, including split screen and improved multitasking.
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    Storage Matters to the Enterprise
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    Storage Matters to the Enterprise

    In the enterprise, the amount of storage a company can load into a tablet is of utmost concern. Realizing that, Microsoft has delivered several storage options in the Surface Pro 4. The device's solid-state drive (SSD) options range from 128GB to 512GB. The iPad Pro tops out at 128GB of onboard storage (there is a 32GB version available for those who don't want the higher-end option).
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    Comparing the Stylus Options
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    Comparing the Stylus Options

    The stylus will is an important accessory for both the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4. The iPad Pro supports the Apple Pencil, a device designed to reflect the feel of an actual pen and respond to how hard it's pressed down on a screen. The Surface Pro 4 comes with the Surface Pen, which has been improved to adapt to over 1,000 input pressures and even features an eraser.
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    Graphics Could Be a Difference Maker
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    Graphics Could Be a Difference Maker

    For corporate users, especially, graphics performance is a major selling point. Realizing that, Microsoft offers several graphics options in its Surface Pro 4. At the simplest level, Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 has an m3 Intel HD graphics 515 GPU. Users can also bump that up to the Intel HD graphics 520 with the Intel Core i5, or the Intel Iris on the i7. Apple didn't do much to tout the graphics capabilities in the iPad Pro, saying only that it'll do a fine job for any task thrown at it.
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    Examining the Camera Differences
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    Examining the Camera Differences

    Although cameras aren't the first features consumers try out when they get their hands on a tablet, the components are still important. Both the Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro come with 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras that are capable of recording in 1080p. The front-facing camera on the iPad Pro tops out at 1.2 megapixels, compared with 5 megapixels for the Surface Pro 4.
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    What About Portability?
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    What About Portability?

    Although the "Pros" are designed to be more functional than mobile, portability is still a factor in the buying decision. Realizing that, Microsoft has made its Surface Pro 4 just 0.33 inches thick, weighing between 1.69 pounds and 1.73 pounds, depending on the version. The iPad Pro weighs between 1.57 and 1.59 pounds, depending on the version, and is 0.27 inches thick. In other words, the devices are about equal when it comes to portability.
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    The Take on Stands, Keyboards
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    The Take on Stands, Keyboards

    Both the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4 support an attachable keyboard. Apple's keyboard attaches to the device and acts as both a stand and a handy way to type out messages. It's a full-size keyboard, similar to those available in its MacBook. The Surface Pro 4, like its predecessors, comes with a stand that allows users to view the screen at any angle. There's also an attachable keyboard that, like Apple's option, is slim and lightweight and makes typing out content easy.
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    How Pricing Factors Into the Equation
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    How Pricing Factors Into the Equation

    When it's all said and done, pricing matters greatly to consumers and enterprise users alike. The iPad Pro comes in three versions, including two WiFi-only models that cost $799 and $949. The cellular-equipped version costs $1,079. The Surface Pro 4, on the other hand, comes in several versions that start at $899 for the cheapest model with 128GB of storage. Those who want the highest-end Surface Pro, complete with Intel Core i7, 16GB of memory and 1TB of storage, can expect to pay $2,699.
 

It was just a month ago that Apple rolled out its iPad Pro, designing the tablet to deliver a higher-end experience than previous iPads. Less than a month later, Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Pro 4 as a desirable option for consumers and enterprise users alike. The tablet is the latest in Microsoft's line of professional slates and may just be the company's best yet. From the higher-end specs in its processor line to the high-quality screen, the Surface Pro 4 is easily among the most appealing tablets on the market. But will it have the same appeal as the iPad Pro, which like the Surface Pro 4, is designed for corporate customers first? There are countless companies and consumers around the globe that are now considering buying one or the other. In the following slides, eWEEK will compare the Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro to help those customers determine which option would be best for their personal needs. Read on to learn more about the iPad Pro and its competitor, the Surface Pro 4.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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