Apple Empire Strikes Back –
iPad Pro Vs Surface Pro 4
Part 1: The Rivalry
Apple and Microsoft have had a rivalry as long as we can remember. Often copying and one-upping each other along the way. One would come out with something, and then the other would claim an improved, better, unique version of the product. They have each developed very distinctive Brands over time and that is encapsulated in their latest releases. This Rivalry now continues with Apple developing a strong competitor to a market that Microsoft made for themselves with the Surface Range. This was quite a niche market at first and there were lots of doubters that it was specific enough for a product to target. However with Apple releasing the iPad Pro, this has proven to be a powerful market segment. It might even be a bit of a tongue in cheek move from Apple to call it the “Pro” when the Surface “Pro” is on the market. But then again, maybe Apple began the trend with their “MacBook Pro”.
Delta Computers and Rentals does Rent then Buy on Both the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4.
The Apple iPad Pro is a Huge step up from the Apple iPad Air and is a very powerful unit with a stunning Display. Perfect for creative types and to combine some laptop uses with the ease of a tablet. The Apple Pencil is a stunning addition for drawing, must have!
The Surface Pro 4 is all it claims to be. It is a Tablet that CAN replace your laptop. This is the device you want when you want the full power of a laptop computer. It runs full Windows 10 and Full Microsoft Office. It has USB ports and a trackpad in the keyboard. It’s the workhorse you need it to be.
Part 2: The Competitors
The Apple iPad Pro
The Apple iPad is a familiar face to most however “what’s under the hood” is very different to the regular iPad Air. Even with its 12.9-inch Retina display, the largest and most capable iPad ever is only 6.9 millimetres thin and weighs just 713 grams. It has a powerful A9X chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, Four Speaker Audio, advanced FaceTime HD and iSight cameras, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity,1 iCloud, the breakthrough Touch ID fingerprint sensor and up to 10 hours of battery life.2 It also includes great apps for productivity and creativity, as well as many more incredible apps available in the App Store. And with powerful new features in iOS 9 like multitasking, iPad Pro can do things no iPad has done before.
The variations the iPad Pro offers are:
Storage Space: 32GB or 128GB
Connectivity: Wifi or Wifi + Cellular
Colours: Space Grey, Silver, Gold
Accessories: Apple Smart Cover, Apple Pencil (Purchased Separately)
Apple iPad Pro Rentals start from $25 per week with a $120 option to buy at the end. This is on the iPad Pro Rent then Buy plan with Delta.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The Surface Pro 4 is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s productivity Tablet Computer Range. Being the 4th Generation, this is a very refined machine. Microsoft have listened to feedback and implemented change after change, making this quite simply the Best Surface Ever. The Surface Pro 4 is the proportions of a sheet of paper so that it feels familiar in your hands. It goes from tablet to laptop in a snap with the multi-position Kickstand and improved keyboard. Powered by Windows 10 it turns from a tablet into a full powered laptop while running all of your desktop software. The 12.3” PixelSense™ display has extremely high contrast and low glare, giving you a picture rivalling real life.
It is now more powerful and lighter than ever before at 1.69lbs (766 grams). The Surface Pro 4 is the most versatile and productive device you’ll ever use according to Microsoft. The device ships with 6th Gen Intel Core™ m3, i5, and i7 processors is not only more powerful – it’s quieter and runs cooler than ever before. The Surface Pro 4 works perfectly with the full suite of Office products, driving your productivity to new heights.
The variations the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 offers are:
128GB SSD / Intel Core M3 CPU / 4GB RAM
128GB SSD / Intel Core i5 CPU / 4GB RAM
256GB SSD / Intel Core i5 CPU / 8GB RAM
256GB SSD / Intel Core i7 CPU / 8GB RAM
256GB SSD / Intel Core i7 CPU / 16GB RAM
512GB SSD / Intel Core i7 CPU / 16GB RAM
Connectivity: WIFI Only
Colours: Magnesium Surface Grey / Black only
Accessories: Surface Pro 4 Type Cover (Purchased Separately), Surface Pen (Free with Purchase)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Rentals start from $29 per week with a $120 option to buy at the end. This is on the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Rent then Buy plan with Delta.
Part 3: Comparison
The Surface Pro is first and foremost a Tablet computer. It runs full desktop pc Windows 10 and also Full versions of Microsoft Office. The whole architecture of the device is perfect for productivity. They clearly had performance as a key goal from the get go. The Apple iPad pro will never be able to manage this because it runs on a mobile operating system IOS 9. This is just not compatible with the productivity needs of a laptop.
The Surface Pro 4 comes with the Surface Pen as Standard and the optional Keyboard to turn this device into a fully functional laptop is significantly cheaper and better than the Apple Smart keyboard for the iPad Pro. The edge for both these accessories must go to Microsoft. The Surface Pen has inbuilt shortcut “presses”, an eraser and magnetic + physical clips for storage. The Apple Pencil is an extra cost for iPad Pro owners and it’s functionality is limited, however it does in fact have angular responsiveness which makes it much closer to the real feel of a pencil.
The Keyboard covers are another thing to consider. The Microsoft Type Cover comes in Black, Blue, Bright Blue, Red, Teal and Onyx (whatever that is… it looks like black to us). Not only is it a very ergonomically designed and practical to use keyboard, it also has a track-pad and one model comes with a fingerprint ID Sensor. The Apple Smart Keyboard does not have any of these. The lack of a pointing instrument on the iPad Pro is very disappointing and will make users tear out tufts of hair when trying to use things like excel.
The Surface Pro also has a very unique Kickstand that has been developed over the generations. It allows the user to fully adjust the angle of viewing. This makes it a brilliant tablet to work with as it can be stood upright or at any angle you like. Unfortunately the Apple iPad Pro only has this recline-able option when the Keyboard cover is attached.
Another thing is the relative size of the two tablets. The iPad Pro is physically larger, both wider and taller than the Microsoft machine. Surprisingly, though, it’s considerably slimmer and also lighter than the Surface Pro 4 by around 50g or so (the precise weight differences depends on the models being compared). Probably the main reason behind that extra weight is that the Surface Pro 4 has a built-in kickstand, whereas on its own the iPad Pro is just a straight tablet.
It’s also worth noting that the extra thickness allows the Surface Pro 4 to squeeze in a more useful array of connections, with a full-sized USB 3 port, mini-DisplayPort output and microSD card slot to the iPad Pro’s minimalist, single Lightning connector. We have to again say that the points go to Microsoft with this one. How can an iPad Pro replace your laptop when you can’t even insert a USB?
Both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 have incredible displays. The iPad Pro’s is a rather large 12.9-inch measured corner to corner and has a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048; the Surface Pro 4’s is smaller at 12.3-inch corner to corner and has a resolution of 2,736 x 1,834. With the screens delivering a pixel densities of 264ppi and 267ppi, respectively, they’re each as sharp as each other, which is to say, they’re as sharp as you need them to be at typical viewing distances. Both displays are beautifully crafted and are as good as each other for all intents and purposes. The Pixel Sense display from the Surface Pro 4 might just have the edge though in terms of productivity as it is the exact same dimensions as an A4 Page.
At the iPad Pro’s launch, Apple boasted of its impressive performance. The A9X behind it is the most powerful mobile chip Apple has ever made, and the company claims that it can out-pace 80 percent of portable PCs released in the past year. That’s impressive, and it certainly outstrips the Surface Pro 4’s entry-level m3 CPU. In reputable testing it was shown that the iPad Pro’s A9X CPU to be about equal to the older Surface Pro 3’s i5 configuration, although the Intel Iris GPU found in both the Pro 3 and Pro 4 far outstrips the A9X in graphical terms.
If the iPad Pro gets close to the Surface Pro 4’s mid-range model, however, it doesn’t get anywhere close to Microsoft’s device in full flight. The top 6th generation Intel Core i7 chip is the kind of thing you find powering top-end laptops. So in terms of processing and graphical power, you can’t beat the Surface Pro.
Battery Life is something else to consider. Microsoft quotes an hour less of media playback time for its device than Apple, and that just about tallies with our experience. The iPad Pro lasts a little longer than the Surface Pro 4 in general usage. We should think so too, given that its 10,307 mAh battery is twice the size of the 5,087 mAh Surface Pro 4 equivalent. When it comes to more demanding tasks like 3D gaming, the Surface Pro 4 drained 18-25 percent per hour, while the iPad Pro came in at around 19 percent. Of course, the Surface Pro 4 is capable of running full Windows games, albeit at less than optimal levels. All in all, the iPad Pro’s more tightly restricted mobile OS and huge battery makes for a longer lasting experience in between charges. That’s just the price you pay for having a full desktop experience in the form of a tablet.
Part 4: What do we Reckon? Surface Pro 4 comes out on Top.
The iPad Pro is the most capable tablet Apple has ever produced, as a well as a massive canvas for creative types. But let’s not kid around here – it’s not even in the same category as the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Whether you gel with Microsoft’s 2-in-1 vision for Windows 10 or not, there’s no denying that it’s a much more capable and flexible device than the iPad Pro.
The Surface Pro 4 is something that you might consider replacing your laptop or even desktop computer with, under certain circumstances. The iPad Pro is something you might consider replacing your iPad Air 2 with. Both are fine devices, and Apple’s peerless tablet-optimised app ecosystem and peerless hardware design continues to impress on its own terms. But Apple is pitching it as much more than a mere tablet, and it doesn’t quite match up to those laptop-replacement ambitions. The Surface Pro 4 is simply the more capable, flexible, and downright useful device of the two.