iPad Air vs. Surface 2: Specs Compared

  ipad-air-specs-black-2013  surface2 

Apple iPad Air Microsoft Surface 2
Starting Price  $499 $449 
CPU 64-bit Apple A7 

Nvidia Tegra 4

Display  9.7-inch Retina display  10.6-inch 1920 x 1080p display
OS  Apple iOS 7 Microsoft Windows 8.1
Expandable Storage N/A  64GB via microSD 
Battery Life Estimated 10 hours  Estimated 10 hours video playback, 7-15 days idle
Connectivity Wi-Fi/Cellular Data (optional) Wi-Fi
Size 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.29 inches  10.8 x 6.8 x 0.4 inches
Weight 1 pound  1.5 pounds
Storage  16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB 32 GB or 64GB with 2GB of RAM
Cameras Rear / Front 5-MP/1.2-MP  5-MP/3.5-MP
Ports Headphone jack, Lightning connector  USB 3.0, Headset jack, HD video out

Apple may have just unveiled its ultra-thin iPad Air, but that’s not the only new tablet on the block. Microsoft’s new Surface 2 is one of the Apple slate’s biggest competitors, packing a Tegra 4 processor and a lighter design for $449. With the iPad Air finally out in the wild, how do the latest, slimmest tablets from the two hardware giants stack up? Here’s our breakdown. 

MORE: iPad Air Hands-on

Both the iPad Air and Surface 2 pack more power than their predecessors within a thinner design. If you want the lightest 10-inch tablet possible, the 1 pound iPad Air edges out the slightly heavier 1.5-pound Surface 2. However, the Surface 2’s larger overall design allows for a 10.6-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel display, while the Air offers a smaller, 9.7-inch Retina display. 

The Surface 2 runs on a 1.7-GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, while the iPad Air operates on the Apple A7 chip first found in the iPhone 5s. Microsoft’s slate offers 32GB of storage (up to 64GB with microSD) for $449, which is twice the amount you get from the $499 16GB iPad Air. Both slates have an expected battery life of 10 hours.

MORE: Apple iPad Air Specs vs. The Competition

While both tablets are Wi-Fi ready, Apple’s latest is the only one to support cellular data for an extra monthly fee. The Surface 2 sports USB 3.0, headphone and HD video out ports, while the iPad Air only has headphone and lightning charger jacks. Both slates have 5-MP rear lenses, while the Surface 2’s 3.5-MP front-facing camera is a bit sharper than the Air’s 1.2-MP FaceTime lens. 

As with last year’s models, the new Surface and iPad cater to different users. Microsoft’s slate offers the most storage and screen size for your money, while the iPad Air is the thinnest and lightest tablet of its kind. 

Michael Andronico
Michael Andronico
A devout gamer and tech enthusiast, Mike Andronico joined the Laptop team in July 2013. With a B.A. in Journalism from Purchase College and experience at GameNGuide, Examiner and 2D-X, Mike tackles everything from iPhone rumors to in-depth hardware reviews.
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