Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 vs. the Competiton

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Microsoft Surface 2 Apple iPad (4th Gen) ASUS Transformer
Pad TF701T
Price $899 $449 $499 $450
CPU 4th Generation Intel Core i5 Nvidia Tegra 4 Dual core A6X with quad-core graphics Nvidia Tegra 4
Display 10.6-inch ClearType 1920 x 1080 display 10.6-inch 1920 x 1080p display 9.7-inch IPS 2048 x 1056 display 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600
IPS display
Expandable Storage microSDXC card reader microSD card reader N/A microSD/SDHC
card reader
Battery Life Estimated 7-15 days idle Estimated 10 hours video playback, 7-15 days idle 12:22 (LAPTOP Battery Test) Estimated 13 hours,
dock expected
to add 4 hours
Connectivity Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi/LTE Wi-Fi
Size 10.8 x 6.8 x 0.5 inches 10.8 x 6.8 x 0.4 inches 9.5 x 7.3 x 0.4 inches 10.3 x 7.1 x
0.4 inches
Weight 2 pounds 1.5 pounds 1.5 pounds 1.2 pounds
Stylus Surface Pen included N/A N/A N/A
Storage 64GB or 128GB with 4GB of RAM/ 256GB or 512GB with 8GB of RAM 32GB or 64GB with 2GB of RAM 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB 32GB, 64GB with
5GB of of
Asus Webstorage
Cameras Rear / Front Both 720p HD cameras 5-MP/3.5-MP 5-MP/ 1.2-MP 5-MP/1.2-MP
Ports USB 3.0, Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort  USB 3.0, Headset Jack, HD video out 3.5-mm headphone jack, Lightning dock connector Micro HDMI, 2-in-1 audio jack, 3.5mm headphone jack, dock comes with USB 3.0 port and SD card reader

Microsoft’s first venture into the tablet business may not have been as successful as the company had hoped, but it’s not giving up that easily. The Windows-maker just unveiled its Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 earlier this week with the hopes of grabbing some of the slate market share from its rivals.

The new $449 Surface 2 comes with some noteworthy improvements that include a speedy Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset, a full HD 1080p display, a two-position kickstand and low-light webcam. Microsoft boasts that the higher-end $899 Surface Pro 2 is powered by Intel’s newest Haswell chip and promises 75 percent longer life. Both devices have a new 1920 x 1080 display that has 46 percent better color accuracy than its predecessor, and an improved kickstand that offers both 24 degree and 40 degree angles.

MORE: Tablet Buyers’ Guide 2013: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy

But are these improvements enough to strengthen Microsoft’s foothold in the tablet space? Microsoft brags that the Surface Pro 2 can handle more demanding applications such as Adobe Premiere, which it demonstrated during its launch event. Since the new Pro is Haswell-powered, we’re bound to see longer battery life, but it’s too soon to tell if the difference will be quite as drastic as Microsoft promises.

By contrast, Apple’s $499 iPad fourth generation tablet comes with the company’s dual-core A6X processor, which runs its iOS operating system. It’s not claiming to be a laptop replacement like the Surface Pro,  but the iPad’s premium design, sharp Retina display, robust app ecosystem still make it the gold standard of tablets for now. Although the iPad’s A6X chip sports a dual-core architecture, it supports quad-core graphics that run smoothly on its Retina display.

As for the $449 Surface 2 , Microsoft has embedded a powerful Tegra 4 chipset, which means we can expect a heavier, more demanding gaming experience. Microsoft’s Panos Panay specifically acknowledged that Nvidia’s 72-core graphics chip makes the Surface 2 a better tablet for gaming, and showed it playing Halo: Spartan Assault. Asus’ recently announced $450 Transformer Pad TF701T also runs on a Tegra 4 and comes with a keyboard dock that promises four hours of extra battery life. When it comes to having the sharpest display, Asus’ Transformer Pad TF701T and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 boast the most pixels per inch, but the iPad isn’t too far behind with a 2048 x 1536 display resolution.

The table above  provides a quick look at the key hardware differences between each machine, although their use cases can vary. Those seeking a laptop replacement may be interested in the Surface Pro 2, Surface 2 or Asus Transformer Pad TF701 depending on the desired price range. Others, however, that are looking to use their tablet for light productivity may be interested in the stylus-equipped Galaxy Note 10.1 or the iPad. We look forward to bringing you our full reviews of both Surface tablets soon.

Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa Eadicicco
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for since early 2013. When she’s not reviewing gadgets, she’s usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.
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  1. DG Says:

    You’ve got the Surface Pro 2 and iPad in the same table? That’s nonsense.

    Also, hardware is hardly the basis for comparing tablets. Customers have repeatedly made it clear in the marketplace that spec’manship is meaningless.

    Please provide some comparison of things that matter instead of simply copying spec sheet into a table and putting it up as if it were useful. I know that would be hard, would require you to use all the devices for some time to be able to offer a comparison of what it’s like to use them and what you can/cannot do with each. But it would be a valuable contribution. This is not.

  2. John Says:

    Let’s see. The Surface 2 beats the ipad with a full fledged seamless hybrid workflow integration and OS ecosystem. A comparable battery life, USB 3.0 port, and expandable micro SD slot. And, oh yeah. It’s less expensive. And the author still thinks that the ipad is on top. LOL! Absolutely ridiculous!!

  3. CD Says:

    Surface Pro and iPad comparison is a joke! Ever notice whenever there’s a review of a tablet other than an iPad, there’s always a top 10 list with an ipad picture at the end of the article.

  4. Sunil K Says:

    Why is the surface pro 2 even in the grid ? Do another grid with that matched against the Macbook Air and other ultrabooks.

  5. João Almeida Says:

    Screen resolution for iPad is 2048×1536 – get your facts right before doing specs comparisons.

  6. John Says:

    “The 4th-generation iPad leads the pack in almost every respect.”

    Every respect? You gotta be kidding me.

    “If you want a tablet that will last you an entire workday on a charge (and then some), the 4th-generation iPad can’t be beat.”

    I like how the author used the word workday but didn’t consider that someone paying hundreds of dollars for a tablet would maybe want to use it for work?

    iPad can’t project my presentation without paying for an app, can’t run my Virtual Machines, doesn’t have expandable storage.

    Its good for playing games like clash of clans.. its a good toy, even then has its limitations with what you can run load on it…

    and shouldn’t be compared to devices that you can actually do business work on.

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