Money Matters - Simplified

Who's the winner - Microsoft Surface RT or iPad 4?

Both tablets offer strong reasons for purchase Both tablets offer strong reasons for purchase

Apple took the wraps off the iPad 4 on October 23, followed by Microsoft unveiling the Microsoft Surface tablet on October 26. Now that we know the prices at which these tablets will be retailing for, choosing one over the other is a little harder than it seems.

Let us have a look at the prices first. Microsoft Surface RT has a starting price of $499 for the 32 GB model. You don’t get a Touch Cover free with this model. The Touch Cover model retails for $599, and the 64 GB variant (again with the Touch Cover) will set you back by $699.

Coming to the iPad 4, the 16 GB costs $499, followed by the 32 GB model at $599, and the 64 GB variant at $699.

As you can see, prices seem to be quite competitive across the board.

With specs so close to each other, a very strong distinguishing factor between the Surface and iPad 4 is the ecosystem of apps.

So which is better? Let us have a look at what each one offers.

Battery life
One of the most important things that consumers are concerned about is how long their devices can last on a signle charge. The iPad 4 has a battery life of a solid 10 hours, while the Microsoft Surface lasts for 8 hours, both on Wi-Fi only. If battery life is your priority, iPad 4 wins here.

Display
iPad 4 has a 9.7-inch Retina Display of 2048 x 1536 pixels while the Surface packs in 1366x768 pixels onto a 10.6-inch HD screen. Which looks better? Well, this is more of a subjective question. According to early reviews, iPad 4’s Retina Display is superior to Surface’s display, but some say that the display on the Surface is more readable.

Weight
Both the Surface and iPad 4 weigh nearly the same. Microsoft Surface is 1.5 lbs while the iPad 4 is 1.44 lbs. In terms of thickness as well, both devices come pretty close to each other.

The inside stuff
The internals of Micrsoft Surface and the iPad 4 are quite different, although both should offer a more or less similar experience. Surface tablet packs in an Nvidia T30 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, while the iPad 4 flaunts the A6X processor, at a clock speed Apple does not want you to know. A6X is nevertheless a dual-core processor with quad-core graphics.

Surface offers a couple of 720p-video cameras while the iPad has a 5MP iSight camera (1080p) and a Facetime HD camera.

What really matters
With specs so close to each other, a very strong distinguishing factor between the Surface and iPad 4 is the ecosystem of apps. Apple’s iOS 6 is known for a great collection of quality apps, while Windows 8 RT has just hit the scene with a myriad of apps, some of which have been shown to not be quite up to par. But Surface comes with Office 2013, which the iPad sorely lacks.

If you want to go the tried-and-tested way, iPad 4 makes for a compelling purchase. But if you’re more of a Microsoft guy with a certain dependence on Microsoft Office, the Surface should be more ideal for you.