Microsoft Surface for Windows RT vs Apple iPad 3
We see how the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT stacks up against the iPad 3
We take a look at how Microsoft’s new Surface for Windows RT tablet compares against Apple’s well-established iPad 3.
Apple iPad 3 - 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm, 652g
Microsoft Surface for Windows RT – 9.4mm thick, other dimensions TBA
With the iPad 3, Apple stuck to its guns on design and overall there’s no noticeable difference from its predecessor, the iPad 2. It’s less than a millimetre thicker at 9.4mm and a little bit heavier at 652g, but put the iPad 3 and iPad 2 side-by-side and you’d be hard pushed to tell they’re different devices.
If you’re a fan of Apple’s iconic signature design style then this is no bad thing and certainly we couldn’t say that it’s ugly, far from it.
Proportions are all well considered as there’s enough bezel around the screen to grip on to but the screen is perfectly centred given an even amount of space all round.
Build quality is what we’ve come to expect from Apple. The iPad 3 is an extremely solid piece of kit made from top-shelf materials.
Microsoft’s Surface for Windows RT tablet is stylistically very different from the iPad and indeed most other slates on the market. The body is 9.3mm thick, weighs 680g and is constructed from magnesium liquid metal, so it’s about as sturdy as mobile tech gets.
It’s a much more angular device than most other tablets with very sharp 90 degree corners and bevelled edges. On the front the bezel round the edge of the screen is one of the narrowest we’ve seen on a tablet device, yet still substantial enough for you to grip it easily with one hand.
The back is extremely clean and tidy and even the integrated kickstand doesn’t disrupt the lines of the tablet as it has been specifically designed to fit flush. The Surface tablet features a ‘physical vapour deposition’ (PVD) finish which gives a very premium appearance and feel not unlike a high-end sports watch.
Another element of the form factor is the 3mm thick Touch Cover, which doubles both as a ‘Smart Cover’ style protector and a multi-touch keyboard complete with a multi-touch trackpad. Despite its wafer-thin profile, reports indicate this is still quite a sturdy part of the device.
Microsoft hasn’t just gone all out on additional design features over other contemporary slates, it’s also raised the bar for build quality, materials and overall a more thoughtful approach to device design. We’re extremely impressed with the Surface tablet and think it will be a very satisfying device to get to grips with.
Winner - Microsoft Surface for Windows RT
Apple sets the standard for mobile displays thanks to its Retina technology and the iPad 3 was, and remains, the first tablet to sport this tech on a larger scale.
It has a 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT capacitive multi-touch display with a 2048x1536 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 256 pixels-per-inch (ppi). This delivers one of the sharpest displays you’re likely to see on a tablet.
At this early stage, details of the Surface tablet’s display are somewhat sparse, we do know it’ll have a 720p resolution, a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and measure 10.6-inches with Gorilla Glass reinforcement.
We also know it will use Microsoft’s ClearType screen technology to enhance typed fonts and make words on screen ‘almost as sharp and clear as those printed on a piece of paper,’ according to the company’s blurb.
We think, from the screenshots and videos we’ve seen, that although Microsoft’s screens will be decent enough and get the job done, they’re still not going to topple Apple’s Retina display, for the moment at least.
Winner - Apple iPad 3
Apple’s iPad 3 comes in a range of storage options, either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB available, each with 1GB of RAM. As usual with Apple devices there’s no microSD support.
The Surface for Windows RT has the same top two options as the iPad and only omits the lower-end 16GB choice.
Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed how much RAM is in the device but we reckon at least 1GB and we know it will have micro SD support for cards up to 32GB.
On the whole these devices are on an even footing until you factor in card support. The Surface for Windows RT has a clear advantage in flexibility and total storage capacity with its card slot.
Winner – Microsoft Surface for Windows RT