Google Nexus 7 vs Microsoft Surface Windows 8 RT
Can Google’s ultra-affordable Android Jelly Bean-powered Nexus 7 take on the power and utility of Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 RT? We take a look at the device’s spec sheets to find out
Microsoft stormed the tech-world with the launch of two Windows 8-powered tablets, known as the Surface for Windows 8 RT and the Surface for Windows 8 Pro. In this context we’ll be focussing on the Surface RT – Microsoft’s consumer-facing tablet device. The device itself is a formidable force, bringing desktop-like computing to consumer tablets. It stands to really shake things up.
Google’s Nexus 7, on the other hand, features a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, NFC connectivity, Android Jelly Bean, and a highly detailed 7-inch 1280×800 pixel IPS Display. It’s also likely to be around half the price of Microsoft’s Surface tablet as well, which will no doubt be very attractive to a lot of first time tablet-buyers.
Surface Windows 8 RT: 9.4mm thick, other dimensions TBA
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.
The Nexus 7 – also built by Asus – is not designed to complete with this kind of build quality. Its strengths, instead, lie in bringing high-end hardware and the latest build of Android to consumers at a cutthroat price-point. In this sense it has more in common with Amazon’s Kindle Fire than Microsoft’s Surface. But with a price tag of under £200 it’s sure to give both equal helpings of trouble.
Winner: The Surface
Surface Windows 8 RT: 10.6-inch 720p display
Nexus 7: 7-inch 1280x800 pixel resolution display (around 146 ppi)
The Nexus 7 uses a 1280x800 pixel resolution IPS displays with a ppi of 146ppi. The display present on this device is certainly comparable with many top-flight tablets like the Transformer Prime and, potentially, the Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft would not confirm the resolution of its Surface tablet, stating that it would be 720p. If true, the Nexus 7 could be in with a chance of beating it.
Winner: Draw – until we know more specifics about the Surface RT’s display
Surface Windows 8 RT: Tegra 3 CPU – possibly KAI (TBC)
Nexus 7: 1.3GHz Quad-Core Tegra 3 CPU
With the Nexus 7 you a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 running on Android Jelly Bean, backed up by 1GB of RAM and a 12-core ULP Nvidia GPU. That makes it great for gaming, multi-tasking and on the move computing. All in, it’s a beast of a proposition for Google, and it positively destroys the Amazon Kindle Fire – it’s nearest rival in terms of price.
Microsoft’s Surface for Windows RT is based on ARM’s Cortex A9 processor architecture and runs an Nvidia Tegra chip. Microsoft neglected to go into specifics in this respect, but we’re guessing it’s a Tegra 3 quad core with a clock speed of around 1.5GHz and a GeForce GPU.
This is very similar to the setup inside the Google Nexus 7, which means performance is likely to be more or less comparable.
Having said that, Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT is based on the same NT kernel, device drivers and security features as the desktop version of Windows 8. This will mean PC-grade performance and tons of optimisation. In this sense, we think the Surface RT has the Nexus 7 beaten.
Winner: Surface RT
Surface Windows 8 RT: 16GB or 32GB plus additional 32GB via SD
Nexus 7: 8GB or 16GB
By forgoing higher storage options, Google has effectively kept the cost of its Nexus 7 at a very aggressive price point, whilst enjoying it performs like a high-end slate in the areas that count – processing, multitasking and connectivity.
Microsoft’s Surface via the inclusion of better internal storage options and full SD support has the Nexus 7 comfortably beat in this context.
Winner: Surface RT