Apple iPad Air vs. Microsoft Surface 2 Shootout, And Why Microsoft Should Stop Targeting iPad

LAPTOP’s Daniel P. Howley has posted a thoroughgoing comparison review of the iPad Air versus the Microsoft Surface 2, which makes an interesting read, and is especially worthwhile information if you’re trying to decide which of these tablet computers to buy.

Howley notes that with its lighter, slimmer design and fast new A7 processor, the iPad Air is already established as the large-screen tablet to beat, but Microsoft hopes to steal the spotlight with its recently updated Surface 2 successor to the slow-selling Surface RT of last year, He observes that the Surface 2 is an improvement on all fronts with a more powerful processor, full HD display and enhanced Windows RT 8.1 operating system. So which tablet is the better choice?

Howley compares the two products in a variety of feature and function contexts, declaring a winner in each sub-category and declaring a winner on the basis of the number of categories won.

The categories examined are Design, Ports and Expandability, Display, Audio, Operating System & Interface, Productivity, Performance, Camera, Apps, Battery Life, Accessories, and Value. There was a clear and decisive winner of categories won or tied, but the results were much closer than I would have expected, and since for most users some categories will be more important than others, this subjective weighting could put the runner-up tablet on top for their needs.

Microsoft Should Stop Targeting the iPad

Speaking of iPad vs. Surface 2, The Street’s Bret Kenwell acknowledges upfront that he’s not a Surface 2 fan, noting that Microsoft’s Surface marketing campaign would have you believe Apple’s iPad is grossly overpriced, while its Surface 2 is much cheaper.

It’s not, starting at $449 vs. $499 for the base Wifi 16 GB iPad Air. You do get a nominal 32 GB of memory with the base Surface 2, but what goes unsaid in Microsoft’s hype is that Surface 2 users only get access to about 18GB of that space, after the massive bite of capacity used up by porky Windows RT 8.1 and the various pre-installed apps it cmes preloaded with. Since iOS 7 is much more compactly coded and iOS apps in general are also typically less bloated than Windows software, the Surface 2 32GB offers little real-world storage advantage over the 16 GB iPad.

Kenwell also points to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 model (which will run full desktop Windows 8.1) starting at $899 for the 64-gigabyte model, vs. Apple’s $699 iPad Air 64-gig model, (and available $799 128 GB model).

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