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Surface RT vs. iPad: a Comparison 357

Posted by timothy
from the ok-cupid-would-match-them-up dept.
First time accepted submitter thetechblock writes "On Tuesday, with the release of pricing and pre-orders for the new Surface RT tablets, Twitter exploded with comparisons to the iPad. So, I decided to put together a little comparison chart to contrast two equivalent models." The comparison is interesting, but note the source; you can discount the conclusions of writer Jeff Blankenburg by as much as you want for his role as "developer evangelist" for Microsoft.
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Surface RT vs. iPad: a Comparison

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  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:37AM (#41694229) Journal

    Wake me up when there is a review by someone that isn't on either Apple or Redmond's payroll. This was nothing more than an advertisement.

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Funny)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:40AM (#41694267)

      Wake me up when comments on Slashdot stories about Microsoft products are not filled with 90% snarky drivel.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Billly Gates (198444)

        Try neowin? It is the anti slashdot [neowin.net] of the internet.

        Of course since it is a polar opposite of slashdot, you see those who criticize METRO as flamebait and corrected as it is modern which is strange after being here. As well as posts saying Wahoo I can't wait for this Windows 8 tablet!

        I read this as well as neowin because I figured the truth is somewhere in between.

        • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

          by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:14PM (#41694855) Journal

          So you're saying, try reading an incredibly biased website? At least slashdot is neutral and the issue is trolls, neowin is explicitly pro microsoft.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I'm sorry did you say neutral? Even if Microsoft discovered the cure for cancer and released it for free, /. would still find a way to put an evil spin on it.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              But of course. You see, Microsoft was only able to find the cure for cancer through their ill-gotten gains by way of anti-competitive, innovation stifling practices that have held back computing and Free Software. Why, were it not for Microsoft, the cure for cancer would have been found sooner! And cheaper! And it's be better because the source would be available. /me sighs.

            • by lxs (131946)

              I for one would rather die than receive a cure that isn't GPL licenced.

            • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:43PM (#41696579) Homepage Journal

              Actually, we've had the cure for cancer for almost a decade now.

              Basically, it involves heating the cells 1 degree F internally.

              That takes care of 50 percent of all human cancers.

              We also have cancer-targeting ligands that allow us to provide docking receptors for targeted drug delivery, have binding tags that add phosphorescent snippets to cancer cells so we can locate any missed cancers during surgery (we actually turn out the lights and the cancer glows in the dark, it's way cool), and we have remote blood sugar measuring with wristwatch devices.

              But human trials take a lot longer than you think, and we have to start with mice, which we squish flat between plates to measure cancer growth and then chop open at the end. And that makes you all squeamish. But it works.

              Now .. you were saying?

          • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:27PM (#41695153) Journal

            Slashdot is extremely biased. But that is not a bad thing if you are into Unix and computer science. I thought Slashdot was moderate 10 years ago before I turned more conservative in my views and warmed up to Microsoft as I started working more and more in corporate area. MS and its products really did blow 10 years ago. Today they make sense in certain scenarios. Windows 7 is ok. Notice I did not refer to it as great :-)

            Anything with MS is bashed galore here and I have been accused all sorts of names for stating why I switched back to MS Office from LibreOffice as an example.

            Neowin is no different. It is filled with those who like Microsoft and those who are neutral as well. I see Android users on there too bash the surface with a few surface trolls go at it back and forth. Nothing like here on slashdot. Hairyfeet is the only user I know who does not get modded to -1 when defending Windows over Linux but he is an exception.

          • I don't believe /. is neutral. There has been a very anti-MS bend here for over a decade. I was among the crowd back then, but now I think MS's monopoly has been lifted, and I think they're wising up (mostly, not completely). Here, if you actually praise something about MS, you get a very large torrent of "you shill" posts. Hell, look at people here bitching about Win RT based systems having locked BIOSes. It turns out, it's a non-issue for a couple of reasons: One, linux distros can receive a key tha

      • As long as they continue to produce the yugo of the computer world, the snarky drivel will continue. Simple as that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dc29A (636871) *

      Mistake #1:
      He compares it to 32 GB iPad, yet fails to mention that Windows and Office alone eat up about 12GB. So in reality, Surface is 20 GB [reddit.com] and not 32.

      Obvious shill is obvious.

      • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:50AM (#41694433)
        But it's extensible with cheap SD storage. 20 GB for apps, add in a 64GB SD card for $40 for media. 84 GB total userspace memory, something impossible on iPad.
      • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DanTan (1385613) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:25PM (#41695109)

        Mistake #1: He compares it to 32 GB iPad, yet fails to mention that Windows and Office alone eat up about 12GB. So in reality, Surface is 20 GB [reddit.com] and not 32.

        Obvious shill is obvious.

        The 20 gb size is for windows 8 pro for intel, there are no numbers yet on how bit the windows RT OS is yet.

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:48AM (#41694395)

      Am I missing something, or did he not even have the unit to review?

      • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:53AM (#41694489) Journal

        This was once pretty standard fare for pro-Microsoft journalists. I remember a year before Windows 95 came out that one of the Microsoft-friendly magazines published an article on Chicago extolling its virtues, with pictures showing how great it was, but with a tiny caption indicating that it was an artist's rendering. The whole article, and several like it had but one purpose, and that was dissuade people from moving to alternatives (mainly OS/2, which supported Win16 apps by this point) while Microsoft fought like hell to make a Win32 OS actually work.

        It's almost the exact opposite approach to Apple, which uses its veils of secrecy, with the odd fringe lifted ever so slightly, or the odd device "accidentally" left at a bar, to build up anticipation.

        Which one is better, we'll see. But it's pretty clear now that Microsoft's competitor right now isn't going to be the iPad, it's going to be the iPad Mini. Which device do you suppose will have long lines waiting to grab said device on release?

        • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:04PM (#41694667)

          At least the magazines had the excuse of being written a month before they actually got delivered... this guy is running a frigging blog and his "comparison" involves reading down spec sheets and accessory lists. And he dismisses "almost no apps" and "no accessories" and "inferior screen" as not really being that important. And then the really strange part is his assumption that people will use this for Office apps? Is that what people are doing with tablets?

          I've never understood the appeal of the tablets, so I don't really feel like I have a device to "root" for. My wife wanted a Kindle Fire HD, so we got one. I played with it for a few hours and she turned it on once, I think. I asked her why she made me get it and she said "to play videos for the kids in the car". Alrighty, then - glad she didn't ask for an iPad...

          • I'm somewhat the same. I have my iPhone, which I do a lot of casual surfing on, and I use it as an eReader, and the size doesn't bother me too much (I'm now halfway through my reread of the Game of Thrones series, so as an eReader it works okay). But for any heavy lifting when I'm on the road, I have a cheap second hand Acer netbook I bought on eBay for $100. I can type documents, answer email, do remote administration on our servers, and it sure is more effective than trying the same on a tablet.

          • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:21PM (#41696181)

            And then the really strange part is his assumption that people will use this for Office apps? Is that what people are doing with tablets?

            It's a little backward to say that no one uses office-type software on tablets, when to date office-type software on tablets has been universal trash. I've been waiting specifically for something like surface to come along. Sure it's not ideally suited for touch (I argue that office applications can never be suited for touch; by their very nature they are optimized for keyboard+mouse), but the ability is there.

            When I'm traveling on business, I can use full office to make light edits with touch to documents and know those changes will be 100% compatible with my colleagues working at home. When I'm stationed in the hotel, I can connect the Surface to the hotel TV and a keyboard+mouse and I have a full office suite right there. iPad cannot do this, and it's a killer feature of the Surface for me and those similarly situated.

            • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

              by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:47PM (#41697503)

              When I'm stationed in the hotel, I can connect the Surface to the hotel TV and a keyboard+mouse and I have a full office suite right there.

              While that idea does scream "Neato!" in my head, when I think about it a little longer, it is absurd. By the time you carry around keyboard, connectors, and Surface - wouldn't you be better off with a small laptop? And then you wouldn't need to stress over whether or not you can actually jack in to the hotel TV or whether it will be in a convenient spot. Something like a Macbook Air (2.4lbs) or 3lb Ultrabook is a bit larger than a tablet, but not significantly larger than tablet+keyboard+cover+connection cables and adapters, and a lot less unwieldy.

              • Personally, I prefer to use a tablet while traveling. On a bus, train, airplane, taxi... I used my laptop in these places before tablets, and now I find tablets are much more convenient. Especially on a journey when I'm not sure the next time I'll be able to recharge, the low power usage of an ARM device is much appreciated, especially on long Journeys to Japan/China from the east coast. Some airplanes even have USB charging built right into the seat, which I can charge a phone or iPad with, but not a lapto
    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Funny)

      by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:04PM (#41694669) Homepage

      I look forward to a comparison of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, as presented by Karl Rove.

    • by Brannon (221550) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:51PM (#41695673)

      How about this for two equivalent models:

      iPad 32GB with 2560x1536 pixels : $599
      4xMicrosoft Surface 32GB tablets to yield a combined >2560x1536 pixel count : $1996

      ---

      iPad looks like a much better deal to me.

      Or, how about we just compare them the way a consumer will:

      cheapest iPad: $499
      cheapest Microsoft Surface: $499

      "The iPad has a nicer screen but the Surface comes with more storage (32GB vs. 16GB). The iPad probably works better and has more apps--decision, iPad."

  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:42AM (#41694301)

    I'm thinking the nexus line is more comparable to the surface tablet, mostly since no itunes.

    I'm somewhat leery of continued support from Microsoft given their history of Plays For Sure, Zune...

    • The Zune marketplace is still alive, but simply rebranded.
    • The Zune failed because it was much too late to the market. It came into the market right when iPod adoption was near peak. While iPods are still popular there are no longer as big as they use to be. The Zune was an attempt to make a copy of the iPod at the same price. While you may say that with the surface. The fact that it is using Windows 8 (A desktop level OS?) means it may fill the void about software.

      • The fact that it is using Windows 8 (A desktop level OS?) means it may fill the void about software.

        Except that Windows RT can't run x86 Windows apps since it uses an ARM processor.

        • by denobug (753200)

          The fact that it is using Windows 8 (A desktop level OS?) means it may fill the void about software.

          Except that Windows RT can't run x86 Windows apps since it uses an ARM processor.

          Yes and I have yet to see anything useful released on the Surface Pro to know how things would work with a full-function OS on a tablet.

  • by hal2814 (725639) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:42AM (#41694309)
    All I got from this article is that once you add in the cost of the Surface's most notable feature, it costs $20 - $30 more than an equivalent iPad.
    • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:00PM (#41694609)

      All I got from this article is that once you add in the cost of the Surface's most notable feature, it costs $20 - $30 more than an equivalent iPad.

      Except that it's no longer equivalent unless you add the same feature to the iPad which will cost at least $20-$30 for comparable quality?

      But I thought the most notable feature of the tablet was that it runs MS Word/Excel/Powerpoint (it will cost your $30 to get equivalent software on the iPad) -- I don't know why you'd get the MS tablet if you weren't interested in running MS software.

      • by Sporkinum (655143)

        Don't forget that the Office license is only a student one. You need to spend more money if you want to use it to do office work. Blankenberg and most reviews never mention this fact.
        "What this means is users who purchase Office 365 ProPlus, Office 65 Small Business Premium, Office Midsize Business or Office 365 Enterprise -- i.e., one of the "New Office" deliverables coming in November; Office Standard/Professional Plus 2013; or have a volume licensing contract with Microsoft with commercial-use license co

  • by neminem (561346)

    Yep, everyone is going to buy a 40 dollar screen cover, and 30 dollars of Office apps.

  • Joke article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morpork (170585) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:44AM (#41694349)

    That 'article' is a joke - of course Surface comes out on top - when 'reviewed' by the guy who wrote the book on Windows Phone 8.

    It's also funny - I recall the exact same argument over quantity vs. quality of applications back in the 80's when Apple were the underdog. Seems like MS can't change their habit of... recycling other peoples' ideas.

    I also especially like the sign-off... "It’s time for all of you, my faithful readers, to tell me why I’m wrong"... well, we might if there was ANY option to comment on the page.

    So, why are Slashdot running this Surface ad under the guise of an article?

    • So, why are Slashdot running this Surface ad under the guise of an article?

      1. Product placement
      2. Page views for a flamebait article. Any Surface vs iPad article would get eyeballs, but one that is written by a Microsoft guy and avoids any actual comparison of the products while declaring the Surface superior, well, that's guaranteed to bring out the comments.

  • I hadn't even thought about the multiple user accounts aspect. For some reason its not being pointed out in the news much and I didn't realize the obvious on my own. I'm suddenly glad I read that article.
  • Ok, so it's a slightly less featured version that the full x86 Office 2013, but if it means I don't have to fart around with reformatting at teh last minute in Keynote, Page and Numbers on an iPad, or any of the other feeble attempts at Office compatibility to do a presentation, then that's just fine by me. Sure I could take a laptop, but I get some good results by simply passing the tablet around.

    10 years ago, people were paying £450 for a full Office software suite, so the idea of spending an equiv
    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      10 years ago, people were paying £450 for a full Office software suite, so the idea of spending an equivalent amount for Office on a tablet isn't that much of a dealbreaker when you consider it.

      Its not 10 years ago. In the modern world have a plethora of cheap and free on-line and off-line competent Office suites.

    • by Mononoke (88668) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:26PM (#41695125) Homepage Journal

      ...if it means I don't have to fart around with reformatting at teh last minute in Keynote, Page and Numbers on an iPad, or any of the other feeble attempts at Office compatibility to do a presentation, then that's just fine by me.

      Just wait until you try to open an Office document that uses a font outside the small subset of fonts included with the Surface. Hell, just opening a PPT on any laptop other than the one it was created on often requires last minute editing to get everything on the screen.

  • OMG - don't y'all know that car salesmen (er, people) (including USED car sales, er, people) are absolutely truthful, honest and sincere when selling you an automobile - or whatever it is you're buying...??? C'mon - don't ya reckon that both Microsoft and Apple are like, ya know, totally truthful, honest and sincere when pushing their products down our throats and have only ultimately, our best interests in mind? (Where's my meds)
  • by jbplou (732414) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @11:59AM (#41694595)

    Is this Microsoft's attack on the App Store?

    "When I hear about 600,000 apps, I’m just in awe. As I’ve said many times before, however, I don’t think it’s the right number for comparison. Nobody is using more than a couple dozen applications on their device."

    Even If I don't count the many games and educational apps my kid use I still see many more than a couple dozen apps that I used in the last week on my ipad.

    Also I don't think hooking a mouse to a tablet is a great feature for surface. It just shows me Microsoft doesn't know how people use tablets. Perhaps they should goto a coffee shop and look at all the people using there competitors tablets. the keyboard can make sense if you type large emails or even do word processing, but I would guess most don't use physical keyboards enough to need to purchase one.

    • the keyboard can make sense if you type large emails or even do word processing, but I would guess most don't use physical keyboards enough to need to purchase one.

      This tablet includes a copy of Microsoft Office software. Microsoft apparently thinks people who buy it for Office will use a keyboard enough.

  • The problem with comparing the 32 GB Surface to the 32 GB iPad is that you also need to factor in how much space Windows 8 RT takes compared to iOS. My understanding is that iOS takes considerably less space.

    Also, some of us are not interested in Office.

    In addition, some of us are not interested in beta testing a 1.0 product that costs, at a minimum, $500. Waiting until at least version 2.0 seems wise.

    Plus, let's wait to see how Windows 8 RT performs in the real world. iPad performance is already a known qu

  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:11PM (#41694807) Homepage

    Why would I want to buy a Windows tablet?

    That's it. If they can come up with a good answer for that, they'll be able to sell them. Thus far, they haven't been able to. "Windows" itself is a negative brand name that carries a ton of baggage from crapware infested poor quality OEM PCs, and not something that makes people feel good about buying. The market tolerates Windows because it doesn't have a choice, it doesn't love Windows.

    Only problem is that in the tablet space, the market *does* have a choice. There's a clear leader, and it's not Windows. Why would I want Windows instead of the market leader? A lower resolution screen and Office are not exactly compelling selling features for home users.

    • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:38PM (#41696499)
      They've come up with several:

      Office built in for free
      Side by side application multitasking
      Multi-user operating system
      Expandable storage
      More peripheral device support
      More manufacturers at a variety of price points and options
      More form factors (foldable hybrid, detachable screen, pure tablet, etc.)
      Open file system for managing and organizing files
      Networking for connecting to other PCs, transferring files, serving media, etc.
  • One is a popular device with millions of users and thousands of software titles. Another is essentially vaporware.
    Let's wait till *each* proves itself in real world before making any other "comparisons".

  • subject (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @12:17PM (#41694927) Homepage

    "Ever wish you could charge your phone with your iPad?"

    No. I can charge my phone with my Android tablet if it weren't the stupidest suggestion I've ever heard. But it is.

  • TFA mixes Windows RT and 8 as if they were compatible, which they apparently aren't (http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/17/3514556/windows-8-vs-windows-rt-surface-confused-microsoft-store-employees).

  • To quote the blog: "Another thing that gives the iPad a leg up is the application ecosystem that exists for iOS devices. When I hear about 600,000 apps, I’m just in awe. As I’ve said many times before, however, I don’t think it’s the right number for comparison. Nobody is using more than a couple dozen applications on their device. "

    I guess the Microsoft argument that Macs can't compete against Windows because of the installed base of apps was wrong all along?

  • Can we take a blog seriously when it doesn't even have a Surface RT to test?

    If I didn't like the iPad then why would I even consider the Surface RT? I have a nice selection of Android tablets to choose from that actually have apps. Is this why Microsoft prefers to compare themselves to the iPad and not to Android?

  • I do hope that if the Surface succeeds on some level it will be partly due to the removable storage and the peripheral support via USB.

    I really like my iPad (bought a 1 when they came out, bought a 3 this summer) but I find putting content on it, regardless of the source, clumsy if the only way to do is either via wifi (through GoodReader, or other similar apps that let you load data this way) or via iTunes. Support for external storage in some manner or other would be a lot more convenient -- I could stic

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @01:01PM (#41695837)

    One thing I don't see getting a lot of play is that there are two different versions of the Surface. On the face of it they both pretty decent and with the keyboard people should actually be able to use on to produce content. The resolution is disappointing, but as has been pointed out elsewhere Microsoft has figured out three different ways to address that issue.

    The RT model is the one that just went on sale. That is your toy that is really just a windows version of an Ipad except that it can produce content. However this model has serious drawbacks if you want to use one in a professional setting. You can't load or distribute apps for the Metro interface without using a process called side loading. Side loading can't be used unless your on a domain. The RT model can't join a domain, effectively making this a burden at best to try manage (third party agents etc). You also can't use any traditional application on it as it uses the ARM processor and Microsoft has been very adamant about not allowing any backwards compatibility with x86 or x64 apps.

    The Pro version can join a domain and use all the apps that a normal Windows 8 computer can use. This is the model that is meant for use on networks and for use in a professional setting. The best way to keep them straight in your head is to think back to the day when XP came in two versions. The Pro version was the one that was meant to be used for production work, the regular version was the one meant for home users. For all intents and purposes you have two very different products with the almost identical name and size.

    If you have to work with them professionally you should seriously considering putting out a memo to only allow purchase of the Pro model. This of course is why the pro model is built this way, because that is where the money is.

  • by OldSport (2677879) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @02:32PM (#41697247)

    Tune in tomorrow for part II, where Tim Cook gives us an in-depth review of the upcoming iPad mini!

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