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iPad Reviews
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Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad comparison review

Around £400

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Microsoft has revealed the Surface RT, its own-brand Windows 8 tablet. We put it up against the Apple iPad, looking at the differences.

Microsoft has announced its two Surface tablets which will enter the tablet market in a few months' time.

The first of the tablets is the Surface RT. Its biggest rival is arguably Apple's iPad which is now in its third generation. We've put together the following article comparing the two devices to see how they differ. Read: Microsoft Surface Tablets launch: As it happened.

Microsoft Surface tablet

Check out our: Microsoft Surface Pro vs Apple iPad comparison review.

We haven't had the two tablets going head-to-head in our test lab so we will compare the specifications and dimensions of the two for now.

See also: Microsoft Surface review.

See also: iPad review.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Dimensions

The two tablets are similar in terms of their size and weight. The Surface RT is marginally slimmer at 9.3mm compared to 9.4. This difference is too minute to be noticeable.  

While the Surface RT is thinner than the iPad, it is slightly heavier. It weighs in at 676g and the iPad at 662g for the heavier Wi-Fi and 3G model.

Group test: What's the best tablet PC?

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Screen

There isn't a great deal we can say about the Surface RT's screen because Microsoft hasn't given full details. However, we do know it's larger than the iPad's at 10.6in rather than 9.7in.

Microsoft lists the screen as 'ClearType HD Display' but hasn't listed the resolution. The Surface Pro has a full-HD display so we can assume that the Surface RT has a lower resolution – possibly 1366 x768.

Therefore, we can predict that the screen won't be as high res as the iPad's Retina display which has a resolution of 2048 x 1536.

Apple iPad

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Processor

The processor is an important element to a tablet. There is limited information on both processors on offer here.

What we know is that the iPad has an Apple A5X dual-core processor which is based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture and has quad-core graphics. Unfortunately all we know about the Surface RT's chip is that it's also ARM-based and made by nVidia.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Storage

The iPad comes in three storage options, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB with no expansion available via card slots. Microsoft has opted for only 32GB and 64GB models but the tablet has a microSD card slot so this can be added to.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Cameras

Both of these tablets have dual cameras. The iPad has a 5Mp rear facing camera and a VGA quality front facing counterpart. We can see from the images of the Surface that it has two 'LifeCam' cameras but Microsoft has not given any details on their ratings.

Microsoft Surface tablet rear

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Connectivity

The Surface RT boasts USB 2.0, Micro HD Video and a 2x2 multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antennae for Wi-Fi. Microsoft hasn't mentioned Bluetooth connectivity.

Apple has fitted the iPad with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. As usual the only physical port is the proprietary 30-pin dock connector.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Software

Software is an area where the tablets differ greatly, as you would expect. The iPad runs on Apple's own iOS while the Surface RT runs on Microsoft's own Windows 8 RT.

Microsoft Surface RT vs Apple iPad: Battery

On paper the iPad outdoes the Surface RT when it comes to battery capacity. It is rated at 42.5Wh compared to 31.5Wh. When it comes to actual battery life span Apple claims up to 10 hours while Microsoft has not given a figure.

We will update this article when we find out more about the Surface RT.

Microsoft Surface RT Expert Verdict »

Microsoft Surface RT 32GB WiFi Scores 8.5 out of 10 based on 147 reviews

There are currently no technical specifications recorded for this product.

The Surface RT and iPad are similar yet very different devices. We can't reach a verdict as to which is better so look out for our full review when the Surface RT launches.

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