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iPad vs Surface Pro: Which To Choose?

Dolores from Wisconsin writes:

Pros and Cons or any information on the IPad and MS Surface as my son wishes to give me one. I am mid 80’s and only been using computer for about 20 yrs. Currently using a Wireless PC connected to my LG monitor. Have taken quite a few classes at local community college thru the years and of course, your newsletter is most helpful and informative. Have never used an Apple product.


That is quite a hard choice to make because the Surface Pro and the Apple iPad are both very high-quality tablet devices. Both can do basic computing tasks such as browse the web, check e-mail and use a wide selection of Apps. The differences come in how they perform those tasks and what they else they can do.

Apple iPad – $499 MSRP (16GB WiFi model)


The Apple iPad can be thought of as a second screen device, a device meant to supplement, not replace your computer. The benefits of the iPad are the amazing battery life (over 10 hours of active use), simple proven interface design of iOS operating system and the Apple App Store, which contains hundreds of thousands of applications designed to work on iOS devices. The negatives are the limited expandability (there are no USB ports and you can not upgrade or expand the memory), the walled-in App store where only Apple approved applications can be sold, and the lack of a full desktop operating system.

Microsoft Surface Pro $899 MSRP (64 GB WiFi Model)

The Surface Pro is more of a replacement computer that also functions as a second screen device. The benefits of the Surface Pro are the full Windows 8 Pro operating system, which lets you install not only tablet-optimized apps from Microsoft Store but nearly every Windows 7 compatible program. The expansion ports (USB 3.0, micro SDHC card slot, display port connector) allow the device to be expanded and used as a desktop replacement. The negatives include a shorter battery life, in practical testing about 5 hours of web/video and heavier/bulkier build than the iPad so less comfortable to handhold.

Which should you buy?

This comes down to if you want a tablet that does a few things your computer can do or a computer that does most of the things a tablet can do. I primarily use my laptop and needed a tablet to browse the web, play games and read e-mail on the couch and in bed so I choose the iPad. For my girlfriend, who was looking for a tablet to use in school and to do assignments, I purchased a Surface Pro.