Tablet Tussle: Surface Pro vs. 4th Generation iPad
Is the Surface Pro truly an iPad killer?
Microsoft is about to release the Pro version of its new Surface tablet, which has long been touted as the iPad killer. Such lies are common in the technology industry. I believe Steno once released a new legal pad they lauded as being better than an iPad, mostly because you could own 50,000 of them for the same price as a single iPad with the retina display. Steno also argued their product operated in “actual 3D.”
Though the Surface Pro is not available to the public until February 4th, Donnybrook is hardly what anyone would consider “The Public” and as such we have procured an advance Surface Pro tablet through means that are entirely legal in North Korea. Though it had already been coated with a number of unmentionable substances before it ever came into my possession, it is still functional and as such I will now compare it to the latest iteration of the iPad to see if it truly can topple the Apple giant.
The Surface Pro comes packaged with its own keyboard dock which doubles as a screen protector. This is nice as it makes it seem to be more of a maiden, its chastity belt in place so that there is a Christmas morning unwrapping each time you open the device. Unlike a maiden, no chloroform was necessary in removing the keyboard.
Like many maidens that are foisted on unsuspecting gentleman, it is thicker and heavier. It also comes equipped with a stylus, an effective weapon for deterring would-be suitors from nearing its pleasurable goods.
The iPad has no keyboard and the screen is out there for all to see. Like a common streetwalker it seemed more than happy to allure passers-by by displaying its wares. It is slimmer and sleeker, and the corners are pleasingly rounded so that in two months when it becomes obsolete it can be used in curling competitions.
It also has the universal symbol of original sin emblazoned on its back. That is the ultimate tramp stamp.
Winner: iPad. No one likes a weeping, coquettish, dowdy prude.
I turned on the Surface Pro and leapt back, cowering behind my chair. I was not forewarned that it would be bearing the odious Windows 8 “operating system”, which is a gross misnomer. It is indeed a system, whether or not it is capable of operating has yet to be determined.
I might be taking the piss a bit, but Windows 8 is truly abysmal. Be assured that I will soon be employing my primary talent: jailbreaking.The display is fine, though the resolution is less so, and it is a bit larger than the iPad, which only means you get to see more of Windows 8. And that will grow a tumor on your soul.
The iPad uses the iOS system which is lovingly familiar and can also easily be jailbroken, further adding to its feel of true enthusiastic desire to welcome all comers.
Though the screen is a bit smaller, it has the much-ballyhooed Retina display which is extremely good for staring at during LSD binges. On the other hand, it does make older pornography look disturbing. Llamas were not meant for high resolutions.
Winner: iPad. Easier to carry, prettier colors, and a superior OS.
In the Trenches
The Surface Pro has an Ivy Bridge i5 processor, which boasts more kick per operation than most uncut street meth. It uses a dual core system and runs slick for a laptop, much less a tablet.
Though Windows 8 is the operating system you buy when you plan to use it only once to write out your suicide note, having a full install means you can use the Surface more like a laptop than a tablet.
It also uses a USB port for those that want to plug, you know, anything into it.
The iPad is not appreciably slower until you start getting complicated with it. Using the iOS is fine, but it is very clearly an outstanding tablet while not able to make the hybrid bridge very easily.
In addition, it employs the goddamn Lightning port, which just means you have to tack on the money for an adapter to make it useful if you plan on using it anywhere but Planet Apple.
Winner: Surface Pro. Because, hey, I can plug my goddamn flash drive right into the fucking thing.
This is the problem with the Surface Pro: The Windows App store is limited mostly to 900 different ways to write, store, produce, and develop Zune screenplays. I’m sure there is also Angry Birds: Civil War Reenactment but otherwise the app selection is very limited.
The trick here is that with the full Windows installation, normal programs can be added using the ever-employable USB port.
Apple’s Apps have been around since the dawn of civilization and will be annoying denizens of the planet long after mankind has died off. Morlocks and Eloi will be screaming obscenities at obnoxious iTunes updates 10,000 years hence.
Winner: Surface. Now that it has been built, the apps will come, and in the meantime everyone can work on their Max Headroom Gets a Zune fan-fiction.
The Surface Pro comes in at $899 for the 64GB model while Apple offers cheaper solutions with less storage, though their 64GB model is only slightly less and has no keyboard. Add in the Lightning adapter you will need and the price is the same.
Battery life is about the same for full use. The iPad seems to drain a bit faster in suspend mode, so if you really want something that can do nothing for longer periods of time…well, just get married.
The trial Surface had no Bluetooth capability. The retail version may or may not include it.
When it comes to durability, one thing is clear: If you chop anything up on the screen with a razor blade, it will leave a mark.
Overall Choice: Bullshit Vacillating Without Any Real Result.
Honestly, it comes down to what you want it for. If you want an amazing hybrid, the Surface—once jailbroken and given an operating system that bears no history of prison rape—will tickle you right in your fancy. If you want an amazing tablet, then the iPad is the better decision.
Personally, I preferred the Surface Pro, though March could see yet another iPad at which point Apple will have a new dog in the fight, and I cannot resist a good dog fight.