Face-Off! 10.5-inch iPad Pro vs Surface Pro

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The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro features all the things people like about its popular 9.7-inch model, but with a larger screen, much faster processor, better cameras and very promising software upgrade that's coming in iOS 11.

But to really see how the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro fares against the competition, we need to compare it against Microsoft's recently announced Surface Pro.  

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The Specs

  Apple 10.5-inch iPad Pro Microsoft Surface Pro
Starting Price 649 799
OS iOS 10 Windows 10 Pro
Display 10.5-inch Retina (2224 x 1668) 12.3-inch Pixel Sense (2736 x 1824)
CPU A10X Fusion Up to Intel Core i7
RAM 4GB Up to 16GB
Storage 64GB - 512GB 128GB - 1TB
Ports Lightning, headphone jack USB 3.0, mini DP, Surface Connect, headphone jack
Keyboard Smart Keyboard ($159) Type Cover ($150)
Stylus Apple Pencil ($99) Surface Pen (price TBA)

With a larger 10.5 inch-screen, the new iPad compares more favorably to the 12.3-inch Surface Pro than the 9.7-inch model its replacing, although if you really need a big screen, you're probably still better off with the big 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But what's more important than iPad Pro's increased screen dimensions are its improved brightness (Apple claims up to 600 nits) and super wide color gamut that supports HDR video.

MORE: Here's what you should know about the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro 

Another important upgrade is the Apple's new A10X chip, which when combined with Apple's Metal graphics platform should allow the iPad Pro to deliver competitive 3D performance when compared to the Surface Pro. In our review of the new iPad Pro, its performance scores beat most ultraportable laptops.

Where the 10.5-inch iPad Pro falls a bit short is on storage. The base model ships with just 64GB, which can be upgraded to a max of 512GB. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro starts with double the storage (128GB) and can be configured with up to a full terabyte. Both the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the Surface Pro will also have models with optional 4G LTE connectivity. 

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Like the Surface Pro, the iPad has a few pretty important accessories that unfortunately don't come in the box. Apple's Smart Keyboard starts at $159 and features a new sleeve to hold the Apple Pencil and an extra row on top for number keys, although there's still no room for a touch pad. When it comes to writing and drawing, the $99 Apple Pencil remains unchanged.

On the Surface Pro, the Signature Type Cover will run you slightly less at $150. The Surface Pen, which for the first time will not come included in the price of Surface Pro, costs $99. 

One big advantage the iPad Pro has are its cameras, which are the same 12-MP rear camera and 7-MP front-facing camera that you get on the iPhone 7. The iPad Pro's rear camera features built-in optical image stabilization and the ability to record 4K videos, while the Surface Pro has just 5-MP and 8-MP cameras on front and back that can only record 1080p video. 

Another advantage for the iPad is price. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro starts at $649, sans keyboard and stylus. Meanwhile, the cheapest Surface Pro is $799. 

The real X factor, however, is each device's operating system. People used to a traditional desktop environment may find using iOS on the iPad Pro to be somewhat limiting. On top of that, a lot of new features in iOS 11 (which won't be publicly available until this fall) such as drag-and-drop and the new Files apps are things that have been available on PCs for a long time.

However, other new additions like iOS 11's new document scanning app and its deep integration with the Apple Pencil, could make it a solid option for creative types when they are away from the office.

  iPad Pro Surface Pro
Battery Life 13:55 (tested) 13:30 (claimed)

In terms of battery life, the iPad Pro and Surface Pro may be in a near-dead heat. That's because the iPad Pro made it 13 hours and 55 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, while Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro offers up to 13 hours and 30 minutes of juice. We suspect the Surface Pro will fall short of that claim.

While we're going to need to get both of these devices in for review before passing a final verdict, the battle between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro has just gotten a lot more interesting.

The new iPad Pro is available now and the new Surface Pro will start shipping in less than two weeks on June 15.


Author Bio
Sam Rutherford
Sam Rutherford,
Sam is a former penguin trainer and archery instructor who dabbles in esports and has lived on three different continents. If you have some comments on new tech or the best noodle spots in NYC, drop a line @SamRutherford.
Sam Rutherford, on
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  • steven Says:

    They both have their uses. How they are implemented in a person's life is up to the user. I laugh at people that complain about something that is a little over a pound how weak people have gotten lol. Seriously when it comes to safety ios is better but there is a price to pay for that safety. That price is a sandbox os that is reliant on an app store exclusively for its programs. Cost of safe is freedom of choice in what programs you can download from the net.With an ipad you cant download any from the world wide web. You cant even download a alert tone from the net and add it to your list of ring tones. Even in ios. I laugh when people are wowed by having 3 app windows open at the same time. Mac and PC have had dozens of windows opened with clutter at once. I like to call it controlled chaos or your own workflow. Everyone operates their own way. In ios you cant. Even in ios 11 sure you have an app switcher and sure you can can have open 2 or 3 apps on each tile but still it seems behind. Its hard to truly have a fully safe desktop grade os be able to do what you want download anything you want. Why because it doesn't truly exist. For me the ipad is and can be a computer replacement or a computer starter. For young and for old. I know people family, that primarily web surf email browse facetime Netflix and use that as their main driver. That's fine. It can be done for people that don't need the freedom and prefer the safety first that's fine. Just how its balanced. You cant have a real app store in an os where you can get apps from anywhere. You see it in mac and windows. Just my take. Both are viable in their own right. Myself its a companion device. I hand off work flow email web browsing and do more intensive work on my MacBook. My use set.

  • Mike1991 Says:

    Professionals and also students needs lightweight full blown systems. Not de kids toy like a IPad or IPad pro.

  • oddie333 Says:

    Most absurd comparison that I have ever read! Get a life bro, atleast compare it with MacBook...

  • Hifihedgehog Says:

    You forgot the MicroSD slot. That changes everything. The iPad Pro loses for that one reason.

  • Bobbity Says:

    Most biased article ever. At no point have you done a critical comparison (not that you actually could as they are entirely different devices) but simply serve up lip service to the specification of a useless ipad pro

  • JuanSoto Says:

    Apples and Oranges... one is a toy OS. The other, a surveillance device. Both are overpriced for the limits they impose on their users.

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