Surface Pro vs iPad Pro

In this article, we compare the Surface Pro and iPad Pro.
Surface Pro vs iPad Pro
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Last Updated on November 30, 2021

Before the new iPad Pro was released onto the market, the Surface Pro 7 was the laptop-replacing tablet to go for. It impressed us all with its great keyboard, high performance, and similarities to a traditional laptop.

However, the iPad Pro has now graced the market and it appears better than ever. Apple has seemingly found the ideal keyboard for their tablet to make it a great laptop replacement.

Many people are now considering the iPad Pro to be the best tablet on the market, surpassing Surface Pro 7 without a second glance. However, we’re not just going to leave this here.

Today we are going to be diving into the world of the Surface Pro and how it compares to the iPad Pro in terms of performance, design, and much more. We’re aiming to find a clear winner between the two so that you’re not lumbered with the second-best for a laptop replacement.

There were two sizes of the new iPad Pro released in 2020. Today we will be looking at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro rather than the 11-inch alternative as it is more similar in size to the Surface Pro 7.

Performance

Looking at the 2020 iPad Pro, the performance is not actually that much different from the 2018 version. The frequency is the same and the processor has simply been recycled with more GPU core activation.

The RAM is better than the previous model, although this is only slightly better than the 2018 version. As the 2018 iPad Pro was an amazing tablet to start with, this doesn’t mean that the performance of the 2020 version is bad.

In fact, it’s very good and compares well to a traditional laptop. But the claim from Apple that the 2020 iPad Pro is better than a PC laptop is not always true.

On the other hand, the Surface Pro 7 is actually faster and performs better than the iPad Pro in a few ways. If speed is important to you, the Surface Pro 7 wins on that aspect.

Software

iPadOS and Windows software could not be more different, and the Windows software tends to make it easier to use the tablet for PC capabilities. Windows software allows you to run any Windows program on the tablet, such as Adobe programs.

Unfortunately, iPadOS is not able to run all of MacOS programs and therefore cannot be used as freely as a macOS laptop. Adobe doesn’t work on the iPad Pro, and without Photoshop and other Adobe programs, you’re going to find it difficult to work on the tablet.

Not everyone needs these apps and therefore will be able to use the iPad Pro as their laptop replacement. However, if you do require these you’ll need to opt for the Surface Pro 7 due to the more flexible software.

Design

When pitting two tablets next to one another with one of them being an iPad, you’ll find it difficult to determine the other the winner in terms of design. Apple was able to secure an ideal design for their tablets that others can but try to replicate.

The iPad Pro is minimalistic and sleek with a thickness of just 0.23 inches. This is extremely slimline and makes for a very portable tablet. The Surface Pro 7 has a thickness of 0.33 inches, which isn’t necessarily thick until you compare it to the iPad Pro.

Surface Pro 7 is also heavier than the iPad Pro by an additional 0.2 pounds. This might not be noticeable, but it is worth noting for portability.

Display

Apple hasn’t worked upon the display since the 2018 iPad Pro was released. This means that both the iPad Pro (2020) and Surface Pro 7 have an IPS panel.

Focusing on resolution, the iPad Pro’s 2732 x 2048 translates to 264 pixels per inch. On the other hand, Surface Pro 7 2736 x 1824 resolution translates to 267 pixels per inch.

The iPad Pro has a brighter display than the Surface Pro 7 and the color reproduction is also better on the former. The iPad Pro produced 122.9% of the sRGB color gamut, while the Surface Pro 7 only produces 102%.

Finally, the refresh rate is also more impressive on the iPad Pro than the Surface Pro 7, with a refresh rate of 120Hz compared to the 60Hz the Surface Pro 7 offers.

Keyboard

Both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro have optional keyboards that you can purchase separately. Until the 2020 release, Apple has always struggled with their keyboards connecting to their iPads properly.

Surface Pro 7; however, works with a keyboard that has been finetuned much longer than the Smart Keyboard. The Surface Keyboard is also $100 cheaper than the Smart Keyboard which is a substantial jump.

The Surface Keyboard is $99, whereas the Smart Keyboard is $199. If you think that’s a steep jump, the Magic Keyboard that can also connect to the iPad Pro is $349 for the 12.9-inch keyboard.

The Magic Keyboard is better than the Smart Keyboard and makes the iPad Pro feel like a real Macbook. However, the cost of both the keyboard and the iPad costs more than it would cost to purchase a Macbook Air.

Despite the hefty price, the iPad Pro still wins here thanks to the design and innovation of the keyboard.

Pencil

Every artist will have their own preference on the pencils, so we can’t choose the winner for you here. Both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 7 come with suitable pencils that work well with the tablets.

The Apple Pencil 2 is slightly more expensive than the Surface Pen, but it seems to work amazingly well with the iPad Pro. It also attaches to the tablet to charge, leaving you with one less job.

Cameras

The iPad Pro has seen a huge upgrade with its cameras, with two cameras on the back. Both are 12 MP with wide and ultra-wide lenses. New technology is also included called LiDAR. This is a laser and camera system that can fire a pattern in front of it to measure the distance of each traveling photon. This can create a 3D map of everything found through the lens.

This sensor takes your photography to another level and makes tablet photography actually bearable. You wouldn’t even know that the photos were taken from an iPad.

The front camera is 7 MP and ideal for FaceTime and simple pictures. The Surface Pro, on the other hand, has a 5 MP front-facing camera and an 8 MP back camera. There’s no competition here, really.

Connectivity

The Surface Pro 7 has plenty of ports to choose from, with a USB-C port, one USB-A, a Surface Connect Port, one MicroSDXC card reader, and one 3.5mm headphone jack.

The iPad Pro comes with one USB-C port and no headphone jack. The advanced connectivity of the Surface Pro 7 makes it much easier to use as a replacement laptop. To get the same connectivity for the iPad Pro you’d have to spend a lot of money on extensions.

Battery

The A12Z processor makes the iPad Pro’s battery more efficient than the Surface Pro 7. When tested, the iPad Pro’s battery worked well by lasting for 10 hours 16 minutes, while the Surface Pro 7 only lasted for 7 hours 52 minutes. Both tests were done by surfing the web at 150 nits of brightness.

Summary

Overall, the iPad Pro beat the Surface Pro 7 in a number of features, but not with much room to spare. In regards to being a laptop replacement, we think that the Surface Pro 7 has the edge thanks to the better connectivity, more flexible software, and overall performance.

In all other aspects; however, the iPad Pro excels. The design of the tablet, keyboard, and pencil are all superior to the Surface Pro 7. The battery life is also more impressive and the display is better than the alternative.

If you can stomach the additional cost, we would recommend the iPad Pro. However, for a less expensive good laptop replacement, the Surface Pro 7 is a respectable option.

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