Surface Pro 4 Vs Ipad Pro | Which is Better For You & Why

The Surface Pro 4 vs The Ipad Pro


Decide which is better for you
First we will compare the two most popular tablet brands, the Surface Pro 4 and the Ipad Pro to help you decide which fits your lifestyle better. If you already know you want the Surface Pro 4, skip to the second half of this article for an in-depth Surface Pro 4 feature analysis and Amazon discounted buy link.

Surface Pro 4 vs Apple Ipad Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Apple Ipad Pro
CPU: Core m3, Core i5/i7
Size: 11.5 X 9.5 X .33, Weight: 1.73 lbs
Size: 12 X 8.7 X .27, Weight: 1.57 lbs
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ASIN: B01606KJ6C

Both are popular tablets that can hook up to a keyboard as well as use a stylus pen. The Ipad Pro is much more of a tablet, the keyword works well but you are still reliant on touch to get around. The Surface Pro is more of a full laptop – you can use the touchscreen, but it is more of a supplement, as the Surface Pro 4 keyboard has a full trackpad and keyboard controls, making it similar in functionality to a laptop.

The Ipad Pro is very natural to use for touch and designed for apps. Windows touch is slightly more awkward with the touchscreen, however the Surface Pro’s laptop-like functionality means you can seamlessly use actual programs such as Photoshop on the computer-like tablet, while the Ipad Pro is limited to Apps only. For example, on the Surface Pro, you can use actual Photoshop while on the Ipad Pro you have to use the Photoshop App, which will be limited in its functionality.

If you just want a tablet, something with a responsive, easy to use touchscreen and less computer-like functionality or keyboard, then the Ipad Pro would be the better option.

The Ipad has one angle kickstand that is attached to the keyboard, which makes it awkward if that angle just isn’t for you. The Ipad’s one angle kickstand also makes it hard to balance when you are typing on your lap, and it feels like it will bounce and fall out. The Surface has a built-in kickstand that you can adjust to any angle, making it much more adaptable and user-friendly. It also bounces more naturally when you are typing in your lap for a less precarious feel.

The Ipad is taller and wider than the surface while the Surface has a smaller, clipboard like feel, while at the same time being slightly heavier than the Ipad. The Ipad is first and foremost a tablet while the Surface Pro is first and foremost a mini desktop computer. You have to decide which fits into your use-pattern and lifestyle more seamlessly, and that is the one you should get! The core I5 process and above of the Surface Pro 4 outperforms the Ipad Pro’s CPU.

The Surface Pro 4 In Depth Review

It is thinner, lighter and faster than previous generations. It is a complete laptop and tablet experience. The Surface Pro 4 is an impressive, relatively light 1.73lbs, comparing this weight to Ipad Pro at 1.57lbs illustrates the lightness of this combination laptop-tablet, as the Ipad pro has much less laptop functionality and is known to be a lightweight tablet.

In addition to being lightweight, the 4 can be used completely as a tablet but also as a full-fledged computer whenever you want, making it incredibly versatile. Windows 10 makes it easier for everyday use, especially in comparison with the Windows 8 platform.

You can keep the Pro in your lap in any position that you want, even laying it down almost flat on your lap or any angle you wish to. The technical term for this in-lap functionality is “lapability”, meaning it is flexible and fits your lap well. If you don’t already have a lap dog, the Surface Pro 4 may be a good substitute and you don’t even have to feed it, although it likes to be charged. The unique angling feature makes it perfect to work at any angle in your lap or on a desk. Combine this with the new beautiful screen resolution and you can already picture yourself working outside on a beach somewhere, casually propping the Surface Pro 4 on your lap. At least that would be nice, wouldn’t it.

The pen may seem like a simple feature and may be easily overlooked, but actually has some amazing features that are worth going into detail about. The new pen works well for those who like to write or draw on their tablets, including artistic types and those who simply like to write themselves notes. It is comfortable and easy to hold. You click the pen and it launches One Note and works well at recognizing and translating even messy handwriting into actual text. This is good news for those who do not possess naturally legible, beautiful handwriting but still want to take advantage of the handwriting to text feature.

Did I mention that it also has magnets that cling to the side of the tablet so there is no more excuse for losing your pen. In addition to all of these features, this incredibly multi-functional pen can also take screenshots as well as ask “Cortana” the Microsoft “Siri” to answer your every question or keep you company when you are lonely. Don’t worry if you wear down your pen tips, because extras are included in the original box. Undeniably the best part about the pen is its built in eraser. I thought only pencils could erase, but this erasable stylus adds a whole new dimension for people like me who like to color outside the lines and then erase it.

The processor works well however it is not meant for heavy computing or processing. If you do a lot of video editing or heavy gaming, this is not the right computer for you due to a lighter processor. However you can buy a processor up to I7, which is really quite good for any type of use that does not require an especially heavy processor even on a normal computer. I would recommend getting at least an I5 processor and unless you have special or unique needs this will handle everything you need it to. It can even do light gaming such as Starcraft or Steam. The Surface Pro 4 runs extremely coolly compared to Surface Pro 3 meaning it can handle a lot more without the loud processing noises or excess heat from overworking.

The “unique” Microsoft aspect ratio means there will be black bars while you watch the most common movie formats of 16:9 or 21:9, however the images and resolution will be breathtakingly gorgeous. The reason they chose the 3:2 aspect ratio is that it fits in between the most common ratios for television and laptop screens and is the best ratio for design, photograph and artistic work.

The screen is absolutely gorgeous and you really do not know what you have been missing until you see it for yourself in comparison with the Surface Pro 3’s screen. The screen of Surface Pro 4 is called Pixel Sense and has a 2736 X1824 resolution with a 287 PPI. The screen resolution is stunning, especially in comparison to the Surface Pro 3. It even has more resolution than the iPad Pro which is known for its rich display and screen resolution. Colors are rich and blacks are really black, the difference is astounding. If you like to work outside you will appreciate this.

The battery life is not horrible or particularly amazing. It has about 5-6 hours of actual battery life, although it is advertised as 8-9 hours. However it charges fairly quickly, in part making up for the slight battery deficit.

Typing is natural on the Surface Pro 4’s gorgeous keyboard. The type cover is thinner, it has a new typing mechanism and the giant glass trackpad made by Synaptics feels good and is easy to navigate. The keys are more widely spaced in a so called “Chiclet” manner, allowing for the each individual key light up with the backlit function. You could take this tablet into a pitch black cellar or out onto the beach and be more satisfied than you would be with most other tablets or computers. The high-performance keyboard is an extra $129 and is not included in the price. There is also a more expensive option that includes a finger sensor for activation.

The keyboard has incredibly strong magnets that you can hold the screen upside down with and it stays put together. You can’t even tell they are two separate pieces when you put them together.
Pricewise this tablet is a bit expensive relative to other more price-sensitive options, however it can be worth it if you are looking for a premium brand name product of high quality and design. It starts at $900 and goes well over $2,000. This is definitely not the cheapest option out there. The Surface Pro 4 has a premium feeling and is a high performing device.

It looks high-tech and is pretty to look at in addition to touch and feel. The magnesium feel looks incredible, and the device wears well even over a lot of use and travel. You will appreciate what this can do.

If you want a high-end, high-quality, general-use computer and tablet this would be a great device for you. Fashionable, next-generation, charges quickly, overall a great computer and tablet. Getting at least a core I5 model will give you the best performance.

If you are considering buying the Surface Pro 4 but do not have the budget, you may want to consider buying a discounted Surface Pro 3, which is still a great-performing tablet computer that will be less expensive and also serve you well.

The Surface Pro 4 is a great tablet that is definitely worth it for those who are looking for a lightweight, well-made tablet-laptop for everyday use and know they want one of high quality that will perform well and last.

Thao Nyugen
As editor in chief, Thao Nguyen is responsible for the editorial direction, media platforms, and business strategy of Technology Review.