Microsoft Surface and Its Competitors

9/21/2012 9:20:04 AM

Surface RT and Surface Pro all have upsides in performance thanks to good interaction with Windows 8 while their downsides lie in hardware.

Description: Surface will start the war of technology.

Surface will start the war of technology.

When specs and main features of Microsoft’s two surfaces have been revealed, the fight between Surface and other rivals is becoming clearer. Our summary viewed this war in different aspects from specs and display to design and performance.

Surface RT tablet running on Windows 8 RT, with ARM chip, is regarded as iPas’s direct rival. Meanwhile, Surface Pro using Windows 8 Pro with Intel Core i5 chip will compete against ultra-books and other compact laptops, though it is still a tablet.

Prices for Microsoft tablets are still unknown.

Surface RT, iPad and Android tablet

Description: The chart compares Surface with other tablets

The chart compares Surface with other tablets

Hardware configuration

The first upside is that Surface RT supports USB 2.0 connectors which are mostly compatible with storage devices and accessories, micro-SD slot and micro-HDMI output. Most Android tablets only have micro-USB slot while iPad has no other ports except for its typical 3-pin connectors.

With regard to processor, Surface RT uses Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, like most of common tablets, or ARM structured processor. iPad uses Apple’s specialized processor based on ARM platform.

About storage, Surface RT starts at 32GB; this can be an upside, if the price is reasonable, but unnecessary for people who don’t have much money. iPad has an option for 16Gb storage while Androids, including Pad Infinity TF700 and Iconia Tab A700, share similar storage with Surface RT.

Description: Display resolution is not an upside when Surface is compared to iPad.

Display resolution is not an upside when Surface is compared to iPad.

Screen and resolution

Microsoft informed that RT’s screen would have HD resolution which may be 1,366x768 pixels, thus it cannot compete with Retina standard of iPad. It can’t even rival some tablet having 1,920x1,200 pixel resolution.

Instead, Surface RT is equipped with a screen closely stuck with glass surface, helping to remove the annoying space between these parts. Microsoft also did introduce ClearType technology for enhanced display.

Description: Compare Surface’s design with other rivals

Compare Surface’s design with other rivals


Microsoft didn’t give full specs yet the company acknowledged that Surface RT would be 0.37inch think, far slimmer than other tablets, and direct rival of iPad. Besides, recent estimation has shown that Surface RT weighs 676g, much weightier than iPad by 22g as well as other compared tablets. However, this difference cannot be easily noticed in daily use.

Surface’s appearance is believed to be unique and distinctive. There’s a bottom folding line allowing for holding the device more firmly and comfortable. Inside arrangement is also appropriate for Surface to get a lighter feeling and an integrated back-support comes handy for usage in many different conditions.


Surface is about to shine in this field. Unlike iOS and Android, Windows 8 is capable of viewing two apps constantly in one screen as well as running background apps. This customization is similar to what users are experiencing on laptops or desktops. Moreover, Surface RT is also equipped with Office Home and Student 2012 RT (plus Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote).

Surface Pro and Ultra-books

Description: Surface Pro gives more options than Ultra-book.

Surface Pro gives more options than Ultra-book.

Hardware configuration

Surface Pro will have storage of 64GB or 128GB and Intel Core i5 processor whose speed is still unknown. On the other side of the battle line, ultra-books have solid-state disk or storage ranging from 128GB to 320GB, and Intel Core i3/i5/i7.

Microsoft hasn’t still announced RAM capacity for Surface Pro while that in ultra-books is averagely 4GB. However, Surface Pro exceeds its rivals due to micro-SDXC, USB 3.0 connection, Mini DisplayPort connector and touchscreen plus stylus.

Screen and resolution

Initial parameters showed that Surface Pro owned 10.6inch with Full HD resolution that was at least 1,920x1,200 pixels. This is such an impressive figure rather than any Android tablets or ultra-books. However, this is not enough to compete iPad having 9.7inch screen and 2,048x1,536 pixel resolution. Similar to Surface RT, Surface Pro also supports ClearType technology.


Surface Pro generally bears similar design to Surface RT but more thickness (0.53inch). However, Surface Pro still looks more elegant appearance than existing Windows 7 tablets and considerably slimmer than ultra-books.

Surface weighs 902g, remarkably lighter than common ultra-books. At present, super-slim ultra-books often have a weight ranging from 1.3kg to 1.8kg.

Description: Surface Pro’s design

Surface Pro’s design


The Intel Core i5 is powerful enough for users to experience Photoshop, process complicated spreadsheet and play games. However, Surface Pro is not included with Microsoft Office. Though, with stylus and touchscreen, Surface Pro is a very convenient mobile device.


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