iPad 4 vs. Microsoft Surface RT: Which Tablet Should You Buy?

By Anu Passary , May 03, 2013 07:23 PM EDT
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Even as smaller tablets are all the rage in the consumer market, their bigger siblings continue to remain popular. Both Microsoft and Apple have robust tablet offerings from which consumers can take their pick.

Here we take a look at how the iPad 4 compares to the Surface RT:


The iPad 4 is powered by Apple's own A6X processor, which the company claims is two times faster than its predecessor A5X. The A6X processor is believed to be a dual-core one and is clocked at 1.4GHz, as revealed by teardowns. On the other hand, a Nvidia Tegra 3 T30 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz powers the Surface RT. 

Form Factor

The Surface RT measures 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 inches, whereas the iPad 4 sports 9.50 x 7.31 x 0.37 inches dimensions, making the Apple offering shorter and wider. Both the tablets have the same thickness.

Weight-wise, at 1.50 pounds, the Microsoft offering is slightly heavier than the Apple one which weighs 1.46 pounds.


The iPad 4 touts a 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT, capacitive touchscreen with Retina display. On the other hand, the Surface RT sports a bigger 10.6-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen.

However, the iPad 4 has a higher pixel resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels compared to the Surface RT's 1366 x 768 pixels. Moreover, the Apple tablet has a higher pixel density of 264 ppi versus the Microsoft tablet's 148 ppi.


The iPad 4 is available in 16/32/64/128GB storage with no option to expand the memory. By contrast, even though the Surface RT is available only in 32/64GB internal storage options, users can expand the memory to a further 64GB using a microSD card.

However, the 32GB version of the Surface RT has approximately 15GB of free hard disk space and the 64GB version has approximately 45GB free.


Both the iPad 4 and the Surface RT come equipped with a 1.2-megapixel secondary snapper. However, the iPad 4 has a 5-megapixel primary camera when compared to the 1.2-megapixel rear-facing camera of the Surface RT.

Operating System

The Surface comes with the Microsoft Windows RT operating system out of the box, whereas the iPad 4 comes pre-loaded with iOS 6.


iPad 4 has a 42.5 Wh battery which offers 720 hours of standby time and up to 10 hours talk time. On the other hand, the Surface RT is fueled by a smaller 31.5 Wh battery, which gives a standby time of up to 360 hours, which is half of the Apple tablet, and up to 8 hours of talk time.


The iPad 4 is available in black and white options, whereas the Surface RT comes in Dark Titanium.


The iPad 4 is available with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular. On the other hand, the Surface RT has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but no cellular version, which basically means that you do not have access to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot when the Surface RT cannot connect to the Internet.

The 32GB and 64GB versions of the iPad 4 are available for $599 and $699, respectively. Whereas the 32GB and 64GB models of the Surface RT will set you back by $499 and $599, respectively.

With both the tablets offering top-end features and not much difference in price, picking the right tablet will be a toughie for consumers. The iPad 4 holds a slight edge, thanks to the brand loyalty Apple enjoys. On the other hand, those who are looking for a true blue Windows experience and cannot do without the MS Office would look to the Surface RT.

Which tablet do you think you will pick up?

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