iPad 4th Gen. vs. Windows Surface RT

Apple iPad 4th Gen.

Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft has announced the release of Surface RT, its first venture into the tablet world. Starting at $499, Surface seems to be taking direct aim at Apple’s full-sized tablet which starts at $499. It’s a tough challenge as the iPad got yet another refresh this fall making it the 4th generation. Here’s our breakdown of the two tablets.

Display and Dimensions

Surface RT’s 1366 x 768 pixel resolution isn’t as dazzling as iPad’s Retina display at 2048 x 1536. Microsoft’s tablet has a 10.6 inch display compared to iPad’s 9.7 inch screen. Surface is nearly as light at the iPad, 1.5 versus 1.45 pounds, and just as thin at 0.37 inches.

Covers and Stands

Microsoft’s Surface sets itself apart from other tablets with a built-in kickstand that allows you to prop it up and use it as you would a traditional laptop. It offers two types of keyboard attachments that also act as covers, Type Cover and Touch Cover. iPad has a Smart Cover, which also acts as protection and a stand, but, unlike Surface’s addition, it is not a keyboard.


While the iPad can take 1080p HD video with its back camera and has an upgraded FaceTime HD camera (720p) on the front, Microsoft chose to install 720p HD video cameras on both the front and back. Like iPad, Surface’s rear camera is capable of video capture and taking images.

Battery Life

Surface has an eight hour battery life while the iPad has a ten hour battery life.

Operating System

Surface will launch with Windows RT and is making plans to offer a tablet with Windows 8 Pro later this year. Both versions feature interactive tiles which act similarly to Android and iOS app icons. Each tile can display real-time updates without being opened. However, Microsoft can’t compete with the variety or sheer number of apps offered by iPad. There’s no voice assistant or navigation. The 4th generation iPad will ship with the iOS 6 operating system which features Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, as well as other cool features like Passbook, FaceTime over 3G/4G and more.


Microsoft Home and Student Office come pre-installed on Windows RT. That means seamless integration with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, giving Surface the potential to be more of a dual threat than than the iPad – productive and fun. This dual nature, combined with the keyboard covers and kickstand, nudge Surface into laptop territory.

iPad 4th Gen. (available in white or black)

WiFi Only WiFi + Cellular
16GB $499 $629
32GB $599 $729
64GB $699 $829

Windows Surface RT (available in black)

WiFi Only
32GB $499
32GB with Touch Cover $599
64GB with Touch Cover $699

Final Word

With the kickstand and two sturdy cover/keyboard options, Surface moves between tablet and laptop with ease. Though it may prove to be a better work companion, it won’t match iPad’s camera, sharp display, library of apps, or connectivity on the go.

If you’re thinking about upgrading to the newest iPad or switching over to Surface, earn some cash off your old tablet. List it for sale on Glyde in seconds.

Have questions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected]

The Glyde Team