New Surface Pro vs iPad Pro

Discussion in 'iPad' started by max2, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. max2 macrumors 68030

    May 31, 2015
    Anyone have one of the new Surface Pros ?

    How does it compare to the iPad Pro now ? Thanks.
  2. cansuds macrumors regular


    Jan 19, 2018
  3. AutisticGuy macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2018
    I’ve used a Surface Pro 3 but now I’m using an iPad Pro 12.9. The Surface Pro is an awesome device because you can plug it into a large monitor for desktop work and then use it as a portable laptop and so so tablet. I think it’s the most versatile device on the market today.

    The issue I had with it was the amount of bugs. It’d have to reboot it too often, and it would just glitch out a lot. I’d also have issues starting it up. I’d have to hold down the start button for like 3 minutes. It just wasn’t refined enough for me.

    My iPad works smoothly and reliably and gets over 15 hours of battery life.
  4. kristalsoldier macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2013
    I have and use a SP4 with the keyboard and an IPP 10.5 with the Pencil, which I use as a dedicated tablet.
  5. sosumi99 macrumors 6502


    Oct 27, 2003
    I have the 2017 Surface Pro and the IPP 12.9 (second gen). The Surface is undoubtedly better for things like Office, programming, navigating file systems, running emulation and virtual machines -- basically all the things that a PC is good for. The keyboard in the type cover is also much better than the ASK. As for the inking experience, I think the Surface Pen is great for marking up PDFs and taking handwritten notes, though I'm no artist and cannot compare it to the Apple Pencil as an artist's tool.

    It is not very good as a tablet, however. Even with all the improvements in Windows 10, many UI elements are still not touch-friendly. And the tablet experience is just very clunky. There are also recurring hardware issues with flickering screens and the like, which you've no doubt seen all over the Surface forums.

    The IPP is a much superior tablet and I really like the always-on cellular connection (I use it outside all the time). For answering emails, editing documents, playing games, watching videos, and similar tasks, the IPP is better than the Surface for me. But it's not able to do all the things that the Surface can.

    The Surface is a very versatile device, but its tablet functions feel very much second-class to me. If I could have only one device, it would have to be the Surface, but I'm lucky in being able to afford both.
  6. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    Reading this thread made me miss my SP4, the first time I'd had that thought since selling it more than a year ago. It was a great machine, but there were two things I didn't like: I couldn't get used to windows, and I didn't like the kickstand. I wish it had a way of standing up more like a laptop. If Apple made something similar – a macOS tablet I could touch and draw on with a Pencil – it would likely be my next machine.

    Cue the "never gonna happen" posts. That's fine. I don't lose sleep over it.
  7. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    I have the Surface Pro 3. It’s an okay-ish laptop, and a poor tablet.

    For a laptop, it’s not ideal since it’s top heavy, and the lack of I/O made it a poor Pro device for me. It even takes up more desktop space than a regular laptop. The upside is that it’s quite light for its class during that time (though there are plenty of lighter ultra books nowadays).

    As a tablet, there’s no contest that the iPad is more enjoyable to use. The Surface Pro is too heavy, and using Windows as a tablet is just painful as most programs are not tablet optimized.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    How are you going to use it? Mostly as a tablet, or more laptop type tasks?

    The Surface Pro is a good laptop that can double as a tablet. The laptop function is where it shines the best, its not as good in tablet mode.

    The iPad's power, and high volume of apps, really makes it a great product, but it does lack native mouse support and lack of desktop type apps may mean its not a good fit.
  9. Thares macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2011
    Dresden, Germany
    I bought a new surface last week and already returned it. I had a terrible experience, from the setup on. I wish it was a laptop which could be used as a tablet. But it definitely is not. The aspect ratio is much too tall, Windows 10 sucksin tablet mode and there are a lot of core apps or parts of system preferences which are not optimized for tablet use.

    The surfsce is not a tablet at all. So you really cannot compare these two. If you want a laptop, buy a laptop. If you want a tablet, buy an iPad.
  10. zuomeng macrumors newbie


    Dec 19, 2018
    I recently bought a Surface Pro 2017 to use as a laptop / e-book reader / sketchbook. Having read comments and watched reviews online I knew that the drawing experience on it wasn't fantastic, but still good. That's why I didn't go into the purchase with the mindset that I would be using this device for serious art work. Normally I work on a XP-Pen Artist 12 and am very picky with pen accuracy. I wanna be able to draw smooth line art without having to enable a stabilizer; something I'm able to do on my XP-Pen Artist 12 drawing tablet with screen .

    What's my verdict? The impression I had got from my research was pretty much correct. In terms of pen accuracy and feel it does work well and live up to my hopes. It's a notably firmer experience compared to my Artist 12 , but it's not something I can't get used to. There is an issue with the palm rejection and the pen tilt that makes the pen cursor go offset, but I was able to kinda work around that. It's a notable minus for the drawing experience either way.

    However, the overall performance of the tablet wasn't very impressive (especially for the $2000 price). I would've expected a bit more juice out of an i7 device with 8 GB of memory (upgrading to 16 GB would've cost another grand, yikes), and especially without the heat it currently produces. Seriously, the thing gets surprisingly hot even from less intensive drawing. I have a mid-range Asus laptop from 2013 with an i5 and 4 GB of memory, and it does not have as violent a reaction to drawing as the Surface does.

    While I like my Surface Pro as a laptop-tablet hybrid and love typing, reading, browsing, watching videos, and all that stuff on my Surface, I cannot recommend it for artists. Maybe in another generation or two these devices will be able to do really well, but for now I'd suggest you look into either a MobileStudio, iPad Pro, or if you don't plan on travelling a lot you should do yourself the biggest favour and build your own desktop PC and get a XP-Pen Artist 12 ( their offical store : ) .
  11. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I tried the first three surface pro units and returned them all. It makes a poor tablet and a compromised laptop. I guess some will like for the size but they make some sleek thin laptops for way less money.
  12. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    Surface Pro is an acceptable tablet but a pretty good laptop replacement. iPad Pro is a great tablet but a subpar laptop replacement unless you can work with the limitations imposed by the current iOS version.

    The question you need to ask yourself is if running desktop software X is important enough for you vs finding a suitable alternative on iOS if one exists. For work the iPad Pro is a complete no-go for me because it can't run any of the software I need, but I still own the 2017 model because it works for the things I do at home.
  13. PennyThought, Dec 20, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

    PennyThought macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2018
    Purchased a Surface Pro 6 on Black Friday from BB - $999 i5 8gb RAM, 256gb SSD w/Type Cover. With over $530 AMEX points saved over the years, the final cost was about $560. (Bought a 400gb SD for $80 from Newegg as well.)

    Had considered the iPP 10.5 1tb ($200 off) as well as the iPP 11 during that time before deciding.

    I have no need for the pencil and I've been using the SP as a pure consumption device for now though of course it can do so much more. I've been using it in tablet-mode to read my comics and watch movies up to now. Very happy with regrets buying it whatsoever.

    - SP6 i5 is fanless
    - Upgraded display
    - Much better battery life over previous models
    - Kickstand and TypeCover (with Trackpad) are wonderful
    - SD card support

    - a very small one...the battery loses 1-2% every 24 hrs even when asleep

    Reasons why I didn't choose the iPP:

    - with Bendgate being very real on the new iPPs and with Apple acknowledging it and even downplaying/excusing it, there's no predicting if/when the next refresh will be and whether this problem will be addressed then.
    We're possibly looking at a 2 year refresh cycle meaning 2020 to see something new or improved. I'm not waiting that long, sorry Apple.

    - Too many iOS shortcomings and little hope for meaningful improvements.

    Seven years have passed since I purchased my ipad 2 and we're still waiting for core functionality extensions beyond the pencil.

    No mouse or pointing device, unable to plug in USB drives and do anything beyond importing photos (beyond silly if you ask me), greater access to the file system to customize/organize locations & workflows, allow more than one application per file type, etc.

    If you want to believe ios 13 will offer significant improvement to address some of these issues, you can hold out hope. I'm moving on.

    Very much looking forward to using the SP6 on the plane and on my travels, will be eye-opening compared to a very limiting iPP.
  14. kdoug, Dec 20, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

    kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
    They had that same deal a few days ago and I missed out on it. I’m probably going to keep my 10.5 pro I purchased last year since it’s only worth $350-$400 and add a SP 6 in this configuration. If and when Apple supports a pointing device and a file system then I’ll go back exclusively to iPad, maybe.
  15. mightyjabba macrumors 65816


    Sep 25, 2014
    I don't really understand why someone would want a combination device that is a pretty good laptop and a terrible tablet. I'd rather get a great laptop and a great tablet, even if they are separate devices. Honestly, this is part of why I am a little uncomfortable with the laptopification of the iPad Pro.
  16. secretk, Dec 20, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018

    secretk macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2018
    I think that it depends on how much someone uses a tablet. There are definitely people like you who would want separate devices - one tablet and one laptop. There are people who don't need laptop at all. They can rely only on iPad for their day to day tasks. And there are people that have very specific narrow needs for tablets that they prefer to meet via using combination device.

    Take me for example. I don't have a need for regular tablets. I have never had issues consuming media in the bed with my laptop. I don't play games no matter the device. I do a lot of typing and I need hardware keyboard for that. I bought 6th gen iPad because of the pencil. This is the only thing I need. I wanted to be able to take handwritten notes during meeting at works and store them digitally. I also wanted to be able to annotate pdf files. As you can see my tablet usage is very limited and niche. I would prefer to have a laptop that can do this and that has the ports to connect to external monitors and speakers.

    Now granted I do play around with ProCreate and do some coloring but that's not actual need of mine. That's more like "I have the device, it can do this so let's take advantage of it".

    Due to my nature of work (Team lead of a Software Development team that uses Java as a programming language) no iPad will ever meet my needs. I will always need a computer. As sometimes I need to work from home, it's better to have also laptop. I also need Windows as OS. So now what's happening is that I have a desktop computer at work, I will have a 14 inch laptop and then iPad. Too much devices for me. I prefer to combine the tablet and the laptop experience in one especially considering the fact that I pretty much need only touch screen and pen capabilities.

    I think that a lot of people in the work sector might feel similar to what I described. Being able to store your handwritten notes digitally is a huge plus. If you can use the same device for accessing work stuff (via VPN and Remote desktop) and take notes during meetings and workshops it will be even better. Another plus for the laptop in work environment is being able to share the screen. Yes, it's possible with iPads but it's cumbersome. You have to either install specific paid app, use AirDrop and expect people to be in the Apple ecosystem or bring dongles. With laptops I could use their HDMI port. Most workplaces offer HDMI cables and have this setup anyway.

    Then there is the fact that quite a lot of people (or let's say enough) use Microsoft Office apps at work. And those apps are just not good in iOS. It's not Apple's fault, but that's the truth. Add to this the fact that a lot of people need multiple monitors and extending displays functionalities. This is supported in laptops, but not in iPads.

    Lastly it's also about Ethernet and docking stations. At work we have few networks. WIFI networks do not expose some of the sensitive work stuff. I would never be able to access them from my iPad because of security restrictions. With laptop however I could use docking station and Ethernet access.
  17. kdoug macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2010
    Iowa City, IA USA
  18. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    Because of ecosystem issues, its easier for apple to make the ipad into a hybid than Microsoft to make a pc
    into s tablet. Currently, Surface is the best hybrid. The surface pen is better for writing imo, though I prefer the
    pencil for drawing. Both great yet flawed devices
  19. TroyBoy30 macrumors 68020


    Jun 9, 2009
    Atlanta GA
    It’s easy. Want a laptop replacement that can be used as a tablet? Get the surface. Want a great tablet? Get the iPad.
  20. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    For what the Surface cost you can buy a decent laptop. I tried them three times and we ended up returning them.

    If you need a laptop do not get the hybrid Surface instead.
  21. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    One's an okay laptop and one is the best tablet out there. Pretty different devices in my opinion that don't warrant a ton of comparison. I was given a Surface Pro for work, but felt my iPad Pro was the better option and went back to that.
  22. tongefactor40 macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2010
    If MS could give the tablet mode a heavy polish I think it would be a killer. With my job, I will always have to be in the windows environment due to app availability, so iPad will always be an accessory.
  23. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    It's part MS but also a big part 3rd party developers. Getting them off the stone age Windows version designs has historically been a challenge in the first place but getting them to make a desktop app in any way tablet compatible is just not happening so you end up with halfway solutions.
  24. retailacc macrumors member


    Jun 19, 2017
    Boston, MA
  25. Booji macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2011
    I was a long term Apple fanboi. Was looking to upgrade both my IPP 10.5 and aging Air. When the new Air came out, I was nonplussed with the specs. Went for the SP6 which had superior specs, cost less than the new Air and could do the Pencil related activities the IPP was good at. So, with that I killed two birds with one stone. So far, very happy. The iPad is much better at consumption activities, so I have kept it, and use the SP6 for the "Pro" work.

    However, when I travel I need only one device.....the SP6, so my burden has lightened significantly.

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