Why the iPad Pro over the Surface Pro?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by wba1990, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. wba1990 macrumors regular


    Oct 1, 2015
    Birmingham, England
    I've been playing on getting an iPad Pro 12.9, but today I also found myself looking at the Surface Pro

    So just wondering, if you were looking at either of these 2 devices why you opted to go for the iPad?

    My reason at the moment is I have several Apple products, but apart from that why would the iPad be a better option over the Surface? Can anyone that has used both comment as to how the 2 devices compare?
  2. Dave245 macrumors 603


    Sep 15, 2013
    The iPad Pro is an iPad that is capable of productivity tasks, even more so once iOS 11 arrives later this year, personally I like the iPad Pro for certain tasks such as drawing, colouring in apps, editing small videos on the go in iMovie and so on. The Surface on the other hand is a 2 in 1 device, it tries to be a tablet as well as a full computer but the problem is it's terrible at being a tablet and nowhere near as good as an iPad. Personally I don't like Windows but I'm also not a fan of touching a computer screen i.e. Touchscreen computer! Which is why I own both an iPad Pro and Mac's they both serve their purpose and do it well.
  3. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Why do you want a Surface Pro? You already have a 2014 MacBook Air. If you're looking for a tablet, then go for the iPad Pro; if you're looking for another notebook computer which converts to a tablet, then buy the Surface Pro. Personally, I stay away from anything Microsoft but that's just me. :D
  4. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    Personally, I just find the iPad Pro to be the best tablet experience on the market. We all know the hardware is great, but it's internally with what iOS 11 is going to expand even further. I think the Apple smart keyboard and pencil support is also really nice add on's, but the ecosystem is what ties me in even further.
  5. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    12.9 iPad Pro because it's best for how I want to use a tablet. What it provides for me that a Surface Pro doesn't:
    - good battery life
    - a lot of really good touch optimized software
    - Apple ecosystem integration
    - no fan noise
    - lighter weight

    You should get a Surface Pro if those don't matter to you as much, and you really need desktop software and/or a mouse. But then that begs the question, why get the tablet form factor? Clamshell ultrabooks have better battery life, a stable base, and a better keyboard, and only weigh a tad more if at all. And if you really need touch or pen input with desktop software, convertibles provide that plus have the benefits of a clamshell. The only advantage the SP has over convertibles then is it's a bit lighter if you take off the keyboard cover.
  6. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    Because it has a pen.
  7. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    Sounds like you stopped reading after that.
  8. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    I have both.

    How I see it, the iPad is a legit tablet device. It performs great for mobile tasks on the go. What I love about it is that it is real simple to use on a mobile setting, roadtrips, trains, while walking around; however on the same token, its too simple to handle more complicated operations (pending app development of course - not hardware related). Its the perfect device for if you or your workflow doesnt require any specific or specialty software. If your workflow can adapt easily to whatever program can handle it, then you'll barely have complaints. Like you, I am already invested into the Apple ecosystem, and I just feel like my data is more secure with Apple.

    The surface pro, I consider more of a laptop than a tablet. Like I'm never walking around using my surface pro. Its a device I have to sit down at a table to use. The benefits it offers are those of a laptop, the full programs and features we are all used to growing up with windows. You have your basic USB & SD ports, full iTunes, MS Word with a formula builder (no idea why they dont add this to the mobile versions...), Solidworks, etc. Essentially if you have a workflow that cant yet adapt to the restrictions of iOS, the surface is good for you. I still find it a huge shame that I need my surface pro to load music into my Music app on the iPad...

    Honestly I think the iPad can handle the complete workflow of most people, unfortunately it still has plenty of room to grow for some of us. I would hands down choose the iPad Pro (I mean I did get one after all), but it still falls short to where I need a computer to do my work. Also, even though they are both tablets, i feel like the iPad is more portable and longer lasting than the surface. I can take my iPad with me and not concern myself with a charger, but if I take my surface with me I tend to take my charger. Also the iPad charger is a much better design. Im surprised companies still use a length of cord, the adapter box, and more cable. Its so awkward to carry around and have laying around. Apple did it right.
  9. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    I have a higher investment of apps in iOS. Windows, I have the Windows basics and the Microsoft App store is disappointing. The iPad is a clear winner for me compared to the Surface because it has the software I want to run today. If I was a .NET developer, I would pick the Microsoft Surface over the iPad and that is only if I didn't want a more traditional laptop or upgrade to the Surface Book for a better laptop experience.
  10. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    There are a lot of little things about Windows that still makes it not very tablet-friendly for me personally. Part of it is practical (especially UI elements), part of it is perception.

    What it really comes down to is that iOS is a LOT more friendly (to me) for single-focus tasks. I don't multi-task on the iPad (often), and I really don't want to - and I know that's not for everyone, but it's perfect for me. There's too much UI and OS in Windows, always wanting to make sure I know that Windows is there to do things I don't need or want at the moment, whereas iOS launches the app and gets out of my way. Could I configure Windows to act like iOS? Maybe, but it would take a lot of futzing and in the end it wouldn't work the way I wanted it to.

    The Surface is an excellent machine and Windows has come a loooooooong way, but everything about it still wants me to use it on a desk. It can be used with touch, but you really need a stylus and/or a mouse to get the most out of it. With the iPad, the pencil is really a task-specific tool and not a general navigation tool.

    Yes, iOS is simple - and that's the main draw for me over the Surface.
  11. rowspaxe macrumors 68000


    Jan 29, 2010
    The Apple app store is disappointing. What am I missing, if I have x64 art apps and edge browser?
  12. Rhonindk macrumors 68040


    Have both. Two totally different use models.
    Surface Pro is more of a laptop rather than a consumptive tablet. The iPad Pro is more of a .... not sure yet.

    I loaned my Surface Pro to my daughter for college. She loves it! (Vet Med)
    I am trying out a iPad Pro as an alternative laptop replacement. Giving that till month end. Let's just say it is a bit challenging.

    If you want it as a laptop - Surface Pro. Consumptive use with some laptop ability - iPad Pro.
    This is based on my current use at this time.
  13. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    You're missing things like Paper by 53. If you are the type of person that does absolutely everything in Photoshop and never wants to use anything else, then you're not missing anything. However, if you want apps that deliver different user experiences for different types of art (or enjoy a variety to choose from), then you are missing out.
  14. CrystalQuest76 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    Stay away from the Windows Surface line of computers. Consumer Reports last week published (Not Recommend warning). Apparently their long term hardware reliability has been shown to be very low.
    While for the short term they may do what you want. but you will have to replace it more often and that means wasting money.
  15. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    Yeah, I read the Consumer Reports article but I don't necessarily agree with it. Without more hard data it's tough to tell what's really going on.
  16. wba1990 thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 1, 2015
    Birmingham, England
    I honestly think for my use and what I want from the device I will still get an iPad Pro, however I hadn't seen a post discussing the 2 on here (apologies if I missed it) so thought I'd create one and just see what peoples thoughts and preferences were on the 2 devices.

    I know very little about the surface pro other than they are used a lot in the NFL :D
  17. LibbyLA macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2017
    I have a Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, iPP 9.7, iPP 10.5, and iP Mini 4. I am a Windows user at heart, like the ease of having my Windows devices on a home network and being able to transfer files amongst computers easily. iPads suck at that as best I can tell.

    My primary reason for trying an iPad was to deal with photos from trail cameras. I'd used a Dell Venue 8 Pro (Win tablet), screen too small. Surface Pro 3, screen too big. Surface 3, screen too big. iPP 9.7, much better, then iPP 10.5, and most recently, the iP Mini 4. It's actually my favorite for that right now because it's smaller and lighter and I don't have to reach far to tap the heart.

    I don't like having to import all the pics from a card in order to view them full screen. Advantage Win tablets for that. I also don't like that I can't move photos I want to keep into a separate folder, but I've learned to use favorites to keeping the photos I want. Scrolling through photos, zooming, marking the ones I want to keep is much easier with iPad.

    I use a file transfer utility to transfer pics from the iPad to the PC, but then deleting all the imported file folders is a PITA. Can't delete the folders, have to delete all the pics in each folder and then the folders go away. HUGE advantage to Win device there. I'm hoping that iOS 11 will change this.

    iPads are my "go to" for web surfing, texting, etc., thanks to ASK and long battery life, plus small footprint. When I have heavy-duty work to do, it's a Win device, usually desktop at home and Surface 3 in the classroom.
  18. pascaladjaero macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2017
    I have a Dell XPS 15 9560 and an iPad Pro 10.5.... The iPad is a really well optimized tablet. If you want a media consumption device that can occasionally do some heavy lifting (yup, there's quite a bunch of promising apps here), get the iPad Pro. On the other hand, if you want a really nice FULL BLOWN PC running windows... then go for the surface pro.
    IMO, the iPad Pro let me down sometimes. Like yea, all these wonderful power but yet it's just a supercharged iPad. Looking forward to what iOS 11 has to offer.
    (A friend of mine has the surface pro 4 so I've had the chance to play with both)
  19. Eric5273 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2009
    New Jersey
    For me it's all about the Apple ecosystem and iOS. I'm now fully iOS as I use my iPad Pro as my main computer and have an iPhone 7. I love not having to worry about virus protection or worrying that something may happen if I download a file from my email. It just works and everything from my iPad is accessible from my phone.

    Yes, it's true that occasionally some things require workarounds and cannot be done as easily as on a PC or Mac, but I'm willing to live with that because of the simplicity of iOS.
  20. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    For me....

    iPad Pro = Fun, media, light computing (this differs for everyone)
    Surface Pro (2017 model) = Whatever iPad can do plus much more.

    If I could just have one of the two, it’d def be the Surface Pro. The 2017 SP (i5) is fanless, lasts almost as long as the iPad, and is just as portable. Windows 10 is just as stable and secure as OSX, if not more!
  21. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    I had a few reasons. The primary one is similar to yours; that I have a lot of Apple products, and it was just easier to remain within the ecosystem.

    But there are a few other reasons. I use my iPad as a full paper replacement. When I am at work, the iPad is almost always on and in use. I used to use an iPad mini, but more recently upgraded to a 9.7 inch. Honestly, that is about the upper limit in terms of size and weight that I can accommodate. The iPad is still smaller and lighter (by almost half!) than the Microsoft Surface.

    That's not to say that the Surface is not without its own benefits. I am primarily using Citrix applications, which the Surface would handle better. However, there are other trade-offs to productivity. For example, I am able to engage in text messaging through the iPad (partly because many of my team members are using iOS devices, and even for those who are using Android, text messages are relayed from my iPhone). If I were using a Surface, I would need to pull out my iPhone and juggle two devices.

    I wouldn't say that the iPad is the ultimate device to use, and there are probably situations for certain people where the surface is the clear winner. But those were some of the thoughts behind why I decided to stick with an iPad for my work, instead of switching over to the Surface. Admittedly, if Apple made at Surface-like device that were capable of running macOS, I might be tempted to dump my iPad.
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've owned a Surface Pro and I still own a Surface Book. What the SP has over the iPad is the fact it can run desktop level apps, such as the full version of Office, Lightroom, Photoshop. For me it seems simple enough, if the apps you need to run are desktop level, then the SP is an excellent option, if iOS apps are sufficient then get the iPad.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 16, 2017 ---
    I think they're still good computers, my Surface Book is rock solid, and the Surface Pro I owned before that was problem free. I'm not saying the CR report is off base, but I do think that it's not painting the entire picture. Yet with that said, I think MS has their work cutout to resolve the problems that were documented in the survey.
  23. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I don't disagree that the iPad Pro has much better touch optimized software, obviously integrates into the Apple ecosystem and is slightly lighter (by about 100g), but some your other points aren't as relevant since the latest Surface Pro was released:

    m3 and i5 Models are fanless
    Battery life is improved by 50% to 13.5 hours

    Personally, I view them as two different product types: The iPad is perfect for someone who primarily wants a tablet that can be used like a notebook occasionally. The Surface Pro is perfect for someone who primarily wants a notebook that can be used as a tablet occasionally
  24. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    I have found that Microsoft's estimates of battery life are greatly exaggerated. Unlike my iPads, where I can get a full day's (sometimes more) battery with 'normal' use, the Surface Pros that I've used get 3 MAX under 'normal' use. I once tried to extend my Pro 3's battery life so I could take notes at a conference and I managed to squeak out 4 hours, but the use experience was not great. The battery on the Pro 4 at work is even less.

    *Normal use as in WiFi on, screen full brightness, running Office, taking notes with OneNote.
  25. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    I agree with it... because my first hand experiences with the Surface line are consistent with their findings. :)

    This was my view of the differences as well, until recently. The iPad (due to physical limitations as well as OS/app limitations) can never do (or do as easily as) some tasks that a notebook can do.

    The Surface Pro (due to OS/app limitations) can never do some tasks that a tablet with a mobile OS can do. Windows 10 is too "heavy" for a mobile tablet. Poor standby time, daily/weekly/monthly updates to the OS, varying performance and responsiveness (due to background tasks), the chronic lack of a quantity of quality modern UI apps, etc. All have a negative impact on using the Surface Pro as a tablet. It is TECHNICALLY possible, but in my experience not very PRACTICAL.

    Both companies oversell the capabilities of their respective devices as being "converged" devices. The truth is closer to one being a mobile tablet, the other, a touchscreen notebook. I'm a fan of both. They each serve their respective purposes well. I just think that their companies do these products a disservice by overselling their benefits.

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