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Our hands-on testing of Microsoft’s Surface RT vs. Apple’s iPad with Retina
Our hands-on testing of Microsoft’s Surface RT vs. Apple’s iPad with Retina display revealed that both products excel in certain areas and come up short in others. If we had to score it like a heavyweight fight, it would be a draw. If we had $1,000, we’d buy one of each. Here are 10 reasons why the Surface beats the iPad.
The Surface RT comes with a sturdy built-in kickstand that allows you to view the screen in an upright position. The iPad is great when you’re holding it, but if you’ve ever found yourself, say, following a recipe or reading instructions on how to fix something and your hands are occupied or wet or otherwise not able to comfortably hold the device, you can appreciate the benefit of the kickstand.
The Surface RT offers three ways to enter text; the familiar on-screen keyboard, similar to the iPad, plus two attachable keyboards – the Touch Cover and the Type Cover. The Touch Cover is a thin, slightly bendable slab with a touch surface that feels a bit like felt. The Type Cover is an actual keyboard. Both covers attach to the bottom of the Surface RT via magnet. You can hold the Surface RT upside down by the bottom of the keyboard and it stays attached.
The Surface RT comes with a version of Office called Home and Student 2013 RT. The Surface RT comes with a "Preview" edition, and end users will receive an automatic update to the final version once it is released. Included are Word 2013 RT, Excel 2013 RT, PowerPoint 2013 RT and OneNote 2013 RT. No Outlook, but still, you get a version of the productivity apps that you’re accustomed to.
With Surface RT, you have a choice of UIs; either tiles, icons or even command line.
With Surface RT you can keep two apps open and running at the same time, which you can’t do with an iPad.
The Surface RT features a USB port, a MicroSD port and MicroHDMI port, plus the requisite speaker port. The iPad just has a speaker port.
The $499 Surface RT comes with 32GB of storage, while the $499 iPad comes with 16GB.
The Surface RT seamlessly connects to network devices, including printers, servers, etc. Printing from an iPad can be a chore.
If we had to pick a key difference between the Surface RT and the iPad, we would say that the Surface RT is more of a content creation device, while the iPad is better suited to content consumption.
If you live in the Windows world and are familiar with Windows 8 and how it works, you’ll feel right at home with Surface RT.