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Surface Pro behind iPad Pro in OLED display, but pulls ahead elsewhere

iPad Pro pulls ahead of Surface Pro
Last Updated on May 23, 2024
Surface Pro behind iPad Pro in OLED display, but pulls ahead elsewhere - Image Source: Microsoft
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OLED fans have been well and truly fed in May. New releases from Apple and Microsoft have made this an exciting month for each fanbase, with many pitting the new products against one another. Unsurprisingly, Apple’s new iPad Pro has made quite the impression, dominating the majority of media coverage and online chatter. However, Microsoft’s follow-up, the Surface Pro, has taken a few headlines too with some eye-catching specs, though is it enough to take on Apple’s new juggernaut? Well, not quite yet – let’s explain.

Marketing campaigns and reality

Marketing campaigns for the Apple iPad Pro and the Surface Pro tablets have been quite prolific, they would have you believe that these two products are seemingly strong competitors with near-equal specs. However, this is not quite the case. According to industry expert Ross Young, the Surface Pro comes in at a considerable margin below the specs of the iPad Pro on paper.

Leaked specs line-up of the Apple iPad Pro OLED 13″ and Microsoft Surface Pro 11th Edition 13″ – Source: Ross Young on X

According to the specs leak presented by Ross Young, the Microsoft Surface Pro 11th Edition 13″ falls way behind the performance of iPad Pro OLED 13″ in some major categories. The Surface Pro uses a regular OLED screen, maxing out at 900 nits peak and 600 nits full-screen brightness. The iPad Pro blows it out of the water with a next-gen tandem OLED display, reaching a whopping 1,600 nits peak and 1,000 nits full-screen brightness. In addition, the iPad Pro has a much wider refresh rate range of 10Hz to 120Hz, compared to the Surface Pro’s 60Hz to 120Hz. Other noticeable differences include stronger security and login protection. The Apple iPad Pro uses the well-renowned Face ID versus a fingerprint reader, is significantly thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro, and finally, offers a chip with a more efficient and advanced 3nm manufacturing process. 

Apple iPad Pro marketing campaign – Image Source: Apple

How big is the gap between Apple and Microsoft?

While technical specs are important, user experience is equally important and it is not all doom and gloom for the Surface Pro. It offers versatility as a 2-in-1 device, functioning as both a tablet and a laptop. In contrast, the iPad Pro requires a separate $299 keyboard to achieve a similar laptop experience. This price difference might make the Surface Pro a more appealing option for users who value convenience and cost-effectiveness.

In fact, the Surface Pro boasts several advantages beyond the display. It offers a starting storage capacity of 512GB compared to the iPad Pro’s 256GB, utilizes the faster Wi-Fi 7 standard (versus Wi-Fi 6E), and potentially packs more processing power with its extra CPU cores and potentially more GPU cores. Additionally, the Surface Pro starts with more memory and allows for higher memory configurations. However, if a superior display is your top priority, the iPad Pro remains the clear champion. While the Surface Pro offers compelling features, Apple currently reigns supreme in OLED display quality.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.

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