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Surface Pro 8 vs iPad Pro 12.9

Tablets are a dime a dozne these days, but it can't get much betetr than Microsoft and Apple as the two duke it out via the Surface Pro 8 vs the iPad Pro 12.9
Last Updated on January 2, 2024
Surface Pro 8 vs iPad Pro 12.9
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Welcome to the Pro stand-off. Herein lies an age-old battle set between the Surface Pro 8 vs the iPad Pro 12.9. Which one is the superior device? Apple and Microsoft present their best-suited devices to fight against any task the user puts in their way, and to be crowned the king of Pro tablets.

Both tablets are presented with immense portability, great performance, and intuitive touch-based functionality. To determine which of these two slates is the best fit for you, we must first test their individual performances in a variety of different scenarios, as well as compare them side by side in categories as listed below:

  • Design
  • Display
  • Display
  • Cameras
  • Specs / Battery
  • Performance

After reading through this article, you should be able to determine your specific tablet needs and know which would be a better fit for you.

Surface Pro 8 vs. iPad Pro 12.9: Design

Microsoft presents its Surface Pro with the signature anodized aluminum chassis in Graphite and Platinum colors. The feel of the device is soft to the touch but sturdy enough and well-grounded. The dimensions are 11.3 in x 8.2 in x 0.37 in, and it weighs 1.96 lb. 

Part of its beautiful design is the classic Microsoft kickstand that allows users to place their tablets on practically any surface without needing any extra accessory, like a case or magnetized stand. Microsoft retouched the design by providing some great-looking small bezels that hold the front camera right in the middle of one bezel in a horizontal position and a rear camera equally positioned.

On the other side, we have the well-known Apple design, a trademark it has made recognizably all its own. The iPad Pro is a bit thinner than the Surface Pro. It measures 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds. This difference in measurements is due to the vents for airflow that Microsoft includes on its tablet. 

The design has to be more than just looks, which Microsoft understood better than Apple. It has packed its slate with two USB-C ports, a third port for charging, a 3.5 headphone jack, and a slot for extra storage space through a Micro-SD card. Apple, on the other hand, only has one Thunderbolt USB-C connector and no extra space. The iPad Pro doesn’t sport a headphone jack, either, something that the public has long begged the firm to bring back for quite some time.

To conclude, both designs are amazing, but I would say that if you prefer a good-looking, functional, and practical slate, then you should go with the Microsoft Surface Pro 8.

Surface Pro 8 vs. iPad Pro 12.9: Display

When it comes to screens, they need to be quite demanding. Both are the most expensive, top-of-the-line devices behind each brand, so they shouldn’t go easy on their displays. At the end of the day, the screen is the main part of the machine that can provide the absolute best experience after a good processor.

The iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch mini-LED backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology and a Liquid Retina XDR display. It has a 2732×2048 resolution at 264 PPI and an SDR brightness of typically 600 nits max. Thanks to its ProMotion technology, it offers a 120GHz of Refresh Rate, while also providing a color output of 114.9% of the sRGB gamut.

The Surface Pro 8 can’t quite compete against the iPad Pro’s screen. Although it reaches the same 120GHz, the 13-inch screen with PixelSense and Flow Display is not a fair contender against Apple’s. 

The Microsoft Surface Pro has a 2880×1920 pixel resolution (267 PPI), Adaptive Color, and a GPU Ink acceleration system that makes a great match with the Surface Slim Pen 2.

However, as good as the Surface Pro display can be (and it is really good) the Liquid Retina XDR display technology behind Apple has Microsoft beat. Apple’s screen can get effectively up to an astounding 1,588 nits level of brightness on 40% of the display thanks to the local dimming zones of the XDR System, while the peak nits level of the Surface is all but a mere 450. 

Surface Pro 8 vs iPad Pro 12.9: Cameras

Apple runs a dual rear camera configuration with a 12MP Wide and a 10MP Ultra Wide camera placed on the top side of the slate when looking vertically. In addition, the front has a 12MP TrueDepth camera system with Ultra Wide. It is inconveniently placed at the same top-center of the screen, which can make video meetings and conferences a bit uncomfortable. To compensate, however, it has a software system that follows your face while recording and zooms in and out automatically when somebody else walks into the shot. 

The Surface Pro 8 has a 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p full HD video and a 10MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD and 4K video. In the case of Microsoft, both are placed horizontally, something that we value a lot for the most comfortable photo-taking, but Microsoft cameras are just not as good as the iPad’s.

Surface Pro 8 vs iPad Pro 12.9: Performance

Performance is, as one may expect, amazing on both devices. Any varied task thrown at either device will be completed without breaking a sweat. Below, I’ll show a comparison of the different specs underpinning both devices, and we’ll see how they perform in tandem.

iPad Pro 12.9Surface Pro 8
OSiPadOSWindows 11
CPUM1 (16-core)11th Gen Intel i7-1185G7
StorageUp to 2TB256GB SSD + up to  1TB MicroSD space
Battery Life10 hours 48 minutes9 hours 6 minutes

Both the Surface Pro 8 and iPad Pro 12.9 have stunning processors. The M1 is the latest chip out of Apple, which is even used in its desktop computers. The Surface Pro is powered by an 11th Gen Intel i7, yet another fast and reliable processor.

Despite the similitudes in specs, after running the Geekbench 5 benchmark test on both devices, the differences are incredible. The iPad Pro 12.9 pulled in a score of 7,298, a mark never achieved before by any of Apple’s devices, while the Surface Pro only scored 5,347. The almost 2,000 points difference shows us that Apple is making some immense changes within its processors.

Expert View

Both devices and their operating systems are mainly used for different workflows. If you’re looking to play video games, the Microsoft Surface Pro will be somewhat of a better fit, due to its Windows integration, so installing games will be much easier, while the iPad requires the use of the Apple store, which isn’t so much bad at as it is limited in options.

If you want more of a design- or video editing-focused device, the amazing screen resolution and stylus of the iPad Pro will suit you greatly. To give a definitive answer to this rather difficult question, I would say that Apple is the winner in this tablet battle.

Camilo is a contributor for PC Guide. He's been into tech since he was a teen, surfing through the web and local stores trying to find the cheapest way to play the latest Half-Life on his old Windows