A man uses an Apple Pencil on an Apple iPad Pro at the Apple Store in Palo Alto, California November 13, 2015.
A man uses an Apple Pencil on an Apple iPad Pro at the Apple Store in Palo Alto, California November 13, 2015. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Apple has just added a new member to the iPad family by introducing the smaller sibling of its coveted 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Microsoft, on the other hand, is slated to refresh its Surface Pro lineup and unveil a new Surface Pro 5 in the coming months.

Though targeted at different customers, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Apple iPad Pro 12.9 are two of the most powerful tablets in the market. Here is a quick comparative review roundup of both the devices.

Display and Design

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a laptop replacement and features a 12.3-inch display screen. Packing more pixels per inch (267ppi), the Surface Pro 4 has a brighter display than that of the iPad Pro. However, the iPad Pro, with a huge 12.9-inch display is thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 4.

But the Surface Pro 4 touts a built-in kickstand, which makes it more user friendly. It also sports extra ports including a full-size USB port, a mini DisplayPort and a microSD card slot.


Before comparing the performance of the iPad Pro 12.9 and the Surface Pro 4, it is worth noting that the former runs on a mobile OS, the iOS 9 whereas the latter is powered by a full-fledged desktop OS, the Windows 10 Pro.

Both the iOS 9 and Windows 10 Pro bring along personal digital assistants, Siri and Cortana respectively. But Apple iOS provide other features like Split View enabling multitasking.

The Surface Pro 4 provides ample CPU options, including Intel Core m3, Core i5 and Core i7 as compared to the iPad Pro which runs on Apple A9X processor.

In terms of storage capacity, the iPad Pro 12.9 (Wi-Fi models) start from 32GB whereas the base model of Surface Pro 4 offers 128GB of internal storage. Additionally, shoppers can select from 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of RAM configuration while buying a Surface Pro 4. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 offers only 4GB of RAM.

On the Geekbench 3 overall performance tests, conducted by Laptop Mag, the Surface Pro 4 outshined the 12.9-inch iPad Pro .


A full-fledged keyboard can easily covert the Microsoft Surface Pro into a laptop. The keyboard is backlit and has a wider layout. Moreover, the Type Cover has a built-in touchpad. On the other hand, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 can be attached to a Smart Keyboard, which lacks a touchpad. It is water-resistant but not backlit.

For both the devices, the keyboards have to be purchased separately.

Microsoft ships the Surface Pro with a stylus, the Surface Pen. But Apple Pencil has to be purchased separately for $99 (AU$132). Furthermore, the Surface Pen comes with an eraser at the back, which gives it an edge over the Apple Pencil.

According to Laptop Mag review, the Apple Pencil wins over Surface Pen, as it supports wider selection of apps.

Battery life and Audio

According to Apple, the iPad Pro 12.9 boosts up to 10 hours of battery life with web surfing on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music. A battery test review by Trusted Reviews revealed that the Surface Pro 4 battery drained between 13-17 percent per hour while streaming videos on Netflix and gaming.

The four-speaker audio set-up of the Apple iPad Pro trumps the Surface Pro 4 in terms of overall audio experience.


The 32GB Apple iPad Pro (Wi-Fi only) price starts at US$799 (AU$1068) whereas the top-end variant with 256GB of storage (Wi-Fi +Cellular) costs US$1,229 (AU$1642).

Running on Intel Core m3, the base model of Surface Pro 4 with 128GB storage and 4GB RAM is priced at US$899 (AU$1201). The most premium model sporting Intel Core i7 processor, 256GB storage and 16GB of RAM comes with hefty price tag of US$1,799 (AU$2404).