New Microsoft Surface Pro 11 just dropped — how does it compare to the iPad?

Ahead of Build 2024, Microsoft just dropped the new Surface Pro, a competitor to iPad and we’re curious about whether it can beat the popular Apple tablets.

Typically, a discussion about whether Microsoft Surface device can beat an Apple equivalent wouldn’t be had, but there’s something special about this Surface Pro. It’s got the brand-spankin’ new Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip, a processor that claims to beat the M3 chips inside the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

And now that same chip is stuffed inside the Surface Pro. It may not have a chance to beat the M4 iPad Pro, but it may likely surpass the M2 iPad Air with ease. In other words, it may sit somewhere between the two in terms of performance.

Microsoft Surface Pro 11: Everything we know

According to Microsoft, the Surface Pro 11 is up to 90% faster than the previous generation. Plus, battery life is expected to be decent: 14 hours of video playback.

Microsoft Surface Pro 11

Credit: Microsoft

The power efficiency of the new Surface Laptop 7, also launched alongside the Surface Pro, is expected to be better (i.e., 20 hours), but 14 hours isn’t half bad. But of course, we’ll have to test these claims ourselves to be sure.

Microsoft Surface Pro specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus or Snapdragon X Elite processor

  • Qualcomm Adreno GPU

  • 16GB or 32GB of RAM

  • Up to 1TB of SSD storage

  • 13-inch, 2,880 x 1,920-pixel display with a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate.

You can also opt for an OLED display, too. The webcam is 1440p and you’re getting two USB-C/USB4 ports on the tablet.

Quick look: How does the Surface Pro compare to the iPad?

The Microsoft Surface Pro is a tablet, but unlike the iPad, it comes with a built-in kickstand that allows you to prop it up at a convenient angle.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Credit: Microsoft

However, if you’d like to add a more comfortable, tactile typing experience to the Surface Pro, you’ll need to grab a Surface Pro Flex Keyboard, which is sold separately. You must, at the very least, spend $349 for one. The iPad, too, comes with a sold-separately Magic Keyboard, but it’ll set you back at least $299.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro
Credit: Microsoft

The iPad Air comes in 13 inches, too, but you can also get an 11-inch variant. Focusing on the 13-inch iPad Air, let’s dive into some quick comparisons:

Surface Pro display: 13-inch, 2,880 x 1920-pixel panel

iPad Air display: 13-inch, 2,880 x 1,920-pixel panel

Mashable Light Speed

The only difference here is that the Surface Pro also comes with an OLED option. The iPad Air does not. If you do want OLED, you’ll have to spend at least $999 for the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro

13-inch iPad Pro
Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Interestingly, Microsoft didn’t publicize how bright the Surface Pro can get, but the iPad Air has a 600-nit display while the iPad Pro can climb to 1,600 nits peak brightness.

Mashable battery life test (TikTok rundown) for iPad Air: 13 hours and 10 minutes

Microsoft’s claimed battery life for Surface Pro: 14 hours

The iPad Pro can last even longer. According to hour testing, it can last over 16 hours on a single charge.

iPad Pro

13-inch iPad Air
Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

Surface Pro weight: 1.97

iPad Air weight: 1.36 pounds

The Surface Pro is slightly heavier than the iPad Air, but it doesn’t even come close to the 13-inch iPad Pro, which is quite the featherweight at 1.28 pounds.

Surface Pro thickness: 0.37 inches

iPad Air thickness: 0.24 inches

The iPad Pro made headlines for being Apple’s thinnest product ever at 0.20 inches thick.

iPad Pro

13-inch iPad Pro
Credit: Joe Maldonado / Mashable

The iPad Air isn’t that slim, but it has an impressive thickness of 0.24 inches, which beats the Surface Pro.

iPadOS vs. Windows 11

It’s also worth noting that iPadOS, the operating system on the iPad Air and iPad Pro, may be a little too limiting for users who want full-featured creator apps for a seamless workflow.

Windows 11, on the other hand, should offer a more all-encompassing environment, especially with Copilot being at the forefront of the operating system’s functionality.

Surface Pro and AI

While the iPad line has its fair share of AI capabilities, it’s more “in-your-face” with Copilot making a splash on the new Surface Pro. One interesting AI tool that it will be featured on the new Surface Pro is “Recall,” which tracks everything you do on your PC, allowing you to revisit your activities later.

The Surface Pro comes in four colors: Sapphire, Dune, Black, and Platinum. It starts at $999 via Microsoft’s official website — and it’s available for pre-order now.

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