EPIC Tablet Showdown: The Surface Pro 2 vs iPad 5: Which Should You Buy?

It's the battle of the tablets. Microsoft and Apple are going head to head today (Oct. 22), when Apple is expected to unveil the next generation iPad 5 and Microsoft will officially release its second-generation Surface Pro 2.

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Between Surface Pro 2 and iPad 5, which one should you go for?

Although both devices make excellent tablets for small businesses, each has its own set of capabilities that make the iPad 5 ideal for some businesses and the Surface Pro 2 better suited for others.

iPad 5 vs. Surface Pro 2

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Whereas the iPad 5 is strictly an iOS tablet in form and function, the Surface Pro 2 is a versatile Windows-powered machine that can be used as a tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

To help you choose which tablet is right for your business, we decided to give you heads up on the features you can likely expect from the iPad 5 compared with what we know about the Surface Pro 2.

Productivity - The Surface Pro 2 vs iPad 5

Surface Pro 2

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Dubbed by Microsoft as "the most productive tablets on the planet," the Surface Pro 2 is a complete Windows system in the form of a tablet.

It runs on a full version of Windows 8.1, so users can do just about anything on a Surface Pro 2 that they would on any other Windows laptop or desktop computer. Unlike the iPad 5, the Surface Pro 2 is entirely Office compatible.

It's also equipped with three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet connection and audio input/output, making it easy to access external devices such as a flash drive or secondary display — features that are natively lacking in the iPad, with Apple showing no signs of change for the foreseeable future.

iPad 5 Concept

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If the fifth-generation iPad is anything like its predecessors, it will not be business ready. Users will have to download any productivity apps they need from the Apple App Store or manually install any custom apps using the company's app distribution channels.

Microsoft has also yet to release Office for the iPad, though there are several Office-compatible apps to choose from. Apple's suite of productivity apps, iWork, includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote and is free for new iOS 7 devices activated on or after Sept. 1, 2013.

If you're a merchant that accepts or are considering accepting mobile payments, the iPad 5 is the clear choice for your business. This is because most mobile payment processors, such as Square's mobile credit card reader and touch-screen register, do not support Windows devices.

Power - The Surface Pro 2 vs iPad 5

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The Surface Pro 2 will be equipped with the new Haswell processor. According to Microsoft, the Haswell chip improves performance by 20 percent and provides 50 percent better graphics performance than its predecessor, making it faster than 95 percent of laptops available today.

Although there are conflicting reports as to which processor Apple will use on the iPad 5 — the A6X or the faster 64-bit A7 chip that's on the newly released iPhone 5s — reports say a faster processor is expected on Apple's next-generation product launches.

Battery life - The Surface Pro 2 vs iPad 5

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The first-generation Surface Pro was notorious for its dismal battery life of 4 hours and 37 minutes, LAPTOP found.

The Surface Pro 2, however, will have a 75 percent longer battery life over its predecessor; users can also count on the Power Cover — a keyboard cover that doubles as a 35-watt hour battery pack — for an additional 2.5 times longer battery life.

Concept for iPad 5 design

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The iPad 5 will likely have the same battery life as the iPad 4, as there are no indications that Apple plans to change the current 42.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery.

It's worth noting, however, that battery life is generally not a problem on the iPad, which can last anywhere from an entire day to several days on a single charge, depending on use.

Although there seems to be no physical changes to the iPad 5 battery, the reliable Korean IT News previously reported that the next generation of iPads will use Sharp's IGZO display technology.

IGZO, which Sharp claims will dramatically extend the battery life of mobile devices by offering a power savings of up to 90 percent when displaying still images, is also expected to be featured on the rumored same-day released MacBook Pro.

Portability - The Surface Pro 2 vs iPad 5

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The Surface Pro 2 is all about versatility, Microsoft claims. It can be used as a tablet on its own, as a laptop with the dual Kickstand and keyboard cover, or as a full-powered PC with the optional Docking Station.

A first for the Surface, the Docking Station is set to launch in early 2014. The Docking Station will enable users to easily transition from a portable tablet on the go to a powerful PC setup on the spot.

Whether users are in the office or at home, the docking station turns the Surface Pro 2 tablet into a self-standing computer monitor, to which users can connect an external display, Ethernet, speakers, full-sized keyboard, printer and other peripherals.
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According to MacRumors, all iPad 5 rumors point to a thinner, smaller and lighter device. Leaked photos also indicate a slimmer design with brighter display, much like a larger version of the iPad Mini.

Several reports also suggest that the iPad 5 will have increased security via Touch ID, Apple's home button fingerprint sensor technology that is available on the iPhone 5s. Additionally, Apple's invitation to tomorrow's event may offer more clues as to what the iPad 5 has in store, especially for those always on the go.

The Telegraph speculates that instead of relying on third-party, Bluetooth-connected keyboards, Apple may follow in Microsoft's Surface footsteps and release full QWERTY keyboard smartcovers that double as a screen protector alongside the iPad 5.

At last, the Pricing - The Surface Pro 2 vs iPad 5

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The Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 for the 64GB model. The optional Docking Station and Power Cover are not included and cost $199 each.

Several reports say that Apple will keep the same pricing structure as previous iPad generations, starting at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version, up to $929 for the 128GB Wi-Fi + cellular version.
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