Apple's iPad Pro vs Microsoft's Surface Pro: Which Device Can Replace Your Laptop?

These days, because they're equipped with pretty powerful specs and capable software, tablets are able to substitute laptops entirely, at least for doing simple productivity, editing, or creative tasks.

Both Apple's and Microsoft's offerings, the iPad Pro and Surface Pro, respectively, are pretty stellar tablets targeted for professional users who need a device chiefly for media consumption, productivity, and portability. But which one is the better substitute for a laptop?

Both devices offer keyboard integration, a stylus, beefy processors, plenty of internal storage, and more. Let's see how the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro compare.


The monstrous 12.9-inch iPad Pro's lack of ports greatly prevent it from qualifying as a true laptop replacement — it only has a proprietary Lightning port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. By contrast, the Surface Pro stands as a better laptop replacement in the port department because it has standard ones most people look for in a laptop: there's a USB 3.0 port included, which should make the Surface Pro compatible with a lot of accessories; a mini DisplayPort; a 3.5 mm headphone jack, thankfully; a microSD card reader, which photographers direly need; and a power/docking connector.


Both tablets feature a stellar screen with excellent resolution. The iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch screen, boasting a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048. On the other hand, the Surface Pro sports a smaller 12.3-inch screen, boasting a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824.

The iPad Pro has the leg up in the display department, largely thanks to its ProMotion technology that enables the screen to have a 120 Hz refresh rate, which makes for smoother scrolling and reduced lag when drawing with the Apple Pencil.


The Surface Pro can be configured with a seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor, 16 GB of RAM, an Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 GPU, and 1 TB of SSD storage. Regardless of the price, this alone makes the Surface Pro a better laptop replacement than the iPad Pro because users can choose to equip it with specs that won't skimp on power-intensive tasks.

By contrast, the iPad Pro doesn't pack a desktop-level chip, but its chip is still pretty beefy, regardless. It features a proprietary Apple A10X Fusion processor, a powerful chip that Apple claims is 30 percent faster than its predecessor in CPU performance and 40 percent faster in GPU performance. Multitasking? Gaming? Video rendering? It can handle it. That said, it won't be as powerful as a spec'd out Surface Pro, if that's what you're thinking.


Microsoft claims the Surface Pro can last up to 13 hours on a single charge. Apple boasts a slightly similar figure, saying users can squeeze up to 10 hours from the iPad Pro when browsing the web over Wi-Fi, watching movies, or playing music.

Apps And Software

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Surface Pro and the iPad Pro is their individual operating systems and, in turn, the apps and software that users can install on them. The Surface Pro runs Windows 10 Pro. This means users can install and run pretty much any type of software one can run on a typical Windows 10 laptop. Photoshop? Lightroom? Microsoft Office Suite? Done.

The iPad Pro, meanwhile, is powered by iOS 10, but it will receive an iOS 11 update soon, which brings better and more organized multitasking, a better split-screen mode, and much more. But of course, since the iPad Pro runs iOS, there's no way to run desktop-grade software on it.


On its own, the iPad Pro is a pretty powerful, capable, and sexy tablet. It's easy to imagine that it'll be the first choice for those looking for a beefy slate.

That said, the Surface Pro makes a stronger argument as a laptop replacement. It has the specs, ports, and even the software for it. The iPad Pro doesn't disappoint as a tablet, but users on the prowl for a tablet that can replace their laptop should most definitely turn to the Surface Pro, since it's clearly the logical choice.

Do you agree? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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