Difference between Surface iPad and Ultrabooks

This article was modified on 2012-06-27 15:22:49

Do you want to buy a tablet? Don`t rush, just read this for a couple of minutes. This is my own view regarding several ``revolutionary`` products. The tablet market is old so this is a different approach.

Although, I will cover several technical details, this article is more focused on your real needs. The purpose is to help you choose the right product for your needs, after all we`re talking about your hard earned money and not just a gadget. I don`t think you want to spend your money on a product just because you`ve seen it at other people.

The concept of tablet is old, it started back in 1989 when Fujitsu and Poqet Computer Corporation launched a product named Poqet PC. It was the first hand-held computer and the size was the same with the one of a videocassette. For that time it had a MS-DOS operating system, an 8 MHz processor, 640 KB of SRAM and the battery life was 2-3 weeks. Here is a picture of Poqet PC ( source Fujitsu  ).

The Poqet PC

Apple iPad

So, we could say that Apple iPad was not something new if we`re talking about a small device that would allow us to perform several actions. Just like Microsoft, they didn`t reinvented the wheel but ( thanks to Steve Jobs and others ) they found a way to advertise and sell their own tablet – iPad at a large scale. Apple unique vision about the design and features of their tablet was a success. Now they are at the third version ( iPad 3 ) that looks like this.


Hardware: The third iPad generation comes with 1 GHz dual core processor (Apple A5X ), with 1 GB of RAM, 9.7 inches (250 mm) multitouch display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G and 4G technologies and with a lithium-ion polymer battery that will last up to 9-10 hours when using the iPad for browsing the web  (1 month standby ). The weight for the version that comes with 4G technology is around 660 g. Those are a couple of what I consider the most important features, there are others too.

iPad Smart Case is something that you can`t miss if you plan to purchase this product. Especially because it allows you to do certain things such as helping you to type faster – example:

iPad smart case in typing position
Also if you need to watch a movie, graphics, pics or anything else that would require you to use the iPad as a monitor, the Smart Case will help you – another example:

iPad in monitor position using the smart case

Microsoft and Apple similarities

For those who don`t know much about the history of Microsoft Corporation, well, let`s say that it`s somehow similar with the one of Apple. I am talking about the important similarities and the best example is this: both giants created and maintained their own operating system. Up to a point, they also created their own collection of hardware. It`s true that Apple built their own systems and that Microsoft is known for creating ( more limited ) peripheral devices such as the well-known mouse or keyboard but let`s not forget that most of the Apple components are coming from a third party such as Samsung and many other corporations. It`s not something bad, most of the cars use common parts from thousands of other companies, it`s the design and the quality of the components that makes a difference between them. It`s the same thing in computer industry, cars and many others.

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft decided to come with their own product, their own tablet and recently announced the release of their own product  - Microsoft Surface. If you`re asking me, they were looking at the market, analyzed different things and came to a conclusion: it`s obviously that more and more people love the concept of a tablet but most of them would also want to use 1 and 2 ( will get there in a second ). So here`s how it looks:

Microsoft Surface

Hardware: The first version of Surface tablet has a Nvidia Tegra ARM processor. The Surface Pro comes with an intel Core i5 processor. First version of Surface capacity has 32 GB or 64 GB while the Pro version comes with a double size. The display for both version is 10.6 except that the Pro version has ClearType Full HD screen. USB 3.0 is present only at the PRO version while the standard has the classic 2.0 USB port. Regarding the weight is 676 g for the first version of Surface and the PRO has 903 g. I will stop here with Surface details.

It has the same look like most of the tablets on the market but I am sure that you`ve noticed the ``keyboard``. Yes, a lot of people wanted a keyboard and this ( 1 ) was a priority for them, coming with something that other corporations didn`t released ( at least not until now ). No matter what some people said about typing directly on the tablet screen, it wasn`t the same speed and comfort offered by a true keyboard where you can feel with your fingers the buttons.

The second thing is this ( 2 ): accessibility and here is another strong point. Microsoft has a couple of powerful tools such as their product Microsoft Office. Believe it or not, when you use Microsoft Office for 10 years and you know all the secrets and feel comfortable with this product, try to switch to another product that you don`t know, it requires a learning curve and lacks of many features. Office suite is just a tiny part from accessibility. Just think about all the free, open-source software that you can use on Microsoft Windows, I am not saying that Mac OS X, Android or other operating system doesn`t have their own alternatives. Yes they do but Microsoft is more familiar and there are a lot of alternatives for their operating system.

Probably there are a lot of differences but here`s what I was thinking about, just a couple of things.


Apple is at their third generation, this means that they developed a mature product, fixing a lot of things that people didn`t liked.

Microsoft will release their first tablet on a market that already has several years and a lot of people gained confidence in products they use. Trust is going to be a problem in this area.

Apple will probably implement the keyboard in their next cover case or came with a similar solution for iPad 4 or a second release of the third generation. They are well known for all kind of innovations.

Microsoft can`t stop other corporations to use their keyboard idea so they will have to come with new things, new ideas all the time, otherwise they won`t have the same success.

Apple operating systems are well known for their stability. Maybe they are not so easy to use but they surely know how to grow their own base of loyal users.

Microsoft operating systems can`t compare with those from Apple in terms of stability. The common errors and blue screens maintained a bad reputation.


Microsoft came with the keyboard idea so the success depends on how well it`s going to be perceived by the first buyers. If people will review the product saying: amazing keyboard, it`s much faster and comfortable when compared with a regular table – it means their product is on the success train.

Apple tablet ( and others as well ) were criticized because of their on-screen keyboard which is far away from being a comfortable solution, especially when you need to type a lot.

If Microsoft developers studied all the competition products and were sure that they won`t repeat their mistakes, this is a plus for their product. The lack of stocks could be an advantage if it`s going to be a successful product.

Apple must have a stock of old products and they need to sell them. If Surface will be a successful product it means that in order to sell their older products such as iPad 3 they will need to lower the price which automatically converts in lower profits.

Microsoft Windows – their operating system has the largest community of users around the world.  This means freeware and open-source programs for almost all applications.

Apple is limited when it comes down to a lot of free applications. Most of the good programs that will work on their products are available on Apple Store – it means that you have to pay for them.

Conclusion:  If you read the entire article, make an effort and read the last part ( way shorter ) – I want you to take the best decision, remember – it`s your money. If all you need is a product that allows you to: look at pictures, write an email, read the online newspaper and read a book while you`re in your bed – buy the iPad. If you need to use other programs such as Microsoft Office, write a lot and you`re not comfortable with the screen keyboard – buy Surface tablet. If you`re not a teenager ( no disrespect ) trying to impress his friends with the latest gadget from X company I would recommend you to take a look at a different concept of tablet named Tablet PCs or to an UltraBook.

Tablet PCs

This is the bridge between a tablet and a notebook. It`s just a different concept with a history of over 15 years coming from Fujitsu. Here`s how a tablet PC looks like ( pictures from Fujitsu ). If you need to read more reviews, get technical data, visit the Fujistu Tablet PCs section.

Fujitsu Lifebook tablet pcs

This is not necessarily different from the regular notebook. Read the difference between netbooks, notebooks and laptops. It`s just easier ( less weight ) but coming with the same power and accessibility. An example: ACER Aspire S3 Ultrabook – it`s super-slim, comes with 1.3 kg, the battery will last up to 8 hours, has a 13.3 wide screen and it beats any other tablet if you`re looking at his specifications, visit the Acer Aspire S3 section.  The S3 Series looks like this ( more pictures can be found here )
Acer Aspire S3

Final conclusion: If I would be a teenager and I would like to look ``cool`` I would buy the iPad. If I would want the iPad with a keyboard and access to other programs I would choose Microsoft Surface. If I would have more money and I would want something professional, I would definitely go for a Fujitsu Tablet PC. However, considering weight, features and accessibility I guess the winner would be a product like Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook – it`s just seems to be the next step for a guy who used the Desktop PC – Laptop and now looking for something even smaller.

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