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June 19, 2012

How does Microsoft Surface compare to the iPad and Kindle Fire?

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The big event in Los Angeles has come and gone, and the world now knows that Microsoft is indeed throwing its hat into the ring with the Surface tablet. Geek.com has already provided a look at what you can expect from both the Surface for Windows RT and Surface Pro (x86) models… and now it’s time for some early comparisons.

How does the entry-level Surface stack up against the competition? Let’s look at it side-by-side-by-side with the new iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire:

There are a few key unknowns, of course. Microsoft has yet to announce specifics about the processor (such as the number of cores and clock speed) and the resolution of the display, and we also don’t know how much the Surface tablets will cost. Those who got to spend a little hands-on time with the devices said they found the display to be “gorgeous” and pegged it at 1366×768 — which at 10.4 inches equates to a PPI of about 150. The new iPad pushes 264 PPI, but if the Surface display looks as great as members of the press said it does, the general public probably won’t consider this difference a shortcoming.

On the pricing front, all we know is that Microsoft said that the Surface would be comparable to other ARM tablets (or Ultrabooks, in the case of the Pro model). It’s very likely, then, that the Surface for Windows RT will sell at or below the price of the iPad.

Another unknown is just how many Windows RT apps will be available in the Windows Store come launch day. We know for sure that certain big-name apps and games will be on offer — like Evernote, Netflix, Kobo, and Cut The Rope. The number won’t come anywhere near the App Store’s total inventory, and it’s likely that Amazon will have more to offer, too. But if the average user can find the key apps they expect to find, this shortfall won’t matter much either.

While the Microsoft Surface event lived up to the hype and answered a number of questions, there’s still a long way to go before we’ll know exactly how Microsoft’s device measures up. October’s not far off, however, so you won’t have to wait too long to find out.


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