Nexus 7 vs. Microsoft Surface vs. New iPad


A few moments ago, Microsoft unveiled their entry into the tablet space with the introduction of Microsoft Surface. Of course, the question many of you are most likely wondering is how does Microsoft’s Surface stack up against the competition namely, Android tablets? Well, let’s take a quick look at what was announced.

It’s not often we see Microsoft enter into the hardware market, usually licensing their software to manufacturers for implementation into their wares, but this time they’re coming out swinging, introducing 2 tablets that will no doubt turn some heads. Each tablet focuses on the OS specific version of Windows it’s running. You have Microsoft Surface Windows RT for a traditional touch-based “tablet” experience — and you have Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro which combines a tablet and full desktop OS into one (see the full specs).

Both tablets feature built-in kickstands and optional keyboard add-on that comes that acts as a “Smartcover” and comes in a variety of colors and feel. There’s a touch keyboard that is 3mm thin and features a multitouch trackpad. For those that prefer a more traditional feel , there’s even a cover keyboard with actual hardware keys.

While Microsoft wasn’t inclined to giveaway too much in terms of specs of their tablets, we do have a few details. Our friends at WinSource (it’s okay to have friends with a difference in opinion, even if when they’re wrong) threw together a nice chart showing off the biggest and baddest Google, Apple and now Microsoft have to offer, pitting them against each other in a battle royale spec sheet showdown. Take a look.

Okay, so maybe Microsoft managed to leave more to the imagination than we had hoped. You can find a few extra details (most dealing with dimensions) in the official comparison chart above. Now comes the real question. I’ve voiced my opinion on tablets in the past (not totally against ’em, although not really for me) but I’m curious to see how you guys felt about Microsoft’s announcement. As it stands, will you be swiping your credit card to pick up a Microsoft Surface tablet? Do you need time for more specs to be revealed? Or are you team Android for life, and there’s no way you’d ever think about using another mobile OS?

Time for a quick poll… but after, don’t forget to head on over to the Microsoft Surface Forums to further discuss.

[polldaddy poll=6324483]

In the comments, tell us what you think Google needs to announce at Google IO to keep the rumored Nexus 7 Tablet ahead of, or at least neck-and-neck with, the competition.

Surface Forum | Surface Specs | Surface Pictures | Surface vs Prime vs iPad

[Microsoft | Via WinSource]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Your article states “Nexus 7” but you made no reference to it, only to the Transformer Prime.

    1. Only the Prime has specs thus far… the Nexus 7 is still only rumored. I think the idea is that we pretty much know Google will be announcing a Nexus Tablet so how will it fare against the competition given this announcement.

      At least that is the discussion we hope to start.

      1. Then why have it in the title? The title is stating that, yes, we have specs enough on the Nexus 7 to compare it to other devices. Oh wait, click-baiting. Nevermind.

        1. You nailed it. But false advertisement usually ends in a FAIL like push-up bra’s :P

  2. I’m probably going to end up with all 3.

  3. There should be 3 official Jelly Bean devices on ALL carriers sold on the Google Play store.

    1. Nexus 4.0″
    2. Nexus 5.0″
    3. Nexus 10.1″

    All with premium build quality and specs. That is all.

  4. …it’s like nobody had ever made a Windows tablet before

    1. This is an ARM Tablet, running a new OS with actual touch screen optimizations, and with much better pricing that actual everyday consumers will be able to afford. This is completely different from old Windows tablets.

    2. Windows 8 will be the first time they optimize a full fledged OS with touch controls.
      And c’mon, look at the price!

    3. Price matters.

  5. I absolutely love my Prime. The lack of a higher res display doesn’t bother me, mostly because I use it at arms length. It has more PPI than a standard laptop monitor, and the extra pixels tend to have a draining effect on both GPU and battery, so I’m good. It comes loaded with the functionality I need, including Microsoft Doc editing (via Polaris Office), Chrome, Browser with Flash, Skype, GMail, and Google Calendar. Now, although it supports most of the USB peripherals I have, I will say the lack of External DVD drive support is disappointing. Also, sadly, Silverlight is not onboard, so some Olympic coverage will be missed. However, I haven’t had the remotest of problems with the Wifi, and the GPS has always cold-locked within 3 minutes to 9 meters. Throw in the great games and cross-platform tools like PhoneMyPC and ES Explorer, and the thing rocks. And did I mention the battery life? Way better than I could have hoped for, lasting sometimes as much as three days off charger (with the dock). I use this thing to the max, including the SD card slots, the micro HDMI, and the USB. I’m a happy, happy customer.

    1. If google can add in better USB device support, better (home) networking, and finally make docs/drive work as it should, then there would be little advantage in going back to the Dark Side.

      1. Native Ad-Hoc is what we need for Android tablets, which is not supported.

        1. I agree. To my knowledge, Google has never addressed the issue of the missing ad-hoc functionality in android: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=82 It is not even there in ICS.

          ICS does get WiFi Direct, which seems to be a replacement for ad-hoc networks, but it won’t work on pre-ICS devices. Why? Was ad-hoc networking patent encumbered or something? I still don’t understand this.

          I do hope that with my two android devices both going to ICS hopefully soon, that this won’t be much of an issue. But whiteboard apps and multi-player games will have to be coded to work with WiFi direct and not simple old ad-hoc.

          Why can no one answer this question? The google link above has years of thousands of people asking, and no one knows.

          1. Another downside to Android, NO TECH SUPPORT! What an Embarrassment!

    2. read my comment higher regarding high-res ^

  6. lol…I like how that table shows no accessories for the tablet that has several times more accessories than the other two combined…and obviously the surface would have expandable storage… – __ – …that said, I can’t wait for a hand-on with the new surface…if its priced right, it might be a new toy…

    1. In my opinion, the Prime’s keyboard dock is worth it’s weight in gold, and all the Apple accessories are worthless.

      1. Lol…
        at least you were honest enough to say, in your opinion…you’ve got quite the perspective…sounds like quite the fanboy in you talking in fact…pretty much accessories for the iPad exceed those for “____”(insert other tablet here) by well a lot, in terms of quantity…and availability…there’s more than 5 equivalents of the Prime’s keyboard available for the iPad…and 2 of them are cheaper than what ASUS demands…I will say though that none of them have a trackpad, hopefully that’s not why you disqualify every other accessory as worthless…but hey, to everyone his own…

        1. That’s why I stuck “in my opinion” in there. Are there any iPad docks that add to battery life ?

          1. Haha, yeah…and I’ve seen one or two that add battery life…they give the iPad a MBA/MBP like appearance…

          2. There is a battery dock for iPad, but no keyboard/battery combo, and not native. Plus the screen shape is abnormal, making movies in 16:9 difficult to watch with 2 massive black bars up top and below.

          3. I’m sure I’ve seen one before, but maybe I just wasn’t paying attention…the native part doesn’t make any sense since accessories aren’t native to begin with…The screen shape and your other complaints are your gripes about the iPad, there’s not really much I can do to help you there…lol…

          4. Native accessories usually perform better with the products they were intended for. I wasn’t asking for your help in the matter, i was pointing out a downside to the iPad screen shape.

          5. I assume that by native, you mean 1st party accessories?…if so, then that makes sense…
            I guess that’s pretty much the only downside there is as the iPad’s screen ratio works better for everything else.

          6. Yes, 1st Party.

  7. Microsoft just drove a stake through the heart of its hardware partners. Sure, Google has always had the Nexus program and there’s been concerns with Google buying Motorola, but Microsoft just straight up slapped their manufacturers in the face with this move. This is direct and intentional competition from Microsoft. Plus Microsoft charges for Windows and keeps it closed. I think Microsoft will drive manufacturers into the arms of Google with this move.

    1. With this move? Doubt it, it’d take a lot more than that. Companies like Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung,Sony, etc. have too much invested in windows computers. If anything, I hope it’s a wakeup call for OEMs to start making better designs, most laptops look cheap and boring. This could be a good move one all the turmoil dies down.

      1. I agree. If Microsoft REALLY wanted to stick it to their hardware partners…they would do it the way apple did it in the 90’s. They would take full control over ALL the hardware made for the name Microsoft and only sell their OS themselves.

        Anyone remember the Power Computing Mac Clones?…they were taken out of the game along with Motorola, APS tech and a few others when their products started selling better then Apples. No more apple clone computers with a new OS….worked for Apple

  8. Honestly I don’t know what it would need. I think the Surface is actually interesting. I think maybe a keyboard solution for the Nexus 7 would help. But then again honestly an HD screen Tegra 3 and sub $200 price and I think I’d choose it first.

    1. ” a keyboard solution for the Nexus 7 would help”
      I think that’s what Jelly Bean is all about.

  9. I am an android user but that chart shows exactly why the ipad kicks the ass of all android tablets. The specs of the ipad blow away anything currently offered with Android and at the same price.

    Time to step up the game

    1. Screw the PPI wars. I’m not getting sucked into that.

      1. Yeah but people get suckered into the Dual Core/Quad Core mess caused by Android phones. “Oh my phone has more cores so it will work better!” How many people are sitting around with Tegra 2 phones/tabs regretting that?

        While all of that may be nonsense, the iPad will definitely win the eye test no matter which way you look at it..

        1. Tegra 2 was old as hell by the time it got into Android tablets. People should regret buying an old chipset. My Galaxy SII runs way smoother than any Tegra 2 device.

          All these extra pixels come at a cost. I just don’t think the benefits outweigh the cons. But Android will be right there with 1200p tablets shortly. And Acer already figured out how to do it cheaper than the iPad and with more storage to boot. My guess is ASUS will have a much brighter screen than Apple does with their Infinity tablet.

          I think Android is getting hammered because it’s a sea of confusing black slabs vs that one tablet people know won’t suck. It’s always an easy buying decision if you make the choice to go Apple.

  10. 1 vote for Nexus Tablet AND Surface Pro.

    1. Two tablets?!?! :O

      1. I own a Playbook and a HTC Flyer. Two fisting tablets is awesome. Especially when someone is bugging me to let them play Angry Birds. I still got a backup in my other pocket.

        1. That’s hardcore, man…

          1. It worked for Moses.

  11. A lot of people will bash it for A lot of reasons but I am excited about this tablet and so far samsung imo has been lackluster. But basically what this means is war. Windows is tackling a monster with tablets and soon their own phones. Then the integration of their mobile os into the desktop os (such as google and apple) This more than anything gave me goosebumps because tech is moving faster than ever before and we are right in the middle of it!

  12. Tablets and laptops shouldn’t really exist as separate devices, there should only be this form factor. Well done Microsoft, better late than never.

    1. Honestly they both have their place. My iPad 3, and 15″ MacBook Pro peacefully coexist.

      1. May I ask why you follow an Android fan site?

        1. It is silly to not be sensitive to the competition.

        2. Because I’m interested in all tech, and Android peaks my interest. I guess if I used a Laptop running Chrome OS, and had a transformer prime it might be different? Plus I’m not being disrespectful here. This is an article posted about the Microsoft Surface, and my comment was totally relevant.

          1. Ok, was just wondering…

  13. I can’t wait to put my laptop up for sale. Getting the Surface Pro.

    1. for a 10″ screen?

  14. As long as the Nexus 7 is $200 and stock android, I’m in. I’ve heard good things about Windows 8, but it would be nice to have a seem less experience from my phone to tablet.

    1. i doubt it will be only $200. looking back at all Nexus devices, not one of them has ever been priced so low. I think $300 minimum. Unless Google will be selling them subsidized like Sony sells the PS3.

      1. Even if it launches at 200 bucks, my question is what are you going to do on it? I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and I use IM+, Skype occasionally, Pulse…obviously some of the Google services and that’s about it. Everything I listed, I can do on my phone. I get a bigger view of the web. The way Android tabs are set up definitely is not the future of computing! Even on ICS it isn’t nearly good enough.

        1. I watch a lot of netflix and youtube in my room since I don’t have cable in there. Also, I read a lot of comic books on my phone. It would be nice to have something with a decent sized screen that wouldn’t cost too much.

        2. Tablets are nice to use at work, on the road, and in bed.

      2. This could be true, but all the rumors are pointing at the $200-$250 price range. Nothing is certain until it’s officially announced, but anything above $250 will be a no go.

        1. I’m all for the idea of a fully featured $200 Android Tablet, but I’ll believe it when i can hold it, to make sure it wasn’t actually built by Archos.

  15. I don’t have any problem with any of the competitors…I just don’t see the point of the Android Nexus 7 tablet outside of having a stock ICS experience. Companies like Asus have done pretty good with updates…Samsung (as always) slooooow.
    I believe Microsoft needed to do this because companies like Dell and HP have given them a bad name. Uninspired design, no added functionality/innovation. Products are being released and it is simply a refresh of last years crap. Meanwhile, Apple is making every event and product more epic than the last. Making it seem like Johnny Ive is sitting in a dungeon making every MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display by hand (we all know that isn’t the case, but that’s the impression every video you see him in).
    Microsoft needed this. Personally, I see a Surface Pro in my future for sure.

    1. The only only problem with Android tablets is no one is buying them. Amazon can recoup some of the loss of selling their tablet slightly below cost with content sales, but Google on the other hand will have a hard time doing so. This Microsoft surface on the other hand looks interesting.

      1. Not enough Tablet apps in the Play store.

        1. This x10!!!

          I was asked on Skype today, “What are you going to do with a Surface?” Loading up Release Preview for W8 on my laptop, I definitely see more apps than I do for Android tabs. I don’t want to say Google is SOL, but I can assure you that whatever is announced at IO is not going to show you future computing. It will be Jellybean with some new features, but no promise of apps and functionality. The things users crave.

          Also, waiting for updates doesn’t help either because again I can’t take advantage of apps unless I root the device. I’ve had enough of my Galaxy Tab 10.1 personally.

    2. I love your description of Ive. :)

  16. If the Surface Pro can actually work as a PC/Laptop replacement it’s great. Still have software I have to use to work that can’t be replaced with iOs or Android Apps. Combined with a Nexus 7 would be awesome to have as a more portable media content machine/browser/ebook reader/gamer at an attractive price.

  17. The Transformer Prime was the Nexus 7? REVALAITONS!

  18. I wish the Android Tablets had higher-resolution displays.

    1. MAN! I couldn’t agree with you more!!! I love Android tabs and I personally think the OS is better than iOS BUT those damn Apple loving hippies still have “Well our screens are better”

      1. I’m a huge Android Fanboy. However, Android manufacturers really needs to get on the ball with their display technology. Apple almost always has the superior display. Granted, it’s the ONE thing iDevices have over Android.

  19. Let me just say, I’m really pissed that this article has nothing to do with the nexus 7. Screw you for baiting that man.

    1. Yeap. Classic SEO trickery.

      1. u cant even vote for transformer prime ( my vote )

    2. my sentiments exactly! How desperate was the writer of the article for more click?

    3. How can he even compare a $1000 tablet with a $200 one? Lame article. What’s next? Comparing the Macbook Pro Retina with a netbook?

      1. The iPad 500 dollars the Transformer Prime 500 dollars and we don’t know the price of the MS Surface. Ok yes comparing a $200 Device to a $500 Device is not very fair the odds are the $500 device will pack more of a punch to the lesser device.
        so if thats what you me then yes. but he should have compared the Nexus 7 to the Kindle fire 1 or 2

  20. I wish android tablet had better screens too. Non nerdy people would choose a better screen over the best internal specs.

    1. iOS is not designed for high-res yet. The iPad 3 has high pixel density yes, but the OS is still exactly like on the iPad 2. the only way you can see a difference, is by looking at high-res photos, or HD video, but you have to squint to truly see the difference.

  21. depends what Jelly Bean brings, but I think I’ll go Windows.

    1. Wait to see if Windows for tablets will be blocked from free site usage such as HULU. They might try the same thing they are doing with Android tablets, and force you to pay a premium.

      1. I shan’t have that problem. Hulu discriminate geographically anyway, the only internet TV I watch is BBC iPlayer and they won’t do that

  22. The title reads: Nexus 7, but in the lineup, there is the Transformer Prime. The Prime would be a better comparison to the other 2, since it is in the same screen size class. you cannot compare a 7 inch to a 10 inch. I’ve owned both, and can tell you that 3 diagonal inches makes alot of difference. Article title is incorrect.

  23. BTW, i went and looked @ this new Retina screen by Apple, and it does not look any different than the iPad 2, because iOS was not designed for high-res screens. They are running a low-res OS on a high-res screen. ICS on the other hand, would benefit from higher pixel density.

  24. I’m Google all the way – but I have to give credits where deserved; the video on surface.com makes me drool for the new Windows Surface tablet… Why can’t anyone make an Android commercial THAT sexy?

  25. i really want a tablet from google, but the screen is a bit small for reading pdfs on a 7 inch display.

  26. Go Go Microsoft. If this thing is true to its windows roots, then it will be hackable and dual bootable …. hopefully to android. The keyboard cover is awesome. Just waiting on pricing and battery life.

  27. I thought microsoft was going to compete with the nexus 7 / kindle fire which would have been a smart move.

    a 10″ RT tablet is going up against the iPad, and I honestly don’t think Win8 is going to make much of a dent in that market.

    a 10″ Win8 Pro tablet is going to be expensive. I fully expect the 128gb SSD version to cost over $1000 with the keyboard. Is anyone spending that much money really going to pick that over an Ultrabook, or Macbook Air? Sure it has a touch screen, but the screen is only 10″, and its Ivy Bridge, so battery life is going to suck compared to the Android tablets and iPads, not to mention its fat and weighs as much as an 11.6 Macbook Air with the keyboard attachment.

  28. I feel like Microsoft really out Appled Apple here and I mean that in a good way. The fact that you could purchase a movie for rent on this device and finish watching on your Xbox is a huge win. Unfortunately, Google has lost the war in the living room.

    The key with the surface is that it’s sexy, it’s super portable, YET it is still practical for content CREATION.

    With all other tablets out there, including the iPad, they are mostly content CONSUMPTION devices at their core. With the Surface, you can do everything you would need to on your laptop but you could fold that keyboard back and do everything any other tablet could do. I can see something like this being way more practical for students over an iPad. This is the first product I think will look better than the Apple alternative to the mainstream consumer.

  29. Hmmm… Maybe you should use the transformer infinity instead of the prime. It is superior…

  30. Tranformer Infinity! Come on June 25th!

  31. Comparing Windows 8, iOS and Android is a bit of misnomer, because Windoes 8 is going for the tablet/desktop fusion, iOS is the bar for tablet experiences and Android is giving up on being a real tablet OS and is becoming an eReader OS if you look at the direction of Amazon and Google hardware.

  32. Surface. Nexus 7 is going to be too small and underpowered. They’re going after the Fire/Nook crowd and the results will be disappointing, other than you’ll get updates faster than other tablets *finger twirl*. Already have an ipad and I want to shove it down some hippie’s throat at Starbucks when they blabber on about how great Apple is.

    The Surface is the REAL 1st Gen desktop/laptop replacement. I talked about this 2 years ago. Eventually tablets will replace desktops for most of what we do. The current problem is the lack of a robust OS which can run the most popular current software. I think by 2nd Gen or 3rd Gen, we’ll be able to dock our tablets (like we do with laptops now) and have access to dual screens, blue tooth keyboards, optical media, external media, ethernet and so on. We’ll undock and take our tablet with us. If MS plays their cards right, they’ll continue this with their phones too. Ultimately it won’t matter what form factor, it’ll all be connected and talking to each other. Eventually iOS will merge with OSX, which is what they’re trying to do now.

    I love Android, but I think this round goes to Microsoft for looking to the future. The keyboard cover is just one example of how they really thought this one out.

  33. Hey Chris. To me, the problem with trying to get tablets to do what laptops can do centres around the awkwardness of connecting a keyboard to the tablet. We’ve seen all sorts of things, hinged rotations, clip ons, bluetooth separates etc etc… and they ALL LOOK CRAP. All have disadvantages. Apple would NEVER use a kickstand for tablet, it is way too ugly, and means you cant really use it on your LAP, like an, er, laptop! If I had to choose a way to do it, I’d go with some sexy rubberised keyboard/dock with decent hinges so you do not need a kickstand to work in laptop mode. At least that would be clean and free of Heath-Robinson-type awkward morphing.

    1. > Kickstand

      > Too ugly

  34. The Surface looks good but I wonder how many people will part with that much cash for anything that isn’t an iPad… I think Amazon and (potentially) Google’s more affordable strategy is the way to go.

  35. Wow, looks like they just stole the design for a the Asus Transformer and lumbered it with a really crappy Metro user interface.

    I personally wouldn’t touch Microsoft hardware, I recall how rubbish the Xbox Zune and Kinect were.

  36. Windows 8 pretty much killed it for me, do not like where MS is going with their UI. I’ll take a Nexus any day, the Google ecosystem is getting better all the time.

  37. I own a Motorola Xoom and i still love it and its still a great piece of android bliss exp. now that it has 4G and ICS but i would not mind trying the new microsoft tabs thoes keyboard look real intreresting

  38. I think people are forgetting Microsofts history of making crappy products as well as their using tendency to use their monopoly power to squeeze out competition and innovation. I’ll stick with google or apple for now.

  39. M$ is pissing on its hardware vendors HP and Dell who had been waiting for tablet os from ms. Its about time HP and Dell to roll with asus / samsung and get some good android tablets out .

  40. I would go with a Nexus tablet, but if the price is right I would go with a MS tablet, I doubt that the price is going to be where I want it to be. The windows tablet made by Samsung has a hefty price tag, I believe its around $800-$900…and I doubt that MS will be any cheaper..

  41. Dual Boot anyone?
    Windows + Android!

  42. I want my laptop to be _more_ powerful not less, so I don’t envision any tablet replacing it any time soon. And after years of experience, I have learned not to buy a 1st gen Microsoft anything, so buyer beware. And at $200, what’s not to like about the Nexus 7? I’ll throw that crappy Kindle out the door. Sorry Apple, I’m not even going there.

  43. It’s kind of silly to put a “what will you buy” poll on a site that caters to people who have a built in interest in Android above other OS’s.

  44. metro is too ugly

  45. This is a total wait and see. I need to know what battery life is going to be like on this thing. I have a Dell Duo dual booting android and honestly the thing was a major fail, but I knew the downfalls buying it. If this can fix all the things wrong with the Dell Duo they can have my money!!! Only thing is nothing beats the stores that Google and Apple have setup to download apps specifically for tablets. What does Microsoft have???

  46. I think the Nexus 7 will be a Kindle fire killer hands down. but for the MS Surface we have yet to await MS’s Pricing. I have a feeling the Surface will be at $500 or above $500 because MS I think will charge for the OS and then about a extra 300 to 400 for the hardware.
    But who knows if they can get the Surface shipping for under $500 then the Nexus 7 has another competitor.
    iPad 3 and Nexus 7 are awesome devices. I might buy a nexus 7 instead of a new battery for my macbook pro lol.

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