Apple iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4: Which convertible tablet is best for you?

Apple iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4: Which convertible tablet is best for you?

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4: Display

Both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 have incredible displays. The iPad Pro’s is a capacious 12.9in measured corner to corner and has a resolution of 2,732 x 2,048; the Surface Pro 4’s is smaller, at 12.3in corner to corner, and has a resolution of 2,736 x 1,834.

With the screens delivering pixel densities of 264ppi and 267ppi respectively, they’re each as sharp as each other, which is to say, they’re as sharp as you need them to be at typical viewing distances.

As far as colour performance goes, that’s a slightly different matter. Out of the box, the iPad Pro is a supreme performer. It goes extremely bright, up to a maximum of 394cd/m2, while contrast is a stark 1,552:1, and not only does its IPS panel cover 98.2% of the sRGB colour gamut, but it’s also incredibly colour-accurate.

In fact, the iPad Pro has the most colour-accurate screen I’ve ever seen on a tablet, with an average Delta E (colour-accuracy score) of 0.87. This is professional-monitor-grade performance – as it should be for a tablet this expensive.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is brilliant too, but its performance fresh out of the box can’t quite match that of the iPad Pro. Brightness is up there with the iPad at 388cd/m2 covering 95.3% of the sRGB colour space, and it has an average colour score of 1.47. Bear in mind, however, that – as it’s a Windows-based machine – it’s possible to calibrate the Surface Pro 4 for improved colour accuracy.

Still, with its larger screen, better contrast and no-nonsense, out-of-the-box performance, the win in this section goes the iPad Pro. For colour-critical work, it’s an out-and-out winner.

Winner: iPad Pro

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4: Stylus

As well a keyboard, both tablets are available with a stylus, but while you have to pay £79 for the privilege of owning an Apple Pencil, the Surface Pen comes with every Surface Pro 4 tablet.

Both work beautifully, but slightly differently. They’re pressure-sensitive and work extremely well as sketching and note-taking tools, but the Apple Pencil goes one better than the Surface pen, by adding angle sensitivity to its box of tricks.

Start sketching with the Pencil then lean it over and it will switch mode, allowing you to shade rather than draw with the nib – it’s a fantastic tool for sketches and digital artwork.

Does this make the Pencil better than the Pen? In some ways, but not others. The Pen, for instance, beats the Pencil on practicality: it has a shirt clip, allowing you to attach it to the keyboard so that it doesn’t get lost, and it can be attached magnetically to the edge of the Surface Pro 4 tablet. It has a shortcut button on the top, which lets you take quick screenshots and launch OneNote with a quick double-press, and it also doubles as an eraser.

I’m handing this small victory to the Surface Pen, despite the Pencil’s better sketching abilities. It’s more practical and flexible than Apple’s stylus, and – more importantly – you don’t have to stump up extra for it.

Winner: Microsoft Surface Pro 4

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