Bonnie Cha

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

How Much Tablet Does $500 Get You? Microsoft Surface vs. iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1.

Today, Microsoft finally revealed pricing for its upcoming Surface tablet, with the 32 gigabyte model of the Windows RT slate set to go for $499 ($599 with touch keyboard) and the 64GB model priced at $699 with the keyboard cover.

At those prices, the Surface costs less than some of the other upcoming Windows RT tablets, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11, which starts at $799, and undercuts the price of the current tablet leader, the Apple iPad, by $100 for the 32GB model.

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live division at Microsoft, said, “We’re pretty darn excited about the price, the value. When you think about everything you are getting, this is a terrific deal.”

But is it?

Here is a chart comparing some of the key features of the Surface with the similarly priced Wi-Fi-only iPad and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets. Of course, we don’t recommend buying a device based on specs alone — performance and user experience play a huge role in the buying decision — but it’s always good to know what you’re getting for your money.

Microsoft Surface Apple iPad Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Pricing $499 for 32GB w/o Touch Cover; $599 for 32GB w/ Touch Cover; $699 for 64GB w/ Touch Cover $499 for 16GB; $599 for 32GB; $699 for 64GB $499.99 for 16GB; $549.99 for 32GB
Operating system Windows RT Apple iOS 6 Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Size 10.81 inches high by 6.77 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 1.5 pounds 9.5 inches high by 7.31 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 1.44 pounds 10.3 inches high by 7.1 inches wide by 0.35 inch thick; 1.31 pounds
Display 10.6-inch, 1,366 x 760 pixel multi-touchscreen 9.7-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 pixel multi-touchscreen 10.1-inch, 1,280 x 800 pixel multi-touchscreen
Camera 720p HD rear- and front-facing cameras 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front-facing camera 5-megapixel rear camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
Processor Nvidia T30 processor Dual-core Apple A5X processor 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor
Expansion slot Yes No Yes
Sensors Accelerometer, digital compass, ambient light, gyroscope Accelerometer, digital compass, ambient light, gyroscope Accelerometer, digital compass, ambient light, gyroscope
Ports USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, HD video out, cover port 30-pin connector, 3.5mm headphone jack USB 2.0, proprietary power connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, infrared port
Connectivity Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Notable features Features a “VaporMG” magnesium casing, ships with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 Siri personal assistant app, retina display with IPS technology for wider viewing angles Ships with S Pen, a pressure-sensitive stylus that can be used to take handwritten notes
Colors Black Black, white Gray, white

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik