Man sitting on couch using a tablet

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 vs. iPad Pro: Which Is the Better 2-in-1 Laptop Option?

Looking for a Tablet-Laptop Hybrid?

Tablets and two-in-one laptops are becoming increasingly popular devices. They offer a great level of versatility, portability and power. As both types continue to gain traction in the market, they are both competing against each other to be better. As a result, due to consistently evolving technology, the lines between a tablet and a laptop are getting blurred.

The two most popular devices of this type are Apple and Microsoft’s flagship tablet products — the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Both are fantastic choices that seemingly fit a similar niche, but they have some significant differences.

Here is a quick overview of the features, similarities and differences between these two products. Once you’ve read this short overview, you will be able to make an informed choice when it comes to the Microsoft Surface vs iPad.

The Main Points of Difference

Both of these devices have the same goal in mind. They aim to allow you to switch between a tablet and a more traditional laptop seamlessly. The concept is solid — when you want to do some light reading or relax, you have a tablet, and when you need to get serious work done the device can also function as a laptop. But that is where the similarities end.

The iPad Pro is a step toward a hybrid laptop-tablet, but a small step. It’s a great product for simple work, but Apple’s suite of programs does limit its versatility.

The larger screen size, addition of the Apple pencil, thinner bezels, and light, sleek, and thin design are fantastic — but they do little to make it a good two-in-one solution. Ultimately, iOS is a mobile operating system.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 fares better as a laptop replacement. The suite of Microsoft Office programs, as well as the ability to have multiple resizable windows that open at once is fantastic for workflow. Windows 10 is a desktop operating system after all, so that is to be expected.

On the other hand, the Surface Pro 6 is less elegant and less portable than the iPad Pro. But that is part of a relatively good trade-off — the type cover keyboard gives you a much more familiar laptop experience.

The Surface Pro 6 also doubles as a good tablet, but is slightly inferior to the Apple iPad Pro. However, it functions much better as a laptop-tablet hybrid.

The Newest Models

The best way to compare these two lines of products is to take a look at the newest models and the improvements that have been added to them.

The newest model of the iPad Pro features a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display and thinner bezels. It’s lighter than the previous model and manages to be slightly smaller overall while keeping the same screen size.

It is compatible with the 2nd generation Apple pencil, and the home button has been completely removed — the device is now unlocked with Face ID technology.

The newest model of the Microsoft Surface is the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. It features an improved processor, with a choice between an Intel® Core™ 8th Gen i5-8250U or i7-8650U.

The newer model is much more powerful and is still just as portable. The battery life is much better, lasting 20 to 50% longer depending on activity. The newer model also manages to reliably stay cooler, with a much lower risk of overheating.

The Surface Pro 6 is a more powerful machine in general but might perform slightly worse when gaming or 3D rendering.

Features and Price

Now that we’ve established how these two products stack up against their predecessors, how do they fare compared to one another?

The first point is the price. Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999, while the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 starts at $899. However, both models can be customized, and both work best with a few accessories. When you add all the keyboards, pencils, adapters and so forth, the difference in price becomes negligible.

The iPad has a slightly higher resolution and a better display. As far as storage capacity, both devices are tied, with 1 terabyte being the maximum. The iPad is a more powerful machine, but is limited by its operating system. Testing has shown that, contrary to advertisement, the Surface Pro 6 has a shorter battery life than its counterpart. However, the Surface Pro 6 has much better connectivity as far as ports are concerned.

The iPad boasts only one port (USB C) and a Nano SIM card slot — for everything else and anything more complex, you’ll need to buy a lot of expensive adapters. The Surface Pro 6 has a USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, an audio jack, a Surface Connect port and a microSD card slot.

The keyboards available for the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 are both cheaper and more comfortable to type on. In comparison, Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio is pretty inconvenient to use. However, Apple’s pencil options are superior to Microsoft’s.

Which One Should I Get?

This question mostly depends on your needs. Both of these products are huge improvements to their predecessors. But even though their goal is the same, the execution was handled differently.

If you need a fantastic improved tablet that can handle a small amount of more serious work, then go with the iPad. In terms of tablets, it is still unbeatable. iPads are durable, sleek, light-weight and well worth the price. The iPad Pro is powerful and the bright, smooth display is a huge plus.
Purchasing an iPad Pro is a rational decision for any iPad owner — so long as you know its purpose and limitations.

If you need a viable substitute for a laptop, one that is much more focused on work, then go with the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. It works seamlessly with the Microsoft Office package, and the type cover keyboard makes it a much more true-to-form laptop experience.

The hardware difference isn’t vast — but the software that these products use differentiates them. At the end of the day, the Surface Pro is much closer to a two-in-one laptop.

Of course, you should base your choice on your specific needs, but the general rule of thumb stands: get the iPad if you want a tablet, but if you need a laptop-tablet hybrid, get a Surface Pro.