iPad Pro Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Which One Is The Better Laptop Replacement?

Dhir Acharya - Jul 03, 2019

iPad Pro Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Which One Is The Better Laptop Replacement?

With the launch of iPadOS, Apple really wants its tablet to replace the laptop, but can the new OS help the iPad Pro beat Microsoft's Surface Pro?

Apple really wants to make the iPad an ultimate replacement for laptops. At WWDC 2019, it unveiled a separate operating system for the iPad, dubbed iPadOS, which will overcome some limitations of the iOS and enhance productivity.

Apple unveiled iPadOS at WWDC 2019

To be released this fall, iPadOS will come to several models, including the iPad Mini and the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 4, the 2018 iPad, the 2017 iPad, as well as all the iPad Pros. The public beta, however, is already available and you can try it now.

One of the most important features is support for Bluetooth mouse. However, it’s not really close to how a legitimate replacement for the laptop but more like assistance for those who cannot use the touchscreen.

Consequently, CNET has put the iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6 side by side to see which one is a better alternative for the laptop. And here are five big things that you should consider.

The Surface Pro 6 (left) and the iPad Pro (right)

Operating system: the key factor

Yes, the iPad Pro will have a more Mac-like OS, but its flexibility will still fall behind Microsoft's Surface Pro which runs on Windows 10 Pro. With Windows 10, you can have full versions of Win32 software and more, which you can’t with iOS or iPadOS.

iPadOS will still restrict you to the App Store. And even when there are millions of apps there, you may not find mobile equivalents to use in full desktop software or legacy apps you need.

The Surface Pro 6 runs on Windows 10 Pro


This is an aspect that iOS loses to Windows 10. When it comes to a desktop OS, you should be able to open multiple apps on one screen in differently sized windows which you can switch between quickly. You should also be able to move data, images, or texts from one to another. Furthermore, Apple does whatever it can to make you stick to its hardware, but Microsoft is dedicated to enabling you to jump between an iOS device and its Windows 10.

Windows 10 lets you work on multiple apps at the same time

Running iOS 11 or iOS 12, you can better work between open apps. For instance, you can access cloud-stored and local files through the Files app, as well as drag and drop files, images, and texts between apps. And the upcoming iPadOS will allow you to connect external drives, which means you can open, copy, and save files on Apple’s tablet such as documents, photos, videos, and PDFs. But even then, multitasking will still be limited to two apps working parallel, filling the entire screen.

iPad Pro multitasking is limited to two parallel apps

On the iPad, there’s the Slideover feature allowing you to open a third app on top, but you have to drop it from your dock. iPadOS will let you store multiple apps in this mode and you can swipe between them. And unless you have mastered gesture-based control on the iPhone, this is something you will have to get used to on the tablet. The feature works, but not as easy or efficient as with MacOS.

Crucial accessories: pens and keyboards

While a stylus and keyboard are essential if companies want their tablets to replace computers, they do not include these in the product. Microsoft sells its Type Cover at Rs 8,888 and the Alcantara fabric at Rs 11,644. Meanwhile, Apple sells the Smart Keyboard at Rs 13,710.

The Type Cover

Though both of them work well, the Surface Pro comes with a built-in hinge which means better positioning, as well as a touchpad. Currently, the iPad doesn’t have mouse/touchpad support, but iPadOS will change that with support for Bluetooth mouse.

The Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro

In terms of drawing and writing, the performance of these devices is almost equally good, with improvements from their prior models. In addition, Apple’s Rs 8,888 Pencil feels a bit better on the iPad, and it will get even better when iPadOS arrives. There will also be new annotation tools for a more seamless experience with the Pencil.

Ports versus dongles

The Surface Pro sports a lot of ports, including a full-size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort for an external monitor, as well as the Surface Connector which powers the device and connects to the Surface Dock, audio out, and four USB 3.0 ports. That’s not to mention a dedicated microSD card slot.

The iPad Pro, however, has only one USB-C port, which means you have to buy adapters for connecting to an external display, add a USB 3.0 port, get a Gigabit Ethernet and an SD card reader. Right now, you can use the magnetic Smart Connector on the iPad Pro for the Smart Keyboard cover.

You need a bunch of dongles for the iPad Pro

Speed and battery life

The Surface Pro’s performance is undoubtedly excellent. However, the A12X Fusion chip allows the iPad Pro to handle intensive tasks such as presentations and huge spreadsheets4K video editing, and 3D modeling. And Apple optimizes hardware for App Store apps, meaning whatever new iPad Pro you purchase, the performance is the same, unlike the Surface Pro.

The iPad Pro is powered by A12X Fusion chip which can handle intensive tasks

Regarding battery life, the iPad Pro can survive 13 hours and 16 minutes, while the Surface Pro 6 can last 11 hours and 11 minutes.


All in all, though the iPad Pro has impressive capabilities, the Surface Pro is undeniably the better replacement for a laptop.


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