iPad Mini 2 Retina vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Apple has recently launched the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, along with its Apple Pay and HealthKit platforms, but no news about a new iPad surfaced at the Apple event last Tuesday. Many left the Flint Center disappointed after Tim Cook didn’t even mention the iPad or whether it will be getting a new addition. There have been rumors flying around about a new iPad Air, but they remain unconfirmed. Some are saying that October might be the month of the iPad, but we’ll have to wait and see.

With the lack of a new iPad in mind, we thought that, since most people will resort to the iPads already on the market, we should offer you a brief comparison of two of the major tablets of last year, the iPad Mini Retina and Microsoft Surface Pro 2. Since the Surface Pro 3 and iPad Air comparison was already covered, and those were two of your best choices, I chose to pick the two older versions of the tablets thinking about a budget and about which tablet would be more suitable for which user category.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 is available for about $800 and boasts a 10.6 inch TFT 1920*1080 resolution screen, with 5-point multitouch and ClearType technology, built into a 9 mm thick body. The Surface Pro 2 has stereo speakers, 5 MP 2592*1936 rear camera with autofocus, LED flash and geo-tagging and 3.5 MP front camera. The tablet is powered by an Intel i5 CPU, backed by a ULP GeForce GPU, with 4 GB  or 8 GB RAM and either 64, 128, 256 or 512 GB internal storage, expandable via microSD. The usual accelerometer, gyro and compass are also present on the device, besides Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The OS on the Surface Pro 2 is Windows 8 Professional.

The Surface Pro 2 lacks a SIM card slot and 3G and 4G capabilities, so you can only rely on WiFi and Bluetooth for connectivity. Nonetheless, the tablet runs pretty fast and has a great processing power compared to other tablets in its price-range. It sports a magnesium alloy chassis and many users say that it can be compared to a light-weight laptop replacement. The Surface Pro 2 is more suitable for desktop use rather than the usual in-hand tablet use, because it is a quite heavy and bulky device, which comes as no surprise since it is a tablet-laptop hybrid of some sorts.

The iPad Mini 2 with Retina display, on the other hand, will set you back about $400 and the first benefit you get from it, is 3G and 4G and a nanoSIM card slot so that you can benefit from a data plan. A 7.9 inch Retina display on the iPad Mini 2 with 1536*2048 resolution, protected by an oleophobic coating is featured, besides the stereo speakers built into a 7.5 mm thick, lightweight body. Compared to the Surface Pro 2, the iPad Mini 2 with Retina display is much lighter and considerably thinner. The device features the same type of 5 MP rear shooter with face detection, FaceTime, geo-tagging, touch focus and HDR, and a 1.2 MP front camera. The iPad Mini 2 is powered by Apple’s dual-core A7 chipset, with PowerVR G6430, backed by 1 GB RAM DDr3 and either 13, 32, 64 or 128 GB internal storage, with no microSD slot available.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also featured on the iPad Mini 2, alongside the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass, everything run by iOS 7.1.2 out of the box, upgradable to iOS 8. The iPad Mini 2 with Retina display was designed as a light and thin tablet which can do all the things a power user would need done on a handheld tablet device. Its processing power and speed are admirable and the Apple App Store offers a wide variety of apps and games to choose from.

If you are looking for a tablet for everyday use as a navigation tool, social media enabler, internet browser, camera and gaming tool, even for office purposes, Apple’s iPad Mini 2 with Retina display should definitely be your choice, especially if you’re accustomed to iOS and the Apple ecosystem. On the other hand, if you are looking for a laptop, but would prefer an even more portable version of a laptop that can support all the applications and features from the desktop Windows OS, the Surface Pro 2 is for you. Even though it’s a bulky device, not as easy to handle as the iPad Mini 2, it does offer a lot more in terms of features and integration.

Keep in mind, though, that if you decide to get the Surface Pro 2, you will be dealing with something more in the lines of a laptop than a tablet computer. It would be more accurate to say that the Surface Pro 2 is a tablet-laptop hybrid and that’s why the price tag on this device is hefty, to say the least. Which tablet would you prefer if these were the only two choices available, and you would get your choice for free? I would choose the Surface Pro 2, mostly because I would rather work with Windows than iOS. How about you?