Sunday, 26 January 2014

Microsoft Surface 2 vs Apple iPad Air vs Microsoft Surface RT:Which one is the better one?

W.A.Khan,                                                                                                                                                 Microsoft Surface 2                                                                                                                                     The Microsoft Surface 2 is a definite upgrade over 2012's Surface RT. It's faster, with a sharper screen, and houses better cameras.The Microsoft Surface 2 has a sturdy build, smooth gaming performance, and high-quality cameras. Windows RT 8.1 is easier to use than before, and the built-in photo-editing tools and Xbox Music are fantastic features. Office 2013 is included for free, and thanks to a new kickstand angle, the tablet is less likely to fall off your lap.
But, App support still lags behind competitors, and Windows RT is still incompatible with legacy programs. It's too easy to mistakenly push the tablet into its lower stance, and the touch pad on the Type Cover 2 isn't as comfortable as it was on the previous version.                                                                                         Performance:                                                                                                                                             Using the Surface 2 feels fast and responsive, which wasn't the case with the original Surface. This is borne out when browsing the web, as can be seen in an average SunSpider JavaScript score of 496.2ms. That's a very good score for a tablet.
Where the Surface always performed was in gaming, and the Surface 2 is no exception. Running the onscreen Egypt HD 2.5 graphics benchmark the Surface 2 achieved a respectable score of 33fps. Running the 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme benchmark the Surface 2 scored an average of 8432, Ice Storm Unlimited averaged out at 12,787. These are very healthy scores that reflect our experience of a zippy machine even when running multiple processes.
Battery Life:                                                                                                                                               Of course, the reason the Surface 2 uses Tegra 4 and not, say, an Intel processor, is to improve battery life -- though as the new Atom in the Asus Transformer Book T100 proved, the latest Atoms are very frugal, too.
Here the Surface 2 doesn’t disappoint. Microsoft claims 10 hours on a full charge, and we can’t fault its estimate. We spent a whole day using the Surface 2 on and off, using it to write, browse the internet and stream videos, and still had a comfortable 20-30% spare by the end of the day.
Our only real complaint here is that the auto-brightness system typically sets the screen a little dimmer than is comfortable, which means you’re constantly fiddling with it manually.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The bottom line: The Microsoft Surface 2 is great for getting work done, but those looking for extensive app support (beyond Office) will find top Apple, Android, and Amazon tablets to be better options.                                                                                                                                                                                 Specifications
Release date10/22/13
Display type10.6 in
OSMicrosoft Windows 8.1 RT
ProcessorNVidia Tegra 4
Wireless connectivityBluetooth 4.0Wi-fi 802.11a/b/g/n
Dimensions (WxDxH)10.81 in x 0.35 in x 6.81 in
Weight1.49 lbs                                                                                                                                           Price:$449.99                                                                                                                                           VS                                                                                                                                                         Apple iPad Air                                                                                                                                             The Air is a tangible upgrade over the previous, fourth-generation iPad, no longer in production and so banished to the annals of history. The new iPad slots right in where its predecessor left off, priced at $499 for a lowly 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB, and $799 for the maximum 128GB configuration. The iPad Air delivers more performance and comparable battery life in an attractive and impossibly thin-and-light package. An improved front-facing camera makes FaceTiming look better, and the Retina Display still looks great.
But, The Touch ID fingerprint scanner, introduced on the iPhone 5S, is sadly absent here, meaning you’ll still have to type in a passcode with every unlock and a password with every purchase. Starting at $499 for 16GB, it’s still expensive compared with the competition.                                                                             Performance:                                                                                                                                             The iPad Air shares the same processor with Apple’s flagship phone, albeit with a slight bump in clock speed. While the 5S runs at 1.3GHz the Air runs at 1.39GHz. It can achieve this because of the increased space and improved heat dissipation of the Air compared to the much smaller iPhone 5S.
Indeed, before we go into the detail about performance it’s worth noting that the iPad Air manages to keep its cool with consummate ease. Even when running intensive 3D games and apps for hours it barely breaks a sweat and, therefore, neither do your hands.
In practice, the iPad Air is blisteringly fast. Apps open instantly and games like Infinity Blade 3 look sumptuous and run smoothly. The benefits of having a SoC means that the GPU can be used to tackle compute tasks, which makes video editing and compute intensive apps, like AutoCAD, show no hint of slowdown.
The iPad Air performs 59% faster than the iPad 4 in the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited CPU and GPU test and 91% faster in Geekbench 3 tests. The Peacekeeper browser test, which assesses web browsing performance, shows that the Air trounces its predecessor by being more than twice as fast. It's also faster than the stonking Snapdragon 800 processor on the likes of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra and Google Nexus 5. We're talking matter of degrees here, but the difference is there all the same.
Battery life:                                                                                                                                                   Battery life on the iPad Air is quoted at "Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music". We would say that's actually not a bad estimate, although the drain was closer to 2% every 10 minutes in general use, which equates to around nine hours' use.
Standby time is much, much better though. We found that we could stick the iPad Air in a bag, taking it out for the commute and messing about with on the sofa at home, for at least three days before it began to get low on battery.
In fact, the only real task that killed it was connecting to our amplifier via Wi-Fi while simultaneously streaming music to the same device through Bluetooth. It's doing things like this that make you realise that this is the kind of thing that we envisaged at the turn of the century, a tablet that has the brains and connectivity to do all the tasks we could want.In terms of connectivity, we've already mentioned the excellent Wi-Fi performance (in terms of distance from router, rather than improved speed) through the Multiple In, Multiple Out (MIMO) technology.
4G bands are now covered throughout the globe, and low power Bluetooth is also on board as well, making it an incredibly well-connected device.
The bottom line: Functionally, the iPad Air is nearly identical to last year’s model, offering only faster performance and better video chatting. But factor in design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It’s the best full-size consumer tablet on the market.                                                                       Specifications
Release date11/1/13
Display type9.7 in
OSApple iOS
Wireless connectivityWi-Fi
Dimensions (WxDxH)6.6 in x 0.29 in x 9.4 in
Weight1 lbs                                                                                                                                           Price:$479.00                                                                                                                                           VS                                                                                                                                                         Microsoft Surface RT                                                                                                                               The Microsoft Surface's Metro interface is innovative, elegant, powerful, and versatile. The tablet feels strong and well-built, runs Office 2013, and includes rich video and music services. Its keyboard cover accessories are the best ways to type on a tablet, period.
But, The tablet's performance can be sluggish, its Windows Store is a ghost town, Metro takes getting used to, and the Desktop interface feels clunky and useless.                                                                       Performance:                                                                                                                                             A common misconception is that the traditional desktop isn't available in Windows RT, but that's not true; it's accessed via the desktop tile on the Start screen, but its relevance is severely diminished.
As Windows RT can't run traditional programs you need to use the old style Windows Explorer less, but it's still on hand for browsing file systems, USB sticks, organising folders and more.
The 'charm' bar to the right also includes search and share buttons and these are threaded through every part of the OS, from files to settings, to the information held within apps.Another triumph is the on-screen keyboard, which is large, sensitive and easy to use. It's not as smart as some third-party keyboards on Android, but we typed with two hands quickly and accurately and the extra inch of screen space made it much easier to use than its iOS counterpart.
We had a few problems with the large keyboard panel blocking information we needed, but the icon to show or hide the keyboard is always on hand in the bottom-right corner of the desktop.
As we've already mentioned, performance is a slightly mixed bag. The system is always responsive, with silky smooth transitions and snappy navigation.
However, we found that some apps were slow to load, with lingering splash screens. What's more, 1080p playback was a few frames per second short of perfect.
While we wouldn't say that the Tegra 3 chip performed appallingly, there's certainly no headroom, and it seems to be the graphics core that struggled most.
Multitasking apps never missed a beat, but it was loading the graphically-intensive apps and movies that showed the biggest strain on the processor.
Even some basic games ran at a noticeably low frame rate, so it seems that Windows RT might need some optimisation.                                                                                                                                        Battery life:
Our experience of the battery life has bemused us somewhat. We started off a day with the Surface RT at 100 percent and only used the tablet intensely for around an hour and a half while shooting our video review. We then used the Surface RT in the evening for around 30 minutes web browsing. The next morning, however, the Surface RT needed the mains charger to switch on so the battery had full depleted overnight. Strange considering Microsoft touts 7-15 days idle life.
The bottom line: If you're an early adopter willing to forget everything you know about navigating a computer, the Surface tablet could replace your laptop. Everyone else: wait for more apps.                                                                                                                                                                                            Specifications
Display type10.6 inColor TFT active matrix - Yes
OSMicrosoft Windows RT
ProcessorNVIDIA Tegra 3
Wireless connectivityIEEE 802.11nIEEE 802.11bIEEE 802.11aIEEE 802.11g
Dimensions (WxDxH)9.3 mm10.8 in 6.8 in
Weight676 g                                                                                                                                           Price;$494.98 to $599.00 

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