The Bottom Line
Apple's iPad with Retina display and Microsoft's Surface for Windows RT both start at $499. Apple offers 9.7 inches, 2,048 x 1,536 pixels and 16 GB of storage. Microsoft offers 10.1 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels, 32 GB of storage and a kickstand. Apple's display is the better value, its rear camera is more capable, and it integrates seamlessly with other Apple devices. So if that's important to you, then Apple should be your choice. On the other hand, Windows users might prefer to stay with what they know, and Surface provides some of that. But Windows 8 will take some getting used to. And while Office 2013 might appear familiar, none of a user's old apps will work unless they've been redeveloped and filtered through the Windows Store. Microsoft has done a decent job addressing some of the technical challenges of competing with Apple but still faces hurdles, perhaps the most daunting of which is stocking its app store shelves. Because after all, isn't the greatest indicator of an object's value its usefulness for the money? On those grounds alone, the choice between iPad and Surface comes down to its intended use case and whether there's an app for that.