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The two biggest players in the tablet market right now are the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, each sporting their own pros and cons.  While iPad is synonymous with entertainment and casual web browsing, Microsoft’s Surface Pro line has always been about productivity and getting a genuine laptop experience with the accessibility of a tablet.

Let’s break these two contenders down into exactly what you get with each one, so that the decision can be made easier for those who are still on the fence.

What you get inside

The iPad Pro starts out with a retail price of $799.  You get what you see here, stylus and keyboard are sold separately, while the Surface Pro 4 clocks in at $899 with a stylus, keyboard is separate.  The Surface also comes with its own kickstand, which does make sitting down to watch video or thumb-browse like you’re holding a paper much more natural.

The keyboard accessories you can buy for each also favors the Surface Pro 4, it just feels as though it was meant for typing for extended periods, while Apple’s just feel like a typical low-response keyboard.

The biggest disadvantage for the Surface Pro 4 is evident right out of the box, though.  The iPad Pro is a much more efficient tablet, and that isn’t referencing their iOS.  It gets an extra four whole hours of battery life over the Surface.  This probably means you’ll be treating the Surface Pro 4 as a bit more like a laptop than you may have initially imagined.

Personal Preferences

If you don’t typically express your loyalty to either brand, both of these tablets offer great value in their own ways.  The iPad Pro gives you access to the unmatched value of the App Store, respectable support for digital artists with their Pencil, and a superior battery life that is expected with today’s tablet market.

The Surface Pro 4 could very well lead the way to traditional laptops becoming passé and inadequate in the near future.  Being able to get full desktop functionality is not only better for productivity, it’s a requirement for anyone working outside of digital art professions; and even then, you can draw on the Surface just fine.

Balancing work and play

It all comes down to how much you need one of these new tablets for serious work or if you just need a great tablet that you can use for a little web browsing, entertainment, and as an extension of your main computer.  The latter is going to apply for the majority of cases these days, but the market is definitely trending towards getting more out of hybrid devices.

Will Apple ever match the Windows 10 flexibility and put out an OS that can be used on tablets like with the Surface 4 Pro?  We can only speculate right now, but chances are good, if they did, the level of functionality as we know it for tablets would take another leap into the future.