Google's Nexus 10 vs Microsoft's Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Samsung Nexus 10

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is the company’s most recent attempt to revolutionize the way we see the personal computer, merging the traditional desktop with tablets in a single interface. Google’s Nexus 10 comes with Android, which is purpose built for smart phones and tablets.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs Nexus 10

While comparing these two devices, I didn’t expect to enjoy the Nexus 10 as much as I did. On paper having a full core i5 processor in a tablet form was exactly what I was looking for. I don’t have many qualms with the Windows 8 interface, and think it is a decent step forward. However, when using the Surface Pro’s 10.6” screen, I found myself really enjoying the Windows 8 applications, while staying away from the desktop applications and using my laptop for those instead. The problem is that if I don’t actually run desktop applications on it, there isn’t much purpose over the whole line of Atom based Z2760 tablets that still breeze through the Windows 8 applications with ease and double the battery life.

Category Winner
Legacy EcosystemSurface
Battery LifeNexus
Open SourceNexus
StorageTie - Surface requires more space, but comes with more

The Nexus 10 lasts 3-4 hours longer than the Surface, while having a crisper display, and having more marquee applications available (obviously tablet applications, not legacy). ConnectBot for SSH is fantastic (I used it to generate this blog), and I found the Chrome browser very responsive. To Microsoft’s credit, IE 10 is great too, but from an interface perspective it is definitely first release material (for instance: how do you find your current downloads?). In addition, the Android notification framework works very well, while Microsoft’s live tiles look slicker, but functionally are less useful.

I found that when using Windows 8 and Android applications, the speed of both systems was generally equal. From a gaming perspective, the i5 and HD4000 of the Surface Pro provides a huge advantage over the Nexus 10, but if I am going to play PC games, I will just do it on my regular desktop and not a 10.6” screen (and now on Ubuntu with Steam).

I think Microsoft did a fantastic job designing Windows 8 and the Surface, but even if they were closer in price (Nexus 10 was $499 while the Surface Pro was $999), I would purchase the Nexus 10 over the Surface. It is lighter, open source, higher resolution, longer battery life, and with the Logitech Keyboard even a better typing experience.