Tablet Wars: Google Nexus 7 vs Microsoft Surface RT

Hello and welcome to yet another tablet war where we pit two touchscreen devices against each other to see which one is worth your hard earned dollars and which one is best avoided at all costs. This time around we have the Nexus 7 and the Surface RT, the first ARM based device running Windows and arguably one of the best Android tablets out there. it should be interesting to see how these two go up against each other, yes, they might be different sizes but, they have similar internals and does a smaller screen make more of a difference than a bigger display, is less really more? Read on as we try to answer these questions and more!

The Specs

Google Nexus 7

The venerable little tablet has been with us some time now and while you might think that it’s about time that the Nexus 7 head for retirement then you’re dead wrong. This little guy has got plenty of go left in him, thanks to being a Nexus device it’ll see updates for some time to come. Not only that but it’ll be before all other Android tablets. Sure, the 7-inch form factor isn’t for everyone but once you get used to it, you understand how easy a tablet of this size is to use and to consume content on. 7-inches might not sound appealing for films but, thanks to the high resolution, 720p HD films will look great and TV shows fill the screen. There’s always been the problem of apps when it comes to Android but, the Nexus 7 gets away with running phone applications just fine. Of course, they don’t look all that nice but, they get the job done and might not make you cringe like you would on a 10 incher. This is something that the Nexus 7 has up it’s sleeve, Apple may be able to boast more apps but when it comes to Windows RT on the surface all you can really say is: what apps?

Pros

  • Good, high-resolution display is great for reading and watching content on it, whether it be Play Movies or Netflix.
  • Tight integration with Google services brings the web right to you.
  • 7-inch form factor is a lot easier to carry around, easy to pick up and use as well.
  • There are a lot of games for Android that look brilliant on the Nexus 7.

Cons

  • It might be an IPS panel but, it’s not the best looking IPS panel out there.
  • Questionable build quality, with some models suffering from numerous defects and poor durability.
  • Buggy Android 4.2 update.

Microsoft Surface RT

The Surface RT has something good going for itself, it presents itself as a sort of doppelganger, there’s the new Metro UI that’s great for touch and then underneath it all there is the same old Windows Desktop waiting for you. GREAT! You’re thinking that you can use all those apps that you do at home, right? Wrong. Microsoft have made it very clear that no app will make into their new Microsoft Store for RT if it’s not based on the Metro UI. So, even though there is a desktop there, you’ll never get to realize its full potential, which is a real shame when you think about it because thanks to this, the Surface RT will never reach its potential. If there were more apps for the Desktop on this tablet it would present a very strong challenge to Android on tablet but, as it stands there’s little here that you can’t do with Android. Let’s not also forget that there are a whole lot more apps for Android as well, making the Surface RT more of a mediocre web browser than anything else.

Pros

  • Very well built, with metallic materials and a good design, the Surface sure is a looker.
  • Kickstands are awesome, no doubt about it, they just are.
  • Quality display panel
  • Array of ports here is good and better than Android tablets.

Cons

  • Desktop mode is pretty useless on the RT, basically Windows Explorer and Office, that’s it.
  • No matter how good Metro looks, with hardly any apps it’s dead on arrival.
  • Very expensive compared to the $200 Nexus 7.

And The Winner Is…

The Nexus 7 has to be the winner here, despite the difference in size here, the Nexus 7 still takes it. The device isn’t built as well as the Surface is but, then again, it costs over half the Surface and when you actually get the two side-by-side and use them, the Nexus 7 has a far better display of tricks and apps. There are so many apps for Android now that Microsoft might be better hiring developers to fill the new app store up. What apps there are for the Surface RT are really quite good but, Metro seems to be more like handcuffs than it does anything else. For instance, there’s little hope for a developer to create something unique when the UI is so uniform. Also, after the way Microsoft handled the lack of updating Windows Phone 7 devices to Windows Phone 8 when some of them had only been on sale for months makes you question their support strategy. With the Nexus 7 updates are timely and will keep coming for a year or so.

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