It's that time again folks, where we pit two devices against each other and see which one of them comes out on top. This time around we have a couple of tablets that represent a lot about their respective platforms, you could say that these are the flag-bearers for Android and for Microsoft. For the first time, Microsoft has developed and released their own PC, well, sort of. The Surface tablet is the first time that we've seen Windows running on ARM and is Microsoft's way of showing off the new Windows 8 Operating System in a form factor that they believe is best. There's a whole lot of changes in Windows 8, especially for those of us that are used to the good old Windows of old. The Nexus 10 is Google's attempt at doing the same for Android on tablets, they had some success with the Nexus 7 and now they're hoping that the Nexus 10 can do the same for the larger form factor.
Google Nexus 10
The Nexus 10 is something a lot of people have been waiting for ever since the original Motorola XOOM arrived, delivering a vanilla experience of Android on tablets. While XOOM has had a good run it's time to lay it to rest and with the Nexus 10 packing some seriously advanced specifications there's no denying it's more than a fit successor. A lot has been said about the Nexus 10 and by now I'm sure you've heard pretty much all there is on the tablet. Comparing this to the new Microsoft Surface is a little difficult, not only because Android tablets have been around for some time now but also because Microsoft's aim with the Surface is still a little unclear. The Nexus 10 is something of a change for Android tablets, beforehand they were billed as a device for everything but now I think that Google has realised that a lot more content consumption is happening here and with this stunning display on here it looks as though they're encouraging more reading, more movies and more TV.
- Stunning hardware, that screen is absolutely beautiful
- The Play Store is getting bigger and better, with more and more content for users to enjoy
- While the apps might not be too good for tablets, there's a lot more here than on Windows 8
- Timely updates from Google as soon as the Android OS sees an update.
- A lot of applications are designed for phones and will look pretty poor at that resolution.
- If you have a Nexus 7 there's little reason to buy one.
- Tablet UI might not be easy for new users.
Microsoft Surface RT
We're going to be comparing the Nexus 10 to the RT version of the Surface packing an ARM processor as the Surface Pro is more PC than it is Tablet however, it is worth noting that the Surface Pro will act just like a normal Surface as well as fully supporting the Windows 8 desktop and existing applications. The Surface RT however, is a strange device as it's clear that Microsoft believe their Metro UI to be the future but, the Desktop mode still remains on this ARM based tablet. Desktop mode?! Something that evokes dreams of running a whole lot of applications – just like the ones on your desktop at the office or at home – comes to mind but, there will be no new applications written for the Desktop mode of Windows RT and existing applications won't run either. All because Microsoft has forbidden it, something I feel is a huge mistake. Through this crushing blow the Surface is doomed to never reach its full potential, the metro UI is stunning to look at and the applications are fully featured and comprehensive but, having proper Desktop applications here would be magnificent. There's also the question of how flexible Microsoft's new UI really is and whether or not there is enough freedom for app developers to create unique applications.
- Microsoft Office comes shipped with the Surface, if you need proper Office support and you don't want to lug a laptop around, this is the one for you
- There are two innovative covers – one with a touch keyboard and the other with a tactile keyboard, both come with a trackpad as standard
- Windows has never looked so clean
- Xbox integration is good and Xbox Music is a service that will take off in time
- Desktop mode is sorely limited and holds the Surface RT back
- pretty hard to get hold of
- underneath all the Metro UI trimmings it's still Windows
And The Winner Is…
It's a tough decision when weighing it up between these two because when you think about it, the Microsoft Surface has a whole lot more potential when you think about it. There's a problem with this however as the Windows 8 Desktop is severely limited on the Surface RT, something that would be brilliant for those looking to do some real work on the thing. The Nexus 10 is something that a whole lot of people will be happy to use on a daily basis thanks to that gorgeous display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a powerful dual-core processor built on the Cortex A15 platform lending itself to a lot of processing power without a lot of power draw. The Nexus 10 is also the best Android tablet at 10-inches that you can buy right now, making the Surface look like an overpriced and unfinished product. There are a whole lot more apps for Android and there's the freedom for developers to create some truly unique applications whereas the Surface signs the beginning of Microsoft moving to a closed eco-system not unlike that of Apple and the iDevices which is never good for competition or growth as iOS has been a platform arguably stagnating over time.