December 03, 2012, 4:05 PM — This isn't the first year that tablets are a hot gift item, but it is the first holiday season that enough serious contenders make the buying decision tougher. Following my reasons you should consider the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT over the Apple iPad, here are features and benefits that give the iPad an advantage over the Surface with Windows RT.
I started off calling this one "Size" or "Weight", but the reality is that in terms of the actual specifications, the iPad and Surface RT are identical in thickness at 0.37 inches each, and the difference in weight seems negligible. The iPad weighs 1.44 pounds compared to 1.5 pounds for the Surface RT. There is no cellular Surface RT option, but the 4G iPad weighs slightly more than its Wi-Fi only sibling at 1.46 pounds.
The mileage varies, though, once you get them out of the box. For starters, the overall weight and thickness are affected by your choice of case. There seems to be something intangible, though, that makes the iPad feel thinner and lighter when you're holding it. Part of this is related to how the iPad's curved edges compare with the thicker, more angular sides of the Surface RT. Then there's the distribution of weight; although the tablets weigh virtually the same, the iPad is shorter and wider. When held in one hand in portrait mode, the Surface RT feels heavier than Apple's tablet.
2. 4G / LTE
The Apple iPad is available with 4G / LTE wireless capabilities. Granted, you have to pay an additional $129 for the cellular connectivity, but if you need to use your tablet away from a Wi-Fi network, the Surface RT won't do the trick.
Microsoft hasn't ruled out introducing 4G or cellular in the future. For now, though, connecting to the Web, email, or other online resources from a Surface RT when no wireless network is available requires the use of a mobile hotspot (or a smartphone or tablet used as a mobile hotspot), while the 4G iPad simply connects from virtually anywhere by itself.
This may not be very important to many consumers, but the limitations of the VPN connectivity on the Surface RT break the deal if you need a tablet for business.