I’d never used a Surface computer till buying one recently, though had read Microsoft touting it as better than the iPad, so thought I’d contrast the two as someone who owns each platform.
Handwriting – hands down the iPad Pro is a much better experience for me here, I have tried handwriting using my own on the Surface and it isn’t anywhere as natural an experience, doesn’t cater for editing easily and seems to rush things. Also, I have found the Surface pen lacks responsiveness seen on the iPad Pro; is there perhaps tweaking to be made to improve things?
Tablet mode – I think iPadOS wins here purely because it is designed out of the box for this purpose, whereas windows 10 was not. I think perhaps Windows 11 may switch things up a little, and that’s due very soon.
Multitasking – Surface Pro is probably the winner here as it is not a tablet os but a true/full operating system. Pen interaction though with windows is poor, difficult to use currently.
Apps – each environment has heaps to offer, I think windows seems to offer Android too, definitely coming under Windows 11 from what I heard, so how long is a piece of string. Can run virtual machines within Windows which aren’t offered in iPadOS.
Pens – the Apple pencils 1 and 2 are very responsive to use onscreen, whilst I have noticed a definite lag between draw and cursor onscreen with my Surface Pro 7. Both pens, however, are comfortable to use. I do like the Surface pen’s clickable button, on the Apple Pencil you get a virtual button by clicking on the side of Apple Pencil 2.
So, for me, I think the hype Microsoft creates surrounding its Surface devices didn’t entirely stack up. Yes, these are full computing devices rather than tablets, but they need work in my opinion, especially the pen which is unacceptably unresponsive to its screen, the lag is just poor given what you pay.