Choosing a Tablet Device for the Business Environment

A comparison of major features in Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface devices

Many organisations and also software houses are currently looking hard into what mobile tablet platform may be most suitable for cloud enabling their workers whilst in other offices or accessing documents on the move.

With the iPad, Apple have lead the portable tablet device field for some years, but the imminent arrival of the Surface Tablet from Microsoft may be about to challenge this. Here is a comparison of some key features between these two devices.


This could be a valuable feature when staff are out in the field or operating from remote premises. The Surface Tablet RT comes with inbuilt microSD, microHDMI and USB connectivity, allowing users to substantially increase storage capacity, connect to external displays and accept keyboards, mice and other USB devices. In addition, the Surface is supplied with two different keyboard covers, one having touch pads and one with proper keys.

In terms of connectivity, disregarding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Apple iPad only has a headphone socket and a single, proprietary connector. It would require a number of expensive adapters to enable HDMI or SD card reading, and these would still not allow users to expand storage or connect to USB sticks and peripherals.

Software and productivity

In terms of Apps for mobile devices, the Surface Tablet will start life very much as the underdog, with iOS and Android devices enjoying a substantial head start. However, this should change over time and a big plus for the Surface Tablet as a business tool could be the fact that it will come with the Microsoft Office productivity suite ready installed.

Screen display

As tablet devices become increasingly deployed in the business environment, functionality and performance will be compared, in terms of expectations, with what is currently achievable with office PC’s and laptops. Concerning screen display, the Apple iPad is currently in a league of its own with the Retina Display and a screen resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. The Surface Tablet RT screen resolution is likely to be in the region of 1,366 x 768 which should be adequate for most general requirements. This will also be supplemented by the monitor/TV connectivity mentioned above and a kickstand allowing the screen to be properly supported on desks and other surfaces.

Camera functionality

Where tablets are to be used for “point-of-origination” capture of business process documents such as signed contracts, completed forms, questionaires, applications or expense receipts, the quality of the captured document image will be a consideration for general legibility, as well as OCR and automated indexing operations. In this field, the yet to be confirmed spec for the Surface RT will be up against the iPad’s 5 megapixel camera resolution which should give adequate results for the above requirements. However, even in the event of a lower spec camera resolution, the availability of image correction Apps such as Kofax Virtual Rescan can enable substantial improvement of even poor quality orginal images.

Kofax VRS datasheet Download the datasheet - Automatic Image Correction with Virtual Rescan

General specification

The winner in processing performance will depend on what Microsoft puts up against the iPad’s A5X SoC. The Surface RT is likely to have 1 GB of RAM which will be comparable to the iPad, and storage capacity will also be similar with 32-64 GB on the Surface and 16-64 GB on the iPad, however, the Windows device will allow doubling of storage using a microSD card.

For more information on use of tablet devices for document capture and deployment within cloud-based document workflows, contact a DCS business consultant on 01753 616 720, or send an enquiry using our Contact Form.

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