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ipad pro vs surface pro for artists

iPad Pro Vs Surface Pro for Artists

The tablet battle between iPad Pro vs Surface Pro for artists proves to be a very close one.

This article will reveal the pros and cons of each tablet and prove if one is really better than the other.

iPad Pro vs Surface Pro for Artists

Top tablet makers such as Apple and Microsoft have a lot of unique features to offer in their tablets.

Screen Size

Artists often choose iPad Pro over Surface Pro because the iPad has a bigger screen.

iPads screen is 12.9 inches, while the Surfaces Pro screen is 12.3 inches.

iPads have a resolution of 2732×2048 pixels, while the Surface Pro screen is 2736×1824 pixels.

The resolution screen indicated that Surface Pro has a better resolution.

The aspect ratio on iPad pro is 4:3 while Surfaces Pro ratio is 3:2.

Aspect ratio is the ratio between the width and height of a screen, which means the iPad has a better ratio.


The iPad Pro’s brightness is 600 nits, while the Surface Pro’s brightness is 430 nits.

Nit is a unit that describes how bright the tablet, computer, or TV.

By this, we can see that iPad Pro has a better brightness level than Surface Pro.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate is the number of times the tablet updates with new images each second.

iPad Pro has a better refresh rate around 120 Hz, while Surface Pro has a refresh rate around 60 Hz.

The refresh rate indicates that iPad Pro refreshes the screen faster than Surface Pro.


The Surface Pro is heavier than the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro weighs around 1.40 lbs (635 grams), which means that iPad Pro is more likely easier to carry around than Surface Pro because Surface Pro weighs approximately 1.70 lbs (770 grams). 

If you want to see the comparison between iPad Pro and Surface Pro in a table, click here.

Artists often choose iPad Pro over Surface Pro because they have an ideal drawing area.

Good color accuracy is the artist’s key feature because they mostly rely on the display’s color accuracy to make creative drawings.

The drawing on iPad Pro is more natural because there are no lags because of the fast refresh rate.

For artists, it’s more important for the tablet to have longer battery life.

That’s why for an artist, iPad Pro is better than Surface Pro.

iPad Pro has a battery life of 10 hours, while Surface Pro has a battery life of around 7 to 8 hours.

For an artist, it is also essential to consider the operating system.

The operating system has an enormous effect on the whole usage of the tablet.

Operating System

iPad Pro has an iPadOS, and Surfaces Pro’s operating system is Windows. 

The Windows operating system’s advantage is excellent for an artist because it allows you to run all your desktop drawing applications. 

But for the iPad’s operating system, many artists say that many apps are not available. 

For artists and illustrators, iPad Pro is better.

While for designers, editors, etc., Surface Pro is better.

The new masterpiece from Apple is the “Magic Keyboard,” released in 2020.

From the artists’ experience, this keyboard provides a different experience rather than Smart Keyboard Folio.

When buying Surface Pro, it comes up with a USB-C port, MicroSD card, and port for headphones and connector for charging.

Apple iPad Pro comes with a compatible USB-C port.

Both of the tablets can handle intensive drawing, and they are both mighty.


Apple iPad Pro has smaller RAM, around 6 GB.

On the other hand, Microsoft Surface Pro has a bigger RAM – 8,16 GB.

The memory of Microsoft Surface Pro varies from 128 to 256 GB.

Apple iPad Pro has a memory of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB.

More memory means that Apple iPad Pro provides the artist with a better memory to store their drawings.

While Microsoft Surface Pro only connects to WiFi, Apple iPad Pro connects to WiFi and WiFi + cellular.

Even though both tablets have excellent screens, for artists, iPad Pro is still better.

Artists choose Apple’s iPad Pro tablets because it supports the P# wide color range, which means it’s ideal for drawings, designs, photo editing, etc.

When launching the iPad Pro, Apple announced something great related to the processor.


iPad Pro has the A12Z Bionic processor, which makes a decisive boost, and that’s why Apple is so proud of it.

Apple said that this chip includes an eight-core CPU, and this CPU makes the tablet “more powerful than most Windows Pc laptops,” as Apple says.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Surface Pro has an 11th- gen Intel Core processor.

For the latest iPad Pro, there is a new feature.

Apple adds to iPad Pro a LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented – reality experience.

This feature allows the tablet to quickly measure the distance of objects that are up to 16 feet away.

Body Color

They both have different types of colors.

The colors of Microsoft Surface Pro are platinum and matte black.

The colors of the Apple iPad Pro are Silver and Space Grey.

Comparing the Prices

iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro are very close prices.

If you have to choose one tablet as an artist and have your desired desktop applications, get the Microsoft Surface Pro.

The price of the Microsoft Surface Pro varies from $950 to $1,169.

This variation in prices is mainly about the memory of the tablet.

But, if you want to have a tablet that has top-of-the-line features, an overwhelming and capable stylus, and excellent battery life, then you should choose the Apple iPad Pro.

Apple’s iPad Pro is more expensive.

Prices of this tablet vary from $975 to $1,215.

The prices also vary because of the memory, color, etc.

When considering the price as an artist, you should also consider the price of the stylus.

When buying Surface Pro there is no additional purchase for the stylus.

While purchasing the Apple iPad Pro, you need the Apple Pencil if you want to draw better.

For Apple Pencil, you need to pay an additional $129.

iPad Pencil Vs. Surface Pro Pencil

Apple’s most advanced stylus is the Apple Pencil. 

Apple pencils have reliable performance, are consistent and smooth. 

Microsoft has been working on a stylus for a long time, and they made their perfect stylus.

Microsoft came up with a masterpiece for their stylus.

The Microsoft Surface Pen provides a more mature drawing experience.

iPad Pro Pencil is longer than Surfaces Pro Pencil.

They both come with support for tilt detection and pressure sensitivity.

Surface Pro Pencil has an eraser at the back, but iPad Pro Pencil has a touch button with no eraser at the back.

Apple Pencils are more comfortable for use.

Apple Pencil is made of textured plastic, while Surface Pen has a metal texture.

That’s why artists like Surface Pen more than Apple Pencils.

Furthermore, the Surface Pen is a battery-free stylus, and it doesn’t need to charge. 

Surface Pen charges using EMR.

If you want to read more about EMR, click here.

Apple Pencil is attaching to the top of the iPad, and that is how it is charging.

Surface Pro Pen is more affordable because it comes with a tablet.

On the other hand, if you want an Apple Pencil to make your drawings, you need to purchase the pencil separately, and it is expensive.

Drawing Surface Texture

In the drawing experience, the most important role has the surface texture.

From artists’ practice, drawing with Apple’s Pencil is less pleasing because the stylus tends to slip around easily.

Because many artists use texture plastic film, the pen gets a little more grip on the surface.

That is resulting in a very controlled movement of the stylus.

Microsoft Surface Pro Pen has a smaller rubber tip, and with that, there is more control over the stylus when drawing on a smooth screen.

iPad Pro Features for Artists

The most significant advantage of iPad Pro for artists is that the screen can be 11- inch or 12.9 – inch.

An 11 – inch or 12.9 – inch screen means that artists can draw on a better and bigger screen.

Artists can easily hold the tablet in their hands and draw.

As artists say, drawing on the iPad Pro is extraordinary.

Apple Pencil supports pressure and tilts sensitivity.

The iPad Pro has a laminated display, and there is no gap between the LCD beneath and the glass.

As you are drawing lines, they will appear directly beneath the pen tip without a gap, so it feels like you are drawing on the display’s surface.

Because the Apple Pen moves smoothly and is not slippery, most artists don’t use screen protectors.

Some use screen protectors for an extra tactile drawing surface.

The iOS operating system on iPad Pro allows you to use gesture control in Procreate.

The gesture control makes the drawing process more efficient.

The Quickshape feature on iPad Pro helps an artist eliminate their hand-drawn works and unwanted shaky lines.

Quick shape fixes your lines, and also, you can hold the line to adjust the form and the size.

You can find the quick shape by clicking the “wrench icon,” then click “Preferences.”

After clicking “Preferences,” click “Gesture control,” and then “Quick shape.”

Other Awesome Features

For bringing more professionalism to your art, you can use layers.

Also, artists can use layers to make your drawings easier to edit later if you need them.

By swiping the layer, you can access more features like delete, lock, and duplication.

A feature like Alpha lock allows you to edit a layer, but only the pixel that is already there, and keeps what you are drawing within a specific boundary.

There is also a feature like Clipping Masks that we like painter’s tape.

A lot of artists find this feature helpful when using the blend mode.

A feature like ColorDrop is used by artists a lot.

If you want to use ColorDrop, choose the color you want from your palette and tap and hold on to the color circle that appears in the upper right corner.

Regardless of your artistic level, guidance is always welcome.

To have guidance while drawing, you can turn on the Drawing Guides.

You can turn on Drawing Guides by clicking on the wrench icon and click on “Drawing Guide.”

As you turn on the Drawing Guide, a grid is going to appear over your canvas.

The Drawing Guide offers four different modes:

  1. 2D Grid
  2. Isometric
  3. Perspective
  4. Symmetry

If you are an artist and draw from a reference, you can keep the image in a separate window.

If you are a beginner, click here to watch the video for drawing with ProCreate on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.

Microsoft Surface Pro Features

Artists that use Microsoft Surface Pro say that it was overpriced when it first came out.

They only don’t like Surface Pro because of the 11 – inch screen.

But a lot of artists, when drawing and working, connect their tablet with an external screen.

But, artists still say that the build quality is still excellent.

If you connect your Surface Pro with an external monitor, you have some options:

  1. Use the external screen as the main
  2. Mirror the desktop to the external monitor
  3. Extend the desktop to the external monitor

Surfaces Pro Pen supports up to 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

You can adjust the pressure in the app called Surface.

The Surface Pen is supposed to have tilt sensitivity, but this sensitivity only works with compatible applications.

There is a gap between the screen and the glass surface, but it is minimal.

Artists are pleased with the work of pressure sensitivity in Photoshop CC.

Some artists say that the tilt sensitivity doesn’t work for some brushes in Photoshop CC.

Artists are experiencing some lags while zooming and panning.

The app that artists are the most pleased with is Affinity Photo.

They say that this app is very capable of creating line art.

The best apps that an artist can use on Surface Pro for drawing are Medibang Paint Pro, Krita, and Clip Studio Paint.

For artists, Microsoft Surface Pro has a nice weight, but they feel too heavy for handheld drawing.

The proof of the Surface Pen is that it has an eraser.

Best Apps to Use to Draw on Microsoft Surface Pro

  1. Concepts – this app is superb for an artist because you can draw storyboards, design plans, product sketches.
  2. Sketchable – this app has customized controls. Its features are a color picker, snap and edit pics, importing pictures, making canvas, GPU accelerated tools; you can choose multiple layers; also, there is a paint bucket. 
  3. Autodesk sketchbook: Autodesk sketchbook is great for creating unique sketches. It has excellent sketching tools. With Autodesk sketchbook, you can import pictures and edit snaps, import and export your work in all image formats, such as PNG, JPG, PSD, BMP; the sketching tools are very professional and include an attractive stripped-down interface.
  4. Zen brush 2 – with this app, you can add background style templates, support 3-D touch, have simple tools that are very easy to use, and save the work to the photo library.
  5. Krita: Krita is a free image editor, professional app. This app has open-source; you can export art in any format. It has incredible layers, texture and matte painters, and pattern transformations; with this app, you can manipulate colors, use concept art, etc.
  6. Fresh Paint: Fresh paint is great for artists. It has simple and the right tools and canvas to free your talent and draw big ideas. Fresh paint has natural pressure sensitivity; you can export photos, it has great coloring pages, you can correct every mistake with an eraser and undo button, you can easily share your paintings anywhere.

These apps are some of the best drawing apps on Microsoft Surface Pro.

With these apps, you can make fantastic drawings and make your pictures more natural, beautiful and bring them to “life.”

Tablets at a Glance

They are mobile computers with display, battery, and circuitry in one single unit. 

Tablets are seen as a bigger version of mobiles but for a smaller version of a computer.

They have a microphone, camera, accelerometer, touch screen in which you can use a pen to replace the computer’s mouse and keyboard. 

Many people use tablets nowadays because they are easy to be picked up and carried around; instead of taking their computer with them, people take their pill with them.

The first tablet appeared in late 2009, made by ICD for Verizon.

Newton was the first tablet from Apple that sold worldwide.

These days’ tablets have more usage than computers because they have more suitable features for artists, students, teachers, businessmen, etc.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, as an artist, I would choose iPad Pro.

It is much better than Microsoft Surface Pro.

I would choose iPad Pro because it has more significant memory, more extraordinary apps to draw, better color pallets, and artists can draw 3D pictures on iPad Pro.

I would also choose iPad Pro over Microsoft Surface Pro because it has a better drawing surface.

Even though the iPad Pro is more expensive, it has better features than Microsoft Surface Pro.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article between iPad Pro vs Surface Pro for artists.

For more interesting reads, do check the other articles below.

10 Best iPad Drawing Screen Protectors (Rated & Reviewed)

10 Best Line Drawing Picture Packs of Flowers

How To Transfer A File From Procreate To Illustrator

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