The Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple iPad 4 go tablet-to-tablet. The Surface Pro is described by Microsoft as a laptop in tablet form, making it BYOD compatible, while the iPad 4 aims at giving users the full tablet experience. For tablet users looking for a powerful platform and software advantage, the Microsoft Surface Pro trumps the iPad 4. In terms of display and dimensions, though, the popular Apple tablet comes out on top. Which tablet should you buy? Let's look at the Surface Pro versus the iPad 4:

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Processor & Memory

The Surface Pro has a 3rd generation Intel Core i5 dual-core 1.7GHz processor with 4 GB RAM and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU. The iPad 4 contains a dual-core A6X ARM-based SoC running at 1.4GHz with 1 GB. While Apple's iPad 4 includes quad-core graphics, Intel's Core i5 found in the Microsoft Surface Pro performs four times faster than that of Apple's A6X, CRN reports. Overall, the Surface Pro has the more powerful platform.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Size & Weight

The dimensions of the Microsoft Surface Pro measure in at 10.81 by 6.81 by 0.53-inches, compared to Apple's iPad 4 amounting to 9.50 by 7.31 by 0.37-inches in size, About.com reports. Not only is the iPad 4 tablet smaller in size than the Surface Pro, it is lighter as well. The iPad 4 weighs in at 1.44 pounds in contrast to the 2 pound Surface Pro. The iPad 4 is the more portable option in terms of size and weight, being a slimmer tablet than the Surface Pro.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Software Compatibility

The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet software compatibility includes Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro, while the iPad 4 software compatibility includes iPad and iOS. Depending on the software advantage the user is looking for, the better option greatly depends on preference. For the ability to run Windows and Microsoft Office natively on the tablet, the Surface Pro is the better choice. However, iOS's stability and the abundance of apps available on the platform make the iPad 4 a preferred option. However, there is a slight edge given to the Surface Pro in its ability to run third-party apps aside from the Windows Store, while the iPad can only run apps downloaded from Apple's App Store.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Storage

Apple's iPad 4 includes the storage options of 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB compared to the two choices of Microsoft's Surface Pro, 64 and 128 GB. Also, the system software of the Microsoft Surface Pro uses a significant amount of storage space. In terms of option alternatives and software storage space used, the iPad 4 reigns as the superior tablet.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Display

The Surface Pro has a 10.6-inch HD display with Microsoft ClearType HD Display and a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080. However, Apple's Retina display is a tough one to beat. The iPad 9.7-inch Retina display features 2,048 by 1,536. To put it into perspective, the Surface Pro has roughly 208 pixels per inch compared to the iPad 4 with 264 pixels per inch. While the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet has quality display features, it doesn't stand to beat the iPad 4 display.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Cameras

Both the Surface Pro and iPad 4 have two 720 HD front and rear-facing cameras. However, Apple's iPad 4 also features the rear-facing iSight Camera with a five-element lens and 1080p HD video recording.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Wireless Connectivity

The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet includes Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 only. Apple has that as well as cellular and LTE with service from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Apps

Both tablets come pre-installed with built-in apps. The Microsoft Surface Pro includes People, Mail, Calendar, Messaging, SkyDrive, Internet Explorer, Bing, Music, Video, Games and more. The Apple iPad 4 also comes with numerous built-in apps, including Safari, Maps, Photo Booth, Camera, Music, iTunes, FaceTime, Messaging, Mail and more. Both tablets clearly have a choice selection of built-in apps, but the biggest difference between the Surface Pro and iPad 4 is that the Microsoft tablet is not limited to apps in the Windows Store. The Microsoft Surface Pro has access to apps from the Windows Store, websites, a CD, DVD and other third-party apps. The iPad 4, however, is limited to apps downloaded from the Apple Store. While the Apple Store app ecosystem is plentiful, if a user is looking for higher accessibility to apps, the Surface Pro is the better choice. However, both tablets offer ample built-in apps and selections.

Microsoft Surface Pro vs. iPad 4 Price

For comparison purposes, let's look at the 128 GB variant of both tablets. The 128 GB Surface Pro tablet costs $999.00 compared to Apple's 128 GB iPad 4 with Retina display and Wi-Fi, that is priced at $799.00. The iPad 4 is a more cost-effective choice than the Surface Pro. If money is not a determining factor, the Surface Pro features several bundles and accessories at discounted prices. For $79.99, Surface Pro customers can get Office 365 Home Premium, which gives users a 1 year subscription including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and cloud services. Also, if Surface Pro customers can add $309.99 to their total price for the Surface Pro Bundle, which includes Office Home and Student 2013, a 2-year warranty, Type Cover, INCIPIO, Surface Sleeve and Surface Pro Screen Protector. The iPad 4 can include Wi-Fi as well as cellular connectivity for $929.00, still cheaper than the Surface Pro. Overall, Apple's iPad 4 is a more cost-efficient choice of tablet for customers looking to for a pennywise purchase. The Microsoft Surface Pro is the costlier tablet choice, but offers more choices for accessories and packages.

Both the Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple iPad 4 are smart choices for a tablet, however they offer fairly different tablet experiences. For consumers interested in optimal portability, display and a cheaper option, the iPad 4 is the best tablet. If software compatibility and a powerful platform are the most important tablet factors for a consumer, the Surface Pro is best. Which tablet would you rather have, the iPad 4 or Surface Pro?

iPad Apple iPad 4 with Retina display (photo: Apple)