Microsoft Surface RT vs. Google Nexus 10 – Comparing Performance, Specs, Features, Price

rt tablet

Microsoft is pulling all stops for a successful run of its Surface RT in the market segment for top-tier tablets. The Surface RT is the veritable poster child of the company in its bid to gain enough traction for the new tablet platform. Still, industry analysts are predicting an uphill battle with the level of competition in the market segment as well as the clout of a key player in the Android backyard – the Google Nexus 10.

Of course, we get more than enough dose of positives and hear a lot of good things about these premium tablets. But how does one really fare against the other on specific performance standards or parameters? Surely, we would want to find out which of these 2 premium gadgets will give us the better value for our money.

Overall Tab Design

With a lower price point, it is not surprising to have an overall design for the Google Nexus 10 that is a tad modest when compared to the other tablets with premium designs. Thus, in the aspect of overall design, Microsoft Surface RT clearly has the edge. In general, both tabs have relatively the same size, although the Surface RT has that distinctive “VaporMg” configuration and edges that are tapered. The unique design elements set it apart from the conventional design of most tablets in the market, including Nexus 10 and other premium tablets.

This is not to say that the Google Nexus 10 doesn’t have the looks. It practically has everything that users expect from a premium device. However, it may not have enough punch in the looks department that could match what the Surface RT has to offer.


The Google Nexus 10 scores big in this aspect. Being the tab with the lower price between the two, having a higher screen resolution gives it a higher value than the Surface RT as far as the display panel is concerned. The Google Nexus 10 touts a 10.6-inch display, a True RGB Real Stripe PLS, with 2650 x 1600p resolution and a 300ppi pixel density.

Thus, its edge over Microsoft Surface in this aspect is pretty obvious and users can easily detect the disparity in terms of the sharpness. Still, the display of the Surface RT is anything but awful. Nonetheless, it pretty lags behind with its 10.6-inch display that has a 1336 x 768p resolution and 148ppi pixel density. This is clearly not one of the bright spots of the Surface RT.

Productivity and Functionality

For being the more mature OS between the 2, there is this tendency to ascribe completeness to the experience provided by the Jelly Bean Android 4.2 of the Google Nexus 10. Of course, we are well aware that the Android OS has gone through a series of refinements over years and this alone makes the Nexus tab a better choice.

However, the Windows RT, even if it is just on ver. 1.0, looks exceedingly flashy, particularly with the start screen’s dynamic live tiles. Still, it would have been better if the Windows RT had some of the key elements that are normally associated with the platform preferred by power users. These would include a robust collection of 3rd party apps and a centralized notification hub.

For now, this one goes to Google Nexus 10 as it clearly has the edge when it comes to personalization. Additionally, the Android platform is able to mesh with the various services offered by Google. Its main strength is its maturity and it is enough to keep most users on Android territory.

Processor, Graphics, RAM & Storage

When it comes to tech specs, the comparison is generally straightforward. Consider the numbers and determine which one packs the nastier punch. However, we also need to consider some intangibles.

The Google Nexus 10 is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, the Exynos 5250 GPU from Samsung, and 2GB of RAM and a Mali T604 for its graphics processing unit. On the other hand, the Microsoft Surface RT comes out of the box with a quad-core monster, a Tegra T30, and backed up by 2GB of RAM and a PowerVR graphics processing unit. It is also equipped by microSD slot and USB port. However, it is important to note that 32GB variant of the Surface RT only provides 16GB of available onboard memory as the balance is taken up by the gadget’s system partition.

On paper, the Surface RT appears to have the edge in this department, with its quad-core processor. Still, the Google Nexus 10 delivers a pretty solid performance and we may defer making our own assessment until a definitive comparison of their performance based on established benchmarks is made. The Surface RT may possibly have a faster clocking compared to the Nexus 10, although there may not be a marked disparity when it comes to the performance of their hardware.


The Google Nexus 10 is the hands-down winner when it comes to pricing. While a good number of reviews describe the Samsung-made tablet to have fairly matched other devices in its class, the Nexus 10 takes it a step ahead of competition by offering a low $399 base price for its 16GB variant. On the other hand, the 32GB variant of the Surface RT has a higher price tag of $499. It should be noted that this Surface RT variant only offers 16GB as actual storage space.


Microsoft may be credited for having done an impressive job in introducing a tablet that can be ranged against the key players in the market. In the aspect of hardware, the Microsoft Surface RT offers some unique and new elements. However, in the aspect of software, the Microsoft slate still has a lot of ground to cover to be able to match what Android devices can offer.

If we set aside personal preferences and special requirements, the the clincher to this comparison is actually in the pricing as users stand to gain a substantial savings amounting to $100 if they go for Samsung Nexus 10.

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