Surface 2 vs. iPad Air vs. Nokia Lumia 2520 (tech specs)

Surface 2, iPad Air, and Lumia 2520 tech specs comparison

On October 22nd, 2013, Microsoft finally released the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, Nokia announced its first Windows RT 8.1 tablet, called Lumia 2520, with gorgeous display, a variety of colors and support for LTE — something Surface users felt left out –. And as expected Apple followed by announcing a new line of iPads: the “iPad Air” with three key features, thinner, lighter, and faster, and the new iPad mini, which carries the same hardware as the iPad Air (formerly known as “iPad”, yes, Apple changed its name), but with a smaller screen which as a result of both tablets sharing the same screen resolution, the iPad mini has a higher pixel density.

Now there are a couple of questions that many people are asking: What’s the difference between the tablets? And which one should I to buy? To make the decision a little easier, I created a table describing the technical specifications to compare Surface 2, Nokia Lumia 2520, and the new iPad Air.

Note that I didn’t include the Surface Pro 2 or the iPad mini, this is because these two tablets don’t quite fit in the group. The Surface Pro 2 is a more powerful machine that has no match compare to other tablets in the market, and the iPad mini doesn’t go hand-on-hand with the screen size, although has the same power as the iPad Air.

Three tablets, two operating system, only $500, and one important decision to take. Let’s dive into the details of Surface 2 vs. iPad Air vs. Nokia Lumia 2520:

Tech specs

Technical SpecificationsSurface 2Nokia Lumia 2520iPad Air
Operating systemWindows RT 8.1Windows RT 8.1iOS 7
WirelessWi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
Cellular (LTE)NoYesYes
ProcessorNVIDIA Tegra 4 (T40) 1.7GHz quad coreQualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2 GHz Apple's A7 chip with 64-bit architecture dual-core 1.29 GHz and M7 motion coprocessor
Display10.1-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 10.1-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 9.7-inch Retina (2048 x 1536)
CameraBack: 5MP
Front: 3.5MP
Back: 6.7MP
Front: 2MP
Back: 5MP photos
Front: 1.2MP
PortsUSB 3.0
Headset jack
HD video out port
Cover port
Power connector
Micro SIM
Power connector
Headset jack
HDMI-D (micro)
USB 3.0
Bluetooth 4.0
Headphone minijack
Power connector (Lightning)
Weight1.49 pounds1.36 poundsWi-Fi: 1 Pound
Wi-Fi + Cellular: 1.05 Pounds
Thickness.89 mm8.9 mm7.5 mm
ColorsMagnesium (Silver)White, Red (glossy)
Black, Cyan (matte)
Space Gray
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours of video playback
7–15 days idle life
Up to 11 hours
Up to 25 days idle life
Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
Power Supply24WNA32.4W
SensorsAmbient light sensor
Ambient Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Three-axis gyro
Ambient light sensor
Power CoverPower Cover (due in early 2014)Keyboard - wrap-around (provide up to 5 more hours)No
AppsMail, Calendar, People, Internet Explorer 11, Photos, Music, Video, Games, Skype, Fresh Paint, Calculator, Reading List, Reader, Scan, News, Weather, Sports, Travel, Finance, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink, Help, Camera, SkyDrive, Sound Recorder and moreRecorder, Calculator, Clock, Calendar, Alarm clock, OneNote, Lync (Corporate IM) free download, SkyDrive storage for documents and notes, Office apps: Excel, Word, Powerpoint, OneNote, Microsoft Outlook, Excel, PDF, Word, OneNote, Powerpoint, XBox-Live Hub, and more.Safari, Mail, iBooks, Photos, Maps, FaceTime, Newssstand, Messages, iTunes Store, App Store, Calendar, Music, Video, Siri, Reminders, Contacts, Camera, Notes, Photo Booth, Clock, Game Center, iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iTunes U, Podcasts, Find My iPhone, Find My Friends, Remote, iTunes Trailers, and more.
Price32GB $449
64GB $549
$499Wi-Fi only:
16GB $499
32GB $599
64GB $699
128GB $799

Wi-Fi + Cellular:
16GB $629
32GB $729
64GB $829
128GB $929
AvailabilityOctober 22, 2013Q4 2013November 1, 2013
Pixel Density206 ppi218 ppi264 ppi
Aspect Ration16:916:94:3
Audio/Video supportMPEG-41, AAC1, MP31, HE-AAC1, ASF1, Dolby Digital (non-disc), AAC LATM, Dolby Digital Plus (non-disc), AAC LOAS, MP31, ADTS WMA1 (Standard, Pro, Lossless), WAV 1, MPEG-1 Layer I, Layer II, MPEG-2, ULAW, PCM, ADPCM;
H.264/AVC, MPEG-4, MP4, ASF, WMV, 3GP, 3G2, OMA DRM 1, MP4, AAC, MP3, M4A, WMA, MIDI, WMV, MP3, MIDIH.264 video up to 1080p, 60 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
AccessoriesPower Cover
Touch Cover 2
Type Cover 2
Car Charger
Music Mix
Docking Station
Wireless Adapter
Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edtion
Keyboard (power cover)
Nokia Purity Pro Wireless Stereo Headset
JBL PlayUP Portable Wireless Speaker
No new accessories

Also that with the purchase of every Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2, Microsoft is including 200GB of SkyDrive for two years and 1 year subscription to Skype Wi-Fi. For more information read this previous article.

Here is a quick first look at the Nokia Lumia 2520 with video review.

Did I missed something? Let me know in the comments. Thanks,

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].