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Best Tablet for Lawyers: Apple's iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface?

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

Six years ago, Apple released the iPad and suddenly the market for tablet computers, which had been around since the early 90s, exploded. Simple, mobile tablet computing was now a real, worthwhile thing. But since 2010, Apple has been surpassed by its competitors, especially when it comes to using tablets for professional purposes. The primary iPad-killer is the Microsoft Surface Pro, which we love. Sure, it's cute that you can play Candy Crush on your iPad, but you can actually do work on the Microsoft Surface.

Now, with a smaller, improved iPad Pro, Apple is finally getting back into the tablet game. Compared to Microsoft Surface, which one is the best choice for attorneys?

iPad Pros and Cons

So, the iPad Pro isn't new -- it was released last year -- but it is newly improved. This year's model weighs less than a pound and has a 9.7-inch screen. That's the same size and weight as the much more popular iPad Air 2, but the Pro comes with better batteries and accessories.

Those accessories are key. The Pro has support for a keyboard, which is absolutely necessary if you want to use the iPad (or any tablet) for anything more than playing games and streaming movies. That said, the keyboard isn't amazing. Some people love it, but others find it much too small and hard to use.

The second main accessory is the iPad Pro's Pencil. That allows you to draw straight onto the screen, which is fun, but not exactly a necessity for most lawyers.

One benefit, though, is that you can use Microsoft's Office Suite on the iPad Pro. (In fact, Office 365 is the only non-Apple accessory you can order at the same time you buy the iPad.) If you're not a fan of Apple's office products (few people are) or if your firm typically traffics in .doc's and .ppt's (they all do), you can now do work on the iPad with no problems.

Finally, starting at $599, the iPad Pro is a good $300 cheaper than the newest Microsoft Surface Pro, though the keyboard and extra storage will cost you a few hundred more.

Verdict: Microsoft Surface Pro Is Still Better

The iPad Pro is an improvement, no doubt, but when compared to the Microsoft Surface Pro, it's still a bit amateur. Here's why: the Surface Pro isn't just a tablet, it's an actual computer.

The Microsoft Surface Pro can run Windows 10 in full. You can have multiple screens open, multitask, and use programs just like you would on a desktop. Meanwhile, the iPad still feels like a glorified iPhone. Apple's app-based system makes moving between programs and multitasking a serious chore.

So, if you've got a Surface Pro, stick with it. If you're in the market for a tablet that you can work on, go with the Surface. But, if you just need something that you can read the news on, play a game with, or send an occasional email from, the iPad Pro is still a fine option.

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