Here's how the new iPad Pro compares to the Microsoft Surface and other top tablets

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Here's a big question: what is the iPad Pro? It's the size of a laptop but the shape of a tablet. It's more capable than any other iPad, but it's still far less capable than any MacBook. It can be used with a keyboard or a stylus or neither. It's a tablet, you just might not use it like one.

Read next: The iPad Pro review.

The iPad Pro sits so distinctively between the boundaries of tablet and laptop that it makes it a hard device to compare. Sure, it's probably fair to call it more tablet than laptop, but it's also competing with the Surface Pro, which is more laptop than tablet. Apple even says that the iPad Pro is using a "desktop class" processor. It's living in a very strange and very interesting space in the tech world that gives it a lot of advantages, like versatility, and a lot of disadvantages, like actual power.

So how does it actually compare? In the chart below, we put the iPad Pro up against some of its closest competitors. On the one side, that's other tablets — the iPad Air included. On the other side are laptops like the MacBook and, arguably, the Surface Pro. Specs alone can't explain how you're supposed to use these devices, but they paint a useful picture of exactly what the iPad Pro should be able to accomplish.

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Correction: The Surface Pro 3 is sold with a stylus; this chart previously listed it as optional. This chart also misidentified the Surface 3's resolution as 1920 x 1080; it is 1920 x 1280.

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