Spec showdown: Pixel C vs. Galaxy Tab S2 vs. iPad Air 2 vs. Surface 3

With the release of the Pixel C, we have yet another big Android tablet that's looking to challenge the other offerings out there. But this one's just a little different, as it has the choice of two different keyboards that are aimed directly at turning the tablet into something capable of handling some more productive tasks. The goal is not unlike the other tablet-masquerading-as-a-laptop devices from Samsung, Apple and Microsoft.

There's far more to a comparison of these devices than just specs — particularly when you start looking at productivity aspects of each — but knowing that you have enough power under the hood to get things done is always important. We've rounded up the specs for the Google Pixel C, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, Apple iPad Air 2 and Microsoft Surface 3 to see how they all stack up.

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SpecPixel CTab S2 9.7iPad Air 2Surface 3
OSAndroid 6.0Android 5.1iOS 9Windows 10
ClearType LCD
(308 ppi)
(264 ppi)
(264 ppi)
(214 ppi)
ProcessorNVIDIA Tegra X1Exynos 5433 octa-coreApple A8XIntel Atom x7-Z8700 quad-core
Storage32 or 64GB32GB16, 64 or 128GB64 or 128GB
Rear camera8MP8MP8MP8MP
Front camera2MP2.1MP1.2MP3.5MP
Battery9243 mAh*5870 mAh7340 mAh*7567 mAh*
Optional LTENoYesYesYes
Dimensions242 x 179 x 7 mm237 x 168.6 x 5.84 mm240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm267 x 187 x 8.7 mm
Weight517 g
(1.139 lbs)
389 g
(0.86 lbs)
437 g
(0.96 lbs)
622 g
(1.37 lbs)
Keyboard weight399 g (metal)
391 g (folio)
317.5 g517 g (Typo keyboard)265 g (Type Cover)
Combined weight916 g (metal)
908 g (folio)
754.5 g954 g (Typo keyboard)887 g (Type Cover)

* For ease of comparison, battery size converted from watt-hours using 3.7V for calculation

Looking at the line items, you can see that all four tablets are comparable in several areas. All of their screens are roughly the same size, with the iPad Air 2 and Galaxy Tab S2 on the low end at 9.7-inches and the Surface 3 at the high end with 10.8-inches. All have super high resolution screens, and go with a more square-like aspect ratio (be that 4:3, 3:2 or 1:✓2) that's a bit taller than your usual widescreen tablet. Each has a powerful processor, a good bit of RAM and a pair of cameras, with the iPad Air 2 and Surface 3 having an advantage in the storage department with 128GB options.

Each of these large tablets is often paired up with a keyboard accessory to make the most of its capabilities. We've listed the weight of the first-party keyboards (when available), as well as the combined weight of the tablet and keyboard when carried together. Because Apple doesn't make a first-party keyboard for the iPad Air 2 (only the iPad Pro has one at this point), we've chosen the most comparable keyboard that Apple sells directly, the Typo Keyboard Case, because of its adjustable viewing angles and full keyboard layout.

The iPad Air 2 is the heaviest of the bunch at 954 g when paired with a full-featured keyboard (though lighter ones are available), with the Pixel C in a close second at 916 g — the Surface 3 is surprisingly just 887 g in total, though a vast majority of that weight is the tablet itself. The Galaxy Tab S2 is feather-light at 754 g with its keyboard case, even with the case including a trackpad.

There's a lot to digest here, and how much each spec matters in a buying decision is very much a personal decision. But now with the knowledge of how each ranks in terms of specs, you're well on your way.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.