Microsoft surprised a number of industry watchers earlier this week when it quietly unveiled a brand new tablet. With little fanfare, the company took the wraps off of its new Surface 3, a surprisingly capable and affordable new convertible slate that runs full Windows and starts at just $499. Microsoft’s tablet-top devices are now much more attainable; the more powerful Surface Pro 3 starts at $799.

Comparing the Surface 3 to the iPad Air 2 is a bit odd considering one runs a desktop-grade operating system while the other runs a mobile OS. While it’s true that the gap between the two is narrowing each day, there is still a gap and it is still incredibly wide.

But if people are going to compare the Surface 3 and iPad Air 2, let’s make sure we’ve covered all the bases.

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There is really no question that Microsoft put together an impressive machine with the Surface 3. A full Windows 8.1 experience in a sleek form factor for just $499 is tremendous, and that experience will get even better later this year with a free upgrade to Windows 10.

Apple’s iPad Air 2 is a slightly different beast. Despite Apple bloggers’ best arguments, the iPad is still catered better to content consumption as opposed to creation in most cases. Yes, you can write a blog post or edit a photo on an iPad. But the experience of running multiple complex apps at once on an iPad and moving information between them is still miles behind a desktop OS.

At the same time, there may very well be people trying to decide between the two $500 tablets, and for them, we present the following interactive comparison. You’ll find all the specs you need in the scrollable widget embedded below, and the Surface 3 launches on May 5th.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.