Microsoft Surface Go vs Apple iPad

Microsoft recently unveiled its new Surface Go, aimed at the tablet-PC market.

The portable and efficient device is set to compete directly with Apple’s iPad lineup, specifically its new 9.7-inch iPad.

Both products have similar form factors and appeal to the same market (and price points), and each has their own unique features and software setup.

The Surface Go uses a fan-less processor and is twice as powerful as the previous-generation Surface 3, running Windows 10 in S mode.

This operating system configuration locks the system to Microsoft Store apps, but still retains the features of Windows 10.

Apple’s new iPad runs iOS 11.4 and boasts the company’s powerful A10 Fusion chipset – allowing it to deliver smooth performance.

To determine which of the two tablets will suit you, we compared the specifications and features of the Microsoft Surface Go and the new Apple iPad, below.

Hardware and specifications

Both the Surface Go and iPad feature similarly-sized touch displays and physical dimensions, but their internal hardware varies quite a bit.

The tablets are available in a number of configurations, but we have compared the two set-ups which were the most similar in price – the 64GB Surface Go and the 128GB iPad.

While they have the same amount of storage, the Surface Go outstrips the iPad in RAM capacity, while Apple’s tablet sports a higher-display resolution.

The specifications for both selected models, along with their international pricing, are below.

Specifications Surface Go iPad
OS Windows 10 S iOS 11.4
Display 10-inch 1,800 x 1,200 IPS Touch 9.7-inch 2,048 x 1,536 IPS Touch
CPU Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y Apple A10 Fusion
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 615 Apple A10 Fusion
Storage 64GB eMMC 128GB eMMC
Camera 8MP Rear, 5MP Front 8MP Rear, 1.2MP Front
Ports 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1x Surface Connector, microSD, 3.5mm jack 1x Lightning, 3.5mm jack
Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Dimensions 245 x 175 x 8.3 mm 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm
Price $399 $429

Microsoft Surface Go


It must be noted that the pricing above does not include accessories such as the Apple Pencil and Surface Pen, or any keyboards or covers.

Both the Apple Pencil and Surface Pen are priced at $99 each, and feature seamless stylus support integrated into their respective tablet’s operating system.

The Surface Go offers the traditionally-more-open Windows 10 operating system, and users can upgrade from the “S” version of the OS to the Home edition at no cost upon purchase.

In addition to the base models outlined above, both tablets include optional LTE – and the Surface Go will also be available with 8GB of RAM (four-times more than the Apple iPad).

Windows 10 S on the Surface Go retains the adaptive interface of the fully-fledged operating system, and offers a number of features for tablet users – including the ability to draw with the stylus on web pages with Microsoft Edge, and a selection of useful accessibility tools.

These include the Cortana voice assistant, a customisable on-screen keyboard, and the ability to switch between Tablet and Desktop mode at the click of a button.

Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad runs iOS 11.4, on the other hand, which offers a number of its own useful features.

These include the improved apps dock, which can be accessed from anywhere in the interface, and a combination of Split View, Picture-in-Picture, and Slide-Over multitasking.

Apple also includes a suite of great software on its iPad devices which integrate seamlessly with other Apple devices and peripherals – such as the Apple Pencil stylus.

The Apple iPad is slightly more expensive than the Surface Go, but both devices offer similar value to customers and the final purchase decision may rest on ecosystem integration – which is often the case in scenarios like this.

Apple devices iOS

Now read: Microsoft launches budget Surface Go tablet

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Microsoft Surface Go vs Apple iPad