Microsoft Surface Go vs Apple iPad (2018): Entry level tablets specs face-off

Will the Surface Go provide that much-needed action in the tablet space? Find out how it compares to the Apple iPad 2018

Microsoft announced the entry level of the Surface series of products with the Surface Go, which goes on sale from August in the US. Pre-orders for the Surface Go have begun from 10 July.

Surface Go is basically a Surface Pro on a budget. It starts from $399 onwards, depending on your storage preference, and is expected to go head to head against the entry-level Apple iPad (2018).

Microsoft Surface Go vs Apple iPad (2018): Entry level tablets specs face-off

The Microsoft Surface Go. Image: Microsoft

The Surface Go comes in a 10-inch PixelSense display with a respectable 1800 x 1200 pixel resolution. The overall design philosophy has remained unchanged from the Surface Pro lineup. You still get the familiar 3:2 aspect ratio display, a built-in kickstand which lets you position the Surface Go in many different orientations, a magnesium build, Surface Connector and Windows 10 on board. The additional thing you will notice is the presence of a USB Type C port with the USB 3.1 standard. This port can be used for charging the Surface Go or for connecting the Go to a desktop dock.

According to Microsoft, the Surface Connector lets you fully charge the Go in under two hours and it's rated for a 9-hour battery life.

The Surface Go weighs just 1.15 pounds. Image: Microsoft

The Surface Go weighs just 1.15 pounds. Image: Microsoft

Powering the Surface Go is the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor which is based on the 14nm process and is a dual-core hyper-threaded processor clocked at 1.6 GHz. Since it's a 4.5 Watt unit, the Surface Go has a fanless design. It runs on Windows 10, although defaulting to Windows 10 S which means that you can only download apps from the Surface store and use only the Edge browser. Switching to a full Windows 10 experience isn't that difficult and you can do it for free.

The new Apple iPad now supports the Apple Pencil. Apple

The new Apple iPad now supports the Apple Pencil. Apple

The Surface Go seems to have just one important competitor on the scene, and that's the Apple iPad (2018).

So let us see how these two entry-level tablets compare against each other. Yes, the Surface Go is a tablet because to get all the additional bling you will have to spend extra.

Microsoft Surface Go Apple iPad 2018
Price ($) Wi-Fi $399 for 64 GB; $549 for 128 GB $329 for 32GB; $429 for 128 GB
Price ($) LTE - $459 for 32 GB; $559 for 128 GB
Keyboard price ($) $99 onwards -
Stylus price ($) $99 $99
Weight (grams) 521 469
Screen Size 10-inch 9.7-inch
Resolution (pixels) 1800 x 1200 2048 x 1536
Pixel Density (PPI) 216 264
Operating System Windows 10 iOS 11
Processor Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y Apple A10 Fusion
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 615 PowerVR Series 7XT Plus
RAM (GB) 4  GB, 8 GB 2 GB
Storage (GB) 128 GB, 256 GB 32 GB, 128 GB
Camera (Back) (MP) 8 MP 8 MP
SD card slot Yes No
Charging port USB-C 3.1, Surface Port Lightning Port

As with the Surface Pro lineup, you will need to buy the Surface Type cover separately if you intend to use it as a laptop, that would be an additional $99. If you are into artistic pursuits or just want a note-taking implement, then the Surface Pen will cost an additional $99 as well.

On paper at least, the Surface Go seems to be well placed to compete against the Apple iPad (2018). The processor on the Surface Go does not seem too powerful, but there is no way to find out without trying it out in the real-world usage scenarios, to give a complete verdict. But as noted in our Surface Pro (2018) review, if it's productivity that you are looking for, the Surface Pro offers a better value proposition than an iPad Pro. Whether the Surface Go will prove it to be true at the entry-level price bracket is something that remains to be seen.

In our review of the Apple iPad 2018, we had noted, "The sixth generation iPad does not bring anything new to the table if you discount Apple Pencil support (which by the way, you have to buy separately for Rs 7,600) and the speedier processor. The new iPad is a commentary on the tablet category as a whole, where not much action is happening anyway."

Will the Surface Go provide that much needed action in this category? This is something we can say for sure only after a proper review of the Surface Go.

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