iPad vs. Surface Go: we tell you which is the best tablet | Digital Trends Spanish

The tablet market may be less popular than it was in the past thanks to ultra-thin PCs and 2-in-1s, but contenders like Apple and Microsoft are still trying to take advantage of the entry-level tablet market. The iPad and Microsoft Go can offer similar experiences to laptops, but without the cost. In this battle for your money, we compare these devices to help you decide which one is best for you. From afar the differences are clear Windows 10 vs. iPadOS— but other factors could cause you to switch from one side to the other. Read on to find out the outcome of the iPad vs. Surface Go.


Unlike the Pro and Air models, the latest iPad from Manzana It features the classic design with bulky bezels and a start button on the front. It is the least attractive of the three variants, but that translates into a cheaper price than the other models.

For its part, the original Surface Go isn’t all that attractive with its thick bezels around the screen, but it doesn’t have that hideous old-school Apple design button. Its dark color scheme rivals Apple’s silver and gold color options so you’re not distracted by white borders when viewing content. At least Apple’s Space Gray doesn’t bother the eyes.

Overall, the look and feel of both devices remain premium despite our complaints, but it’s not cutting edge in terms of design. They feel sturdy and solid in the hand, although the iPad is a bit lighter.

Both the iPad and the Surface Go have beautiful touch screens. The Apple tablet has a 2160 x 1620 Retina display that is sharp and brightly colored. It’s not as black as we’d like, but at less than $ 330 for the base model, it’s an impressive display.

The Surface Go has a lower resolution screen, 1800 x 1200, with a remarkably reduced density (264.7 vs. 216.3 pixels per inch), however it looks good in the 10-inch tablet design.

When it comes to external connections, the Surface Go offers a port USB-C, headphone jack, Surface Connect port, MicroSDXC card reader and a Surface Type Cover Port. The iPad is much more limited in its connectivity options, with just a headphone jack, Lightining port, and a Smart Connector. You will need a USB-A adapter to use the devices.

Finally, both devices have optional keyboards to make you feel more comfortable, but neither is particularly great compared to a desktop keyboard. The iPad also has very limited mouse control; Although you can control the iPad OS with a mouse, it is hardly a shadow of the desktop experience. Both devices are compatible with optical pens like the Surface Pen and Apple Pencil for work on the go.


The hand of a person using the Microsoft Surface Go that is in laptop mode, one of the best cheap laptops
Rich Shibley / Digital Trends

Beneath their shiny surfaces, the two tablets are very different.

The iPad features Apple’s own A12 Bionic processor, an ARM-based six-core System on a Chip (SoC) with dedicated neural network hardware to enhance artificial intelligence. Microsoft’s Surface Go uses a dual-core Pentium Gold 4415Y processor from Intel. The key here is that these two processors speak different “languages,” which means that a translation is needed for apps designed for one chip to work with the other.

However, a simple review of its Geekbench numbers shows that Pentium’s old Kaby Lake design shows its age. In single-core tests, the A12 Bionic scored 1116 against the Pentium’s 382. In multi-core tests, the A12 Bionic scored 2,295 against 856 for Pentium. It should be noted that Apple’s chip has six cores (two high-performance and four low-energy) while the Pentium only has two.

While the Pentium chip has Intel HD 615 graphics, that doesn’t give it the ability to do much beyond handling lightweight 3D apps like Powerpoint. Meanwhile, the quad-core GPU in Apple’s A12 Bionic is a vast improvement over the previous generation, making it great for mobile gaming if you want to keep resolution at a reasonable level.

Overall, the iPad will perform better thanks to the A12 Bionic, but also because the iPad OS is rooted in mobile technology. Again, it’s a derivative of iOS, meaning it was built from scratch with mobile devices in mind. However, Windows 10 originated on PCs so its foundations are a bit rough and less optimized for a specific device.


iPad vs.  Surface Go.  Man holding Surface Go with both hands

Of the two tablets, the iPad is thinner and lighter. More specifically, the iPad is 0.29 inches wide and weighs 1.08 (Wi-Fi) or 1.09 (LTE) pounds. The Surface Go measures 0.33 inches wide and weighs 1.15 (Wi-Fi) or 1.17 (LTE) pounds. But looking at those numbers, you won’t see a real difference. Their screens are almost identical in size.

Battery life is a different matter. According to Apple, the 32.4WHr battery promises up to 10 hours when the device is connected to Wi-Fi and up to nine hours when connected to a cellular network. The Surface Go has a battery of 26.1WHr and has a similar claim: up to nine hours via Wi-Fi and up to 8.5 hours via cell phone.

In our use of the iPad, we found that the battery meets our expectations, lasting a week with a use of two hours a day, it lasts very well when it is not working. With the Surface Go, the battery lasted just over eight hours in our test and five hours in our test while surfing the net.

iPad knows its strengths

iPad vs.  Surface Go.  Hand holding iPad on home screen

The main line between these two devices is your operating system. The Surface Go comes with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which is a “secured” version that blocks desktop software installations, limiting app installation to the Microsoft Store, and restricting access to specific settings. However, you can disable S mode and use Windows 10 Home as normal.

Apple’s iPad uses iPadOS 14, which is a modified iOS derivative for tablet-size displays and includes a few additional features not found in iOS. The issue here is that you can’t use desktop software on an iPadOS, but you can on Windows 10 Home. On the other hand, you have a better variety of mobile applications in the App Store than you can have in the Microsoft Store.

This division should come first when you compare the two. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, but it all comes down to what you need on a tablet. From a design perspective at first glance, they are essentially similar, so that the operating system becomes the key factor when it comes to making a purchase.

Price-wise, the iPad starts at $ 329 for 32GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity. The device gives its best performance investing $ 559 with 128GB of storage and Wi-Fi + LTE connectivity. Two other configurations cost $ 429 and $ 459.

There are only three configurations of the Surface Go, and one of them is currently sold out. The base unit costs $ 399 for 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It offers its best performance with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and Wi-Fi + LTE connectivity for $ 779, although the model has been sold out since the start of 2021.

In both cases, keyboards and optical pens have an additional cost.

Ultimately, Microsoft’s Surface Go tries to make its mark in the low-cost tablet market by offering higher productivity thanks to its roots in Windows 10. However, it doesn’t perform as well as its main rival. It just falls short of its classic rival.

What’s more, Microsoft has already moved towards the Surface Go 2. In the end the first-generation model will disappear, limiting its availability.

Apple is currently in its eighth generation of iPad. This tablet has a lower base cost, a higher resolution screen, better battery life, and more impressive graphics. This tablet claims the crown in this battle, but make no mistake about it: the Surface Go is definitely a worthy contender.

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