5 Reasons Why the iPad Beats the Surface Go

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Microsoft has come for Apple's tablet crown with the $399 Surface Go. I hate to break it to Microsoft, though: I don't think this device can be the iPad killer that it's getting hyped to be.


Not only does the iPad have the new Surface beat on apps, performance and battery life, but the Surface Go is also more expensive. When has Apple ever been the cheaper option? Here are my top five reasons why the iPad beats the Surface Go.

The Better Apps of iOS

Sure, Windows purists may laugh at me for this, but after spending a month using Windows 10 at home, I've been disappointed by the lack of strong third-party applications. Nowhere in Windows can I find to-do productivity apps as good as Things, a podcast client as great as Overcast or (especially important) a Twitter program as capable as Tweetbot.


Also, this may just be personal preference, but iOS apps are so much more pleasing to look at. Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform apps introduced a bland aesthetic made for touch capabilities. This platform breaks every app down into a ton of white space and giant rectangular buttons for our fingers, and it's flat-out ugly.


For gaming, the Surface Go should have the edge on the iPad, considering it's a Windows machine. But remember that it's rocking a Pentium processor (more on that later) that isn't fit for much gaming beyond the simplest, most-modest titles. The iPad, on the other hand, leverages its A10 Fusion chip for support of AR-based games, such as the robot-battle game The Machines, as well as educational titles, such as Froggipedia.

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And while Windows does provide full-fledged versions of the Adobe Creative Cloud apps, The iPad is no slouch on creative editing either. Apps such as Procreate, Linea and Affinity Photo provide a ton of ways to adjust and liven up your art, and the tablet's even powerful enough to edit 4K video.


It's hilarious that people are talking about the Surface Go's $399 price as a perk, as the basic $329 iPad costs $70 less. Neither tablet includes a keyboard or stylus, which is annoying for those, like me, who don't enjoy typing out whole essays on glass screens.


The discrepancy continues when you add the keyboards and styli that Apple and Microsoft present at checkout. The Apple Pencil and Microsoft Surface Pen both cost $99, as do the standard Surface Go Type Cover and the Logitech Slim Folio Case with Integrated Bluetooth Keyboard that Apple suggests you buy. But if you want to pair your Surface Go with an Alcantara keyboard, which offers that soft, luxe material, you'll have to spend more, as it costs $129.  

More Power

Microsoft isn't positioning the Surface Go as a speed machine, because the tablet's Pentium Gold 4415Y CPU is not going to break any records anytime soon. Meanwhile, the A10 Fusion Chip in the iPad is a beast for a tablet in this price range.


Looking at quantitative tests, the iPad scored 5,983 on the Geekbench 4 general performance test. While we haven't tested the Surface Go yet, Pentium-class chips have yet to hit such great heights, as the Asus Vivobook E403NA's Pentium N4200U chip scored 3,849 on the same test.

Longer Battery Life

We look forward to putting the Surface Go through the paces of the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness. But Microsoft's slate is  already starting off from behind the iPad. In our testing, Apple's tablet lasted 10 hours and 7 minutes on the test, which beats the Surface Go's rated 9 hours of life.

MORE: Longest Battery Life Laptops

Also, the Surface Go's life is based on a test using local video playback, meaning that the machine's Wi-Fi connection isn't stressed at all.

Continuity with iPhone and Mac

People embedded in the Apple ecosystem have plenty of reason to pick the iPad over the Surface Go. If your iPhone gets a phone call while you're using the iPad, you can take said call from the tablet, and the same goes for text messages.

Also, AirDrop and Handoff allow you to seamlessly send your content from one device to the other, without needing to create a new email to send a file.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
Henry T. Casey, on
Add a comment
  • Tim W Says:

    I think it's going to boil down to whether or not the Surface Go's performance is adequate to run the majority of desktop Windows apps. If it is, that will put Surface Go in another league that other tablets can't touch.

  • Rupert Holmes Says:

    Without the option for GPS, it is just another little laptop. iPads are tablets. I have a SP3, it is a laptop, most of the applications were written for a mouse and keyboard. iPad apps are written for tablets. Try using a SP as a tablet and you wind up mad with a greasy screen. MS should have used their dollars on Windows Mobile.

  • LTWasabi Says:

    "The Better Apps of iOS"
    Hahaha. You can't be serious bud....are you?? I understand being a fan and all..but seriously? You are comparing a phone OS with a full-fledged PC OS? I mean that's like comparing a windows phone to a Mac and saying Windows phone has better app.

  • JonGl Says:

    To me, the Surface is no improvement over the iPad. People will argue that the Surface has the whole Windows "apposphere", but let's be honest. Adobe on this computer? It'd be a joke. I'm typing this on my Surface Pro 4, and I removed Creative Cloud from it, because it was a waste to try to use this computer even for InDesign and LightRoom. No thanks on a Pentium chip! If I had to choose between only an iPad or this new Surface Go, I'd choose the iPad every time... (I bought this Surface because of the apps, and in particular for the Adobe apps, but it has disappointed in this department--how much more will the Go?)

  • Mr Z Wilson Says:

    Your 5 so called points make no sense!!! There are no tests on speed yet or battery life.... Full adobe programs Vs apps there is no contest....and ecosystem comes to the favour of the individual user!!!! Really there is no right or wrong it's user preferences ...me personally I think an iPad is an overpriced, oversized iPhone but each to there own !

  • AndyM Says:

    While I like the Surface Go (haven't seen it in person), I agree that iOS apps are much better and look much better (Things is a great example). I use a Windows 10 PC at home, and the only Win10 apps I use are Mail and Sticky Notes. Everything else is on Chrome. To me, Win10 apps are slow and unappealing to look at (I dislike the primary-color/blocky/whitespacey Metro look, although it has improved somewhat).

  • Leo G Says:

    I have both and I stopped using the surface because as a student, "Good Notes" and "notability" are 10x more reliable, load faster, and can both be split screened over one note and drawboard. Microsoft does not have a great pdf reader that can handle and annotate 30+ textbooks/notebooks. Also, drawboard has to re-upload the entire book for every edit which ends up in it crashing! The Surface also may stay on in your bag on the way to class and burn energy! The surface has greater addons but the apple pencil is built better than my surface active stylus! All premed and medschool students use apple ipad pro's because of the pdf annotating ability!

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