Sure, you’ll be able to buy Microsoft’s new Surface Go just as a $399 10-inch tablet, but where’s the fun in that? Most people will pair this device with a keyboard to transform it into a mini laptop, one that promises 9 hours of battery life. Some may also opt for a Surface Pen for annotating and drawing.
Apple likes to say that the 6th-generation iPad represents the next generation of computers, and its App Store is superior when it comes to tablet apps. But as a laptop, Microsoft’s lightweight 2-in-1 is more compelling than the $329 9.7-inch iPad for several reasons. Here’s why.
The keyboard has a touchpad
Whether you go for the standard black $99 Type Cover or you spring for one of the soft-touch Alcantara models for $129, the Surface Go will give you more control and precision than the optional keyboard for the iPad. And that’s because Microsoft’s Type Covers give you a real touchpad underneath the keyboard, allowing you to move the cursor with ease for things like selecting text and cutting and pasting.
With the iPad, you need to touch the display, lifting your fingers off of the keyboard. Apple doesn’t even make its own keyboard for the $329 iPad; you’ll have to use Logitech’s $99 touchpad-less keyboard case.
A built-in kickstand with lots of flexibility
The metal kickstand on the Surface Go is built right into the device, extending as far as 165 degrees and offering a wide range of positions. It's not ideal for lap typing, but it gets the job done for sure on a desk.
Meanwhile, the iPad doesn’t offer a built-in kickstand; if you want to prop up that tablet, you’ll have to spring for a $39 Apple Smart Cover or Logitech’s keyboard, and you’ll have to live with max of two different positions.
Right underneath the Surface Go’s kickstand is a microSD card slot, which allows you to expand the Surface Go’s 64GB of baseline storage. The iPad starts with 32GB of storage and doesn’t offer any expansion.
Windows Hello for face recognition
Apple is rumored to be working on new iPad Pros with Face ID technology built in for logging in with your face, but the Surface Go offers similar functionality now with its Windows Hello camera.
You just stare at the front of the device to unlock it. With the $329 iPad, you’re forced to use a passcode or Touch ID, the latter of which is less convenient to use when you’re in laptop mode.
You can use it as a desktop
With its 7th-generation Intel Pentium processor, the Surface Go is not going to be a multitasking whiz. But you can easily plug it into a couple of monitors at once back at your desk using the Surface Connect port. It’s not cheap, but you can use this port to connect to the $199 Surface Dock and leverage its two mini DisplayPorts to hook up two 2K monitors. You can’t do that with an iPad.