Last week, Microsoft took the veil off its new Surface Go tablet, the starting price of which – $399 – makes it competitive with Apple’s entry-level iPad. However, should Apple really be breaking out in a sweat? Here, we look at what each slate provides for the financial outlay.
At first glance, the Surface Go looks impressive; its 8.3mm-thin and 1.15lb-heavy enclosure houses an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y system-on-ship and, depending on the configuration, 4GB or 8GB of RAM. The tablet comes with Windows 10 S and can be freely upgraded to “proper” Windows 10.
However, the appeal of the Surface Go starts to unravel once you realize how insufficient the specs are for smoothly running even Windows 10’s stripped-down S variant. Besides, it’s cumbersome to use Windows 10 without a physical keyboard, which could add another $129 to your expenditure.
Contrast this to the routine experience of using Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, which was refreshed with the A10 Fusion processor in March. As it runs iOS, getting around the interface with touch alone is much more intuitive, thus potentially ridding you of any practical need to buy an extra keyboard.
For all of these benefits, you would need to pay just $329 for the base model. Yes, that’s $70 less than where the Go’s pricing starts. You can preorder the Go now ahead of its release on 2 August – but, on the strength of the already available budget iPad, you probably shouldn’t.