Last year we had a brand new entry-level iPad as well as a new entry-level Microsoft Surface, too.
So how does the iPad 9.7 compare to the entry-level Surface Go, which looks like a Surface Pro but cheaper? Well, to help you figure it out, we've compared all the specs and pitted the two against each other.
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Design
- Both have metal constructions and rounded corners
- iPad 9.7 has silver, space grey, and gold colour options
The iPad 9.7 and Surface Go feature similar designs in that they're both tablets.
The iPad offers a premium metal construction with rounded edges and corners and Touch ID on the front beneath the screen. On the rear, the Apple logo is positioned in the middle, as usual, while the rear camera lens sits in the top left corner. It also has a central Lightning port.
Surface Go also has a metal construction with rounded corners, but it has a built-in kickstand that extends up to 165 degrees, a USB-C (non-Thunderbolt) port, a Surface Connect port, and a microSD slot under the kickstand. In terms of size, Surface Go is a 10-inch, 520g touchscreen tablet that's 8.3mm thin, while iPad 9.7 measures 240 x 169.5mm and weighs 469g or 477g, depending on the model.
And finally, iPad 9.7 comes in silver, space grey, and gold colour options. There are no other colour options for Surface Go.
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Display
- Surface Go has a 10-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio
- iPad has a 9.7-inch display with a 264ppi
The iPad 9.7 has a 9.7-inch Retina display, which means an LED-backlit LCD screen with 2048 x 1536 resolution for a pixel density of 264ppi.
Surface Go, on the other hand, has a slightly larger 10-inch PixelSense display with 10-point touch support (including Surface Pen support with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, low pen parallax, and low latency) and a 3:2 aspect ratio, Microsoft said.
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Camera
- Surface Go has 8MP rear, 5MP front cameras
- iPad 9.7 has 8MP rear, 1.2MP front cameras
The iPad 9.7 has an 8-megapixel rear camera with a f/2.4 aperture and 1080p video recording capabilities, while the front-facing camera resolution sits at 1.2-megapixels. There is no flash on either camera.
Surface Go, meanwhile, has a front-facing 5-megapixel HD camera and a rear autofocus 8-megapixel HD camera. If we're just looking at specs, the selfie snapper on the Surface Go is a clear winner, most likely aimed at giving good quality Skype performance.
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Hardware
- iPad 9.7 has A10 fusion chip and embedded M10 coprocessor
- Surface Go has Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y
The iPad 9.7 (2018) comes with the A10 fusion chip and embedded M10 coprocessor, which is said offer 2x faster CPU and 1.7x faster GPU compared to the A8 chip, used in iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4. Surface Go has an Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y.
The iPad 9.7 supports Apple Pencil. There is also two-speaker audio on the new iPad. And it offers up to 10 hours of battery.
Surface Go supports the $99 Surface Pen, and it supposedly has a 9-hour battery life. In terms of storage options, iPad 9.7 comes in 32GB and 128GB capacities, while Surface Go is available in 4GB of RAM/64GB of eMMC storage or 8GB of RAM/128GB SSD storage.
Both come in Wi-Fi and cellular models (though Surface Go with built-in LTE won't be available until later this autumn). Surface Go also supports Windows Hello and works with a new Surface Type Cover ($99 to $129 extra) and Mobile Mouse ($39 extra).
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Software
- iPad 9.7 runs iOS 12 and supports educational features
- Surface Go has Windows 10 Home in S Mode or Windows 10 Pro
The iPad 9.7 runs iOS 12 (soon to be replaced by iPad OS), meaning you'll get an almost identical experience as you do on an iPhone, with additional functions such as split-screen multi-tasking and the Home app for any HomeKit-enabled devices. Schools and students can order the new iPad with new education apps, such as School Manager, which enables schools to manage multiple users - and Apple IDs - on a single device, etc.
As for the Surface Go itself, you can get it with Windows 10 Home in S Mode (upgradable to Windows 10 Home). Alternatively, business and education users can get Windows 10 Pro (configurable to S Mode).
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Price
- iPad 9.7 (2018) starts at $329/£319
- Surface Go starts at $399/£379
The iPad 9.7 (2018) starts at $329/£319 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only option, stretching up to £449 for the 128GB Wi-Fi and cellular model. Surface Go starts at $399/£379 for the 4GB of RAM/64GB of eMMC storage Wi-Fi only option, while the 8GB RAM/128 GB storage SSD starts at $549.
Surface Go vs iPad 9.7: Which should you buy?
The decision between iPad 9.7 and Surface Go will come down to what you want your new tablet for or what you have to spend on it. The iPad 9.7 is cheaper and is a brilliant tablet that offers a solid, consistent performance. It also supports Apple Pencil and can be outfitted with educations apps.
Surface Go, on the other hand, costs a bit more, but it comes with full Windows 10 and supports Surface Pen - as well as running full apps. The real difference point will be how well Windows and its desktop apps run on lower-power hardware, compared to how smoothly mobile-optimised apps run on the iPad.