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Difference Between Surface Go and MacBook Air

In the choice between Windows and Mac, the competition for affordable, portable laptops is heating up with the new Surface Laptop Go


IT Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to technology

1 / 10

Firewall in computer is used for

2 / 10

Which American Computer Company is also known by the nick name "Big Blue"

3 / 10

Saving a file from the Internet onto your desktop is called

4 / 10

Who founded Apple Computers?

5 / 10

Which of the following is not an electronic device?

6 / 10

What was the name of the space shuttle that landed man on the moon?

7 / 10

Artificial Intelligence is a way of _____.

8 / 10

Who founded Microsoft?

9 / 10

What is the radix of the octal number system?

10 / 10

Which two websites offer free e-mail services?

Your score is


If you looked at the just-announced Microsoft Surface Laptop Go and found something familiar in the metallic lid, Windows logo, and slim overall design, you’re not alone.

The 12.4-inch Surface Laptop Go owes a debt to the design of the Apple MacBook Air, which not only took the ultra slim and ultra-portable design mainstream, it’s also one of the most iconic laptops of the last several years. And thanks to regular updates from Apple, it’s still one of the best laptops around.

The built-in microphones also sound similar despite company attempts to brand them. Microsoft outfits the Surface Laptop Go with dual far-field Studio mics, while Apple uses a three-microphone array with directional beam forming on the MacBook Air.

Surface Go vs MacBook Air    

The Surface Laptop Go offers better general processing power, but the Apple MacBook Air has better graphics capability.

We have yet to use the keyboard on the Surface Laptop Go, but we do know that it is a full-sized keyboard, with 1.3 millimeters of travel and a soft touch finish on the keys.

Microsoft is touting its speakers, and uses the name Omni sonic Speakers, with Dolby Audio Premium.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is far more affordable but will come with a few compromises – less storage space, slower ports, and a lower-resolution display.

On the other hand, the MacBook Air uses the Apple Magic keyboard, which has 1 millimeter of travel but has been lauded as extremely comfortable and a significant improvement over past keyboards on the Air.

The MacBook Air uses Intel Iris Graphics, which is also an integrated solution and may not reach the competitive gaming-grade performance of a discrete graphics card. But it will offer better graphics performance than the Surface thanks to a higher core count and larger cache thanks to the MacBook’s larger RAM.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSurface GoMacBook Air
Screen and SecurityTouch screen/Finger PrintNot touch screen/Touch ID
DisplayIt has 12.4’’ pixel sense with 1536×1024 It has 13.3’’ retina display with 2560×1600
Processor and GraphicsIntel Core i5/Intel UHS graphicsIntel 10th Generation Core i3 to i7/Intel Iris Plus graphics
Memory and storage4GB to 8GB/ 64(eMMC)-256GB(SSD)8GB to 16GB/ 256GB to 2TB(SSD)
Battery lifeClaimed battery time is 13hoursClaimed 11 hours but tested almost 9.5hours

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What is Surface Go?

The Surface Laptop Go has a metal lid, much like the MacBook Air, but the rest of the laptop chassis is a polycarbonate material. It’s a composite resin reinforced with glass fiber and made up of 30% post-consumer recycled content. The result won’t be as rigid as aluminum, but it is lighter.

The Surface Laptop Go is a single USB-C port and a single USB-A port. And it gives you quick options for plugging in new and old peripherals.

The Surface Laptop Go leverages one of Microsoft’s biggest advantages over the Mac, with the 12.4-inch pixel sense display offering 10-point multi-touch.

It is more of a square shape than most laptops offer and has greater vertical space is better for reading documents and websites.

The Surface Laptop Go depends on the integrated graphics solution offered on the Core i5. Speaking specifically about the Surface line of laptops and tablets.

The Surface Laptop offers 1536 x 1024 resolution. The non-standard aspect ratios of both screens, it is a little difficult to parse what that means, so let’s put this another way. The Surface Laptop Go offers a pixel density of 148 pixels per inch.

The Surface Laptop Go will initially be offered only with the Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor. Though the clock speeds are similar, the quad-core processor should offer more usable horsepower for multitasking and multi-thread applications.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is far more affordable but will come with a few compromises – less storage space, slower ports, and a lower-resolution display.

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What is MacBook Air?

The MacBook Air is iconic in its design ultra-thin profile and light overall weight which makes it highly portable. With its monochrome color scheme and Windows logo on the lid.

The MacBook Air is also outfitted with only two ports. The MacBook Air has no touchscreen.

Interestingly, the MacBook Air also uses a non-standard aspect ratio, with the Retina Display conforming to a 16:10 aspect ratio.

It is a smart and automated feature that makes the MacBook Air more comfortable to use. It comes down to your usability. The MacBook Air has a slightly better look than the Surface Laptop Go.

The most affordable version of the MacBook Air is outfitted with an Intel Core i3 processor. To get a similar Core i5 in the MacBook Air you’ll need to spend an additional $100 to upgrade to a 1.1GHz quad-core CPU.

The MacBook Air gives users a more premium experience, but without a touch screen, a less capable processor, and a less convenient port selection.

The MacBook Air also has stereo speakers, as well as support for Dolby Atmos playback.

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Main Differences Between Surface Go and MacBook Air

  1. Surface go does not have a keyboard but MacBook has its keyboard
  2. Surface go has Intel UHS graphics but MacBook has Intel Iris Plus graphics
  3. The third microphone in MacBook gives better sound as compared to Surface Go
  4. MacBook has tested battery timing of 9.5hours as compared to Surface Go’s claimed battery timing
  5. Surface Go is affordable compared to MacBook Air
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