Surface Go vs MacBook Air: Difference and Comparison

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

You’re not alone 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.

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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Surface Go is a lightweight, compact 2-in-1 device with touchscreen capabilities, whereas MacBook Air is a sleek, powerful ultrabook without touchscreen functionality.
  2. Surface Go runs on Windows 10, whereas MacBook Air operates on macOS.
  3. Surface Go is more affordable than MacBook Air, making it a better option for budget-conscious consumers.
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Surface Go vs MacBook Air    

The Surface Go is a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid computer powered by an Intel Pentium Gold processor with 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage. The MacBook Air is a 13-inch laptop computer with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and a Retina display with vibrant colors, making it a popular choice for users who value portability.

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

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 polycarbonate. It’s a composite resin reinforced with glass fibre and made up of 30% post-consumer recycled content. The result won’t be as rigid as aluminium but 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 without a touch screen, a less capable processor, and a less convenient port selection.

The MacBook Air also has stereo speakers and 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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References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8412412/
  2. https://isedj.org/1/29/ISEDJ.1(29).Prescod.pdf

Last Updated : 28 July, 2023

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