The world, they say, is a small place that’s only getting more close-knit and connected by the minute. In this heyday of mobility, when being able to work from anywhere is paramount, laptops like the Microsoft Surface Go and the new MacBook are worthy companions.
The latest MacBook is the lightest ever, weighing a mere 2 lbs, and yet promises faster performance in its compact form. The Microsoft Surface Go is designed to offer incredible laptop-to-tablet flexibility and powerful assistance with your day-to-day computing tasks. So, which of the two can best support your personal and professional endeavors in these demanding times?
Portability & Flexibility of Use
Arguably, one of the most essential requirements of a modern-day laptop is its ability to adapt to multiple uses, at multiple locations. The two devices score remarkably on this front.
The new MacBook is incredibly thin and light — only 13.1mm thickness and 2 lbs weight. Measuring 0.14–0.52 x 11.04 x 7.74 inches and completely fan-less, this silent performer is easy to carry and use. If you’re worried about heat dissipation, there’s no need: the processor uses as little as 5W power, and the heat generated is negligible. The machine has a graphite sheet to disperse any heat that does develop. In fact, the new MacBook has been successfully tested at operating temperatures of 50 to 95° F and storage temperatures as extreme as -13 to 113° F.
The 10” Surface Go is even lighter and smaller; with its mere 1.15 lbs weight and dimensions of 9.65 x 6.90 x 0.33 inches, it snugly fits into your bag. It is equipped with an ambient light sensor as well as other mechanisms to operate in different terrain — an accelerometer, a magnetometer and a gyroscope.
Talking of Performance…
Let’s see the cold facts first. The Surface Go is powered by an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor and runs Windows 10 in S mode. This configuration works deftly for your everyday tasks, the response fluid and fast. With 4GB RAM (up to 8GB) and 128GB memory (SSD), this laptop has adequate space for your assignments, photos and videos. The battery backup is genuinely ample for a device in this price range: up to 9 hours of unplugged use.
Plus, with the Surface Go, you stand to enjoy the familiarity of Microsoft, all your productivity and security tools in place. There’s Windows Defender, Windows Hello face sign-in, parental controls, the Photos app, OneNote and Office integration (you can avail of a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365 Home). If you pair your device with Microsoft Edge and Windows Ink, you even get the suave experience of interacting directly with web pages for research (read: note-taking, doodling). So, it doubles up as a homework buddy, a bed-time book or an office-presentation-helper with equal élan.
How does the new MacBook compare? Well, the MacBook boasts of an Intel Core m3 processor (two cores, seventh-generation) and the macOS High Sierra operating system. While the processor has a base frequency of 1.2 GHz, it is possible to give this a Turbo Boost up to as high as 3.6 GHz. The unique trait of this processor is the 14-nanometer technology used in its development. Consequently, the laptop offers up to 20 percent higher performance along with power efficiency.
Memory-wise too, the MacBook scores over the Surface Go, providing up to 16GB RAM and 512GB storage (SSD). The storage is amazingly speedy, living up to the promise of being 50 percent faster. For a device with components so tiny, this is quite a mean feat.
The battery backup of the MacBook is comparable to that of the Surface Go — up to 10 hours of using the wireless internet. However, you stand to get almost 12 hours of movie playback and nearly a month of standby. There is a secret behind this output: the lithium-polymer battery (41.4 watt-hour) is terraced to optimally fit the laptop, using all the space available, and resulting in 35 percent more capacity. Truly inventive, that!
Display & Graphics
No surprises here, for the new MacBook lives up to every bit of the style and beauty that you expect from this family. It supports Intel HD Graphics 615 on a gorgeous 12” retina display with a screen resolution of 2304 × 1440. It delivers a viewing angle of 178°. Part of the brilliance of the display comes from the exquisite way the pixels (3 million+ of them, 226 pixels per inch) have been designed. The larger aperture allows more light to permeate and pass, resulting in not only superior viewing but also energy-efficient backlighting.
In comparison, the Microsoft Surface Go has a 10” display with a smaller screen resolution of 1800 x 1200 and a lower aspect ratio of 3:2 (as opposed to the MacBook’s 16:10). The Intel HD Graphics 615 display is neat and sharp, with the PixelSense technology creating a vivid experience. But if you’re used to the razzmatazz of the MacBook, chances are you’ll find this a few pegs lower.
Accessibility & Connectivity
The touchscreen of the Surface Go is well-made, with 10-point multi-touch delivering an efficient response. However, the MacBook, with its butterfly-mechanism keyboard and force-touch trackpad scores a victory here. The keyboard is astonishingly responsive and comfortable. The trackpad, with capacitive glass and Taptic EngineForce, is sensitive to pressure differences. How this translates into customer delight is unique: You can use multi-touch gestures with remarkable intuition. You can explore different pressure levels for different tasks like looking up the meaning of a word, attaching a document to an e-mail, or drawing.
The MacBook also offers a beneficial array of accessibility features, especially notable among which are support for motor and literacy skills. Think: Siri, Text to Speech, FaceTime (on a 480p camera), Time Machine, et al.
The Surface Go and the MacBook also invest in giving you an above-par camera and sound experience. In the Surface Go, the combination of dual cameras is especially delightful —a 5.0MP front and an 8.0MP back, both with 1080p Skype High-Definition video. The MacBook has the additional provision of video mirroring — you get up to 4096 x 2304 screen resolution on an external display, at 60Hz. The dual stereo speakers and microphone are satisfactory.
- Keep reading: Microsoft Surface Go vs. ASUS NovaGo
Both devices let you be well-connected too, with USB-C ports (one in each), IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatibility and Bluetooth (4.1 in Surface Go, 4.2 in the MacBook) compatibility.
So, Which One to Bring Home?
In all fairness, both the Microsoft Surface Go and the MacBook deliver their promise of smooth computing, portability, and unflinching support as you work, play or collaborate. The Surface Go is priced at a much lower $399.00 compared to the MacBook’s heftier price tag of $1299.
If you’re looking at a flexible computer, easy to adapt to laptop- or tablet-use, with adequate performance, accessibility and display, the Surface Go can fit the bill well. However, if you’re willing to go the extra mile to invest more deeply in power, viewing experience, and intuitive accessibility, the new MacBook will be an excellent choice.