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Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Arm: Which 12-inch laptop is best?

Microsoft has launched the Surface Laptop Go, a new 12.45-inch laptop that’s available at a super-affordable price. But before you order it, be aware that Apple is set to release its own 12-inch laptop before the end of the year. 

The MacBook Arm is expected to be Apple’s first ever Mac device to feature the new Apple Silicon, making it a landmark release. The new MacBook is also expected to be a direct rival to Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Go, but which is the best option?

While Apple has yet to offer details on the upcoming MacBook Arm, we’ve rounded up all the rumours to help you make a decision in the Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Arm face off. 

Related: Surface Laptop Go

Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Arm price – Which is cheaper?

The Surface Laptop Go has a starting price of £549.99, which gets you 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. 

Microsoft will be offering multiple configurations with differing RAM and storage capacities. The fingerprint scanner won’t be available on the cheapest model either. 

There’s no word from Apple on how much the MacBook Arm will cost, although NotebookCheck reports that it could cost somewhere around $799. 

This figure makes sense, as it’s very likely the new MacBook will be cheaper than the £999 MacBook Air, but do take the information with a pinch of salt for now. 

Related: Surface Pro X 2020 vs Surface Pro X 2019

Surface Laptop Go vs Macbook Arm – MacBook Air 2020

Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Arm release date – When do they launch? 

The Surface Laptop Go will hit stores on 13 October, with pre-orders already open on the online Microsoft Store and various third-party retailers. 

There’s no word on the MacBook Arm release date just yet, but Apple suggested it will be launching the first Apple Silicon Mac before the end of the year, which means we could see it released anytime in the next couple of months. 

Rumours suggest Apple will host a Special Event on 27 October, which could well be when they first show off the new MacBook Arm device. 

Related: MacBook Arm

Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Arm specs – Which is the most powerful?

The Surface Laptop Go’s specs have been confirmed, and it looks great. The pairing of an i5 Intel Core processor and 4GB RAM will hardly blow us away, but will likely speed through basic tasks such as web browsing and video streaming. 

With Apple switching its Macs over to Apple Silicon for the very first time, it’s difficult to predict how powerful it’s going to be. Apple seems confident in the technology, so we’re hoping for a competitive performance with Intel. 

Tech publication NotebookCheck suggests Apple will use an Apple A14X chip, paired with 8GB / 16GB RAM. While we’ve got no indication on performance power, the publication suggests the chip will offer a battery life of between 15 and 20 hours. That sounds like a lot of stamina, but that’s typical for Arm-based laptops – the Surface Laptop Go simply can’t compete in terms of battery life when using Intel x86 architecture. 

We’ve listed a comparison specs table below, although bear in mind that the MacBook Arm specs are not confirmed, and are merely rumours provided by the NotebookCheck report. 

Surface Laptop Go 12-inch MacBook Arm
Display 12.45-inch touchscreen 12-inch Retina Display
Processor Intel Core i5-1035G1 Apple A14X
RAM 4GB / 8GB 8 GB / 16 GB
Storage 64GB / 128GB / 256GB 256 GB / 512 GB / 1TB?
Battery life Up to 13 hours 15 – 20 hours

If rumours are to be trusted, Apple will seemingly offer better storage and RAM options to the Surface Laptop Go. However, Apple’s machine is also expected to be a few hundred quid more expensive than Microsoft’s entry-level model. 

Both will feature a 12-inch display, but we’re unsure about the resolution of Apple’s MacBook right now. The Surface Laptop Go will feature a 1536 x 1024 resolution, which is just shy of Full HD. 

Surface Laptop Go vs Macbook Arm

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Arm design – How do they look?

The Surface Laptop Go looks like a rather nifty device, being only 15.69mm slim and hitting the scales at 1.1kg.

The MacBook Arm is expected to weigh less than 1kg, and could be impressively slim thanks to the Arm architecture. We don’t know much more beyond that though. 

The Surface Laptop Go will also see a full-sized keyboard, with keys featuring full 1.3mm travel. For contrast, NotebookCheck claims the MacBook Arm will be fitted with Apple’s controversial Butterfly keyboard, which seems an odd decision since recent MacBooks have been upgraded with the scissor-switch keyboard. 

We’ll update this section once we get more information from Apple regarding the MacBook Arm.

Related: Best Laptop 2020

Initial verdict 

Apple and Microsoft look to go head to head with their 12-inch laptops later this year, with both looking to be very impressive and wallet-friendly devices.

However, with Apple offering no details on the MacBook Arm at this stage, it’s impossible to make a final judgment right now. You’ll have to keep an eye on Trusted Reviews for our upcoming reviews instead. 

If rumours are accurate though, the Surface Laptop Go seems to be the cheaper option, while Apple looks to be offering more generous RAM and storage options. The Arm architecture also looks to provide the MacBook with a far superior battery life, although it’s anyone’s guess how the performance of Apple Silicon will compare to Intel’s chips. 

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