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Microsoft Surface Go 4 vs Apple iPad Air (2022): Which tablet wins?

Microsoft just launched the Surface Go 4 for Business, alongside a swath of other new Surface devices.

The Microsoft Surface Go 4 for Business is a hybrid laptop with a versatile design and touchscreen, making it ideal for on-the-go workers. 

While we haven’t yet had the chance to test out the Surface Go 4, we did want to take a closer look at how its specs compare to the iPad Air (2022), to see if the latest 2-in-1 laptop can stack up against an Apple tablet. 

Keep scrolling to find out all the vital differences between these two devices so you can decide which company is right for you, Apple or Microsoft. 

Apple Silicon vs Intel

The iPad Air comes with the M1 Apple Silicon chipset, which boasts an 8-core processor and 8-core GPU. We found that the M1 chip outperformed the Android competition, running video-editing apps and importing Raw snaps into Lightroom without breaking a sweat. The iPad Air is ideal for those looking to engage in graphically intensive tasks and is more than powerful enough for most creatives. 

Microsoft kitted out the Surface Go 4 with an Intel N200 processor alongside Intel UHD Graphics. The N200 processor is a low-level chip that is best suited for work processing tasks and browsing the web. This setup will not allow for users to engage in big workloads, making it unusable for content creators, but acceptable for productivity work. 

Front on view of the iPad Air 2022 in the Magic Keyboard
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The iPad packs an impressive screen

Apple packed a myriad of impressive features into the iPad Air screen; it comes with a 10.9-inch Liquid Rentia LED-backlit display with a 2360×1640 resolution with a quoted brightness of up to 500 nits. It does miss out on premium features such as Apple ProMotion, but we found that it was sharp, crisp and provided a comfortable viewing experience. 

The Surface Go 4 comes with fewer highlights in comparison, touting a 10.5-inch PixelSense display with a 1920×1280 resolution and up to 350 nits of brightness. Until we test the screen out for ourselves we can’t make any firm comments on its performance, but it won’t offer the same experience for video content due to the lower brightness and resolution. 

More colours from Apple

One of the best things about the iPad Air is that it comes in a multitude of colourways, including Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, Purple and Blue. Apple even offers free engraving when purchased directly from the Apple website, giving buyers a lot of options when it comes to personalisation.

The Surface Go 4 comes in just one colourway, Platinum. This is the standard colour that has been available on the Surface Go range for years; it will fit in very well in an office space, but it is very limited in terms of aesthetics. 

Microsoft Surface Go 4
Image Credit (Microsoft)

Neither device comes bundled with a keyboard or stylus

The base configurations of both devices cost a very similar amount on paper; the 64GB storage and 8GB memory iPad Air comes in at $599/£669, while the 64GB storage and 8GB RAM Surface Go 4 costs just $579.99/£529. 

While that price may seem reasonable, it’s important to note that this does not include the stylus or keyboard. It can be argued that the Surface Go 4 needs the bundled peripherals to work effectively as a productivity device since it runs on Windows 11.

The cheapest keyboard accessory – Surface Go Type Cover for Business – costs a crisp $99.99/£99.99, while the Surface Pen for Business comes in at £99.99. On the Apple side of things, the Apple Pencil costs $129/£139 and the Smart Keyboard Folio costs $179/£199. 

Adding that all up means that you will need to splash out $779.97/£728.89 for the Surface Go 4 or $907/£1007 for the iPad Air with all of the key accessories. At those prices, neither the iPad Air nor Surface Go 4 can be classed as affordable. If you are after a budget laptop, then make sure you take a look at our dedicated best budget laptop roundup. If you are set on these two options, however, then the Surface Go 4 is the more accessible option overall. 

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