Advice for buying a tablet- Surface Go or iPad Mini/Air


lepermessiah

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Jun 2, 2013
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TLDR:

Devices under consideration: Surface Go, iPad Mini, iPad Air
Budget: Upto INR 50K
Usage: Watching movies, streaming, reading comics, browsing, light word processing, if possible- mobile gaming
Accessories planned: Screen protector and 256 GB SD card if it's a Surface Go; Screen guard and protective case for iPad. Not buying a keyboard since I already have a Logitech K480 BT keyboard.

Background:

I was looking forward to replacing my 5 year old Xiaomi MiPad with something more modern. I was surprised to see the lack of options in the tablet market nowadays. The android camp is pretty sad- didn't want to spring for Mipad 4 since it was quite old already, Samsung Tab S5e was nice, but the processor is sluggish at that price and the Tab S6 is out of contention since it was too expensive. The rest of the android tablets are pretty sad and actually a downgrade from the MiPad.

The only options left for me was either the Surface lineup or the iPads. Ruled out Surface Pros since they were too large and expensive. Plus, I already had a pretty powerful laptop. The Surface Go was it then. But it's more or less in the same bracket as an iPad. I decided to check them out in person at the nearest mall. There was no Surface Go on display, but there was a Surface Pro 4. It was sluggish and Windows didn't seem to be pretty good on a touchscreen. Using the iPad Air after that was a different experience. Opening multiple tabs and scrolling on heavy websites barely slowed the iPad Air down whereas the Surface Pro 4 was choking badly with a simple web page loaded on Edge.

I thought I was never going to using an iOS device owing to the walled garden mentality the Cupertino company adopts. However, there is no denying that they have nailed the tablet concept. Since I am actually looking for a device to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, do some light word processing and browsing, it appears that a tablet will fit my needs better than a small Windows laptop. I would not need the complete freedom or flexibility that Windows offers since I have a proper laptop for that.
It sucks that the iPad doesn't have expandable storage and that there are so many limitations in its OS, but there is no denying that its battery lasts a lot longer, runs cooler, offers a way smoother experience and nails the tablet experience aspect correctly. I am not an Apple fanboy by any means (I am in the Android & Windows camp), but as far as tablets are concerned, an iPad just works and lasts for a long time (since Apple provides updates for a very long time).

If it had a better chipset and if Windows 10 was more optimized for touch and if the battery lasted longer, I would have gone for Surface Go in a heartbeat since I love its hardware design and build quality. Price is also good for the 4GB, 64 GB EMMC version at 30K. Even if I spend 3.5K on a 256GB SD card, it'll max out at around 34K which is still lower than what an iPad Mini costs nowadays.

Currently on the fence waiting for the iPad Air or Mini prices to drop a bit before taking the plunge.

Would like to hear members views on whether I should go for the Surface Go or the iPad Air or Mini. Not considering the iPad 10.2 or 9.7 as I think the A10 Fusion chipset is a bit old hat now.
 
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paarkhi

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I'm also from windows and Android camp but when it comes to tablet then there's no other name than Apple, you can go with Apple for better smooth experience, good choice of gaming (unlike windows and surface go).

All in all I'd go with Apple if I were in your place and searching for a tablet.
 
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Marcus Fenix

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Since you already own a laptop and the tablet will be used for content consumption mostly go for the iPad Air eyes closed.

Surface Go is in its own twilight zone where its neither a good laptop nor a good tablet.

The 46k model comes with a Pentium Gold CPU which is very anaemic for Windows but comparatively power hungry for a tablet.

AFAIK the resolution is higher on the iPad Air as well.
 
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lepermessiah

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I'm also from windows and Android camp but when it comes to tablet then there's no other name than Apple, you can go with Apple for better smooth experience, good choice of gaming (unlike windows and surface go).

All in all I'd go with Apple if I were in your place and searching for a tablet.
My sentiments exactly. Hardly any valid options in the Android or Windows camp.

Since you already own a laptop and the tablet will be used for content consumption mostly go for the iPad Air eyes closed.

Surface Go is in its own twilight zone where its neither a good laptop nor a good tablet.

The 46k model comes with a Pentium Gold CPU which is very anaemic for Windows but comparatively power hungry for a tablet.

AFAIK the resolution is higher on the iPad Air as well.
'Surface Go is in its own twilight zone where its neither a good laptop nor a good tablet.' This is the best one-liner that rightly sums up the Surface Go. Wanted to desperately like it, but somehow it reminded me of the old netbooks (which I hated). The model I was looking for seems even slower since it has an EMMC storage instead of an SSD.
You're right again- the iPad Air has a higher resolution screen.

Go for the IPAD air if most of your use pertains to media consumption/note taking. Microsoft's product still have a good gap and their support in India, is atrocious to say the least.
Echoing the above sentiments once again. I didn't know that MS support is horrible in India.

Thank you all for the valuable comments. I had almost bought the Surface Go, but thanks to your comments, I think that I have dodged a bullet here. Found a good deal on Croma today where I would be getting cashback for SC Debit Cards. Got an iPad Air 64GB for around 39.5K. I think the extra premium over the Mini is worth it. I'm pulling the trigger on this generation since I feel these are built well (I prefer the aluminum unibody of this one over the fragile iPad Pro) and has the 3.5 mm jack. I have a hunch that the next gen iPads will be of the glass sandwich variety and will drop the 3.5 mm jack. I got to say, this has to be one of the best screens I've seen on a tablet in my life. Everything is so smooth and slick. I'm loving it so far. My only grouses are the lack of expandable storage and the lightning port. Would have liked to see USB-C 3.1 like the Surface Go here. iPad OS seems to have introduced additional features like a file management system. One of my most expensive toys so far, but I think it's worth it as I think this will run well for about another 5 years.

Wish Microsoft stepped up their game. Frustrating to see how they were *this close* in nailing the Surface Go. Hope they can do better with the Surface Go 2, Neo and the upcoming Windows 10X.
 

aahigayeham

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I am as excited as you are to find out what Windows has in store in the coming years but buying their products in India is just not feasible due to well I wouldn't know where to begin. You made the right decision buying an Ipad. Have fun!
 
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lepermessiah

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Does Xiaomi's Bluetooth Controller (or any other controller apart from XBox, PS4 and MFi controllers) work with iPads running on the most recent iPad OS?
 

Neo Anderson

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Does Xiaomi's Bluetooth Controller (or any other controller apart from XBox, PS4 and MFi controllers) work with iPads running on the most recent iPad OS?
I'm not sure about others controllers, but DS4 and Xbox controllers works with my ipad pro 11 over bluetooth. And they are also supported via cable, though I haven't tried that yet.
 

netarchie

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I have been using the Latest Samsung Tab 6 for last few months and I find it very very useable to it being very close to a laptop replacement if one does frequent emailing, word processing and catching up with movies /reading at other times.
Its quite smooth with no lag.
I have always used Ipads before and this time I am truly happy with the switchover.
I agree..its on the costlier side.