As a nearly constant traveler I’ve been looking for something like the Surface Go all my life. I’ve lugged around everything from massive ThinkPads to iPad Pros and I’ve always found myself stuck in one of two situations – the laptops that made the most sense were too heavy to be comfortably portable and the tablets and ultraportables I used, including the Surface Pro, offered too much of a performance trade-off to warrant swapping from a full desktop device.
I tried a number of other laptops over the past year including my daily driver, the TouchBar-powered MacBook Pro, as well as a Lenovo’s oddly designed YogaBooks. Nothing quite clicked. The trade offs were always drastic. Wanted power? Sacrifice weight. Wanted thin and light? Sacrifice the keyboard. Want battery life and compatibility? Sacrifice the desktop experience. So when the Surface Go came out I wasn’t too excited.
Now I am.
When Brian Heater first reviewed the device he found them lacking. “And the Surface Go isn’t a bad little device, at the end of the day. At $400, it’s on the pricier side for a tablet, and certain sacrifices have been made for the sake of keeping the price down versus the souped up Surface Pro,” he wrote. “And unlike other Surface devices, the Go is less about pioneering a category for Windows 10 than it is simply adding a lower-cost, portable alternative to the mix. As such, the product hits the market with a fair bit of competition. Acer and Lenovo have a couple, for starters, most of which fall below the Go’s asking price.”
He’s right. There are thin and lights available for far less, and the Surface Go, with its 6-hour battery life and mid-range specs, is no hard core gaming machine. However, the user experience of the Go when matched with a keyboard cover have blown other contenders out of the water. Why? Because, like Google’s Pixel line, Microsoft knows how to tune its hardware to its software.
The Surface Go easily replaced by MacBook for most activities including light photo editing, writing, and communications. The Go ships with Windows 10 in S mode, a performance improving mode that reduces the total number of available apps available but, thanks to a certification process, ensures the apps will be more performant. It is trivial to turn off S Mode and install any other app you want and most people will do this, realizing that while noble, S Mode just doesn’t fly if you’re trying to use the whole breadth of the Windows universe.
Once I turned off S Mode I could install Scrivener and a few other tools and even got some games running, although the tablet gets a little hot. That’s the real benefit of the Surface Go – you don’t compromise on apps, performance, or size and all of it is specially tuned to the software it runs.
If you’re thinking of exploring the Surface Go you’ll find it’s not the cheapest ultraportable on the market. At $399 for the entry level model – I regret not splurging on the $150 upgrade – and $99 for the keyboard cover – it’s still more expensive than similarly appointed devices from Asus and Lenovo . That said none of those manufacturers could hit on all of the sweet spots that Microsoft hit. In terms of design and ease-of-use the Surface Go wins and in terms of price you’re basically paying a little more for more compatibility and performance.
So if you’re looking for a portable, usable, and fun device that beats many other current laptops hands down, it might be time to turn your gaze on Microsoft. As someone who got sciatica from lugging around too many heavy laptops, your buttocks will thank you.
What do we Know about the Surface Go?
|SOFTWARE||Windows 10 Home in S mode|
Microsoft Office 365 Home 30-Day trial
|DIMENSIONS||9.65″ x 6.90″ x 0.33″ (245 mm x 175 mm x 8.30 mm)|
|WEIGHT||Starting at 1.15 lbs (522 g), not including Type Cover|
|STORAGE|| eMMC drive: 64GB|
Solid-state drive (SSD): 128GB SSD
|DISPLAY||Screen: 10″ PixelSense™ Display|
Resolution: 1800 x 1200 (217 PPI) resolution
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Contrast ratio: 1500:1
Touch: 10-point multi-touch
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
|BATTERY||Up to 9 hours of video playback|
|CPU||Intel® Pentium® Gold Processor 4415Y|
|SECURITY||TPM 2.0 for enterprise security|
Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
|MEMORY||4GB or 8GB RAM|
|WIRELESS||Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible|
Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology
|CONNECTIONS||1 x USB-C|
3.5 mm headphone jack
1 x Surface Connect port
Surface Type Cover port4
microSDXC card reader
Compatible with Surface Dial* off-screen interaction
|CAMERAS, VIDEO AND AUDIO||Windows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)|
5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p Skype HD video
8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video
2W stereo speakers with Dolby® Audio™ Premium
|GRAPHICS||Intel® HD Graphics 615|
|SENSORS||Ambient light sensor|
I love it!!! Great for the size and the SD slot for the extra storage took care of my only concern. Great for the priceGreat Buy from David
My history since the 1990’s with laptops and tablets for business is simple. Owned the first generation Panasonic toteable… frequent crashes and heavy….. traded it for an iPad….no mouse, no track pad, bad keyboards sold separately, MS Office needs a mouse and keyboard …bought a Yoga…everything great except the size – try showing a Power Point on a client’s messy desk with a 14” computer. Then I purchased the Microsoft Surface Go with the works…128GB, Platinum Keyboard with matching Mouse and Pen. I had a C-Hub, which works with this unit. The Go is the ultimate laptop for business people away from the office. Working in a metropolitan area Wi-Fi is everywhere. I not only show my Power Points, but multitask with windows word, excel and email with no lag. I use canned word business letters, insert names and addresses, insert excel pricing for quotes and email them as attached PDF files. Not for high intensity programs.A must buy for Business People on the GO from JAMES
I just received my Surface Go yesterday, I got all blue accessories and it looks great. The only drawback is that it has a huge bezel around the screen. In order to add more apps to my task bar, I had to make it smaller as well. If anyone remembers the netbooks from about ten years ago, this is the new equivalent. I remember when I had my original netbook, I put the full version of windows on it and it ran fine, and never really slowed down. I am a little scared to take my Surface Go out of S mode because it is irreversible. However, it is fast for the price. It is not replacing my desktop, but is an added addition. Because I am a student and needed something light, portable, and more functional than my iPad, I went with this. If you can get over the large bezel, and remember that this is a functioning computer, not a tablet; this is a great choice.Remember the Netbooks from chelsea
The Surface Go is indeed a Go To device for portability and Work-on-the-GO, if you found this article helpful appreciate us by clicking the like button below