Microsoft has finally unveiled its rumored cheaper Surface tablet in the miniature Microsoft Surface Go. The device, at first glance, is unmistakably similar to its sturdier and faster Surface Pro counterparts. In fact, one would barely notice the difference in size unless you put the two devices side by side. Touted as neither a Chromebook killer nor an iPad killer, just where is the Microsoft Surface Go going to stand?
Microsoft Surface Go pegs itself as the cheapest Surface tablet with, being a 10-inch Windows tablet that can be bought for as low as $399. This iteration of the Surface is much more portable but not exactly as powerful as its Pro counterparts – and of course you need to get the keyboard cover separately.
When previewed to tech enthusiasts, while the Surface Go does appear to be less expensive and much smaller than the Surface Pro, it’s still less powerful and does cost more than $399 if users plan to buy its other accessories – including the essential keyboard. Which means PC tablet fans will have half their dreams coming to life when they do buy the Surface Go in its August release. Still, a $399 price tag may prove good enough for Surface enthusiasts.
At first glance, the 10-inch display is two inches shorter than the Surface Pro’s 12.3-inch, making it more like an iPad, which is at around $363, than a tablet. Its smaller size and cheaper variation also means it traded its remarkable Core i-series Intel CPU set with Pentium processors, which means a lot of users will not get the same kind of sophistication as with Surface Pro devices. This also means the Surface Go will be more like a budget laptop instead of being a PC replacement.
Perhaps the primary point of the Surface Go is the experience – it’s a cheaper version of more expensive laptops that can do the same things a computer does – use online services and tools, media playback, and surfing the web.
Perhaps the closest point of comparison for the Surface Go is a similar Microsoft product – the Surface 3. Not the Surface Pro 3, as in the Surface 3 tablet which also has a 2015 10-inch version with an Intel Atom processor. While others say it’s not exactly the most powerful in terms of computing, it’ll finally be put to the test once the Surface Go gets to be released.
When the hands-on demo session was revealed to enthusiasts, those who tried out the Surface Go may find the 1.15-pound weight such a welcoming relief. Its smaller body makes it much easier to carry in a bag. Its durable kickstand and high-quality keyboard cover, as well as the impressive stylus, are all there albeit in a much more miniaturized form.
Those looking into power options may also see that the Surface Go now has a USB-C port, which means charging or connecting things to the Surface Go can be done via their own USB-C plug or through the power connector similar to the Surface Pro devices.
Other key specifications include an Intel Pentium Gold Processor, and the device sports a 1,800 x 1,200 display with its 10-inch screen. It also 8GB and 4GB variants for users who want to do other things with their laptops, especially with its good starting 64 GB eMMC or 128/256GB SSD storage options.
The laptop/tablet also has an 8MP rear-facing camera with an autofocus feature, and a 5MP camera that also sports the Windows Hello sign-in functionality. In terms of operating systems, the Surface Go also uses the Windows 10 Pro, Home, or S variants
Unfortunately, a big caveat with the Surface Go is the fact that much of its new accessories are still sold separately. Despite being a smaller and more portable version of the Surface Pro, users still need to buy peripherals to complete the ecosystem. These include keyboard covers that cost as much as $99 to as high as $129, which is still $30 less than the normal Surface Pro keyboards.
In fact, even the Surface Pen stylus is still something sold separately, which can be bought again for $99 – and it’s the same Surface Pro stylus. This means total purchase prices would bump to as much as 50-percent. Interestingly, a smaller Mobile Mouse can be purchased for $35 as well.
Despite being a welcome addition to the Surface family, the Microsoft Surface line may need newer additions to its slate of products. The hefty Surface Book, the slimmer Surface Laptop, and the all-powerful Surface Studio desktop are just some of the many options users could still get within the product line – aside from the original Surface Pro tablet-laptop hybrids.
Unfortunately, its recent iterations – even the newest 2017 model – have only done limited improvements with the device. In fact, fancier accessories, newer processors, and an LTE model were just the only notable improvements to recent devices.
The Surface Go runs a Window 10S or Windows 10 which, coupled with a lower-end Intel CPU, may still be much better than the original Surface RT device. The latter used the forgotten and limited Windows RT operating system, and an ARM CPU.
In general, the Surface Go takes on the likes of iPad in terms of price and size, but may not be entirely convincing to bring in Surface device neophytes into the Surface bandwagon.
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