Microsoft’s 10-inch, $399 Surface Go inscription is a depart from a company’s Surface tradition, that put onward expensive, desirous designs to mangle route for a rest of a PC industry. Now, a Surface Go’s decidedly mainstream cost should interest to businesspeople on a go as good as consumers deliberation an Apple iPad or Android tablet.
Caveats like a handling system—Windows 10 in S Mode—and a low-end processor might give we pause. And a discretionary nonetheless close Type Cover rather offsets a Surface Go’s convenience. But our Surface Go examination will transport we by a Surface Go hardware, theType Cover, and a new Mobile Mouse—then tell we how it all works in practice, both as a pristine tablet and as a capability device. Finally, we’ll speak about a Surface Go’s performance, and how it compares to PCs and other tablets.
Surface Go: Basic specs
- Display: 10-inch (1800×1200) IPS technology, 217 PPI, 3:2 ratio, 10-point touch
- Processor: Intel 1.6GHz Pentium 4415Y (Kaby Lake)
- Graphics: Intel HD 615 (integrated)
- Memory: 4GB/8GB (8GB as tested)
- Storage: 64GB eMMC/128GB SSD (128GB as tested). A blurb indication with 256GB SSD is planned.
- Ports: 1 USB-C, 1 Surface Connector, microSD, headphone jack
- Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, LTE after in 2018
- Cameras: 5MP front (Windows Hello-capable), 8MP back (with autofocus)
- Battery: 27Wh
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home in S Mode (Windows 10 Pro for blurb model)
- Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
- Weights: 1.14 pounds (tablet), 1.68 pounds (tablet and keyboard), 1.98 pounds (tablet, keyboard and charger), as measured
- Optional Accessories: Type Cover keyboard: $99 (black) or $129 (burgundy, cobalt, platinum); Surface Mobile Mouse: $39; Surface Pen: $99
- Price: 4GB RAM/64GB storage: $399; 8GB RAM/128GB: $549(via a Microsoft Store). Costco offers a possess bundle with 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, and a Type Cover for $550.
Surface Go, out of a box
Out of a box, a Surface Go feels light and sturdy, if a little bit chunky. Microsoft’s hardware gurus crafted a Surface Go out of a same magnesium devalue of before iterations, with Gorilla Glass 3 safeguarding the 10-inch PixelSense display.
It’s a bit tough to trust that a Surface Go is indeed a ninth Surface tablet, with 3 Surface and Surface Pro predecessors, respectively, and a Surface RT and a “reimagined” Surface Pro (2017). The Go retains many informed elements: the energy and volume rocker on a top, the microSD container underneath a kickstand, and a MagSafe-like Surface Connector on a right side. There, you’ll also find a headphone jack, and I/O port—which has migrated from USB-A to USB-C with a Go. The Surface Connector still works with a Surface Dock, as good as a flourishing series of USB-C hubs.
You can appreciate a low-end Pentium chip for dual other features: The sum miss of fan vents and a low-power charger. Unless feverishness somehow leaks out of a I/O ports—which, to my finger, it does not—the Surface Go is wholly passively cooled. Under load, a top third of a Go warmed up, nonetheless not unpleasantly. The 1.6-amp horse is modestly included compared to a a 3-amp to 4-amp quick phone chargers we see these days, so we can substantially assign your Surface Go regulating your phone’s USB-C charger.
We contend “probably” since Microsoft didn’t yield sum on a USB-C port’s capabilities, so we attempted it out. While a pier clearly doesn’t underline Thunderbolt, it slow-charged a connected phone. We weren’t means to assign a inscription with a OnePlus quick horse (5V, 4A), nonetheless a 5V/2A outmost battery horse did a trick.
The Surface Go typing experience
As we speak about a Surface Go knowledge after in a review, you’ll note we make a box for regulating a Go nonetheless a Signature Type Cover. In part, that’s since a Type Cover knowledge is a step down from generations past.
Aesthetically, these new Signature Type Covers exaggerate a same, somewhat plush Alcantara fabric that’s lived on a outward of a final few generations, that give approach to a somewhat smoother, plasticky feel along a inside. The Type Cover grips a Go inscription regulating a same double hinge of past Surfaces, and what appears to be an even stronger captivating tie during a edge. You unequivocally have to give a Type Cover a wrench to apart it from a tablet, that helps concrete a place on your lap.
The Surface Go’s smaller distance means a Type Cover is smaller, too. Microsoft claims a keyboard is about 85 percent a distance of a Surface Pro’s. The keys are visibly smaller compared to their counterparts on other Surface keyboards—notably a Enter key, and a comparatively little duty keys.
While Microsoft generally done intelligent sizing choices, a Surface Go’s Type Cover is expected to be worried for users with incomparable hands. My hands are average-sized, and they began to cramp after a duration of typing.
Typing on a Surface Go is a churned bag in other ways. On paper, a many eye-raising change is a pivotal travel: 1mm, contra a 1.3mm pivotal transport on before Surface Pro Type Covers and about 1.5mm for a standard laptop. Surprisingly, a reduced pivotal transport didn’t worry me as most as we nonetheless it would—a organisation response cushions your fingers as they land. There’s a surprisingly tiny volume of keyboard flex, too. As we strike a keys, however, they furnish a noticeably hollow, woodblock sound. The keys embody 3 levels of backlighting (which Apple’s iPad left out of a concomitant Smart Keyboard, incidentally).
I’d rate a trackpad, that is ever so somewhat smaller than a Surface Pro (2017)’s, as a slight step down as well. There’s a plasticky feel to it, and it’s manageable customarily over a reduce three-quarters or so, not a entirety. It’s not utterly adult to before Surface standards.
One of a Surface 3’s highlights was a suddenly strident audio. The Surface Go takes it down a nick or two, nonetheless it provides adequate oomph to play a few Spotify marks while you’re soaking a night’s dishes. we found a audio surprisingly balanced, nonetheless unsurprisingly lacking in low-end bass. Headphones, of course, yield a fuller, richer sound around a headphone jack.
We didn’t exam a back camera, nonetheless a front camera logged us in consistently around Microsoft Hello.
The other new square of hardware that’s accessible for (but not bundled with) a Surface Go is a Surface Mobile Mouse, a flattish, ambidextrous visual rodent that seems designed to be as compress and unstable as a inscription it complements. It boasts right- and left-click buttons, and an articulated corkscrew wheel
While I’m not a fan of prosaic mice, a intensely sharp approach in that this one glides opposite a aspect of a mousepad feels great. There’s even something to adore within a battery compartment, that facilities a captivating tie and spring-loaded battery connections. Though a batteries popped out simply when we incidentally forsaken it, it’s differently really satisfying, aesthetically.
The Windows 10 S, mess?
By now, a certain commission of a PC-using world—heck, even a certain commission of PCWorld—sees “Windows 10 S” and stalks off in disgust.
Windows 10 in S Mode restricts we to apps found within a Microsoft Store, that embody a brew of games and capability apps that are customarily distant reduction extensive than what you’ll find within Apple’s iOS app store or Google Play. You’ll also miss a event to entrance a Command Line and some other Windows utilities, nonetheless Edge plug-ins now work.
But if that’s simply too restrictive, Windows offers a one-time, free “switch” out to Windows 10 Home, giving we sum leisure of choice in apps, as good as a one-time giveaway “upgrade” to Windows 10 Pro in S Mode, that leaves a app restrictions in place nonetheless allows we to bond to association networks. Windows doesn’t insert any time restrictions to a switch or upgrade.
While there’s some law in bemoaning a miss of choice in Windows 10 S, a Surface Go also does some certain things with S Mode that are value noting.
During setup, Windows asked for my Microsoft account. But it also beheld that we already had an Office 365 comment trustworthy to it, and offering to set it up. The initial time we installed Microsoft Word, my papers that were corroborated adult within OneDrive installed automatically, and Windows offering to set adult a rest of a Office apps in a background. Very convenient.
But OneDrive is also integrated within Windows 10 in S Mode, and that creates a good understanding of difference. Every record that we had formerly stored in a OneDrive cloud over a past few years automatically seemed in a suitable folder—the papers stored in my OneDrive Documents folder re-appeared in my internal Documents folder, as a OneDrive placeholder. That meant that we could see each record that we had corroborated adult as if it were on my machine—but nonetheless burdening my storage capacity. Every screenshot we took and stored within my Pictures folder also automatically corroborated adult to a cloud. That is how cloud storage should work.
Well, mostly. Copying a multi-gigabyte record over a USB expostulate onto a Go also kicked off OneDrive, and it started syncing it in a cloud. Since we couldn’t find any right-click choice or OneDrive environment to hindrance syncing for this sold file, we paused syncing. That’s not what we wanted.
Does that meant we can get by with a Surface Go with customarily 64GB of storage, as against to 128GB? Maybe, maybe not. Smaller, personal files that you’d emanate on a Go will substantially be documents, whose distance generally operation in a megabytes. It’s a incomparable apps that will gnaw adult space quickly. Another reason to cruise a 128GB option: It’s a quick SSD, contra a slower (and cheaper) eMMC storage used for a 64GB version.
The inscription experience, nonetheless a Type Cover
So far, a Go looks and feels like a smaller, nonetheless required Surface device. But with a Go, Microsoft practically asks a question: Do we really need a Type Cover? With before iterations of a Surface, a doubt was a bit ridiculous, if not rhetorical: Of course! They were built for productivity.
Also, once you’ve shelled out, say, $799 or some-more for a Surface Pro (2017), adding a $160 Signature Type Cover isn’t most some-more of an investment. With a $399 Surface Go, adding a Go’s $99 Signature Type Cover in black (or $129 for Type Covers in cobalt blue, burgundy or platinum) adds a proportionally incomparable cube to a sum cost.
But it’s about some-more than a money. The Surface Go’s rather far-reaching bezel (about 0.63 inches) gives a ride and forefinger copiousness of room to grasp a tablet—which is good, since Windows doesn’t seem to be intelligent adequate to balance out a ride that wanders onto a arrangement itself. My average-sized hands were only far-reaching adequate to hover a Go with my fingers widespread out, so we could use it possibly as a “one-handed” tablet, pecking during a screen, or as a large phone of sorts, jabbing during it with my thumbs.
While it’s not light adequate to be hold one-handed for prolonged durations of time, navigating is elementary adequate with a on-screen keyboard that pops adult when we daub a content field. You can also orally sequence Cortana to move adult a playlist on Spotify, navigate to a webpage, or open Netflix. Unlike with before Surface products, a Type-Cover-free knowledge with a Surface Go is plausible.