Just over three years since the launch of the surprisingly good Surface 3, Microsoft has finally refreshed this category with a new device, now called the Surface Go. The Surface Pro series has been very successful for the company, and they’ve decided it’s time to offer an entry level Surface again. The Redmond company has been working on trying to win back the education market, so a smaller, lighter, and most importantly, less expensive Surface makes a lot of sense.
The Surface Go is the thinnest and lightest Surface yet at just 8.3 mm, down from the 8.7 mm of the Surface 3, and 8.5 mm on the latest Surface Pro, but it undercuts the other models on weight significantly at 521 grams. That’s a full 31% lighter than the larger Surface Pro.
The display is also smaller, this time coming in at 10-inches in the now familiar 3:2 aspect ratio Microsoft has focused on, and the taller aspect ratio certainly helps on mobile devices such as this that may be used in portrait. It’s an 1800 x 1200 PixelSense display, with 10-point multi-touch and Surface Pen support. The screen has a reasonable 217 pixels per inch of density, which is pretty much the same as the Surface 3 back in 2015 which was 213 PPI. That’s not quite as high as the Surface Pro or iPad Pro, but should still be fairly clear.
One of the biggest upgrades over the outgoing Surface 3, which was the first of the value-oriented Surface models to ship with an x86 processor, is the move from the Quad-Core Atom to an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y. This is a Dual-Core Kaby Lake-Y processor with four hyperthreads, and a 1.6GHz base clock frequency. With a TDP of just 6W, it’s not going to be a powerhouse, but it’ll still offer solid performance for a device of this size. The low TDP also means that it can be fanless, which it is. The CPU is coupled with the Intel HD Graphics 615 iGPU, which offers 24 Execution Units (EUs), although at just 850MHz maximum boost. Still, that should offer a good jump over the Atom in the previous model.
The base model comes with just 4GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage, although it will be offered in 8GB RAM versions with 128GB and 256GB NVMe SSDs, which should offer much better performance.
The Surface 3 was charged with micro USB, but the Surface Go steps up to the 24 Watt magnetic Surface Connect found on the rest of the mobile Surface lineup, and it also includes a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 connector, and they’ve kept the expandable storage with MicroSD included.
Microsoft has also included an IR camera for Windows Hello login, along with a 5MP front camera for 1080p video, and an 8MP rear camera. For those that want to use it on the go there will be an LTE model available too, which makes sense with Microsoft’s push towards Always Connected PCs.
Microsoft is claiming up to 9 hours of battery life which they tested doing video playback on the top end model.
Microsoft is also launching a new $99 Surface Type Cover for the smaller model, featuring the same Alcantara as its larger siblings, or as just black if you prefer that, also be offering a few nice accessories – a $35 wireless mouse, and the $99 Surface Pen. Microsoft has also found a way to fit their full-friction hinge to the smaller Surface Go, allowing for up to 165° of movement.
The new low-end Surface Go looks like a great replacement for the Surface 3, offering a way into the Surface lineup at a much more affordable price. The move to Kaby Lake will be a major boon to performance as well. Prices start at $399 for the base model, $449 for the same model with Windows 10 Pro, or $549 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. The 256GB and LTE models will ship later. Pre-orders should be available soon.
Surface Go Specification
Display: 10″ 1800 x 1200 3:2 IPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen (216 PPI, 16.7M, LED-Backlit, 10-Point Multi-Touch, Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
Display Features: 1500:1 Contrast Ratio, PixelSense Technology, Surface Pen Input
Cellular: Qualcomm X16 Gigabit LTE Modem (8GB/256GB)
SoC: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y (14nm, Kaby Lake-Y, 6W TDP)
CPU: 1.6GHz 7th Gen. Intel Dual-Core / HyperThreaded x86 (2MB SmartCache)
iGPU: 850MHz Intel HD Graphics 615 (24 Execution Units, 326.4 GFLOPS)
RAM: 4GB / 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 (Dual-Channel, 29.8 GB/s)
Storage: 64GB eMMC, 128GB / 256GB NVMe SSD
OS: Microsoft Windows 10 S / Microsoft Windows 10 Pro ($50 Premium)
Software: Microsoft Office 365 Home (30 Day Trial)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Surface Dial Compatible
Sensors: Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
Ports: MicroSDXC, Surface Connect, USB-C 3.1 Gen. 1, Surface Type Cover Port
Front Camera: Skype HD Certified 5MP (1080p) w/ Windows Hello IR Emitter
Rear Camera: 8MP (1080p)
Audio: 3.5mm Headphone Jack, 2W Stereo Speakers (Dolby Premium Audio), Microphone (Mono)
Security: TPM 2.0, Windows Hello
Buttons: Power, Volume
Battery: 9 Hours Video Playback, 24W Charger
Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3 mm (522 Grams)
Build: Magnesium Unibody (Silver)
Accessories: Surface Type Cover ($99), Surface Pen ($99), Wireless Mouse ($35)
Price: $399 (4GB/64GB), $549 (8GB/128GB)
Warranty: 1 Year Limited Hardware Warranty