When the first Surface tablet came out in 2012, there were a lot of praise for its design and accessories. Now six years later, Microsoft continues to innovate with their Surface lineup and even branching out into laptops and all-in-one PCs. The Surface Go is their 2-in-1 PC to come out in 2018 and it is one of the best productivity devices they’ve released.
The Microsoft Surface Go has a magnesium chassis that comes in one colour - the silver you see in their Surface Pro lineup. The whole device feels really solid and running your hands on its surface, you can feel how smooth it is. This is just the kind of good build quality you can expect from Microsoft. Also, The display is made with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for the added protection.It’s also their smaller and lightest Surface device so far - coming in at ~517g for just the tablet itself. Like with its recent predecessors, you can adjust the kickstand with a wide range of angles - it could tilt to the lowest of around 15° so it can adapt to your working situation.
The Surface Go has a 10-inch display with some pretty thick bezels which doesn’t look too appealing, but after a while you’ll stop paying attention to them and just focus on your content or work. Plus, I think it’s practical to have thick bezels like these, especially when using it handheld as a tablet - there’s just more space for palms and thumbs. The screen itself looks amazing - the colours are fairly accurate, images and letters look sharp and it’s bright enough to be used comfortably in a bright naturally lit office.
Audio and Camera
Let’s talk about the smaller stuff before moving on - the speakers are front-facing and they’re located in tiny slits on both sides of the device. The sounds it produces are clean and crisp, and it goes up to a respectable volume. The quality of the webcam is actually really good - like really good, even when you compare it to other devices. It’s better than my phone’s front camera too!
The Surface Go carries an Intel Pentium Gold processor which works fine for web browsing, media consumption or any type of productivity - like writing a tech review. There are two variants you can choose from for the Go - 4gb RAM with 64gb storage, and 8gb RAM with 128gb storage. I would recommend getting the better of the two, simply because it’s a SSD while the 64gb one isn’t. The 8gb of RAM would be an added assurance that the tablet won’t be too slow as well.
Together with the type cover keyboard, the Surface Go turns into the perfect productivity device. The keystrokes are nice and clicky but the key layout might be a little tight for some people (me) - but you’ll find it gets easier and easier to type as you use it. The microfiber material on the keyboard side is also comfortable rest for your hands on while typing.
The keyboard comes separately and it doesn’t come cheap. It’s retailed at MYR 579 which is a substantial amount just for a keyboard. In fact, all accessories for the Surface Go don’t come together with the device itself - that includes the Surface Pen and the mobile Bluetooth mouse which are MYR 385 and MYR 187 respectively. I would recommend at least getting the keyboard because the Surface Go won’t be complete without it. You could settle for the digital keyboard if you’re on a budget, but do get it eventually when you can.
As for the Surface Pen, it sticks magnetically to the side of the Surface and it’ll stay there. Putting it into your bag to travel with, you won’t find it fallen off when you open it up again. The pen is pretty responsive with almost no lag. Using as a non-creative tool, writing is smooth and lag-free so if you prefer a more traditional method of writing or note-taking, you’ll definitely like using the Surface Pen. As for digital art, I’m trusting the experts that appeared on the Surface Pen advertisement. But again, the pen comes separately.
Windows in S mode
Just a disclaimer: the Surface Go comes with Windows 10 in S mode out of the box which means it only permits apps from the Microsoft Store and not third-party apps. However, simple steps can be taken to roll it into the regular Windows 10 if you insist on having Chrome rather than MS Edge.
Ports and Battery
The Surface Go lacks quite a bit in port selection; sporting only a USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro-SD card slot. There also the dedicated charging port, however, if you don’t want to bring the charger around, you’ll be happy to know that it’s chargeable through the USB-C as well.
During testing, I managed to use it for 7-8 hours from a full charge with a mixture of web browsing, productivity and video streaming. You could probably go up to 9 hours if you use it on battery saver mode and cut down on video streaming so a full charge could carry you through your working day.
The Microsoft Surface Go is going for MYR1,843 for the 4gb RAM and 64gb storage, while it’s MYR2,528 for the 8gb RAM and 128gb storage. Again, these prices are just for the tablet itself. I mentioned the prices for the accessories above.
Microsoft did a lot of right things for the Surface Go - a clean design, great audio quality, a surprisingly good webcam and, if you’re into it, a smooth Surface Pen experience.