Microsoft have announced yet another addition to the Surface family with the new Microsoft Surface Go. Unlike most Surface devices, it seems to bridged the gap upon the land of being affordable, and has a much smaller footprint than prior models, as well as pretty attractive starting price of £379, which begs the obvious question, what gives?!
Well, this is a Surface device, and if you’ve any experience of using a Microsoft Surface product, especially in terms of buying one you’ll already know that £379 starting price doesn’t tell the full story! For a Surface to truly work, it is a must to get a Surface keyboard which will add an additional £124.99 if you want the fancy alcantara finishes, or an extra £99 if you want the standard black cover. So, already the Surface Go is suddenly not starting at around £400, but now £500 for the base model, you get the idea.
Being the price that it is, it’s natural to assume the Surface Go is the rightful successor to the Surface 3, which makes sense, it to was a smaller version of the Surface Pro 3 of the time, and came in at less of a price. Microsoft claim the Surface Go is twice as fast as the Surface 3, which considering the abysmal Intel Atom chip found in the Surface 3, ain’t much of an achievement, but what’s the Surface Go packing;
Whilst many tech followers already squeam at the Intel Atom brand, they’re probably not going to be much less deterred by the sound of an Intel Pentium processor, specifically the Pentium Gold 4415Y. Not only is this a low end chip, but it’s also a last generation chip. To Microsoft’s credit, their hasn’t being a successor announced yet, but that doesn’t help the Surface Go’s mediocre at best internals.
If you opt for the base model, you’ll get 4GB of RAM which is workable, but you’ll get a little nasty surprise in the 64GB of internal storage, in that it’s eMMC storage. Whilst, yes, eMMC is still solid-state, if you like, it is basically an SD Card so don’t expect much performance out of your read and write speeds, which you might think isn’t too important, but trust us, it is!
To add an extra salt to the wound, if you pay £509 for the base Surface Go (this is before keyboard), you’ll not only get double the RAM to 8GB, but 128GB of full and fast SSD storage, leaving the base model as almost a marketing gimmick, and one we’re not too happy about.
The good news is, though, everything else about the Surface Go is actually very good. The design is refined, with some well need curved edges, sure the display has a lot of bezel, but at least the panel is decent and crisp, something which definitely the £379 doesn’t typically grant you. The front firing speakers are decent, and the inclusion of USB-C is also great to see finally on a Surface device … though, naturally if you’re still living in the USB-A world … yeah, donglelife.
Like the Surface 3, the Surface Go also supports Pen input, the latest generation of Microsoft’s Surface Pen is supported, naturally that’s another £99 to shell out if you want it, but the support is there, and the Pen does work very well, as well as it does on other Surface devices in the lineup. It’s worth the additional mention that the left of the Surface Go has a very strong magnet for the Pen, this thing ain’t falling off unless it’s pushed!
So, what’s our final take on the Surface Go. Well, as you saw from our top image, it’s small, in fact, it’s barely larger than the 9.7 inch iPad, but that’s also its charm. This is a portable on the truest sense, the Kick Stand is completely positionable, and it maintains that signature Surface design. Are we going to follow EVERYONE else and say you should only buy the 128GB model, of course we are, it’s got the RAM Windows 10 needs to be future proof, and, the SSD storage versus eMMC is no competition.
The Surface Go launches in the UK, August 23rd, and will retail at either £379 or £509 for the 64GB or 128GB variants.