Surface Go: tech specs, price, details

Surface Go is the smallest, lightest, and most affordable Surface yet that functions as a tablet or laptop, and powerful enough to run full desktop apps.

Surface Go 2018 model with keyboard
Surface Go 2018 model with keyboard

Microsoft is introducing the “Surface Go,” a new smaller and cheaper version of its popular tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad and Google’s Chromebook. The device shares a similar design as the Surface Pro with integrated kickstand, but with more rounded corners, 10-inch display, USB Type-C, Intel’s Pentium Gold processor, and a price tag of $399 for the base model. Preorders start on July 10, and it’ll be available in stores and online on August 2.

Surface Go design

Surface Go is just a shrunk version of the Surface Pro with some tweaks in the design and different internals. The screen is a 3:2 aspect ratio optical bonded ten-point touch PixelSense display with 1800 x 1200-pixel resolution with 217 Pixel-Per-Inch (PPI), and with full 180 degrees viewing angles.

The device also comes with a full-friction kickstand that folds down 165 degrees. In the front, there’s a camera with Windows Hello support for biometric authentication and back-facing camera on the back.

On the side, you’ll find a Surface Connector for charging and docking. However, this time around, there’s also a USB Type-C 3.1 port that can be used for charging as well as for video and data transfers (no thunderbolt support). As usual, behind the kickstand, there’s a micro SD card slot with support for up to 1TB SD card and a headphone jack.

Other than its more rounded corners and smaller form factor, the Surface Go is a mini version of Surface Pro with the same magnesium unibody and premium design you come to expect from the Surface family.

Although you’re getting a smaller screen with larger bezels, at just 1.15 pounds and 8.3mm thin, it’s still very much possible to stay productive working with two apps side-by-side, watching videos, surfing the internet or reading textbooks.

Surface Go internals

Behind the screen, there’s a dual-core Intel 7th Generation Pentium Gold 4415Y processor with Intel HD 615 graphics, and it comes either with 4GB or 8GB of memory, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of Solid-State Drive (SSD) for storage.

The Pentium processor is an interesting choice, but according to Microsoft, it provides a balance of performance, battery life, and thermals allowing the Surface Go to be very thin with fanless design while still providing compatibility and good performance when using modern and classic apps.

The company also claims up to nine hours of battery life, and using fast charging, the Surface Go can fully charge within two hours.

Initially, there’ll be a Wi-Fi version of the tablet, but later on, there’ll be an LTE model that comes with SIM tray for 4GB LTE, Cat 9 connectivity, using two-antenna LTE array and Qualcomm Snapdragon x16 modem. (This is the same modem included with the Pro model.)

Another interesting component is the near field sensor, which means that in specific scenarios it can be used to read RFID tags to track inventory or launch apps.

Surface Go tech specs

Here’s a closer look at the tech specs for Surface Go.

Surface Go tech specs
DisplayScreen: 10" PixelSense Display
Resolution: 1800 x 1200, (217 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Contrast ratio: 1500:1
Touch: 10-point multi-touch
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
ProcessorIntel Pentium Gold 4415Y (1.6GHz)
Memory4GB RAM 1866MHz LPDDR3
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 615
Storage64GB eMMC
Ports1 USB-C 3.1 for charging, and video and audio
1 microSDXC slot, up to 1TB
1 Surface Connect port
1 3.5 mm headphone jack
Compatible with Surface Dial off-screen interaction
Cameras, video, and audioWindows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)
5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video
8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p Full HD video
Single microphone
Front-facing 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
WirelessWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
Optional LTE (later in 2018)
Battery27Wh, up to 9 hours
Dimensions9.6-inch x 6.9-inch x .33-inch (245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm)
Weight1.15 pounds (522 g) without keyboard
1.6 pounds (770 g) with keyboard
SecurityTPM 2.0
Ambient light sensor
ExteriorCasing: Magnesium
Color: Silver
Physical buttons: Volume, Power
Power24 W power supply

Surface Go optional accessories

The Surface Go also comes with an optional Type Cover, Surface Pen, and mouse. While the new keyboard is significantly smaller than the one for Surface Pro, Microsoft says that despite the compact size, the new cover offers a typing experience similar to the one found on laptops with one-millimeter key travel scissor mechanism and backlit keys.

Surface Go Type Cover, Pen, and Mouse
Surface Go Type Cover, Pen, and Mouse

And even though the keyboard is smaller, the precision trackpad is actually larger than the one for Surface Pro. This is the same glass trackpad that the company uses across the Surface family allowing precise movements and multitouch gestures.

The Surface Go Type Cover comes in Alcantara (burgundy, gray, and cobalt), which costs $129, but you can also get the basic black for only $99.

The custom-built PixelSense display includes supports for the Surface Pen with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, low pen parallax, low latency, and precision for accurate note taking, drawing and design. The pen is also optional, and it’ll bump the price another $99.

If you’re a mouse person, the Go can be paired with the improved Surface Mobile Mouse, which cost $34.99.

Surface Go with Windows 10 with S mode

Surface Go comes from factory with Windows 10 on S mode, which means that you can only download apps from the Microsoft Store and use Microsoft Edge as your main browser. However, you’ll be able to switch to the unlocked, full version, of Windows 10 for free as needed.

Surface Go pricing and availability

Microsoft is aiming the Surface Go to iPad and Chromebook users, and as a productivity device for education and enterprise. The company is also working with accessory manufacturers to produce ruggedized cases and screen protectors.

The Surface Go with Windows 10 Home with S mode pricing starts at $399 for the base model, and $661.99 if you also get one of the Alcantara fabric Type Cover, Surface Pen, and Surface Mobile mouse. Also, there’s a business edition of the tablet running Windows 10 Pro in S mode, which is available for $449.

Surface Go is available for preorder beginning on July 10, and it’ll ship on August 2 in the following markets, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Then it’ll be available in Japan, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and in China with more markets to follow.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].