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|
|Display||Screen: 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
|Processor||Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y (1.6GHz)|
|Memory||4GB RAM 1866MHz LPDDR3|
8GB RAM 1866MHz LPDDR3
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 615|
|Ports||1 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 audio||Windows 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
Front-facing 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
Optional LTE (later in 2018)
|Battery||27Wh, up to 9 hours|
|Dimensions||9.6-inch x 6.9-inch x .33-inch (245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm)|
|Weight||1.15 pounds (522 g) without keyboard|
1.6 pounds (770 g) with keyboard
Ambient light sensor
Physical buttons: Volume, Power
|Power||24 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.
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.