There’s no mistaking the Surface Go for any other product. Microsoft has done a great job refining their tablet design over the years, and the Surface Go benefits from almost all of that refinement. It features the same silver magnesium finish as the rest of the lineup, and the distinctive chrome Microsoft logo on the rear. There’s a plastic strip at the top which lets the RF through, and the kickstand which has been the defining design element of all Surface tablets. The Surface Go features the same infinitely adjustable hinge as the Pro, and it opens wide enough to be used as a drawing surface.

The Surface Go features nicely rounded edges, which was a design feature Microsoft introduced with the Surface Pro 5 in 2017, and it gives the design a software in-hand feel compared to the previous models. The Surface Go is also slightly thinner than the Surface Pro 6, although almost imperceptibly so.

The one design feature that has unfortunately not made it into the Surface Go is the thinner display bezels found on many recent devices. By today’s standards, the bezels on the Surface Go are thick, and it would have been nice to see a larger display in this size of chassis. The bezels do give you somewhere to hang on if using the Go as a tablet, but they don’t need to be this large to achieve this result, and make the Go look like a somewhat dated design despite it being brand new. In reality the bezels are not much wider than the Surface Pro 6, but with the smaller display, the proportion of bezel to display is higher.

On the top bezel is the front facing camera, which also offers IR for Windows Hello facial recognition, and the Windows Hello is very accurate, even if it’s a touch slower to use on this model. For video conferencing, the Surface Go offers a 5 MP camera on the front which can do 1080p video. The rear camera is an 8 MP auto-focus unit. Unlike some of the more expensive Surface products, the Surface Go features just a single microphone, so it likely won’t be as good for long-range Cortana.

All of the ports are on the right side of the device, with the Surface Connect port at the bottom, and the USB Type-C and headset jack closer to the top. If there’s a Surface redesign, it would be nice to see the headset jack find a better location to avoid the cable being in such an awkward spot, although the Go does offer the headset jack quite a bit lower than the Pro does. There’s also a microSD slot under the kickstand on the right side.

The left side has only one opening, and that is for the nano SIM card.

Despite the Surface Go being a less-expensive model, it really feels like a smaller version of the Pro, with the same, fantastic kickstand design, and the same magnesium chassis. The only real knock against the Go’s design is the display bezels, which harken back to an earlier era. The real advantage for the Surface Go is the smaller size, and much lower weight than the Pro. A Surface Pro 6 is 770 grams for an i5 model, and the Go is just 515 grams, or 33% lighter. That makes for an extremely portable PC.


As with all Surface tablets, the Surface Go isn’t really complete without some accessories.

Surface Go Type Cover

Microsoft offers several choices for the Type Cover, which is the one essential accessory for any Surface Go. Although there is sometimes some criticism about why this is a separate purchase, it gives the buyer the ability to customize their Surface Go’s color scheme. Some retailers also offer bundled purchases, so you can have it either way.

The base Type Cover is the standard black model, which offers a soft plastic cover around the built-in keyboard, and it retails for $99. Those that want a bit more color, and a bit more refinement, can go for a Signature Type Cover, which is wrapped in Alacantara just like on the Surface Pro, and is available in Burgundy, Platinum, or Cobalt Blue. The Signature Type Covers retail for $129, and for $30 are a worthwhile upgrade if you are in the market. The Alcantara gives a great feel, especially when the device is closed, and being a synthetic fabric, holds up pretty well over time.

The trackpad offered on the Type Cover is excellent, with a smooth glass top that offers great precision. If you recall the original, tiny trackpads Microsoft used to offer, this is perhaps the most obvious improvement. Despite the smaller dimensions of the Surface Go, the trackpad is well-sized.

The downside of moving to a smaller form factor in the Surface Go, compared to the Surface Pro, is that they keyboard is also shrunk to accommodate the smaller dimensions of the device. Although they keyboard offers the same edge-to-edge keys as the Pro, that edge-to-edge dimension is small enough that the keyboard is fairly cramped. If you have large hands, this is likely not the device for you because of this. If you don’t mind a smaller keyboard, the quality of the keyboard, and the key feel, coupled with the three levels of backlighting, make this a great keyboard, but the small size takes a lot of getting used to, and causes a lot of mis-types when adjusting.

Surface Pen

Although not necessarily as essential as the Type Cover, the same Surface Pen as the rest of the Surface lineup is also available for the Surface Go, and the pen can be magnetically attached to the left side for storage, although the rounded edges don’t make it quite as tight of a fit as on the Pro. The pen can also be purchased in the same color scheme as the type covers, which means black, burgundy, platinum, or cobalt blue are all available to color coordinate with the cover.

The Surface pen is one of the best writing devices available on a tablet, with 4096 pressure levels, tilt support, and very low latency. That coupled with the thin display stack, makes the Surface Go an excellent choice for notes, and the writing experience is really a great experience. The Surface Pen tips are also interchangeable, and you can purchase a set of tips with various thicknesses, and Microsoft continues to offer a great tip feel, where there’s just enough traction on the glass that it makes you feel like you’re connected to a real pen.

Surface Mobile Mouse

If you prefer to use a mouse over a trackpad, the Surface Mobile Mouse is a Bluetooth connected mouse with seamless scrolling, a compact form factor, and the same color options as the rest of the accessories to coordinate. It features the Microsoft BlueTrack technology and the battery life from the two AA batteries is rated for up to 12 months.

Introduction System Performance: Going for Gold
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  • Zeratul56 - Sunday, January 20, 2019 - link

    Not everyone can afford multiple devices or even want maintain more than one. While the Go is worse in several areas compared to the ipad(battery, performance) it makes up for it in capabilities.

    At least in my perspective, the iPad doesn’t do enough to justify its purchase. I had one a few years ago and it was nice but it doesn’t do anything more than an iPhone can.
  • gglaw - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    I honestly can't see why anyone would buy this other than for business with strict requirement for LTE which cost-wise is well out of the budget market for the LTE models. I travel light with an aging Lenovo Miix 510 which is a convertible 12" and it is small *enough* without being severely crippled. Unless that little bit of extra size is just a complete deal breaker, it goes for $500-$550 range for the base i5-7200U and 128GB SSD model and I couldn't tolerate anything weaker than this. It is 1.6mm thicker and 0.8 lbs heavier than the Surface Go which I'm fine with.

    Going with Intel/Win10 platforms, the hit you take going from 15W CPU's to 6W is not worth it IMO. Comparing with current gen tech you can get up to 4 Ghz with turbo on a 15W Kaby compared to performance more similar to Atom CPU's on these trash Surface Go's. Any business job that requires traveling with access to Windows productivity/office apps should be running a 15W CPU, and if all they need is email, browsing, streaming they should just get an Ipad or Qualcomm based device.
  • HStewart - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    Not if you need real PC applications
  • sonny73n - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    Additional 64GB of SSD storage for $100? And this thing’s battery will last about 5 hours of moderate usage at best. Unmatched mobility for suckers, maybe.
  • ianmills - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    You are going to laugh but thats a bargain! For the SP6 to go from 128gb to 256gb is CDN$350

    I think its because they are a cloud company now. The storage price makes their cloud services seem like a bargain. ;P
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    I am...disappointed. For how much of a dog this thing is, it should deliver amazing battery life, yet gets crushed by the 7390, which is a full proper laptop with a far more powerful chip.

    I used one in a best buy, and found the experience less then positive. The UI opening new windows, or opening chrome, you could really feel that eMMC storage chugging.

    I dont understand how apple can make an ipad with NVMe storage, a way faster SoC, and still get far superior battery life at a lower cost then the Go. I was hoping MS would learn their lessons from the surface 3, but they are making the same mistakes. Sadly nobody else is making a small windows tablet that is any better then the Go.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    Aside from the iPad there aren't many tablets out there at this point. Microsoft is stubbornly sticking to the Surface line, but I think that's more wishful thinking and an on-going corporate seizure that harkens back to the ill-fated Windows 8 UI changes driving by the attempt to make Windows into a touch-based OS. The bottom line is that tablets are languishing in a tiny niche now that the big fad splash is over. The Surface attempts to recoup all that money tossed into developing user interface paradigms that nobody wanted in the first place.
  • Bausfight - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    I wouldn't say MS is being stubborn with the Surface line. It's seen strong growth over the years.
  • GreenReaper - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    The Surface Go LTE is 1.7lbs while the Latitude 7390 two-in-one is 2.9lbs. If the Go had another pound of battery I'm sure it could crush as well, but it'd be less good for Go-ing places (as long as you expect to be able to charge in those places).
  • dragosmp - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    I'm not going to restate what many have already said, but I do have an observation.

    My 5.5" phone has a 4Ah battery - near enough to 15Wh. This 10" tablet, 4x times the volume, barely has 40% more battery at 24Wh. How does this work? PCB design and packaging technology for PC-compatible bits must be totally backwards compared to mobile. Sure a Core-Y is bigger than a SD660, but dam'. 4x the volume and only 40% more battery, unbelievable.

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