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Microsoft Surface Go First Impressions: Great Screen, Short Battery Life

I only just got my hands on Microsoft's Surface Go, but I'm already finding myself thinking that I like the little computer. We're in the middle of reviewing the $549 model of Microsoft's new, budget-priced tablet, which comes with a Pentium 4415Y CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage.


Look, its 10-inch screen is small. Really small. Netbook small. But that's a preference, and I think I could learn to love it, especially considering our early test data, in which it put out an average of 404 nits of brightness and 129 percent of the sRGB color gamut. And I'm a fan of the 3:2 aspect ratio, even if makes for a slightly abnormal 1800 x 1200 resolution. But when I watched a bit of Tears of Steel, the pink and blue holograms in a gray and dreary lab really popped.

But battery life in our testing wasn't so great. We ran our usual battery test, which continuously browses the web, runs graphics tests and streams video over Wi-Fi, and the Surface Go endured for 6:06. The mainstream laptop average is 7:26 and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro ran for 10:07.

As for design, I've always been a fan of the Surface aesthetic, which is minimalist and puts the focus on Windows and your work. The hinge on the Go is nice and sturdy, and we opted for an Alcantara keyboard, which feels really nice. The only issue is that the bezels, which are quite thick, are even more noticeable around such a small screen.

We're going to spend more time with the Surface Go before our full review, but my initial impressions are positive. The big question I still have is how its Pentium Gold 4415Y CPU will hold up to my everyday computing, nevermind some of our more strenuous benchmarks. And that can sway a lot. If it can hold up, I can see it being a neat little travel machine.

  • newsonline5000000
    For such low spec Tablets , use IPAD PRO better .. it will run MS Office smoother (iOS version) , and will have better battery life , and the APPS are made Graphically to work in Good FPS on the internal GPU.

    and more over , Full Photoshop is coming to the iOS in 2019 , not a mobile version , but a full one.

    Apple is leading in the Tablet performance and Intel cant win there because their internal GPU is slow , and the windows software are made to work on desktops and not optimized for Tablets . Unlike IPAD.

    Reply
  • cknobman
    A. 128GB version is not eMMC its a SSD

    B. Your battery life test is falling well more than 1 hour shorter than every other review I've read.
    Reply
  • tracyfearson
    As configured above with keyboard: $678.99
    iPad Pro (only 64gb) with keyboard: $808.00
    Surface GO = more storage and saves: $129.01

    As for performance, we shall see.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    21200871 said:
    A. 128GB version is not eMMC its a SSD
    The 64 GB version is eMMC. Everything I read has pointed to the 128 GB being a proper SSD.
    Edit: Derp, misread the quoted sentence as saying the 128GB is not an SSD.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    If I had only read this review I probably would have had second thoughts about getting one. Lucky me, I decided to browse around a bit in other tech and gadget sites.
    For the price you're paying for this, this actually seems to be an extremely solid tablet (the 128 GB SSD version).
    Reply
  • inanition02
    21201028 said:
    As configured above with keyboard: $678.99
    iPad Pro (only 64gb) with keyboard: $808.00
    Surface GO = more storage and saves: $129.01

    People complain about the prices on the Surfaces devices all the time (oh the keyboard should come with it, oh the pen is expensive..) - but the Surface Pen is the same price as the Apple Pencil ($99) and the Surface Go Type Cover is actually $60 cheaper than the Smart Keyboard ($99 vs $159 - provided you compare the Black Surface Go Cover to the Black Smart Keyboard).

    So that gives you an out the door price of...

    Microsoft - Surface Go (128GB), Type Cover, Pen - $748.98
    Apple - iPad Pro (64GB), Smart Keyboard, Pencil - $961.42

    So the Surface Go is then $212.44 cheaper, has double the storage, double the RAM (iPad Pro is 4GB) and a back lit keyboard. The iPad Pro does have a half inch bigger screen, so there's that, and a slightly more standard aspect ratio.

    What will always bite Microsoft on the Surface Go? People compare the Surface Go to laptops and - because it's Windows and supports Windows applications, external monitors, the full range of hardware peripherals, a mouse, etc. - use it like such. Including things like running laptop designed battery tests and benchmarks on it. No one runs those things on an iPad Pro...because it's iOS and those things won't run. They compare the iPad Pro to a nice tablet - which it is - without a mouse and running tablet apps.

    And maybe that's the answer - if you're an Apple person or you want a supercharged tablet that can sometimes do light productivity stuff, get the iPad Pro. If you're a Windows person or you want a (non-gaming) laptop replacement that can also be a supercharged tablet, get the Surface Go.


    Reply
  • derekullo
    Wonder if you could attach a usb gps and install Ubuntu directly onto the laptop?

    https://www.amazon.com/GlobalSat-BU-353-S4-USB-Receiver-Black/dp/B008200LHW
    (I picture me attaching this to a hat of some kind for extra dorkyness)

    https://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Blog/How-to-install-Android-onto-your-netbook-or-laptop/ba-p/3705361

    Then driver/Niantic permitting you could play Pokemon Go on your Surface Go.

    Even the 6 hours of battery life should be more than enough, although I would expect Android to have a longer battery life than Windows.

    Probably overkill / pointless but would make a nice project.

    Has anyone tried something similar to this?
    Reply
  • bananaforscale
    Unless Niantic have reversed their position to not support x86 devices (which they may have, but it's not a significant slice of the Android market), no PoGo for Surface. Also it might not support external GPS receivers (I know that Ingress that preceded PoGo wouldn't work with external GPS receivers to combat cheating).
    Reply
  • alan_rave
    How much does it weight?
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    21205532 said:
    How much does it weight?

    521 grams. 770 grams with the keyboard cover.
    Reply