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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.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex. among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE