Microsoft Surface Go: A budget Tablet cum Mini-Laptop with outstanding performance

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The Microsoft Surface lineup has now got another addition in the form of Microsoft Surface Go. Rather debatable, but its true that when it comes to productivity, Windows is still far ahead of iOS or Android. This tablet cum Mini-laptop makes sure that all your productivity needs are met by offering something which most of the budget Windows laptops don’t.

Furthermore, rather than just a simple tablet, the Surface Go also has a touchpad. Thus, you can move the cursor around rather easily instead of just relying on the touchscreen or an optional pen.

Moreover, coupled with a whopping (for budget laptops) 4 GB of RAM and a keyboard for a really affordable price tag of $499, perhaps this one is a winner. Though, you might want to pay careful attention to the battery section in this review.

Design

With most budget models, the problem arises of cheap build quality. This Surface Go, in fact, employs the opposite idea. The laptop is built to last, with its premium-looking silver magnesium case. Thus, you can easily take it to your work without worrying about your colleague mocking you. Not only this, but the kickstand which is available with the expensive Surface Pro is surprisingly also available with this budget machine. Keep in mind that the kickstand can be really handy, once you start using it. Thus you can easily use the tablet as a laptop too when the need arises.

 

On the other hand, while the tablet may look premium from the outside, it compromises on this, by featuring a thick bezel display. In an era where nearly bezel-less displays are becoming common by the day, this move by Microsoft might put off some buyers who don’t want to be distracted by the bezels.

If used as a tablet the machine weighs just 1.15 pounds, thus making it extremely easy to carry and portable. Even if you attach the optional keyboard, the weight is still just 1.66 pounds. Though, the 9.7 inches iPad is lighter with an even less weight of 1.03 pounds and 1.27 pounds with the Smart Cover.

The thickness or rather thinness, on the other hand, is just 0.33 inches, adding more elegance towards the machine.

Ports

Though this does mean that with it already being a tablet and that too a slim one, there simply isn’t enough space for all the ports you might have wanted. Still, there is a single USB Type-C port which can be used for many tasks once you find the right hub. There is also a Surface Connect port for charging and docking the Surface Go as well as Micro SD Card Reader.

Good news is that good old headphone jack is still there.

Display

You might think that the 10-inches display might be too small for you, but it partially covers that by offering real vibrant colors and great color accuracy. Thus, 1800 x 1200 screen resolution lives up to its name.

In addition to this, the device’s display recorded 415 nits on the light meter, which is way more than the category average of 245 nits but still lower than the iPad.

Though it beats the Apple tablet when it comes to sRGB color gamut reproduction by offering a staggering 129.2 percent where the category average is just 87 percent and that of Apple’s machine, 119 percent.

Facial Recognition and Windows Hello

You can easily go past the lock screen courtesy facial recognition using Windows Hello. It is indeed a convenient feature though not as secure as the 3D FaceID on the iPhone X, it still does the job.

Audio

Despite its small size, the tablet features a surprisingly loud speaker, and might even fill a small room.

Keyboard and Touchpad

You can opt for the additional keyboard, and it would be wise to do so. This is because this enables you to easily use the tablet as a laptop when needed, and most importantly, it is really comfortable. Along with that, it is LED-backlit too, so you can easily type in the dark. The key-travel being at 0.9 mm is nearly ideal for its keyboard size.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, this tablet also features an addition touchpad, which again would come in handy while you are using it as a laptop. It is accurate and responds well to gestures.

Battery Life

Perhaps, the only downside about the tablet is its short battery life. At just 150 nits of brightness, the Microsoft Surface Go lasted just 6 hours and 6 minutes while being used over Wi-Fi. This is really short for a tablet machine, where the category average is at least 10 hours and 5 minutes. The Apple iPad lasts 10 hours and 7 minutes.

Camera

The tablet features both front and rear cameras, with the front one being 5 megapixels and the rear one 8. The front-camera does the job pretty well, and the back one is average.

Graphics

The tablet features an integrated Intel HD 615, which outperforms nearly every tablet’s GPU. Thus it easily scored over 41,000 on the 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited test. When compared with the category average, this score is nearly twice.

Surface Pen

Sadly, you have to shell out $100 extra to buy this beauty. It is not totally necessary but it does provide some additional benefits. For instance, you can easily play around with images or document and mark them up, comment on them, wherever you want. Furthermore, in an era of electronic signatures, this pen seems to be pretty convenient.

Configurations

The base model Microsoft Surface Go is available for just $399 and features an Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. If you want to bump up the RAM to 8 GB and SSD to 128 GB, you would need to spend $549.

It would be wiser to get the 128 GB SSD since 64 GB seems to fill up very soon nowadays.

 

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