A smaller Surface Pro? Powerful enough to master all everyday office- and business-applications? Starting around 449,– EUR? Give me that Surface Go!
Why a Surface Go?
I proudly own several Surface Pro- and Surface Book-models. My very first Surface Pro was the Surface Pro 1, but this device – such as Surface Pro 2- and Surface Pro-3-models – ultimately did not fulfill my needs, as they were too small, too heavy and too noisy (SP1, SP2) or the Type Cover did not work out for me properly (SP3). I also tried the Surface RT and Surface 3-models, but they were too limited in regards to power. I finally found my most useful devices in Surface Book 15 inch as laptop and Surface Pro 2017 for taking handwritten notes in calls and meetings and as viable laptop replacement when being on the go.
But why no iPad?
I own iPads for years – always as 9.7- or 10.5-inch-models and always meant for these moments when even a 12.5 inch Surface Pro would be too big. I always used my iPads for two aspects: Consuming media (videos, simple games) and as hypermobile devices for work. They are gorgeous for media consumption, but way too limited for real work purposes – even using an Apple Keyboard, one can not comfortably type longer texts as the keys are very limited in travel and have no background lighting, using the Apple Pen is cool for occasionally taking some notes, but due to limited apps this can not be considered a full replacement for pen input on more powerful devices. So I started looking for a Windows device for the professional aspects of my life as a companion to the iPad, but did not found a perfect match so far – I am too used to what a modern Surface device would offer you in regards to quality and performance for adjusting to something worse.
Which Surface Go configuration makes sense?
The more excited I was when Surface Go was announced. The device is available in two configurations – 4 GB RAM and 64 GB eMMC-storage (you don’t want to buy this, trust me) or 8 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD-storage (waaaay better!). So I ordered the bigger configuration including a type cover and waited for it impatiently. Yesterday I received the device, set it up and paired it with the Surface Book 15 inch’s Surface Pen which I never really used with that device – and what should I say? It delivers!
My first impressions
The Surface Go is small, light, beautiful and – as typical for Surface-devices – very well made. In size it compares to an iPad Pro 10.5 inch, with the latter being way thinner. The processor is fast enough (it is a Pentium Gold processor, ranging somewhat higher than Intel Atom and Intel Core i3-processors, but definetely not playing in the same league as real processors such as Intel Core i5), he usually takes half a second more time to start and to multitask, but this is acceptable – especially since the processor is passively cooled and will not create any noise ever.
The 10-inch-Display ist superb – I do not witness any difference to a Surface Pro 2017, pen- and touch-inputs are working flawlessly. The Type Cover is smaller and not compatible to the ones of the bigger devices, nonetheless I can type without any issues for hours on it (I actually typed this article on it, the cover alone is worth switching to the Surface Go!). Battery time is okayish, somewhat around 4-5 hours of usage are well doable.
If you want to recharge the device, you have two options – the USB-C-port as well as the properietary Surface Connector port are able to pump some power back into the device. I personally travel a lot using planes and trains and especially on longer trips a recharge will be needed – and I appreciate using my mobile device’s USB-C-adaptor instead of having to remember putting the Surface Connector adapter into my backpack before leaving the house.
Storage on my device is 128 GB. This is not huge, but it can be expanded using a SD-card. One can use more modern XD-cards as well, therefore storage can be extended by up to 512 GB, which should be enough for most needs.
Of course it is way to early for any final verdict, but after a day of usage, the Surface Go is to me, what I was looking for: A hyperportable device, which is able (after switching from Windows 10 S mode to full Windows 10 mode) to run all business-applications (and perhaps even a development environment), without forcing me to accept too many compromises. I would never ever buy it as a replacement for an iPad, instead as a companion device which allows to run exactly the kind of applications, an iPad is not able to run properly. It definetely is a work horse, not an entertainment device (although it can do that as well – but then it’s pretty much the same situation as with an iPad in regards to business apps: You could do so, but it won’t make you happy).
Should you buy a Surface Go? Buy it!
If you want to buy a Surface Go, you should definetely do this, if you want to use it as a business or productivity device – but I would highly encourage you to go with the bigger device:
Also buy a Type Cover as well as a Surface Pen:
More information and my opinion on the longer term will of course be published here!