Microsoft today introduced its smallest (10-inch screen) and lightest (1.15 pounds) computer yet: the Surface Go. Powered by an Intel Pentium Gold processor, the new laptop-tablet hybrid is available for preorder now starting at $399 (without a keyboard), and hits store shelves on August 2.
Microsoft insists the Surface Go “is the best of Microsoft and the iconic Surface design you know and love, with no compromises in premium quality.” While we’ll have to wait for a review unit to judge for sure, on paper this appears to be true: Surface Go really does seem to be a shrunk-down Surface Pro (in fact, just like the Surface Pro, the Surface Go will get an LTE option later this year).
Removable TypeCover keyboard? Check. PixelSense display with a 3:2 aspect ratio? Check. Touch, Surface Pen, and Surface Dock support? Check. Built-in kickstand? Check. Fanless? Check.
Also like the Surface Pro, Microsoft even managed to squeeze a microSDXC card reader into the Surface Go under the kickstand. The tradeoff for all these features is battery life: Microsoft expects the Surface Go to get up to 9 hours of battery life, which is less than estimates for the Surface Laptop (14.5 hours), Surface Pro (13.5 hours), and Surface Book (17 hours).
Speaking of battery life and charging the device, the Surface Go supports USB-C, first introduced to the Surface line with the Surface Book 2. The USB-C 3.1 port can be used for charging, as well as data transfer.
Hardware aside, the best part here is that Microsoft is not shipping Surface Go with a limited version of Windows, as it did with Surface RT, for example. Surface Go is definitely not part of the company’s Windows on ARM efforts.
Surface Go is running Windows 10 Home in S mode (which you can turn off for free), though schools will be able to purchase the Surface Go with Windows 10 Pro via commercial channels for an extra $50. That means Surface Go has everything you would expect from a Windows 10 machine, from features like Windows Hello (signing in with facial recognition) all the way to supporting decades of third-party apps. Microsoft promises the Surface Go can handle productivity apps like Office and casual apps like Spotify and Netflix.
Specs and pricing
Surface Go sounds great, but depending on what you’re looking for, the devil is definitely in the details. Here’s the full list of specs:
- OS: Windows 10 Home in S mode (consumers), Windows 10 Pro configurable to S mode (commercial)
- Dimensions: 9.6 inches x 6.9 inches x .33 inches (245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm)
- Mechanical features: Magnesium body, kickstand with full-friction multiposition hinge to 165 degrees, magnetic attach for keyboard fold stability
- Color: Platinum
- Physical buttons: volume, power
- Weight: 1.15 lbs.
- Screen: 10-inch PixelSense Display
- Resolution: 1800×1200 (217 PPI)
- Aspect Ratio: 3:2 Touch: 10-point multi-touch
- Processor: Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
- Memory: 4GB/8GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
- Storage: 64GB eMMC, 128GB/256GB Solid State Drive
- Security: Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in TPM 2.0 for enterprise security
- Network: Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatible, Bluetooth Wireless 4.1 technology, LTE Optional
- Cameras: 5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video, 8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video
- Audio: Dual microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
- Ports: USB Type C, Surface Connect, MicroSDXC card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope
- Power supply: 24 W power supply
One thing worth noting that doesn’t come across in the specs: The Surface Go’s glass trackpad is bigger than on the Surface Pro. This is because the company acknowledges that finding the cursor on a smaller screen is that much harder.
The entry-level Surface Go (4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage) sells for $399, while the next step up (8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage) costs $549. The 256GB configuration does not yet have a price tag.
Again, the Surface Go doesn’t come with a keyboard. You have to buy a Surface Go Type Cover (black) for $99 or a Signature Type Cover with Alcantara (Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, or Platinum) for $129. Just remember that Alcantara stains easily.
If you want a Surface Pen as well, you’ll have to pony up another $100. Microsoft today also unveiled the Surface Mobile Mouse with Bluetooth pairing for $35.
The Surface Go may start at $399, but you can easily spend hundreds more if you add crucial functionality like a keyboard, more RAM, and extra storage. It can cost double the starting price if you also go for optional accessories like a pen and mouse.
Target audience and availability
So who is the Surface Go for? Well, given the starting price point, anyone on the move, really. But Microsoft is specifically targeting first-line workers, teachers, and students.
And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a lower entry point for the Surface product lineup. Speaking of which, here is how the lineup will stand starting on August 2:
- Surface Go: Starting at $399
- Surface Pro: Starting at $799
- Surface Laptop: Starting at $999
- Surface Book: Starting at $1,499
- Surface Studio: Starting at $2,999
You can preorder Surface Go today in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Taiwan, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Malaysia, and Thailand. Other countries will be able to preorder a bit later: Japan on July 11, Singapore and Korea on August 2, China on August 8, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain on September 12, and finally in India on October 2.