Mi­crosoft Sur­face Go

Is this the Win­dows tablet that can fi­nally tackle the iPad?

APC Australia - - Contents -

“The Go is just gor­geous in ev­ery­day use. The dis­play is in­cred­i­bly colour-ac­cu­rate, and movies and im­ages look fan­tas­tic on it. ”

Mi­crosoft’s Sur­face Go, its lat­est tablet that aims to be a smaller and more af­ford­able Sur­face Pro is fi­nally here. The Sur­face Go doesn’t bring about any ma­jor sur­prises, but per­haps that’s a good thing.

What you see here is what should have been the core con­ceit of ev­ery small Win­dows tablet since the be­gin­ning: ev­ery­thing you love about the Sur­face Pro, only smaller. No half-baked op­er­at­ing sys­tems — though this model does ship with Win­dows 10 in S Mode — and no strange app com­pat­i­bil­ity is­sues. It’s just a smaller Sur­face that works.

Of course, there were some cuts to be made to cre­ate a Sur­face tablet of this size, namely in the power depart­ment, but your ex­pec­ta­tions should scale ac­cord­ingly. Depend­ing on your needs, the Sur­face Go could eas­ily be your daily driver for ev­ery­thing from work to watch­ing movies.

The con­fig­u­ra­tion we re­viewed (the most pow­er­ful ver­sion with 128GB eMMC of stor­age and 8GB of RAM) costs $839, and it’s the most pow­er­ful ver­sion that Mi­crosoft of­fers. Mean­while, the start­ing model goes for $599, with 64GB of stor­age and 4GB of mem­ory, while the rest of the specs re­main the same. An­noy­ingly, Mi­crosoft con­tin­ues to sell the tablet’s all-but-essen­tial ac­ces­sories sep­a­rately. The Sur­face Pen goes for $139, while the new Al­can­tara fab­ric Type Cov­ers de­signed for Sur­face Go ask for $199, or the stan­dard black ny­lon Type Cover for $149.

DE­SIGN

At first glance, the Sur­face Go ap­pears sim­ply to be the Sur­face Pro shrunken down, and that’s largely true — ex­cel­lent kick­stand and all.

The first ma­jor hint to­ward the Sur­face Go’s in­tended au­di­ence is the round­ing of the edges and an­gles that Mi­crosoft has ap­plied to the de­vice. Gone are the stark, an­gled edges of the Sur­face Pro.

The ex­cel­lent hinge re­turns and can bend nearly 180 de­grees like be­fore, mak­ing this de­vice an ideal can­vas for dig­i­tal draw­ing and note tak­ing.

Mi­crosoft still man­aged to cram a USB-C port and mi­croSD card reader in here. This means that not only can this tablet’s stor­age be ex­panded, but it has two ways to hard­wire a dock and ex­pand displays, thanks to the main­stay Sur­face Con­nect port.

As for the new, smaller Type Cover, Mi­crosoft man­ages to de­liver full­sized keys (now with more pro­nounced curves) within a smaller amount of space, and has in­cluded a glass track­pad that’s larger in depth than that of the Sur­face Pro. All told, the Type Cover feels just as snappy as it has be­fore — we would say ‘only smaller,’ but it doesn’t feel that much more cramped when typ­ing. That said, you will need to get used to a slightly tighter typ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially when the de­vice is on your lap.

DIS­PLAY

Mi­crosoft’s screen con­tin­ues to be top notch on the Sur­face Go. At 1,800 x 1,200

pix­els, it’s not the sharpest 10-inch tablet dis­play by a long shot, with the lat­est iPad com­ing in at 2,048 x 1,536 pix­els. Re­gard­less, the Go is just gor­geous in ev­ery­day use. The dis­play is in­cred­i­bly colour-ac­cu­rate, and movies and im­ages look fan­tas­tic on it. That 3:2 as­pect ra­tio is great for work and web brows­ing, but gives full-screen 16:9 videos the shaft with wasted space.

Like most tablets, the bezels around the dis­play are par­tic­u­larly large, but that’s to al­low for grip­ping the de­vice from any side with­out in­ter­act­ing with any on-screen con­tent.

The Go’s speak­ers re­side within those bezels on both sides of the screen. For such tiny driv­ers, th­ese speak­ers sound sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful, deep and nu­anced in the amount of chan­nel sep­a­ra­tion they can de­liver.

Be­fore get­ting too deep into de­tails just yet, let’s make it clear that you gen­er­ally shouldn’t buy a tablet or lap­top for this price and ex­pect a pow­er­house. You’ll get some­thing com­pe­tent enough to han­dle ba­sic work­loads and ca­sual games, and the Sur­face Go does that, but not much more.

The Sur­face Go, with its In­tel Pen­tium Gold pro­ces­sor, can han­dle ba­sic browser-based work­loads, like word pro­cess­ing and con­tent man­age­ment, as well as the suite of Of­fice 365 apps, with ease. How­ever, don’t ex­pect this pro­ces­sor to han­dle high­res­o­lu­tion im­age or video edit­ing and ren­der­ing in the same way that a proper lap­top does.

The CPU in­side em­ploys In­tel’s HD Graph­ics 615, which isn’t far off from the in­te­grated graph­ics in­side the In­tel pro­ces­sors used in gam­ing lap­tops. This al­lows for some sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful 3D ren­der­ing, to the point that Minecraft runs like a dream on the tablet. Fur­ther­more, ed­u­ca­tion apps that use 3D mod­el­ing — par­tic­u­larly in the sci­ence field — run with­out is­sue here, as does Mi­crosoft’s Paint 3D tools.

The lat­est iPad ousts the Sur­face Go in pure speed tests, but the Sur­face Go is a far more ver­sa­tile de­vice — even in Win­dows 10 S Mode. Speak­ing of which, un­less you’d like to keep your de­vice on lock­down for se­cu­rity or sim­plic­ity rea­sons, just up­grade to Win­dows 10 Home for free once you get this de­vice.

BAT­TERY LIFE

Mi­crosoft prom­ises up to nine hours of con­tin­u­ous use from the Sur­face Go. Shock­ing no one, those aren’t the num­bers we could re­pro­duce in our test­ing, but they’re not aw­ful. What’s weirder is how we’ve found the de­vice to ac­tu­ally last longer in Win­dows 10 Home than in S Mode.

The dif­fer­ence in our tests is less than an hour, and at any rate, ex­pect the Sur­face Go to last around six hours on a charge, and per­haps a bit longer if the Bat­tery Saver fea­ture is used.

The Sur­face Go may very well be a niche de­vice, but it’s one that’s only grow­ing. While you could re­duce the Sur­face Go to be­ing just a smaller Sur­face Pro, the truth of the mat­ter is that the mar­ket is trend­ing to­ward smaller and smaller com­put­ing de­vices.

Yes, there are still no ac­ces­sories in­cluded, it’s tech­ni­cally less pow­er­ful than the new iPad and that screen could be sharper. But this is still a com­pelling op­tion, and one that’s truly a com­puter in ev­ery sense of the word.

WIN­DOWS TABLET

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