The Surface Go review

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Ah yes, the Surface Go. Launched here and then slammed by me here, I always knew that the USA would get it first, so I haven't tried too desperately to get a review computer here in the UK (it's still slated for the 23rd August at earliest). And indeed, Windows Central's USA-based team has had a loan Surface Go for a while, with Dan's review now up. See below.

Yes, this isn't Windows 10 Mobile, but it's still very much of interest in terms of Microsoft and Windows UWP applications on a smallish, portable device. So, with that, here's part of Daniel Rubino's summary of the Surface Go:

The combination of the Pentium processor, HD 615 graphics, and fast SSD resoundingly make the Surface Go an enjoyable experience even for those accustomed to Core i5 or Core i7 laptops. While you will not want to edit a 4K video on this and high-level gaming is out of the question, using the Surface Go for everyday tasks like email, inking, web browsing, watching movies and more was excellent.

Battery life is also surprising. If you can pull seven or more hours out of the Surface Go and combine it with its multiple ways to recharge, then it's a good experience.

Now toss in things like a highly precise Surface Pen inking experience, the ability to use this as an e-reader (Microsoft Edge), Windows Hello, a 165-degree kickstand, microSD expansion, and an enjoyable (if cramped) typing experience and the Surface Go is a radically different value compared to the Surface 3 just three years ago (it's now $100 cheaper).

Nothing about Surface Go makes you think Microsoft cut corners – quite the opposite, in fact. Putting that SSD and a slightly more color accurate display than Surface Pro is surprising. It reinforced the observation that with each release the Surface team gets more and more right.

That leads to what's wrong with Surface Go? Not much. There is the obvious question if you need a 10-inch Windows PC, or if you are OK with the cramped nature of typing or a small display. But these are low-hanging complaints. Any full-keyboard on a 10-inch PC is going to be small, but considering the restrictions this is still an excellent keyboard. Thunderbolt 3 would have been icing on the cake but for this pricepoint, its absence is only slightly dissapointing.

Pricing is also an easy target, but Surfaces have always been more expensive than similar options. Ironically, there are not too many alternatives to Surface Go, at least ones that are drastically cheaper.

The Surface Go ships with Windows 10 Home in S-mode. That limits you to installing apps only from the Microsoft Store instead of potentially dangerous .exe files off the internet that can break or slow down your PC. But that's an easy fix. Head to the Store and type in "switch out of S mode" and five seconds later you have full Windows 10 Home (you don't even need to reboot).

All very interesting. I'd still like to try the Surface Go at some point, even if belatedly compared to those in the USA. My initial design complaints still stand, of course, but maybe I might be turned round. Maybe. I think I'd need the LTE version though, and I'd be investigating trying to do everything I currently do on a Lumia on the device. Which may be a tall order....

The need to go for the 8GB RAM/SSD model, plus the need for the keyboard puts this well up beyond £600 in the UK, so it's not quite the bargain that some might make out. The switch out of 'S mode' is also interesting and I think I'd try to resist this, since going all in with the Store and UWP apps is very tempting. Yet there will always be 'that one Win32 app' that needs running, so you switch out of S mode and then... you're stuck with the full version. As I understand it you can't easily switch back! 


PS. Daniel also shot a video review, so I've embedded that below as well:

Source / Credit: WC