The original Go was a mostly well received addition to the Surface line when it arrived in late 2018. It was a nice pint-size alternative that was positioned fairly well to serve as a secondary device for some. It made the convertible double duty and traveled well, but otherwise lacked courage and versatility.
The Go 2 starts at the height of a global pandemic and is not exactly the device of the moment. After all, the management has made a number of important sacrifices in the name of portability. It is the type of product whose shortcomings you are willing to forgive the ability to have with you wherever you need to be. On the other hand, if you type on my desk at home, these shortcomings will only be highlighted.
Of course, this is not Microsoft's fault, and this, too, will pass away, as we keep saying to ourselves. Between the design of the device and the low starting price of $ 399, the new Go is still best contextualized as a second travel device despite a larger screen and improved specifications. Of course there is nothing wrong with that. It's just worth noting before we go too far that I can't recommend the product as the primary device for most users.
It's also worth noting what you actually get when you buy the $ 399 model. There is no keyboard to begin with. And the keyboard is really right here. After all, this type of convertibility is a big part of the motivation to buy a surface at all. Along with the full Windows 10 experience, you want the productivity that a keyboard requires. That costs $ 99 to $ 129.
The processor upgrade is a difficult pill to swallow. Similar to the MacBook Air that I just tested, the real update of the top-line components mentioned in the press material requires a not unimportant premium. Microsoft has strongly promoted the addition of the eighth-generation Intel core line, which was announced as a contribution to transforming the Go into a real laptop. However, the base level is equipped with the Intel Pentium 4425Y chip, which is much more like the original 4415Y – one of the bigger problems reviewers had when they first went.
Models with the Intel Core M3 start at $ 630 (this price also increases RAM and memory from 4 GB / 64 GB to 8 GB / 128 GB). LTE is also an option now, but this model costs $ 730. Here you can see how things add up pretty quickly. The LTE is certainly not a mandatory update for most users, but I would strongly recommend choosing the M3 if you are looking for something other than the most basic functionality here.
As configured, the system scored 739 and 1540 points in the single and dual core Geekbench 4 tests, which represents a significant increase in performance compared to the previous generation. It's a welcome change that makes a remarkable difference in everyday use – even if you have to pay extra for it. With the upgrade, the Go is becoming the daily driver for some users.
An expansion of the screen from 10 inches to 10.5 inches is also welcome. With this compact size, even half an inch is sufficient. The nicest thing about it is that Microsoft has managed to do so while maintaining a similar space requirement as the original version. If you make the device much larger, you will gradually lose its attractiveness.
The Go maintains the signature stand on the back of the device, rather than relying on the keyboard case. This is useful for those who want to use the tablet without a keyboard. For example, if you position the stand on the device itself, you can use it to watch a movie without the need for accessories.
However, my longstanding complaint about the setup is clear. Trying to use the laptop on your lap, for example, is just too cumbersome. The keyboard flutters around and the tablet never stays fixed. You will spend half of your time positioning it correctly. The typing experience itself is not bad. The Surface is pretty decent in terms of tablet keyboard cases – that is, it won't replace a dedicated laptop, but it works just fine. It's a bit narrow and soft, but nothing you won't get used to after a while.
The port situation still leaves something to be desired. There is a USB-C, a headphone jack and the proprietary Surface Connect connector. It was time to retire the latter a few generations ago. I recognize the desire for backward compatibility, but it's time to add a second USB-C dock in its place. In the meantime, you should invest $ 259 in this new Surface Dock 2.
The accessories and upgrades add up pretty quickly. If you choose the Core M3 Wi-Fi model, buy a keyboard case and the dock. that brings you back $ 1,017. It is a far cry from the $ 399. At this point, it's probably worth looking around to see what the competition offers at this price. If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of functionality to save a few dollars, the Go is still a good choice for those looking for a secondary Windows convertible.