On July 10, Microsoft debuted the new 10" Surface Go, the smallest and most affordable member of the Surface family - but it's a 'Go', not a 'Pro'.
Commentary - Go not Pro.
For those of you looking for a companion on the bus, train, or bike, to take with you on the go, and get some light online work done, the Surface Go is absolutely ideal.
Put it toe to toe with any Android tablet or any previous-generation iPad, and you have a wonderful piece of hardware running Windows 10 in S Mode. It runs office. It runs all the software you know and love. You can Facebook your life away, Instagram with the cameras, Skype with the mic and speakers, innovate with Windows Ink and the Surface Pen, dial up a range of smiles with the Surface Dial, and keep your cat away with the new Surface Mobile mouse.
Windows 10 in S Mode is secure and gives you access to the Microsoft Store with a range of apps and games, and more and more Android apps are finding their way into the Microsoft Store with Xamarin tools making it easy for developers to convert them over.
It's light and small, with a 10" PixelSense display, and would be the ideal notebook and pen replacement, and will easily outshine an Android tablet or last-gen iPad for getting work done, although some customers may find the lack of games less than thrilling at this stage.
It's not Pro
Here comes the wrath.
The Surface Go is not a smaller Surface Pro - it was never meant to be.
Microsoft designed this to a price point, which unfortunately meant using a Pentium Gold processor, part of Intel's 4th generation range, when new laptops are now using 8th and 9th generation chips. It also only comes with a choice of 4GB or 8GB of RAM.
Why anyone is buying any computer with 4GB of RAM in 2018 is a mystery to me. Yes, the iPhone X has 3GB of RAM. Some Samsung phones have 2GB or 3GB or 4GB of RAM. But this isn't a phone, this is a tablet, and it's a tablet that is meant to be seen as a PC.
The last time I bought a PC with 4GB of RAM was in 2004. It's now 2018.
Even the 8GB version of the Surface Go with the 128GB SSD only scrapes the bottom of the barrel as the bare minimum specification in 2018, and it's the second-tier device, at a higher price, not the entry-level 4GB unit.
It's not intended to be Pro. So go.
Maybe Microsoft never intended the Surface Go to be part of the Surface Pro line-up. Perhaps they created it as an entry-level machine for kids, light web users, content consumers, travellers, and so on.
Perhaps it was envisioned as a second device for Pro users who want to leave their Pro at work and take their Go with them to a meeting to take notes, sketch ideas, update MySpace, and add GIFs to their GeoCities website.
Side Note: I had a GeoCities account and a GeoCities hosted website, in 1993, when I was at school.
Nevertheless, Pro users will love the screen size, love the price, then think twice before actually buying one.
Everyone else will compare it to a Samsung Galaxy Tab or an iPad, look at the (lack of) apps in the Microsoft Store, and choose to buy the Samsung or Apple device.
In both cases, Microsoft has missed the opportunity to sell a device.
Swim in the deep end
Microsoft has never succeeded in the low-end. Look at Danger, Kin, Nokia, Surface RT, 500- and 600- series Lumia phones, the Zune (competing with the Sony Walkman and the iPod).
Even the Surface Studio, which shocked everyone by appearing to be so awesome, failed miserably because it was 3 years old inside before it debuted outside.
Where Microsoft has often succeeded, is in the deep end, the 'high end', with the very successful Surface Pro 4, the Surface Pro (5) without the 5 in its official name, the Xbox One, One S, One X, and the upcoming One X successor.
If you're buying a Surface Go for your child's schoolwork, or if you're a light internet consumer, using email, YouTube, Skype, Office, and a few other things, it's a great device for the entry-level market. Buy it.
If you're expecting it to replace your full-size laptop and go toe-to-toe with a real computer, stop: it wont cut it. Don't buy it.
Until next time,
XYZ Media Group
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