Why the Surface Go is a Surface No

Microsoft released the Surface Go on 2nd August 2018, with mixed results. Some people love the smaller form factor and the media consumption offering. Other people hate the slow processor, limited RAM, and small onboard storage. We reveal why the Surface Go is a Surface No.

Surface Go

As an extension of the Surface family, the Surface Go makes sense. It boasts similar features to the full size Surface in a smaller package, with a power-efficient processor and better battery life.

It brings a brilliant PixelSense screen, with touch, pen, and ink capabilities. It brings a Windows Hello camera system, a front-facing camera, and a rear camera. It brings Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, a Surface Connect port, and compatibility with a range of Surface accessories, including the Surface Dock, Surface Pen, and Surface Dial. It brings a long-awaited new feature in the form of an onboard USB-C port, and retains a headphone jack in an era where they are fast disappearing.

While compatibility is great, the purchase price of the Surface Go does not include the Surface Pen, Keyboard, or Mouse.

Along with the more portable smaller screen size, it requires a smaller keyboard cover.

Surface No

Starting at AU$599, the 10" Surface Go seems like great value, until you dig into the technical specifications.

Powered by a limp Pentium Gold processor and 4GB of RAM, the base model has just 64GB of onboard storage, most of which is taken up by Windows 10 S. That 64GB of disk space is slow eMMC storage.

The next model up solves some of these problems, increasing the onboard storage to 128GB of NVME storage, 8GB of RAM, and keeping Windows 10 S and the same Pentium Gold processor. However, stepping up to this model requires lightening your wallet to the tune of a hefty AU$839.

The last time I bought anything with a Pentium processor, it was 1993.

Storage can be added via the SDXC card slot.

On top of the purchase price of the base AU$599 or the better AU$839 model, you still need to bring your own keyboard, or buy the Surface Go Type Cover at AU$199.95.

At this point, the value proposition is getting out of control.

Base AU$599 + Type Cover AU$199.95 = AU$798.95

or AU$839 + Type Cover AU$199.95 = AU$1038.95

Now you're stepping in to quality laptop territory, where you can get a much better processor, more RAM, an included keyboard and trackpad, a bigger screen, more ports, and better overall experience.

Bring it home, or leave it at the store?

Bring it home:

Bring it home if you really must have a Windows 10 tablet for media consumption. The Surface Go is a great size and weight, has an amazing screen, touch and pen input, a great inking experience, good battery life, and acceptable performance for light use. Add the Type Cover if you can't live with the on-screen keyboard.

Leave it at the store:

Leave it at the store if you're an Excel expert, a multi-tasking business customer, a professional of any kind, a content creator, video editor, photo editor, audio producer, podcaster, PowerPoint slide deck genius, or like using all the tricks and advanced features in Word in your home or business documents. The slow processor, limited RAM, slow storage, and sad performance of the base model will have you screaming like Ariana Grande. Even the higher spec model with faster NVME storage and 8GB of RAM is still held back by the anemic Pentium Gold processor.


Surface Go


Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas


XYZ Media Group

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