It’s only been a few days since we heard a rumor that Microsoft might be launching the cheapest Surface tablet yet, and here it is. Microsoft unveiled their Surface Go, early this morning, and it will only cost you $399. It’s a Windows 10 S tablet that’s supposed to compete directly with Apple’s cheapest iPad and all fo the Chromebooks out there. As far as the specs go, it looks pretty good. It has an 1800 x 1200, 10″ PixelSense Display, making it Microsoft’s smallest Surface yet. It’s also extremely thin and weighs just 1.15 pounds. The device is supposed to offer you quick access to a Windows 10 experience – regardless of where you’re using it. Meaning, if you’re using the tablet, they want you to have the same experience as you would if you were using the full Windows 10 operating system.
The one major drawback is the fact that it doesn’t have the fastest processor around. This is definitely going to limit what it can do, but the 7th generation, Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y does allow for a fanless design, which should be enough to run Microsoft Office and let you browse the web. According to Microsoft, you should also be able to use it for about 9 hours on one battery charge. This is decent for a tablet.
On the plus side, it has a lot more ports than the iPad it’s directly competing with. There is a Surface Connect port for charging and docking, as well as a USB-C 3.1 for data and charging as well as a microSD card reader. While it costs a bit more than the $329 iPad, with the Surface Go, you get 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage, as well as wifi. If you want to pay $150 more, you will get 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage. It’s estimated that an LTE version should be available this year.
The Go’s 3:2 touchscreen should make it easy to use in landscape mode for productivity work, and it supports all of the split-screen and multitasking modes available in Windows 10. It will be a little more awkward to use in portrait orientation than the iPad, but it’s still better than tablets with extra-wide 16:9 displays. Like the Surface Pro, the Go has rather large bezels surrounding the screen, which seem even larger with the Go’s smaller display. The bezels do provide a place to hold the tablet and allow for a wider keyboard attachment, but they also make it look much more dated compared to the latest versions of the iPad.
Also, like the Surface Pro, the Surface Go has an optional keyboard cover (available in four colors) and works with the optional Surface Pen. Microsoft says the Surface Go Signature Type Cover provides “laptop-class typing” with a scissor-key mechanism and 1mm of key travel. The trackpad is actually larger than the trackpad on the current Type Cover for the Surface Pro.
This definitely does seem like a contender for the $329 iPad from a tablet perspective. I still think that people who buy Apple will continue to buy Apple, regardless. But there are people who will buy an iPad just because they want a tablet. Now there is a more economical tablet, that might be in-line with what they are accustomed to.