Microsoft Surface Go Review – $400 Entry Level Surface Windows 10 Tablet
You fly inside banan we’re, taking a look today at a new tablet from Microsoft. This is the surface go. It is a full Windows. 10, PC in a 10 inch form factor, as you can see here, a little thicker than an iPad, but it’s running with the full version of Windows 10 and will run just about any Windows application that you throw at it we’re going to be looking at the ‘9 version today, which is the entry level device with four gigs of RAM and 64 gigs of storage. They have another one for 549 with the same processor, but it has more RAM and storage. What we always like to look at the low end to see what that gets. You so we’re going to be putting this thing through its paces here in just a second, but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds, along with the keyboard and the pen and everything Else, so all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own. Nobody is paying for this review and no one has reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded, so let’s get into it now and see what this new tablet is all about. So let’s take a closer look now at the hardware, a really nice feeling in the hand they’ve been using this magnesium on the back of these devices for a while, and it gives it a very sturdy feel but it’s very lightweight and it’s.
Not all that cool to the touch either, so it feels really nice in the hand the front of it reminds me a lot of the older iPads with the thicker bezels. One reason why you have the thick bezels on here is that there’s a place to rest. Your thumb, but they could have made the screen bigger if they got smarter about how they adjust those bezels on it. So what happens here with these Windows devices is that I can certainly scroll the screen here if my thumb is off the screen. But if I happen to rest my thumb here, it gets confused, as you can see here so that’s why the bezels are as big as they are. So it does look a little dated on the front here, but the other sides of the device here look pretty modern and fresh. It has a signature kickstand, just like all of the other surface devices have. So if you want to go flush to the device here and carry it around, you can do that, but you can also put it out like so and adjust it any which way you want. The kickstand typically stays in place. So you can get a really good adjustment here and you can go down to about that level which is good for when you’re dry with the pen and speaking of pens. You have some accessories, so you can get the Microsoft Surface pen for another hundred dollars for another hundred dollars.
On top of that, you can get the keyboard and they have a couple different keyboards. The black one here is the least expensive of the bunch. It costs 99, they have a few others that are pretty much the same, but with a different material. Those go for a little bit more than that, but you can basically turn it into a little laptop. It actually works pretty well on the lap, even with the kickstand here, so I was able to do that a little bit earlier and was pleased with that. The keyboard is also backlit. So when you are in the dark, you can see the keys, which was a surprise on something so small. The trackpad here feels pretty nice, and the funny thing, though, is that, because this reminds me so much of the iPad I used to use I’m, always touching. The screen versus using the trackpad, but the trackpad is pretty responsive. The keys, though, are a little on the small side for me, so you might have a little bit of getting used to with this, especially if you plan to do a lot of typing, but of course you can always connect up a Bluetooth keyboard with larger keys. If you want it, when you do have the device folded up here, it looks very nice and the keyboard doesn’t add that much bulk to the package here overall, so they’ve really put together a pretty nice little all inclusive device here that can give you the keyboard That you want, but also the tablet you might want at other times and when you’re done with the keyboard, you just attach it and off you go with it now.
The processor in here is actually a pretty nicely performing chip. It is a KB Lake processor, so it’s based off the designs that we see usually on you, know kind of higher end laptops, and this is a kb lake, 4, 4, 1 v, pentium processor it’s the 4 for 1 5. Why this model again has 4 gigs of ram and 64 gigs of emmc storage, so the storage is a little bit slower than the more expensive device that one at 549 has a 128 gigabyte solid state drive which might give you better performance for loading up applications And that sort of thing, but generally it’s been running pretty nicely for us in the course of all the testing we’ve been doing on it. The display is 1200 by 800 IPs, very nice viewing angles. As you can see here, it just looks really nice. It is very close to the glass so there’s, not really a gap between the glass and the display itself. So that looks really nice to us as we’ve been testing it it’s in a three by two aspect: ratio too. So when you are in landscape mode as I’m in right now, you do you don’t really have the narrow screens that you sometimes get with the sixteen by nine HD devices. So you might have some issues with games conforming to the resolution here, but when you’re in an Excel document or something it’ll, largely replicate the experience you might get on a laptop computer where you’ve got a nice amount of usable screen space when you’re in the landscape Orientation the weight on this is one pound, so it’s very lightweight.
It actually feels really nice for a Windows PC, probably one of the nicest ones I’ve had it’s, actually 1.15 pounds, but close enough to that about 520 grams that’s without the keyboard. If you add the keyboard, it adds a little bit of weight. It goes to 1.7 pounds or 770 grams, so altogether, not all that heavy. The battery life, though, is not quite up to what you would get with an iPad, so we’re, seeing about five to six hours here, doing general kinds of computing tasks less. If you are stressing the processor, more you’ll probably want to keep an eye on things running in the background as well, because this is a Windows laptop and device and it’s possible to install applications that might do some background tasks that might eat into your battery life. You also can, of course, turn the brightness down on the display to squeeze some extra life out of it. So in our testing just doing the kinds of things that normal people do, we were getting again about five to six hours, but there are ways to charge the device relatively quickly. If you need to now, you’ve got a couple of ports here on the side. You’Ve got a headphone microphone jack right here, it’s a combo jack right here is a USB type c connector. This is a full service connector. So if you have a docking station that supports power delivery, you can charge and power the device get video out and then have your data devices work with it all with a single cable.
We have a monitor here in the studio that we use. That supports all of those functions and it’s great you just plug it in with a single cable when you get home and you’re done your keyboard, your mouse, your power, everything just goes in through a single, cable and it’s very convenient and the cool thing about how This works is that you have yourself a nice little secondary display that you can prop up here with the kickstand and get yourself a nicely functioning desktop, set up all with a single cable, which is pretty nice now, when you’re out on the road – and you might Be concerned that somebody might trip over your cable and pull your nice little tablet onto the ground or something you’ve got a magnetic power connector here, so you can choose between powering via USB C or the standard surface connector, and this is magnetic. So if somebody comes by and just rips it out, it doesn’t even move it’s very lightly held in with that magnet there, so it snaps in very securely but is not holding on for dear life, so people will not trip over things and pull your tablet off. The desk, so you have some choices there, not much else, though, for ports you do have a micro SD card slot that’s hiding under the kickstand. So if you want to augment some of that storage, you can do it. You can’t take this thing apart and upgrade it so.
The storage that you purchase is what you’re going to have for life. So you might want to consider that 128 gigabyte version – if you do intend on installing a lot of applications, because you will fill up that 64 gigs. Quite a bit. Speakers are on the front here. So it sounds pretty nice good, stereo separation. You have your volume, rocker and power button over there there’s a camera on the top. Here it will do facial recognition for getting into your device if you wish to do that, that’s an optional thing, but you can do that not a bad little webcam, nothing spectacular! But it’s functional – and you have another functional camera here on the back for taking quick photos or something like that. But this is probably not going to be something you will be taking a lot of artistic photographs with but it’s there if you need it so let’s take a look now at performance and I’ve got Photoshop loaded up here. So we’ll do a quick little photo edit to see how things go. I’Ve got the Microsoft Surface pen out here too. Now I did find that you want to get the pen closer to the screen before you put your wrist down. Otherwise, it will detect your wrist, but once the pen is in range of the screen here, it ignores your wrist and you can lean it up against the display without any problems, and I did find, of course you might want to put the display down like so So that you can get more precision with the pen, so we’re gon na do real quick is a little content aware.
Fill we’ve got a little blemish on my daughter’s shirt here so I’m, just going to circle that do that hit this, and we can see how quickly it processes that out so generally Photoshop should be pretty good on here. I like the fact that you can put the display down like this and really get precise, with your drawing as you’re working on things there. So that’s good, but I did find – and I you know I’m gon na get some hate mail about this. But I did find the Apple pencil experience to be better than the surface pen. Experience has been partly because I think the iPad is better at risk detection. Then these Windows machines are I’ve done a lot of pen on both, and I really do prefer the Apple pencil experience over this, but generally here it works fairly well, once that pen gets closer to the screen here now. Some folks ask me also about video editing on something like this. You can certainly do video editing on a low end machine. I recommend sticking probably to 1080p video without a lot of effects put into place. Editing usually, is pretty smooth on these, but the export is usually what takes a long time. This is a fan ‘less device, meaning that the hotter it gets the slower it will go. We’Ll talk more about its thermal performance in a little bit so generally you’ll be waiting a long time for those videos to get output and you’ll also be waiting a long time.
If you have special effects to render and whatnot so not ideal, but it can do it, I would just do that on the 8 gigabyte version. Things, though, like Microsoft Word and Excel here, do work pretty well. It is, of course, a little clunky to deal with a spreadsheet with your fingers and pen, but you can do it on here. This is certainly not a limitation of this tablet. Every tablet is tough to use spreadsheets with, but you can select a value here. Pull up the on screen keyboard and start changing numbers around if you want so there are some ways you can do some spreadsheets with it and whatnot. They do have a lot of different keyboard options on here, so you can switch to some other keyboard designs. That might be more comfortable to type on on screen, but due to the screen size it’s a little hard to type with two fingers, so you might want to do this thumb key weird thing here. They also have an option to use dictation or handwriting recognition. So I can pull up the keyboard thing here again hit that and now I can start dictating some text and it’s actually pretty good at detecting what I’m saying. So I was pretty impressed with how this dictation feature worked and we’ll turn that off here. They also have a handwriting recognition mode here too. So I can do is go back to here. Select this option and just start writing things out and it will drop those into the text as I go it’s kind of hard to write hasn’t going here, but you get the idea as to how that works.
So you can use your handwriting. You can tap on the keyboard or dictate to it and overall Microsoft Word performance we found on here was decent enough for doing basic tasks even a little bit of light, desktop publishing as well, and we also ran some web browsing tests on it. We were able to load up my youtube channel and playback videos at 60 frames per second at 1080p. Without any issues there browsing the web, we went to nasa.gov, which is pretty multimedia rich, and it was a very nice browsing experience on there. The device supports wireless AC, so generally throughput is pretty good on overall web browsing. So we were pleased with how everything worked on that front and on the browser bench org speedometer test. We got a score of 52 point, one one that’s on the 1.0 version of that test. We got twenty eight point, three five on version two and I wanted to pull up the jumper easy book. X4 that’s one of these overseas laptops that we get in from time to time that costs about the same that this one does you’ll note that that one scored a little better, but that one has four cores versus two on this one. So the two cores on here perform about as well as four cores do on intel’s, lower end processor in the current generation. So all in I’m pretty pleased with the performance that we got out of this little tablet for what it is and I’m pretty comfortable recommending.
It as a web browsing device let’s take a look now at gaming, now begin, first with rocket League and the air. We ran at 1280 by 800 on performance settings and we got between 48 and 60 frames per second, so you could probably actually play a pretty decent game of rocket League on the. If you wanted to, we also ran the java version of minecraft. We got between 35 and 60 frames per second there, but we noticed it was inconsistent and lagged. Sometimes, especially when scenes got more complex. We also ran half life 2. We went to the highest resolution option we could 1650 by 1050 and we were seeing frame rates between 60 and 80 frames per second there. Now we did try to play the game of the hour fortnight on here, but unfortunately it did not run very well. It crashed quite a bit when we did get it running, it would be very laggy and not all that responsive even at the absolute lowest settings. It could be a function of the fact that this is the 4 gigabyte model, but by and large this is really not something I’m going to recommend for people looking to play fortnight on a tablet. But one thing that did run very well on here was the dolphin GameCube emulator right now, it’s running at 100, which means that we’re getting the same framerate you’d have on the original console. This is at its lowest settings here.
This is very similar to some performance. We’Ve seen on other Intel devices too, with this similar architecture. So I was quite pleased to see the dolphin performance on here. You might have to tweak things a little bit to get some of the Wii games to run on it at a decent framerate, but by and large was a pretty good upper end emulation experience here for this one. I did try to get some ps2 games to run on here. I was not able to get those to go at the original framerate, so you might want to tweak those a bit more. I was seeing about 70 to 80 percent of full performance on the games that I tested and on the 3dmark Cloud Gate benchmark test. We got a score of 4154. That puts it well ahead of that jumper easy book x4. We looked at in the last benchmark, especially on its graphics performance. It really blows it out of the water on that. The other thing we looked at was the 3d mark stress test which measures how well the computer does under load because there’s no fan to cool this off, so the hotter it gets the slower it’s going to go so it doesn’t overheat and there we got a Failing grade, but that was expected of 73.5, so that means that you will see, especially in games some thermal rattling we’re over time. You might see the performance drop off as you really tax, the processor and that’s.
Just one of the trade offs you have when you’ve got a tablet device here that doesn’t have any active cooling and we also tested its multimedia performance with a very high end jellyfish test file. This is 140 megabits per second h e b, c10 bit at 4k, and it was able to play it back just fine. That means that anything else you trying to playback on here should work. Just this fine it’s got a decent video, playback performance for Netflix YouTube and all the other stuff that you might want to run on it. So altogether, Microsoft has done an exceptional job. With this tablet. It is not much bigger than an iPad, but you’ve got the full version of Windows running on it. Great display excellent construction. They picked the right processor this time for it to so. It performs really well very few compromises for the size and price point here and I’m really quite pleased with it. What I would recommend doing is going with the more expensive one which has eight gigs of RAM and 128 gigabytes of storage. I think you might get more longevity out of that, as you won’t be hitting a cap of RAM and storage over the next two years or so with it. But if you are on a budget, the four gig one will do fine for a lot of the basic tasks and again that was the one that we reviewed here for this review and my only gripe with this are the screen bezels, and this is not an Aesthetic ripe, it’s more functional because you could put a larger display inside of this device if these bezels were thinner and the way to do that is to get smarter about picking up the thumb here when it’s resting across the bezel.
So you can see here as I’m scrolling it’s kind of confused as to what I’m looking to do and we get up to the top of the screen there. It thinks I’m actually zooming in so that’s. One thing Apple does better, which is knowing what your intent is as a user and because they got so good at that they could make the bezels thinner and just ignore the thumb when its resting kind of on the side of the device. Here, if Microsoft can do that, they can make this screen bigger, but keep it in the same form factor and then it would be a real slam dunk here, but really that is a minor gripe for what is otherwise a really nicely constructed tablet and something that I am very comfortable recommending and I’m going to probably hang on to mine, because I I really like this thing until next time. This is Lyon, Simon, thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters, including gold level supporters, Chris allegretto, the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht bill, Reiner and Kellyanne Kumar.