Microsoft unveils its new Surface Go tablet

Microsoft unveils its £380 Surface Go ‘iPad killer’ featuring a 10-inch screen, 9 hours of battery life, redesigned keyboard and USB-C port

  • Surface Go is a smaller, cheaper alternative to Microsoft’s flagship Surface Pro
  • The new tablet works with Surface Pen stylus, and a redesigned keyboard cover
  • Surface Go is available to pre-order today and starts shipping on August 2nd

Microsoft has taken the wraps off its iPad ‘Killer’ — the Surface Go.

The new tablet is a smaller, cheaper alternative to its popular Surface Pro device.

Surface Go boasts a 10-inch touchscreen, nine hours of battery life, front-facing camera with facial recognition login, and USB-C port for charging and data transfers.

Like previous devices in the Surface tablet range, the new device is compatible with the Surface Pen stylus to make annotations and doodles on-screen.

Microsoft redesigned its detachable keyboard cover to increase the size of the glass trackpad and accommodate the keys into the tablet’s smaller form-factor.

The Surface Go will be available to pre-order later today for $399 (£379.99) in 21 countries worldwide, including the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, and Australia. 

The first devices will start to ship globally early next month, Microsoft has confirmed.

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Surface Go weighs in at 1.15 lbs (0.5kg), which is a little heavier than comparable iPad tablets, but around half a pound (0.2kg) lighter than the entry-level Surface Pro  

The latest entry in the Surface tablet range has the same signature kickstand, which can be adjusted 165-degrees to find the ideal viewing angle for the 10-inch touchscreen display 

From the outside, the Surface Go looks almost identical to its more powerful sibling, Surface Pro, which starts from $799 (£799) and tops-out at $2,699 (£2,419).

Microsoft has kept the industrial design extremely similar between the two tablets, with the 3:2 aspect ratio of the display, the signature kickstand to adjust viewing angles, and proprietary magnetic Surface Connector port for charging and connecting to a desktop dock, all remaining intact on the new cheaper model.

One key difference is the addition of a USB-C port – a first for the Microsoft-built tablet range – which is capable of charging Surface Go, as well as outputting video and data connections.


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Completing the line-up of ports, the latest Microsoft tablet also has a headphone jack, and MicroSD card reader for additional storage and data transfers.

The Surface Go weighs in at 1.15 lbs (0.5kg), which is a little heavier than comparable iPad tablets, but around half a pound (0.2kg) lighter than the entry-level Surface Pro.

Despite its lighter frame, the Surface Go still boasts a nine-hour battery life, according to the company’s own estimates.

For comparison, Apple claims up to 10 hours battery life for its similarly-priced iPad.

Out of the box, Surface Go runs Windows 10 Home in S Mode – a more restrictive version of the operating system that prevents users from changing the default web browser from Microsoft Edge, and only allows applications downloaded from the Windows Store to run on the device.

Windows 10 S can be swapped to the fully-featured Windows 10 Pro at any time for free, however, those who upgrade should be aware that the process is difficult to reverse.

Microsoft says its Signature Type Cover offers users a ‘laptop-class typing’ experience, thanks to the scissor mechanism beneath the keys and 1mm (0.03-inch) of travel

HOW DOES THE SURFACE GO COMPARE AGAINST THE iPAD?

Microsoft’s all-new Surface Go tablet is a smaller, more affordable alternative to its flagship Surface Pro. 

The 10-inch tablet is compatible with a redesigned, detachable keyboard cover for word processing, as well as the Surface Pen stylus.

Surface Go starts from $399 (£300) for the entry-level model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of in-built storage, which makes it comparable to the 9.7-inch iPad.


Microsoft Surface Go is a cheaper alternative for those who don’t want to spend $799 (£799) on the flagship Surface Pro two-in-one device. Apple recently updated its entry-level tablet, the 9.7-inch iPad, to support input from its Apple Pencil stylus 

Apple updated the iPad to bring support for the Apple Pencil earlier this year, adding the ability to draw and annotate notes on the $329 (£319) tablet.

Unlike the iPad Pro range, Apple does not sell its own detachable keyboard cover for the entry-level tablet, however, it does market the device on its ability to work with third-party solutions.

 

Price 

Screen Size

Screen Resolution

Processor 

RAM

In-built Storage

Battery Life

Stylus Compatibility

Keyboard

Operating System

Availability  

Surface Go 

Starts from $399 (£380)

10-inch (25.4cm)

1800 x 1200 pixels

Intel Pentium Gold 

4GB or 8GB

 64GB or 128GB

Up To 9 Hours

Yes, Surface Pen (£100)

Yes, Surface Type Cover 

Windows 10 S

Starts Shipping August 2

iPad 9.7-inch

Starts from $329 (£319)

9.7-inch (24.638)

2048 x 1536 pixels

Apple A10

 2GB

 32GB or 128GB

Up To 10 Hours

 Yes, Apple Pencil (£89)

Yes, non-Apple models

Apple iOS 11

Out Now 

Like its predecessors, the Surface Go can be used with an external Type Cover keyboard and stylus.

Microsoft had to redesign its keyboard to compensate for the smaller footprint of the device, bringing the keys much closer to the edge than on previous version of the Type Cover. Like those available for the Surface Pro, the optional keyboard doubles as a cover for the screen when it is folded away. 

Microsoft says its Signature Type Cover, which is available in three colours, offers ‘laptop-class typing’ thanks to the scissor mechanism and 1mm (0.03-inch) of travel. 

Despite the smaller size of the device, Microsoft has managed to increase the size of the glass trackpad included on the redesigned Surface Go keyboard covers, compared to those on the current-generation Type Cover for the Surface Pro.

Adding the keyboard to a new Surface Go will increase the price by $99 (£99) for the plain black colour, or $129 (£129) for the red, blue, or silver Signature Type Cover, which is made with Alcantara fabric.

The Surface Pen stylus, which supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, will add another $99 (£99.99) to the price of the tablet.

The Surface Go is powered by the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor, coupled with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of in-built storage.

The Intel-built processor is a dual-core seventh-generation model, which Microsoft chose because of its balance between performance, battery life, and thermal properties that enabled a fanless design.

For comparison, the processor inside the new Surface offers a similar level of performance as found in most Google Chromebooks in the same price range.

Microsoft will initially release Wi-Fi only versions of its new Surface Go, with a model equipped with LTE mobile data connectivity scheduled to launch later this year.

The touchscreen display on the Surface Go has a 1800 x 1200 pixel resolution, which isn’t quite as sharp as either the 9.7-inch iPad (2048×1536) or the flagship Microsoft Surface Pro (2736 x 1824).

Like previous devices in the Surface tablet range, Microsoft sells a detachable keyboard which connects to the device with magnets, as well as a Surface Pen stylus to annotate on the display

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay announced the Surface Go in a blog post on the company website, writing: ‘As you pursue your passions, connect with friends and family, and work with your team, the products you’re able to take on the go with you are the ones that can keep up with the huge range of things you want to accomplish.

‘This is true whether you’re a parent and a product-maker like me or a student and amateur photographer like my daughter.

‘That’s the idea behind the design of Surface Go – our smallest, lightest, and most affordable Surface yet. When we designed this device, we had to ask ourselves what people want and need from a 10” Surface.

‘The answers seem obvious – lightweight, productive, and accessible to more people. I’m pumped to introduce you to Surface Go, because it’s all those things, and so much more.’

The Surface Go will be available to pre-order later today for $399 (£379.99) the UK, Ireland, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft will open pre-orders for customers in Japan, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and China.

The first tablets will start to ship on August 2 2018, Microsoft has confirmed.

 

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