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Surface Go 1 Year Later: Still Relevant?

Is there still a market for the Surface Go?

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I’ve had my personal Surface Go for more than one year and shared my thoughts why I chose the Surface Go over the Pro. I’m sure some of you have contemplated that question and still to this day, I would make the same decision again and again. It’s not for everyone, but the Go has it’s own appeal. You can learn more about the pros and cons by reading ‘Why I choose Surface Go and NOT Surface Pro‘ article I did back in the day.

Since then, two generations of the Go have passed by, aptly named ‘Surface Go 2‘ and.. you guessed it, ‘Surface Go 3‘. So how does the Surface Go first generation fare one year later? How different are the generations of the Go? And more importantly, is the Surface Go still relevant in the lineup for consumers? Here are my humble thoughts on the matter.

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Surface Go 1 Year Later

There’s a 64GB / 4GB and 128GB / 8GB RAM Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y configuration and I opted for the latter for better futureproofing as the 128GB storage uses an SSD versus the eMMC of the 64GB which is much slower to access and the extra RAM gives you more leeway to run multiple programs without slowdown or more intensive tasks (within expectations).

1 year later, the original Surface Go has held up really well, feeling as fast as the beginning, and everything fully operational as you’d expect or hope. Within the realms of productivity and media consumption, I’d had it connected to my monitor and TV and notice no slowdowns – not as fast and snappy as the big brother’s of the Surface Laptop, Pro, Studio, Book and X, naturally – but for it’s specs, satisfying in what it produces.

It handles light photo editing software nicely with the limitations being fast brush strokes drawing with the pen, several adjustments and layers, and more advanced photo editing features. But batch photos open to edit or one at a time and you can tweak on the fly pretty smoothly.

Productivity is one of it’s strengths so doing any document, excel work while travelling is a breeze, especially as you can ditch a bigger laptop. Battery life is one of it’s lesser strengths since it tops out around the 4- hours and less depending on how hard your pushing it. Not great as a tablet form factor, but the ease of connecting a powerbank through USB C makes charging convenient and means you don’t need to find a nearby wall socket to charge. Battery still fares around that and it could be better, but isn’t a big deal considering that.

It still runs Windows 10, the hinge stand operates as sturdy as ever with the flexibility to angle the Surface Go flat when I feel like drawing. Apps like Netflix works a treat with no hiccups. As a portable media consumption and adept productivity device, it ticks all the boxes you’d want to do while packaged in a thin and light tablet PC. So far so good 1 year later.

Surface Go 1 vs 2 vs 3

Credit: MyNextTablet

2 generations after the original Surface Go, there honestly hasn’t been that much more different than the original. It’s largely been very iterative as I’m sure Microsoft don’t want to eat into the sales of the more expensive and more powerful Surface models like the Pro, X, and Laptop. The differences however are welcome and addressed a few qualms I had about the original Go, such as reducing the outdated bezels a little, and squeezing in an extra half inch in screen estate.

The iterations keep up to date with the latest processors, and thankfully , included faster processors that bring justice to the Go line in being a genuinely competent portable tablet PC in the entry range. Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y was a good start and from my experience shows how capable it actually is. People attracted by it’s travel-friendly size but put-off by the lack of power will find the Surface Go 2 and Surface Go 3 very promising, especially as Microsoft upgrade the Go with much needed boost with the Core m3 and faster Core i3 in the latest iteration.

These are a step above the Intel Pentium Gold processors by quite a margin, so it’ll be a nice boost to productivity performance – it’ll feel snappier, responsive and less delay from your clicks, interactions and actions. Bear in mind these are for computing tasks and not graphical improvements, featuring the same integrated graphics Intel HD 615 which is enough, but limited.

Besides the slight bezel reduction, and faster processors with an ounce of more batter life, that’s kind of it. There’s no further dramatic bezel decrease or increased screen to body ratio, still the same single USB-C port, same hinge stand, same cameras, same microSD expansion and same hardware. Have you missed much? Not really. Are the upgrades an improvement? Over the original Surface Go? Yes. Could they have done more? 100% yes. It’s due a hardware refresh, could include another USB-C port, upgraded cameras, and more colourways.

Is Surface Go still relevant?

Considering the wider Surface range from Microsoft, some may question the Surface Go’s relevance, as the range covers across the entire spectrum. We now have a Surface Laptop Go – the portable, cheaper version of the Surface Laptop that sits alongside the Surface Go – Pro 8, Pro X, Laptop Studio. It’s pretty wide and can be confusing, while sometimes eating into the proposition of other Surface devices with it’s intended price point and proposition.

Thankfully, it’s less confusing in the entry level, with the Surface Go and the Laptop Go the only two making Surface devices more affordable. You can absolutely get away with the 64GB / 4GB RAM and still have a smooth experience, just with more limitations on how far you can push them but they will absolutely work. The Go is intended as a tablet first with the ability to become a PC as you connect the typecover keyboard, while the Laptop Go are for those who prefer a traditional laptop which is more sturdier.

The Surface Go fulfills my needs and with expectations in check, is an excellent primary, secondary travel-friendly device to just get stuff done, or when you want to cosy up in bed and watch. The Surface Go is especial great while flying as they fit on the tray, very light and thin to carry so you can travel minimally.

Surface Go 1 or 2 or 3?

Between the models, the Surface Go 2 is absolutely fine to choose if you can find a good deal. The processor upgrade is very small compared to the ump from the two, shares the same display size and quality as the 3rd gen. The Surface Go 3 is if you want the latest, but then I would question for the price if the Pro is better suited or the Go 3, in which you should watch my video where I explain the difference.

The Surface Go 1 works great for me but the upgrades are worth it from the Go 2. Sadly, Windows 11 has a hardboarder on the minimum requirements which stops the 1st gen Go from being eligible to upgrade, while the Go 2 can upgrade and the Surface Go 3 naturally has it fresh when you buy it.

Price

The Surface Go 3 starts at $399 for the Intel Pentium 6500Y 64GB eMMC/ 4GB RAM, $549 128GB SSD/ 8GB RAM and $629 Intel Core i3 128GB SSD / 8GB RAM. That does not include the $129 Typecover keyboard or $99 Surface Pen, although you may find a bundle that makes it cheaper. If you can find the Surface Go 2 far cheaper than the Go 3, you can happily go for that. I’d wait for a bundle or seasonal offers on the Go 3, as it is still very expensive compared to others out there: you really want the Go range for it’s small frame and easy to travel convenience. Otherwise the Pro is a better balance if you need far more power and still want something portable… just not as portable as the Go.

All in all, I’m still very happy with my original Surface Go so if you are interested in either of the two models after, I’m sure you’ll be even more happier with the later models, especially as they can run Windows 11 and offer more performance. Can’t decide whether you should go for the Pro or Go? Sound off in the comments below!

Please consider supporting my work by contributing any amount as low as $1. This helps to maintain my website costs, development, creation efforts and putting food on the table. Your support is very much appreciated. Keep being awesome! Donate to support my platforms