I Got The Surface Go AMA

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I got the Surface Go 8 GB RAM version with type cover and pen.

Ask me your burning questions about this great (so far) little device.

Comments (59)

59 responses to “I Got The Surface Go AMA”

  1. Bill Russell

    Why, would be my question. (just kidding) Well at least is not ARM based. Enjoy it!

    • dave0

      In reply to Bill_Russell:


      All joking aside, its a valid question. I like to travel light, so this allows me to carry a computer at all times without always lugging a backpack around. There are other device options around, but I wanted to give this one a spin. Liking it over carrying my old iPad Mini.


      No regrets, so far.

      • AnOldAmigaUser

        In reply to dave0:

        What do you carry it in?

        I am curious regarding how small it is vis-Ă -vis the Surface Pro. I can see the difference when they are side by side, but how does that translate for carrying it? Would it fit in a sportscoat pocket?

        • dave0

          In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

          It would not fit in a sportscoat pocket (unless you are Shaq). It barely fits in my cargo short (ya, ya, fashion nightmare) pocket comfortably. The weight is good, but the dimensions are awkward.


          I have being carrying it around in this: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B071RXQF3J/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


  2. Lauren Glenn

    Are there a good selections of rugged cases for it and if you have one you like, which one did you choose? I think when I had the Surface 3, I had to get a UAG case... so just wondering if someone had a good one you liked.

  3. JHancox

    How well does it run XCOM Enemy Within?

  4. dave0

    Misc note: Had my first BSoD, smiley face and all. Occurred when connected via USB-C to a projector (HDMI out). Didn't get the brand name of the connector, but I'm will to bet its the culprit.

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to dave0:

      This sounds like the problem I have with my GPD Pocket. It crashes when connecting to my TV using HDMI *unless* I hook it up to the receiver and then to the TV. In a forum, we tracked it down to the audio chipset drivers from Intel. Still no fix. I bet if you had a sound card and made that default and disabled the HDMI audio, it probably wouldn't crash.

  5. Tony Barrett

    I stand by my original estimation - the Surface Go is a compromise device in nearly every respect. It does nothing 'great', and is still very expensive, especially once you add the almost mandatory extra's.

    • skborders

      In reply to ghostrider:

      For some, a compromise device is just what they need. I have a Surface 3 and almost never use the keyboard. If I were to buy a Surface Go, and I may, I would by it without the keyboard and just use the surface Pen.

      • jaredthegeek

        In reply to skborders: I have a 3 and use the pen mostly but also the keyboard quite a bit. Used it getting through my MBA so I would have a light weight portable. I am considering just getting an iPad because the Surface is just a computer. I go back to the lack of applications. I can get past the not great touch input, i just put my scaling up to 175% and it works really well. I used project and some other programs for the MBA that I no longer need to have on my tablet. What I do require is LTE and battery life that is not so terrible. I find that the SP3 ( 4/128/LTE) filled the bill nearly perfectly and perhaps an arm based unit will next generation. I just find the Go a step backwards.


        • skborders

          In reply to jaredthegeek: And that may be the case for me. I have an iPad Air and while the performance and abundance of applications make for a wonderful tablet, my 32 GB of storage is getting full. I am playing with my Surface 3 to determine if I like it better for note taking (I find I remember more if I write it vs type) or not. Battery life is certainly a concern but I am going to wait for the Go with LTE (My current iPad has LTE) and see if they bump the battery or not to decide whether to buy a new iPad and pencil or buy the surface Go.


    • dave0

      In reply to ghostrider:


      This is a tough one for me. If the screen and touch keyboard were ever so slightly bigger it would be the perfect ultra-portable PC. Its great for me, but the keyboard will be a turn-off for many.


      You are 100% correct about the cost. The build quality is luxury all the way, but how many users in the mid range will care?


      I am one of the few who purchased device knowing what the trade-offs will be. I see others bringing the device back to go for a higher level Surface device.

    • Otto Gunter

      In reply to ghostrider: Oh puh-lease, don't tell me how expensive a full-blown quality Windows computer is when people don't even bat an eye at $1000 phones!


      • skane2600

        In reply to Otto_Gunter:

        I think the relative number of people willing to pay 1K or more for a smartphone is pretty small. 1K is well above the average price people play (Unfortunately it's difficult to find a median figure online which would better reflect the price that most people pay.).

  6. Rick Foux

    I'm a little late to the party, I guess, but how is it for reading ebooks (if you have tested that)?


    I'm in the same boat as you and would like one to use as my daily driver, but I'm hoping it's not too heavy for reading.

  7. JustDavid

    I picked one up on Sunday, nice little machine. I am not sure about battery life, but since it is more for a consumption device at home I'll never be far from an electrical outlet. I did upgrade to Windows 10 Pro first thing, then installed the latest Skip Ahead build. I do love the backlit keyboard as I am currently lounging in bed with only the awesome display for lighting. I am an avid reader, and have my libraries in OneDrive, the weight is just right to hold while reading in portrait mode.

  8. kyler

    I bought a Surface Go (8Gb/128Gb, typecover and pen) a week or so ago, with the intent of using it in S mode for as long as I could, mainly to see how far I would get before I hit that "one application" that Paul always refers to. Took less than 6 days, working with Microsoft apps. And the app that killed me? The "one application" that could not work in S mode? Skype for Business - the store app installs no issue but crashed when you started it without error. The web version didn't work, as it had to install a download to work. Using Teams worked for calls and meetings, as long as they are Teams meetings, but if they were initially created as Skype for Business meetings, then they won't work. So - I switched out of S.


    Having said that, I am on the road for 2 weeks and it is my only device, works a treat. I have an external keyboard and mouse that I use for when I am sitting at a desk typing for a length of time and occasionally I have been streaming to a screen via a MS External wireless adapter.


    Wandering around the event at Ignite, it is a great device, light and easy to just pop open and do a quick note.

    • dave0

      In reply to kyler:

      My S mode challenged lasted 20 minutes. I had a work app that needed regular Windows. Thankfully the transition is super simple.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to kyler: I have managed (not really a challenge) to stay in S for months. Even bought the new LTE yesterday and handed the non-LTE to my wife. These are great devices for our needs. The size is the great plus for us. We also have full size Surfaces (Surfii?). That said, when setting up the new LTE, my OneDrive doesn't show support for space-saver, the functionality that works like (but better than) placeholders. Hmm, I would normally just go and install the latest version of OneDrive. Nope, doesn't come from the store. Yea there is a OneDrive app in the store, and it is great, as it can support more than one personal OneDrive (what a stupid restriction on the integrated version, BTW). The store version however is not the one integrated into File Explorer. So, maybe I can get an updated OneDrive by going to 1809. Nope, not offered yet, and the option to force the update available from MS, is....you guessed it, not from the store, so that option is out. So, MS is essentially forcing me off of S to get current functionality out of the OS. This isn't even a app issue. I have zero requirements for apps outside the store (Chrome be damned). I do want OneDrive to work like it should, not forcing me to select, and view, specific folders only, and letting me relocate the location. BTW, my old Go, which I reset and gave to the wife, does support the OneDrive space-saver functionality, so it is available and should have shown up on the brand new LTE Go, but it didn't. So thanks MS for not being consistent on your own hardware, and sabotaging your own S mode OS functionality.


  9. jhuylebroeck

    Could you tell me the impact of the lack of PixelSense Accelerator. If I'm not mistaken it does 2 things:

    1. Improve pen & inking performance
    2. Improve visuals/screen performance
    • dave0

      In reply to jhuylebroeck:

      I'm not an artist in anyway. With that said, for handwriting and basic diagram sketching it has been wonderful. There is a very slight lag between input and results on screen, but its very slight. The small screen size may be an issue for some.

  10. Belralph

    I just picked one up for work with the type cover and a UAG case with hand strap. I got it pretty much for the same reason I have the Surface 3 non-pro at home. It's smaller and a lot lighter than a Pro. We are using it in what we call the "in and out person". This being the person with the tablet that takes your order at In and Out Burger. We have it paired to a Zebra ZQ520 printer and use if for semi trucks shipping/receiving as they cross the weight scales.

    I'm impressed. It feels solid and the type cover seems to have a lot less flex in it, though it is smaller so it should. I like the larger bezel as it gives you something to grab without contacting the touch screen.

    Pairing to the Zebra with bluetooth is a nightmare but I'm not sure who to blame for that. I'm leaning towards Zebra since they took the time to publish the 16 page document required for a working bluetooth connection. There are a lot of pictures but yes 16 PAGES. Works great when connected.

    I was a little concerned about the battery life but it seems ok. We use is from 6:00am to 4:00pm, They are plugging it in intermittently during the day. As far as I know the battery has never been low enough to be an issue. This is maintaining a wifi connection running a custom database front end (written in Clarion of all things).


    This position is only needed for about 5-6 weeks and then I'll get it back an can report further.

  11. BigM72

    Any buyers of the Go got tired/bored of the performance once the novelty wore off?

    Or it has remained favourable in your eyes?

    • JustDavid

      In reply to BigM72:

      Can't speak for the others, but I still use the Go every day. The small size makes it very easy to Go anywhere. Recently my sons both had sons of their own, and I love showing pictures of my grandsons on the Go. As for the performance, yes, I wish it had more power but for my usage patterns, it is acceptable. I would love to get a Surface Pro, but I think the smaller size of the Go makes it more practical for me.


      I have the 8 GB version, and I do think the cheaper version is a non-starter for most anyone.

    • robincapper

      In reply to BigM72:

      I have the 8GB one too. Still love it for travel/daily mobile use as can just carry without noticing is in the bag. My main concern was battery life but passes that test. Yesterday got through a day 9-4 of conference - notes on OneNote, running universal Twitter & Facebook app all day, syncing photos with phone via OneDrive without a recharge. 

      Even put a CAD application (Revit) and used for some light weight modelling, but have a Book 2 for serious work of that type :)

  12. ccalberti

    I bought the 8GB/128GB version with the MS keyboard upgraded to W10 and added a 256GB MSD card, and I consider this the (almost) ideal highly portable, inexpensive (comparatively) secondary device I have been looking for. After a week, I have given away or sold on eBay my iPads and Samsung Tablet, as the Go does all they can do in a compact format and functions as a productivity device with full Windows, office 365, storage, etc. I have had a Surface Book for two years and love it as my primary computer. I never liked the Surface Pro series as a primary computer because However, it is heavy for daily lugging around. I can use the GO for most client meetings and presentations, too, and for travel. I can also use it as a secondary device on my desk, without the MS keyboard, using a high def monitor and my logitech keyboard and mouse that can pair with three devices (the third being with my note 9 in Dex mode tied to the monitor). Good for MSFT, innovating in this space.

    • locust infested orchard inc

      In reply to ccalberti:

      Kudos to you for ridding yourself of the dysfunctional iFad and Samsung's &rude.


      If only Microsoft could innovate something akin to the Surface Go that was both pocketable and had cellular phone capabilities, Microsoft would be onto an object of ultimate desire and productivity.

      • Xatom

        In reply to locust infested orchard inc:

        If only it had more than 5 minutes of battery life it might be a contender to replace iPad or GALAXY Tab S4. But alas it doesn't and therefore anything else is far more functional at this point. Pentium. The 90s called and want their chips back.

        • jean

          In reply to Xatom:

          I usually run just Spotify and/or YouTube most of the day at the office - as we are seated in what they call "Activity Based Workplace" - bollocks for open-plan office

          I do pause it now and then but it covers my 10+ hours workday - the Go remains unplugged during the day (power brick in the bag just in case)

  13. jwpear

    What's the PassMark and CrystalDiskMark score of your Surface Go?


    I'm especially curious about the disk score as it was the poor disk performance that triggered my return of my Surface 3 back in the day. I was quite happy to have a smaller and less performant device, but the disk sluggishness was completely unacceptable.

    • dave0

      In reply to jwpear:

      Haven't tried. I would assume these numbers are floating around online.

    • skborders

      In reply to jwpear:

      I have had a Surface 3 for a few years, I loaded Windows 10S and performance is acceptable for me. I run a Bible study application and one note at the same time and other than battery life it is fine, so I would imagine the Go with the larger SSD storage and more Ram would be more than acceptable performance wise. I am thinking of replacing my iPad air (storage is getting low) with one of these with LTE when it comes out.

  14. jwpear

    What's your real-world battery life like?

    • locust infested orchard inc

      In reply to jwpear:

      This is probably the most critical question regarding the Surface Go's portability.


      Sadly, I fear the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y is only able to provide between 5 to 6 hours of consistent typical use.


      The upcoming LTE version of Surface Go will probably have less battery life when cellular data is on.

    • dave0

      In reply to jwpear:

      I have gone through one cycle and it clocked in at 6 hours with the screen dimmed a bit. Didn't do much Netflix watching though.


      I seriously doubt I will get more than 6 unless I turn off a lot of stuff and keep the screen super dim.

      • jwpear

        In reply to dave0:

        I picked up a used Surface Book 2 with the i5 a couple of months ago and it is absolutely amazing with battery life. It is literally all day battery life (with the base, of course). The battery life bar is now very high and I'm not sure I can go back to something else.


        I sold my SP3 and a Dell Inspiron 15 (2016). Neither were getting more than 3-4 hours of battery life. The Dell was particularly disappointing considering it was a Kaby lake CPU and fairly new. Just goes to show the cheap battery components Dell uses in the Inspiron, I guess.


        I do miss the SP3 form factor a little. I like having a fairly light and slim tablet PC to throw in my bag for trips. If the Surface Go were able to get 7-8 hours of battery life, I'd consider as a secondary travel device.


        Call me crazy, but I do kind of wish the slate of the Surface Book had a kickstand and could support a type keyboard. There are times when traveling that I don't need the crazy battery life and don't want the weight and bulk of the full Surface Book.

    • robincapper

      In reply to jwpear:

      Also interested is your real world battery life. Can it get through a day out at a conference; One Note, taking notes, the occasional photo of exhibits etc.

      • jaredthegeek

        In reply to robincapper: I think you would do better with an iPad or another Windows unit over the go for that unfortunately the battery life on the go is not all day. I have a 3 that can get me through most of a day even after its battery has degraded.


        • robincapper

          In reply to jaredthegeek:

          I have an old Pro 3 (for meeting use) at work and find it ok. Looking at a GO as travel/mobile use for times don't want to take my Book 2 (Mostly due to B2 replacement cost more than portability!). Go most day, potential to top up from mains or usb c battery pack, ok for me if it gets 6 hours real use

    • dave0

      In reply to jwpear:


      Had another full cycle on it today. I decided to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on. I also jacked up the screen brightness to 100%.


      Did a full hour long presentation on it, using the USB-C connector to connect to a projector. I also used the pen for taking notes on OneNote for another meeting. Got about 7 hours of battery life. Very good IMO considering how freaking bright this screen is.

    • Otto Gunter

      In reply to jwpear: In addition to the real-world experiences that people have with battery life, it is very important to add that the SGO charges very, very quickly. I plug it in while I eat lunch/supper and it's fully charged again when I need it.


    • robincapper

      In reply to jwpear:

      I have found the 128/8 fine for travel use. Fast charge means you can boost it in the lunch break to get through a full day use at a conference or whatever if needed but so far I haven't needed to bother.

      Although the keyboard takes a bit of adaptation getting over that. Size perfect for use on aircraft tray table, in poverty economy seats, where even a mid-size laptop seems clumsy.

  15. jwpear

    Do you find the type cover to be too cramped to type on for anything outside of a few short emails or post comment?

    • dave0

      In reply to jwpear:

      Its cramped, but it has been more comfortable than I expected. I would recommend a wireless keyboard for long form typing.


      Edit: I wanted to add that the trackpad is fantastic. If your hands are big like mine things will feel cramped, but overall its as good as it gets for a tiny keyboard layout.

    • dave0

      In reply to jwpear:

      New typing discovery: hitting the screen with my knuckles. I have learned to angle the screen back a bit more to prevent knuckle dragging when hitting the higher row of number keys during typing.

  16. jwpear

    Would you recommend this over a high quality, used SP4?

  17. curtisspendlove

    What is your intended usage style for it (light / heavy productivity, consumption, etc)?

    What is your typical workflow on it?

    Do you use any inking features? If so, what are your thoughts and feelings?


    (Sorry about the last one, still trying to determine if my wife would prefer this or a Pro for her digital artsy stuff.)

    • dave0

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      I will be using this as my daily driver (cue gasps).


      Workflow-wise I will be using office, browsing the web, and watching movies on it.


      I will be using the pen more this week to see how it performs. I'm not an artist so its probably wasted on me. I got the pen for free from my local MS store.

    • dave0

      In reply to curtisspendlove

      Got some good "pen time" in today. Used the pen to take notes in OneNote and had the following observations:


      1. The Surface does a decent job at detecting my writing hand resting on the screen for support.
      2. Lifting my writing hand off the Surface takes some care so I don't accidentally hit software buttons with my fingers on the way up.
      3. Writing felt very natural after a few minutes. Far more natural than using a Note phone. I credit the much large surface area and great pen tech.
      4. I accidentally pressed the button on the pen a few times. Would be nice if the button was raised a bit.


      In my opinion any artist used to using digital tools for drawing would likely have no problem transitioning. The one potential draw back is the small screen size overall creating a smaller canvas size.


  18. JustDavid

    In reply to gamemodapk:

    I have my Go in this case:

    Kensington Blackbelt Rugged Case for Surface Go (K97651WW)

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FKM8PHB/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    I really appreciate the tether on the pen. The part that attaches to the pen, and the tether itself can be easily removed. I've not yet given it the drop test, but I feel confident my Go will be protected.

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