Tip: Skip the Entry-Level Surface Go Configuration

Posted on July 10, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 33 Comments

If you’re looking to send a child off to school with Surface Go, make sure you make a few smart upgrade decisions. The most obvious? Don’t even consider the base configuration.

Sure, the $400 price tag looks compelling. But the PC you’re getting at that price is not compelling, and it’s absolutely not future-proof. The biggest issue here is the same thing that doomed Surface 3 to poor performance: This entry-level Surface Go utilizes slow eMMC storage rather than speedy SSD storage. Combined that with just 4 GB of RAM and a low-end Pentium processor, and you have the makings of a disaster.

The good news? For just $150 more, you get some nice upgrades: 8 GB of RAM and more and faster storage: Not only does the higher-end Surface Go configuration double the storage from 64 GB to 128 GB, that storage is dramatically faster, since it is based on NVMe SSD technology. That’s a device that might actually make it through four years of high school or college.

That said, I still think that potential Surface Go customers should consider a few other factors when it comes to this device.

For starters, it’s small: The keyboard on its Type Covers is about 86 percent as big as a full-sized keyboard, so it won’t be a good choice for many adults, especially those who, like me, have larger hands.

The Pentium processor used in all Surface Go configurations is on the pokey side, though we’ll need to spend time with the PC in the real world before we fully understand the performance.

And Microsoft cut some other corners, as should be expected at this price. Surface Go doesn’t support on-screen Surface Dial, and it doesn’t offer the same buttery-smooth Surface Pen experience you’ll get more expensive Surface PCs. If those features are important to you, you should consider the slightly-more-expensive (but bigger and more capable) Surface Pro instead.

But if you do feel that Surface Go is right for you, just be sure to skip out on that base configuration. That one is a no-go, and the real base price of a Surface Go is a still-reasonable $550.


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