Does Surface Go work with Surface Dial?
How does the Surface Dial connect to the Surface Go?
No matter which PC you're using with the Surface Dial, a Bluetooth connection is required for the two pieces to communicate. This is regardless of whether you're using the Dial on-screen or off-screen.
What's the difference between on-screen and off-screen interaction?
Basic on-screen and off-screen Surface Dial menus have similar volume, scroll, zoom, and undo controls. When the Dial is placed on the display of a compatible Surface, its contact makes the menu larger, and in certain apps, advanced features or extra tools are made available.
Since the Surface Go doesn't support on-screen interaction, the Dial sits nearby on a desk or table.
Why can't Surface Dial work on-screen with the Surface Go?
Not only is the Surface Go not set up on a firmware level to work with the Surface Dial, its 10-inch display really isn't sized properly for on-screen interaction. The Dial is about 2.3 inches x 2.12 inches in size, so it doesn't leave a lot of space for drawing or even seeing your display, especially when your hand is on the Dial.
Even the 12.3-inch Surface Pro and older Surface Pro 4, which received an April 2018 firmware update to allow on-screen Dial interaction, seem for a lot of people a bit too cramped for on-screen use.
With something like the Surface Book 2, though, you get the full on-screen Dial experience on a 13.5- or 15-inch display. The larger PC includes a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card, 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB solid-state drive, altogether a system much better suited for graphic design and editing purposes where the Surface Dial shines.
Is the Surface Dial compatible with non-Surface PCs?
The Surface Dial is compatible with other PCs, as long as they have Bluetooth 4.0 LE capabilities and have at least the Windows 10 Anniversary Update installed. Apps compatible with the Surface Dial should work on non-Surface PCs that meet system requirements.
Which apps work with Surface Dial?
According to Microsoft, these apps are optimized to work with the Surface Dial.
- Adobe Premier Pro CC
- Affinity Designer
- Affinity Photo
- Autodesk SketchBook
- Complete Anatomy
- CorelDRAW Graphics Suite
- djay Pro
- Drawboard PDF
- Mental Canvas Player
- Microsoft Edge
- Microsoft Word
- Moho Pro
- Paint 3D
- Spotify Music
- Windows Maps
Whether or not you'll get the most out of these apps with off-screen interaction really comes down to the developer, but for the most part, the Surface Dial will offer a lot more functionality on a PC like the Surface Book 2.
Bigger display and more power.
The Surface Book 2 — especially the 15-inch model — is far better suited for the Surface Dial if you want the whole on-screen experience. It has better hardware inside, including dedicated graphics, and you can still use the display as a tablet thanks to a modular design.
The most portable Surface from Microsoft
Microsoft's Surface Go is an ultraportable 2-in-1 that can be used on its own or with a Type Cover. It has a beautiful display, high-quality build, and it can even be had with LTE connectivity.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.