Microsoft Surface Go 2 vs. Surface Pro 7: Which is a better buy?

The Surface Pro 7
The Surface Pro 7 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Whether you should buy the Surface Go 2 or Surface Pro 7 depends largely on how much you value portability. The Surface Pro 7 isn't heavy by any means, but it's a beast compared to the Go 2. That's because it's vastly more powerful, effectively allowing you to use it as you would your desktop PC.

You can find a whole host of electronics on sale for Black Friday, and the Surface range can often be found discounted on storefronts. Should you locate the Surface Go 2 or Pro 7 on sale, it's worth considering to save some money in the process. Microsoft also sells numerous other Surface devices at various price ranges and specifications, so you should be able to locate a new portable PC for you.

Surface Go 2 vs. Surface Pro 7: tech specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Go 2Surface Pro 7
OSWindows 10Windows 10
ProcessorIntel Pentium GOLD 4425Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
10th Gen Intel
Core i3-1005G1
Core i5-1035G4
Core i7-1065G7
RAM4GB
8GB
4GB LPDDR4x
8GB LPDDR4x
16GB LPDDR4x
Storage64GB eMMC
128GB SSD
256GB SSD (commercial)
128GB
256GB
512GB
1TB
Display size10.5 inches
Touch
12.3 inches
Touch
Display resolution1920x1280 (220 PPI)2736x1824
267 PPI
Aspect ratio3:23:2
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 615Intel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Plus (i5, i7)
Ports1x USB-C
1x Surface Connect
microSDXC card reader
3.5mm headphone jack
USB-C 3.1
USB-A
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
microSD card reader
LTEYesNo
CameraFront-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 8MP (1080p)
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 8MP (1080p)
BiometricsIR cameraIR camera
BatteryUp to 10 hoursUp to 10.5 hours
Dimensions9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches (245 x 175 x 8.3mm)11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
WeightWi-Fi: 1.2lbs (544g)
LTE: 1.22lbs (553g)
From 1.7 pounds (775g)

Design and features

Not a lot changed between the Surface Go and Surface Go 2 in terms of design. The dimensions are pretty much the same, so too is the overall build. This allows for all previous generation accessories to continue working with the newer Surface Go—a massive win for anyone upgrading.

The Surface Pro 7 is of a similar affair with Microsoft not going all out with a redesign compared to the previous generation. The Go rocks more rounded, smoother edges and corners that make it easier to hold when being used as a tablet. It also weighs less, coming in at just 544g for the Wi-Fi only version. The Pro isn't exactly massive, but its 775g is noticeable.

Interestingly, both tablets have a kickstand that can rotate 165 degrees and are made of magnesium. They're also similar for cameras with a 5 and 8 megapixel (MP) combo being used for facial recognition in Windows 10. Ports are an interesting separation with the Go 2 coming with a single USB-C, Surface Connect, microSDXC card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The Surface Pro 7 rocks USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio jack, Surface Connect, and a microSD reader. If you're after LTE capabilities, the Go 2 is your only option right now since Microsoft doesn't offer the Pro 7 with LTE. For both tablets, you can buy a Surface Pen — sold separately for about $100 (opens in new tab) — and both have Type Covers — also sold separately (opens in new tab) — with Precision touchpads and an Alcantara fabric finish.

Display

You simply get more screen real estate with the Surface Pro 7, thanks to the 12.3-inch display compared to the Surface Go's 10.5 incher. Color accuracy between the two is roughly the same, so too are the bezels, making it largely down to which display size you'd prefer.

Where there is a difference between the two tablets is resolution. The Pro 7 is a clear winner here with a resolution of 2736x1824 and a pixels-per-inch (PPI) count of 267, which is pretty good. The Go 2 has a resolution of 1920x1280 and a PPI of 220. Both tablets have functional 3:2 aspect ratios, and both have magnets in the side to hold the Surface Pen when not in use.

Performance

Surface Go Vs Surface Go 2

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Interestingly, while the Surface Pro 7 is the more capable device and comes rocking up to an Intel 10th Gen Core i7-1065G7 CPU, the Surface Go 2 is no slouch. Unlike Intel's low-end CPUs of old, the Intel Core m3-8100Y is rather snappy with daily use. It won't turn heads in benchmarks, but it's more than good enough for general PC use.

Still, if you need more power for a little photo editing on the go, the Surface Pro 7 is where you should spend your money. Storage is another win for Surface Pro 7, which is another small reason it costs considerably more than the Go 2. You can configure it with up to 1TB of storage, while the Go 2 can only max out at 128GB (or 256GB for commercial).

Surface Go 2 for those on the go

See what I did there? But seriously, the Go 2 is ideally suited to those who frequently find themselves moving between location and require a Windows-based tablet for the journey. You've got optional LTE, Wi-Fi 6 support, and various configurations available, starting at a lower price.

Surface Pro 7 for more performance

Get the Surface Pro 7 if you want a tablet that will almost provide a PC-like experience on the go. The speedy Intel Core i7 processor is great at general use and even some more powerful apps, but don't expect desktop-like performance. It's the premium Surface tablet.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.