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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 vs. Surface Go: Which should you buy?

Surface Pro 7
Surface Pro 7 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

These two Surface devices both live up to a high expectation of quality and design. Though they're both portable, the Go is undoubtedly meant to be a device you can tuck under your arm for casual computing, while the Pro 7 is more of a powerhouse 2-in-1 that promotes versatile performance. Let's take a look at the specs to see how these two devices differ.

Surface Pro 7 vs. Surface Go tech specs

Surface Pro 7Surface Go
OSWindows 10Windows 10
Processor10th Gen Intel
Core i3-1005G1
Core i5-1035G4
Core i7-1065G7
Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y
RAM4GB, 8GB, 16GB LPDDR4x4GB, 8GB LPDDR3
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD64GB eMMC
128GB SSD
Display size12.3 inches
Touch
10 inches
Touch
Display resolution2736x1824
267 PPI
1800x1200
217 PPI
Aspect ratio3:23:2
GraphicsIntel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Plus (i5, i7)
Intel HD Graphics 615
PortsUSB-C 3.1
USB-A
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
microSD card reader
USB-C 3.1
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
LTENoOptional
CameraFront-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 8MP (1080p)
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 8MP (1080p)
BiometricsIR cameraIR camera
BatteryUp to 10.5 hoursUp to 9 hours
26Wh
Dimensions11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
9.65 x 6.90 x 0.33 inches
(245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm)
WeightFrom 1.7 pounds (775g)From 1.15 pounds (522g)

Design and features

The Surface Pro 7 doesn't stray far from the Pro design we've come to expect. It brings a slim tablet chassis with folding kickstand on the back, removable Type Cover (opens in new tab) keyboard and Precision touchpad, and brilliant touch display with inking support for the Surface Pen (opens in new tab).

Most of the real changes to the Pro 7 come on the inside, though one advancement we're welcoming is the addition of a USB-C port for added connectivity. The Pro 7 still holds onto a USB-A port (which the Go lacks), as well as Surface Connect, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The Surface Go is a smaller, more portable version of the Pro. It sacrifices performance and battery life for portability, but it's still a premium Surface device that lives up to the set standard. It's the same thickness as the Pro 7, which makes it seem a bit chunkier due to the overall smaller footprint, and it has a rotating kickstand on the back to prop up the tablet. It also works with a Type Cover (opens in new tab) if you'd like to add a Precision touchpad and keyboard, and the high-res touch display is compatible with the Surface Pen for a great inking experience.

The Pro 7 does not have optional LTE connectivity for staying in touch wherever you go. For that feature, you'll have to opt for the LTE-enabled Surface Go, which costs about $679 (opens in new tab). Thanks to the 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, the Pro 7 does offer Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for blistering wireless speeds where available.

Ultimately, if you're looking for the most portable 2-in-1 between these two Surface products, the Go is your best bet. However, if you're interested in optimal performance or the best inking experience possible, the Pro 7 can't lose.

Display and inking

The Pro 7's 12.3-inch display is essentially the same as the Pro 6, with a 3:2 aspect ratio, 267 PPI, and 2736x1824 resolution. It offers a brilliant picture, and the larger size allows for easier multitasking compared to the Go. The Surface Pen with the Pro 7 offers a natural inking experience, with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt function. It is also compatible with the Surface Dial (opens in new tab), but only for off-screen interactions.

The Go's smaller 10-inch touch display is no slouch, with a 3:2 aspect ratio, 217 PPI, and 1800x1200 resolution. It also offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt support, as well as off-screen Surface Dial interactions. The Go does not have the same co-processor for lower latency, however, so the overall inking experience isn't going to match up with the larger, pricier Surface Pro 7. The Go is great for jotting notes and making sketches, but for those with serious artistic ambition in mind, the Pro 7 should be a much better fit.

Performance and price

The portable Surface Go isn't meant to be a powerhouse, and the hardware options reflect that. The Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y CPU is a dual-core chip that's cut out for productivity and some light gaming, but it's not going to get you into any specialized work. To compare, it performs just below a Surface Pro 4 with Core m3 CPU in terms of raw processing power.

You can add 4GB or 8GB of RAM to the Go depending on your budget and performance needs, and there's likewise the option for 64GB of eMMC storage or a 128GB SSD. The eMMC storage is quite slow, so if you have room in the budget, we recommend jumping up to the 128GB mark. The baseline Go, with 64GB storage, 4GB of RAM, and Pentium CPU costs about $389 (opens in new tab), far less than the entry Pro 7 model. If you're interested in 128GB of SSD storage, 8GB of RAM, and LTE connectivity, the price jumps up to about $679 (opens in new tab).

Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Surface Pro 7i5-1035G41,1914,441
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U1,1133,519
Surface Pro 6i5-8250U9043,440
Surface Laptop 3Ryzen 57692,720
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390i7-1065G71,2093,571
Dell XPS 15 7590i9-9980HK1,1767,624

Geekbench 4

Geekbench 4.0 (CPU) (higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Surface Pro 7i5-1035G45,24517,350
Surface GoPentium2,0783,934
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U5,03713,864
Surface Pro 6i5-8250U4,28714,031
Surface Pro 5i5-7300U4,3028,482
Surface Pro 5i7-7660U4,5139,346
Surface Pro 4i5-6300U3,3196,950

PCMark

PCMark 10

DeviceScore
Surface Pro 7 i53,992
Surface Pro 6 i73,644
Surface Pro 6 i53,501
Surface Laptop 3 154,006
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 73904,427
Dell XPS 15 75905,521
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 73904,427
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-13,764
HP Pavilion x360 143,558
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s3,468

GPU

Geekbench 5.0 OpenCL (higher is better)

DeviceGPUCompute score
Surface Pro 7Iris Plus7,613
Surface Pro 6Intel UHD 6205,396
Surface Laptop 3 15Vega 911,334
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390Iris Plus10,406
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1Intel HD5,632
Dell Precision 3541NVIDIA Quadro P62012,469

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Surface Pro 72,040 MB/s809 MB/s
Surface Go (SSD)1,185 MB/s133 MB/s
Surface Go (eMMC)260 MB/s145 MB/s
Surface Pro 61,632 MB/s814 MB/s
Surface Pro 5847MB/s801 MB/s
Surface Laptop 32,028 MB/s806 MB/s
Surface Laptop 21,509 MB/s811 MB/s
Surface Laptop486 MB/s244 MB/s
Surface Book1,018 MB/s967 MB/s

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The Surface Pro 7, which starts at about $883 (opens in new tab), is much better cut out for heavy multitasking, gaming, and even some specialized work. 10th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 "Ice Lake" CPUs are going to offer the best performance (Iris Plus graphics are impressive), but if you're on a tight budget, the Core i3 model will still beat out the Pentium Gold chip in the Go.

You can outfit a Pro 7 with up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, making it much more prepared for life as your only device. Price does play a far more obvious role here, though, as decked-out models with Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD cost about $2,300 (opens in new tab). Battery life from the Core i5 Pro 7 hits eight hours from a charge.

Go with the Surface Pro 7 for best performance

Thanks to 10th Gen Intel Core "Ice Lake" CPUs, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to a 1TB SSD, the Surface Pro 7 is ready to tackle a heavy workload. It also delivers a better inking experience, and its larger display is better designed for multitasking. However, it does cost quite a bit more than the Go and does not include optional LTE connectivity.

The Surface Go offers ideal portability

The Surface Go might not offer the same level of performance or quite the same inking experience, but it costs a lot less and still reigns as an ultraportable 2-in-1 with optional LTE connectivity. It's likely best used as a secondary device — one that you can shove in a bag or under an arm when heading out the door — but it can certainly as your lone companion if you're mostly tackling productivity work.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is 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.