Surface Go 2 on the horizon? Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7c targets $400-range PCs with LTE

Surface Go
Surface Go (Image credit: Windows Central)

Qualcomm announced its new Snapdragon 7c and 8c compute platform chipsets that fall nicely below the flagship Snapdragon 8cx. While the performance of ARM-based chips is still behind Intel's 10th Gen Core processors, it's clear Qualcomm is always pushing forward to compete with Santa Clara's best.

Pricing for the Snapdragon 7c and 8c is going to be critical as, so far, Windows 10 on ARM has mostly been in the premium-tier category. Reported pricing though states that the Snapdragon 7c could hit sub-$400 laptops and that's a big deal for a few reasons.

Pentium Gold? No thanks

Intel struggles at the low-end

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I've been quite bullish on Intel's recent moves in for its 10th Gen series of mobile processors. Performance, heat, battery life, and things like building in Thunderbolt 3 have solidified Intel as the go-to chip for premium Ultrabooks.

Intel's Project Athena – where it works closely with manufacturers – is resulting in some outstanding laptops. Both of HP's newest Ultrabooks – the Spectre x360 13 and Elite Dragonfly – push quoted battery lives of 20 or more hours. Even accounting for OEM overestimating real-world 10+ hours is doable while still running a quad-core Core i7 processor. That's magic.

Intel and Microsoft also did a fantastic job with the improved Instant On abilities of Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3. Both devices turn on instantly and seamlessly even now beating Qualcomm ARM-based PCs.

But Intel is still terrible on the low-end. Years of sub-par Atom processors and even last year's odd Pentium Gold have done nothing to slow Apple iPad sales and have had only moderate success at stemming the rise of Chromebooks in U.S. schools.

While the Surface Go looked the part its mediocre performance, and battery life resulted in it being a fun, but still flawed experience. So close, yet so far.

It's more than the US

4G LTE, PCs, and emerging markets

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c reference PC

Source: QualcommThe Snapdragon 7c in a reference-design PC could cost less than your smartphone. (Image credit: Source: Qualcomm)

In many emerging markets, a person's first – and only – computer is the smartphone. Home internet and desktop PCs are not a thing. One way to circumvent that, or at least grow that market, is by offering low-cost laptops that also offer native 4G LTE.

If the Snapdragon 7c with its octa-core processor and LTE can be sold in $400-range laptops that's a huge win, Intel certainly doesn't have anything in that range. Even the Surface Go with LTE is priced at $679 without the keyboard.

For those in markets where the internet is mobile-only having a laptop that is always-connected and costs as little as a smartphone opens the door for new possibilities. Whether its coding and developing, or even just education, Qualcomm could push into a market that so far has eluded Intel.

This could happen

Surface Go 2 with ARM?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c

Source: QualcommThe Snapdragon 7c reportedly targets <$400 Windows laptops. (Image credit: Source: Qualcomm)

Turning back to Microsoft Surface Go, the big question for many is if Microsoft will do another version, and if so, what will power it.

If Microsoft offers Snapdragon 7c (and even 8c as an upgrade-SKU) with LTE, it could still be able to hit that $399 starting-cost (laptop costs are hard to define since screen type, resolution, RAM, storage, all play a factor).

The performance will be interesting. I don't expect the Snapdragon 7c to be a massive performer, but all it needs to do is beat the Intel Pentium Gold for price, battery, and performance. That's it. All three of those seem doable. Toss in some thinner bezels and some of that Surface Pro X design magic, and what's not love?

The Pentium Gold 4415Y is only a 1.6GHz dual-core processor limited to DDR3 memory. A Snapdragon 7c is octa-core clocked at 2.45GHz, supports DDR4 and Wi-Fi 6. It will beat out a Pentium Gold, especially on multi-core benchmarks (an older Snapdragon 850 gets double the multi-core compute score of a Pentium Gold already).

Of course, there are the usual hang-ups about Windows 10 on ARM, performance hits from Win32 emulation, and x86-64-bit incompatibility (for now), but considering what $400 PCs are used for these concerns are even less impactful than on premium-tier PCs where the critique holds more water.

Finally, whatever your thoughts on ARM, you can't deny one thing: it is causing competition. Intel's low-cost chips are terrible, but there's no reason why that suddenly can't shift now that Qualcomm is trying to go there. Apple is doing great with ARM on its iPad line, and we should all be rooting for Qualcomm (and AMD) to be making Intel work for your money. Microsoft knows this too. The Surface Go is amazing hardware held back by Intel. Hopefully, history doesn't repeat itself for a Surface Go 2.

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

62 Comments
  • It makes sense, which means MS probably won't do it...
  • "Of course, there are the usual hang-ups about Windows 10 on ARM, performance hits from Win32 emulation, and x86-64-bit incompatibility (for now), but considering what $400 PCs are used for these concerns are even less impactful than on premium-tier PCs where the critique holds more water." This seems weirdly dismissive of what is absolutely still the biggest issue for Windows on ARM, and an issue which there's no guarantee Microsoft will ever be able to adequately address. I'm willing to accept that for certain people with specific workflows, the Surface Pro X is an attractive option that does what they need it to do well enough, especially if it's not their primary PC. But when we're talking about general users, this becomes a harder sell. Things would be different if you could already say something like 95% of all software in use on Windows PCs had now been compiled for ARM, but that's not the case. I know Surface was never meant for gaming, but when you have people trying to run 6 year old games on the Pro X (like Far Cry Blood Dragon) and getting far worse performance on a $1000 machine than even the Surface Go is capable of, this IS going to make people question their purchase. The reason people were willing to take a performance hit with the Go vs a comparably priced Android tablet or chromebook is that massive back catalogue that Windows has, when you start to throw compatibility and performance issues at that you're going to make people question why they should be buying a Windows machine at all.
  • Just curious who you think is buying the Go? I don't know either, but I'm assuming it's a) those who want a "mobile" Windows tablet as a complementary device, not as their primary workhorse, or b) those who are using it as their primary device based on budget, and are probably ok with entry-level performance for an entry-level price.
  • I don't have figures if that's what you're asking. I bought mine for portability, as 8" Windows devices are no longer around, the 10" Go is the next best thing. I know a number of school-age children who have them. It's the upper end of what would have been the old Netbook market I think. That puts it very much in the general use category.
  • No, for me it was portability combined with win32 capability, with the ability to run SQL, office apps and visual studio, not as fast as my Surface Pro 4, but it can do most of what I need, when I'm out and about I need to run everything I would normally run on my desktop, it might be slower it's the fact it can run everything that I run on that desktop, that is important.
  • 50% of PC use is a web browser; 95% of software for this class of device (win32, ARM64) runs on ARM already. What x64 app you want to run on a $400 PC that you can't?
    "I know Surface was never meant for gaming, but...
    Project xCloud. Also, games can be recompiled for ARM64 as things like UNITY come online.
  • I can run everything I want to run x64 wise on my Surface Go, that's kind of the point. Yes, I have full Photoshop on there, as well as a bunch of other applications, some from decades ago, that will never see an ARM release. I'm not exactly sure what "95% of software for this class of device" means here, we're talking general use so potentially that's the entire win32 back catalogue. If by "runs on ARM" you mean runs at Apollo Lake performance like the 850, also assuming no compatibility problems, that's still a pretty big problem. Gaming tests on the Pro X seem to be throwing up quite a lot of compatibility problems too, so there's no guarantee that random in-house app your business uses that hasn't been updated since 2011 is going to work at all. Seriously, these aren't concerns that should be batted away with "meh, it'll be recompiled" or "half your work is on a web browser anyway." Those are the kind of arguments I expect to see in favour of chromebooks, not something purporting to be a full Windows PC. If you're recommending xCloud then good luck to you, but here it's throwing one unproven technology as a solution at another, and severely limiting the consumer as a result.
  • In the Healthcare sector, we use Surface Gos for their portability and 100% program compatibility. If Microsoft changes the Surface Go to Windows On Arm, you lose the 100% program compatibility and the Surface Go is no longer an option. 100% full compatibility with Windows programs does matter and if you remove that from the Surface Go, which doesn't have another Surface in that size unlike the Surface Pro and Surface X in similar sizes, it is a HUGE loss in losing a Windows tablet with a great build quality for an affordable price. The Surface Go has been an amazing step forward in computing with a high end build quality, accessories, ability to dock it, Windows Hello, Inking AND full legacy software support for businesses. It would be a shame to lose that and take a collosal step backwards to only having larger more expensive Windows tablets with 100% compatibility. The power of answering "Can it run software XYZ?" with "Yes, it can run the same exact software, without modification, workarounds or new training just as our computers that cost $1,000..." to technical steering teams and financial officers cannot be stressed enough. The Surface Go becoming an ARM device would be a disaster for businesses that need software compatibility while meeting a Windows 10 upgrade deadline and navigating an ever changing financial landscape. Businesses can't make decisions based on "I hope it works or I hope they recompile.." and sometimes the answer isn't "Just buy the Pro" because we may need to provide care to 3 rooms and buying Surface Gos can be 3 devices for a total of $1,000 or Pros and spend nearly 3,000 for 3 devices. We may not need the power of a Surface Pro but we require the software compatibility of a Surface Pro and the Surface Go with Windows 10 provides that and a Surface Go with WOA would not.
  • > Businesses can't make decisions based on "I hope it works or I hope they recompile.." Yes, this exactly! Thanks for putting it better than I could.
  • Solution. Make same thing as they did with Surface laptop - make two versions. One with Qualcomm, one with AMD (next year will be new Ryzen mobile APU's).
    And let anyone choose what is better for them.
    And yes, put Windows 10X on it, for better use as tablet.
  • This... You in the business sector buy from the Surface for Business line anyway. Consumers can the the lighter version.
  • Both you and @Deaconclgi make good points. I am curious how much of Surface Go design/consideration is about business vs consumers (MS did play up kids a lot and schools). And MS does already offer a Surface Go Business Edition (it has Windows 10 Pro), so swapping out the CPU could be an option. My only hesitation here is I'd think the Intel board is completely a redesign from the ARM one with a WHOLE new thermal solution, etc. It's not quite the same as swapping AMD for Intel, which are both x86 with similar board designs. It was for that reasoning on our podcast I expressed skepticism on the Surface Pro 7 having an ARM version and I was right. They instead had a completely different laptop.
  • I understand you completely,which is why you at least should be happy that competition from ARM is lighting a fire under Intel's caboose to make better low-powered chips, which would mean better performance and battery life than the Pentium Gold that the Surface Go currently has.
  • @me2olive Kudos sir, you make some excellent points. Unfortunately, the hard core fans and entities who have vested interests insist on batting away legitimate issues as though they are of little importance.
  • 50% of PC use might be in the browser but for many it is 90+%. I am still using my first gen HP Envy X2 and literally loving it. I know its limitations but honestly they do not get in my way at home. I like a cognitive separation between home and work and do not need the same horsepower at home. Perhaps if I liked games it would be different. WoA--Try it again for the first time.
  • I recently upgraded from a 8GB Surface Go to a 4GB Pro 7 i3. Despite the lower RAM, there's a night and day difference in speed and general performance. Never would have imagined that Windows, when paired with a decent CPU/GPU and SSD, could work so well on 4 gigs. But the top of the line Pro X is out and it (while being a great device) isn't ushering in the new age of Windows as many had hoped. Especially given the so-so battery life, price, and inconsistent emulation. And having seen what the X can offer versus my Pro, now I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft needs ARM as much as they want ARM. Microsoft could take the specs of the low end Pro 7 and throw it into a 10 inch device. They could keep screen resolution the same as the current Go and even offer a 64 gig storage option to keep prices somewhere in the 400-600 price range. It could provide everything you need with better battery life and a decent price. Really, there's nothing stopping any OEM from making such a device other than the fact that Samsung/Apple/Microsoft has a stranglehold on the tablet market. Other companies aren't even trying at this point. So where is the room for a Snapdragon 7c Windows tablet when 10th gen Intel is giving you all the (current) benefits of WoA just without built-in LTE? Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft needs to work harder on streamlining Windows so Intel chips can see even bigger gains in battery life and performance. Then from there get more x86 64 bit apps in the store.
  • "But the top of the line Pro X is out and it (while being a great device) isn't ushering in the new age of Windows as many had hoped. "
    I mean, tbf, it's been 4 weeks and there is limited supply (many configs didn't ship until after Thanksgiving). I'm also not sure anyone has claimed the Pro X was supposed to "usher in the new age of Windows". Who said that and where?
    "Microsoft could take the specs of the low end Pro 7 and throw it into a 10 inch device. They could keep screen resolution the same as the current Go and even offer a 64 gig storage option to keep prices somewhere in the 400-600 price range."
    Must be nice to just make up numbers. You know what the SKU cost for a Core i3 is? It's $281. That's $120 more than the Pentium Gold in the Surface Go. Talking about storage, Surface Pro uses PCIe NVMe. Surface Go uses eMMC in the low-end model and a slower SSD in the high-end models. You're also comparing DDR4x RAM to older DDR3. All of this matters for price and performance. You can't just say "drop in this other processor and keep the price the same". That's now how this works. And who eats that - at least - $100 difference for the CPU? Or the PCIe SSD, or higher-class RAM?
  • Except you mentioned two things that actually could help to keep costs low, namely going with a slower SSD and slower RAM. And as someone that has used the Go for a year, a "slow" SSD is still incredibly fast. Furthermore, since companies usually get a discount for buying in bulk, we have no way to verify if $281 is how much Microsoft would pay per chip. And as mentioned, Microsoft could offset costs with going with slower/cheaper components. You definitely know there are many ways to cut costs and still construct an amazing device yet chose to ignore such possibilities. Or do you truly expect us to believe that Microsoft couldn't make a better specced Surface Go and keep it below $749? (the current asking price of the Pro 7 i3) Unless your goal was to nitpick that I didn't price match every single component of this mythical Surface Go. If so, then I must applaud you for wasting everyone's time.
  • "Furthermore, since companies usually get a discount for buying in bulk, we have no way to verify if $281 is how much Microsoft would pay per chip."
    Right, but by that rationale they didn't pay $160 for a Pentium Gold chip either and went lower (in fact, that was the rumor from Thurrott that Intel dumped these really cheap on MS so they wouldn't use ARM).
    "Except you mentioned two things that actually could help to keep costs low, namely going with a slower SSD and slower RAM. "
    But they are doing that in the Go already. It has a slow SSD and RAM. They already did the price cutting bit, so not sure what else you want them to cut and reduce?
    "Or do you truly expect us to believe that Microsoft couldn't make a better specced Surface Go and keep it below $749? "
    Find another PC with 4,096, levels of inking, LTE, SSD, kickstand, very good dual speakers, and Windows Hello that out-prices what the Go delivers. It's clear Microsoft wants to keep the "Pro" line in a certain price range to differentiate it from Go. They go any lower it starts to negate the market for the Go. Microsoft doesn't NEED to sell a billion Surfaces - these are halo devices, not budget picks for everyone out there meant to undercut HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc. If you find Surface too expensive you find something else.
  • I would like a Surface Go sized Pro LTE. One of the key strengths of the Go is that it's very easy to carry, light and nimble in general. It feels like there would be a market for a model that simply combine the "portability of a Go with the performance of a Pro". It is hard to beat the convenience of a 2-in-1 PC with LTE of that size and I really think Microsoft did hit an important sweet spot with the Go. Since the current model cover two pretty distinct segments (entry level in the case of 4/64 and 8/128 WiFi) and mid-range/mobile pro with the 8/128 and 8/256 LTE) a separation between the Go 2 and a "Surface Pro performance level" Pro Mini or Pro M feels like a good idea. I am extremely happy with my Go. Such an excellent combination of portable tablet and the ability to do my desktop stuff too - and passive cooling for silent operation.
  • That is basically what the Surface Pro 1/2 were except that they have 16:9 screens and higher weight etc. I think a version of the Go with an m or 7nm amd apu or such would suffice.
  • Speaking for myself, I needed an inexpensive Windows laptop that could run some legacy apps that my company uses. Nothing that pushes the hardware at all, but just stuff that is not available on ARM (even something stupid like IE 11). Surface Go was a lifesaver for me in that respect, and I wouldn't have been able to buy one if it were ARM. Now, if my company were to modernize our applications a bit, then yes, I would definitely be interested in an ARM laptop...like I said, I don't need raw power, but I am interested in lightness & good battery life.
  • Intel is going to go to hell, seriously. ARM has an inherent small core advantage over x86 due to its smaller decoder size and ISA efficiency. This is the beginning of the end for Kodak, ah, Blockbusters, um, I mean - Intel.
  • Do you have any idea how many CPUs Intel sells per year? Hint: Intel had $70.8 BILLION in revenue in 2018. Hint 2: Qualcomm did $22 billion in 2018.
  • These machines should be running Windows 10X, which should make performance issues non-existant. Putting full Windows on them creates the performance/compatibility issues.
  • Lol, it's funny to see the difference in Dan when he is being the salesman and when he's just telling it like it is. When he was trying to boost sales of the Surface Go on initial release, he praised it as a "high-performing mini-tablet PC" and was "surprised" at the great battery life. Now, the best he can say is that both are "mediocre" for the Surface Go. I wish we could have the tell-it-like-it-is Dan all the time.
  • @bj2386 Yeah, Daniel finds himself and this site in an awkward position. WC's revenue raising vs actual truthful journalism are not compatible.
    Something has to give, the ads disguised as articles will only harm the site and Mobile Nations if it continues. I just hope this path is working for them financially speaking as it is harming the sites reputation. Oh well, I guess the bills need to be paid somehow. We all do what we have to do.
  • @Bluey Ross, like @bj2386, you both have terrible memory and are better than just attacking me personally. Also, let's be clear that you have absolutely no idea how this site or business runs, so stop acting like you have a clue. See my comment below with actually quotes from my Surface Go with LTE review.
  • @Daniel Rubino No idea how this site or business runs? We have all seen how you have attempted to monetize us with your links in your articles and your shameless ads/promotions. In fact Daniel, it's impossible to distinguish between your 'paid promotions' and legitimate news articles anymore. Even in what appears to be legitimate articles you place links so you hopefully gain commission. Let's see how genuine you are. Put an article up asking your readers if they like your current path with all of the ads/promotions/commission raising links. Come on Daniel, what are you afraid of? Put the article up and pin it to your header and let's see the response.
  • "Let's see how genuine you are. Put an article up asking your readers if they like your current path with all of the ads/promotions/commission raising links. Come on Daniel, what are you afraid of? Put the article up and pin it to your header and let's see the response."
    No one likes ads. Not sure anyone cares about affiliate links since that has zero impact on your experience on the site. As to asking the audience what they like, why? We have never been driven by what the core audience likes because we want to be successful. Sooo many people said we'd die after Windows Phone was killed off. And here we are, we just had the biggest year ever for site traffic and revenue. Our tiny company sold in March for $55 million dollars to Future and now we're a sub-company within Future operating independently because we're so good at what we do. Do you think I'm really interested in what you have to say about us? You offer nothing. I don't have to live up to or match your standards. I don't owe you anything.
  • @Daniel Rubino "Do you think I'm really interested in what you have to say about us" Yes, you clearly are interested. You keep replying which speaks for itself.
  • "We have all seen how you have attempted to monetize us with your links in your articles and your shameless ads/promotions.", are you really moaning about this? Kindy pathetic man.
  • "Lol, it's funny to see the difference in Dan when he is being the salesman and when he's just telling it like it is...and was "surprised" at the great battery life"
    Try reading for once and using my quotes to better make an argument vs. making up nonsense using your terrible memory. Let's go to the record. From my Surface Go with LTE review: Title: "Surface Go with LTE review: A solid device despite poor battery life and a high price" I literally put it's disappointing battery life in the title. Good lord, man. Now to pull quotes from the review:
    "the overall lackluster battery life keeps it from being truly great." "but the battery life and high price hold it back." "Battery life is the killer" "But it's because you can use the Surface Go with LTE more often that this mediocre battery life catches up quick. "
    Get your facts straight then you can attack me personally.
  • I rarely bother to write replies to news stories of any type and I have never once bothered to respond in the defense of an author. Here I am going to make an exception. Mr. Rubino, based on multiple years of reading his journalism is flat out excellent – maybe the best in the business. Over those same years I have read endless ad hominin attacks on his reporting and it ticks me of to read these comments endlessly. At the same time, I accept that this type of response goes with the territory. High blood pressure aside, I value the connectivity to the news these comment systems provide us, the news consumers. It is fantastic to be able to read the thoughts of the readers and how well reasoned thoughts expand the original perspective of the author. I learn much at times from them. Further, in defense of Mr. Rubino, I truly value his willingness to take these demonstrably ill-informed comments. Good journalism demands an equally good backbone. That fact the he repeatedly takes time to respond to his readers, positive and negative, tells us much about his integrity as a journalist. This man stands by his reporting and I value that greatly. Carry on Mr. Rubino, your good work matters to at least one reader that is equally passionate about good writing, good journalism, and blessed with living at this spectacular time in history.
  • Cheers, thanks for that.
  • Keep doing what you do man! haters gonna hate :)
  • Terrible memory, hah. Go back to your original Surface Go review (not the LTE version) and you'll see exactly what I'm referring to. But something tells me you already know that.
  • But I'm talking here specifically about the Surface Go with LTE since the Snapdragon 7c is for $<400 PCs and it ships with an LTE modem. It's comparing apples to apples. That's the standard. And yeah, Surface Go without LTE's battery is better than I thought considering the size of the device. Pentium Gold can also game with 4GB of RAM as I demonstrated in video. For some people, it is all they need. But when you add LTE to a device you use it more and that is where the Go starts to fail (I'll also point out Qualcomm does LTE hand off better than Intel does). That review, though, was mostly comparing it to Surface 3 - the device it was following. And there, there are massive wins for the Surface Go - it is much better than Intel Atom. The fact remains, however, that Pentium Gold was a weird-as-hell choice and likely was a result of being the ONLY option for Microsoft at the time. Intel has NO other solution for Microsoft and ARM was too early. My point still stands: The Snapdragon 7c just needs to be faster, get better battery life, and be the same price to beat Pentium Gold. That's the bar. Toss in LTE and it's even better.
  • All new snapdragon chips will have 5G and with Windows 10 X, ==>they will be very energy efficient, low cost, fast response through lean windows OS... Great user experience for media consumption on the move
  • Well, that's the Snapdragon 865 for smartphones, which is a bit different then 7c/8c. That could matter though for Surface Duo.
  • Surface go deserves 8c at least.
    7c looks same level as snapdragon 850.
  • It's an interesting point as we don't have benchmarks for 7c. I'd like to assume it is faster, more powerful than SD850 otherwise why release/announce it - we're all going to see/benchmark it at some point and if it's a re-branded SD850 that's going to be some bad press. Time (and testing) will tell.
  • It's basically looks same soc as snapdragon 730 which is also made on 8nm Samsung.
    besides that the it has 2 kyro 468 gold & 6 kyro 468 silver cores which is same as snapdragon 730 which has kyro 470 instead.
    Their naming scheme also matches : 7c & 730. snapdragon 730 benchmarks results are almost similar to snapdragon 850.
  • Things would be even more interesting if AMD stopped treating its mobile processor like the red-headed stepchild and made a more serious effort to compete in the low-powered chip sector. Their upcoming Renoir APU will finally support LPDDR4x and one can only hope it can be used in a Surface go-like device. No thunderbolt and no WiFi-6 but full x86 app compatibility? I believe that's a very fair compromise for the low-end segment.
  • I do hope AMD enters this market. More competition the better. Not sure what they do for LTE though...who they go with.
  • I was under the impression that it was the hardware builder (in this case, Microsoft) who puts together the CPU and LTE modem in one device (like the Surface Go LTE with Pentium Gold using the Qualcomm X16 modem, which is obviously not made by Intel), so I would assume it would be the same with AMD (slap on the CPU onto a "Surface Go" motherboard then pick and choose an off-the-shelf Qualcomm modem for the LTE.
  • The new Qualcomm 7c and 8c CPUs trigger an ongoing debate I have had and continue to have about how many different devices I need/want in my life. There is no doubt that I will have a smart phone and a robust desktop. The devices that fit in between these two marker points I find endlessly fascinating. I solved this gap by going with a Surface Pro, recently updated to a Surface Pro 7 precisely because of the Intel Ice Lake CPUs. For my use case this CPU wedded to the Surface Pro form factor meets 95% of what I want in a laptop class machine: toss in the purse portability, reasonable battery life, coffee shop reading mode (tablet – no keyboard), attaches to a DSLR camera for shooting images, a portable digital darkroom and finally all the legacy things like a mature file system, cloud connectivity, and the ability to print a document without having to sacrifice a chicken. While I found the Surface Pro X to be a brilliant machine, the current ARM limitations while running Photoshop and related brand specific camera software gave me pause. Granted, this is a somewhat narrow profile but one with clear boundaries for me. I will be surprised if these limitations fail to evaporate and in a few years we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. That leaves me wondering if I want to add a device to the mix that sits between a smartphone and a robust laptop. 80% of my computing time, maybe more, is spent using a browser, office applications, and various entertainment services. None of these require the computing power provided by the Ice Lake CPUs. Further, having a device the size of the Surface Go is just enough smaller than the Surface Pro that I find myself wanting one with regularity. My hesitations in getting a Surface Go arise in part from the gimped CPU and the less than thrilling battery life. This is a device that really has to deliver true all day computing – having to lug around a charger for me is a non starter. Which brings me to the new Qualcomm CPUs and the soon to arrive Windows 10 X. The devil is always in the details but if these new CPUs can deliver something approximating M3 to i3 CPU performance with excellent battery life in a Surface Go format and price what is there not to like here. What Qualcomm is up too with these new PC focused CPUs is very interesting and will make my dithering about adding a 4th screen to the mix a moot point. Take my money, please, be it a Surface Go or a Surface Neo. If Intel hasn't already been given this matter significant thought I am pretty confident they will be.
  • Microsoft should be focusing on Windows10 X which is the future OS MS is betting on. They must work closely with Intel to bring LTE and optimize performance and battery life. We have already seen how ARM and Windows work together! Not even the mighty Surface Pro X could handle WOA well (dont blame the emulation again). There will always be compatibility issues. MS should focus on their strengths and get Windows 10X optimized for smaller screens and tablets, which will be the future. Surface Go ARM version may be called Surface pro X Go or something, a more affordable Pro X, though I dont see the point of it.
  • "Microsoft should be focusing on Windows10 X which is the future OS MS is betting on."
    They are, but I think you won't see 10X until holiday 2020 and even then, dual-screen at first only. That means I could see 10X going to a Surface Go 3 in late 2021, but not before then. Same with ARM and 10X. Right now, it's about Intel support. ARM will come later, but it's trickier as you now have Win32 sub-system, which then needs to emulate on ARM - it's like a nesting doll and much more complicated. So, get Intel out ASAP and turn to ARM and lighter laptop devices in 2021. That's what we're hearing .
  • So we are two years out from them having affordable devices running Windows 10X? Sounds like another recipe for disaster. Why are developers going to support a platform with no users? Why are people going to buy a new Microsoft touch platform with no touch software and at exorbitant prices? How long will Microsoft keep with a platform with near 0 sales?
  • Exactly, these ARM machines should all be running Windows 10X, making compatibility and performance a non-issue. Calling an ARM machine "Pro" is a huge mistake, evident by the Surface Pro X reviews.
  • I'm surprised that they didn't opt for a 5G modem as it would be significantly more useful, especially in a device that generally won't be annually updated. But that's only a minor gripe.
  • I have 5G on my iphone... it's 0% no faster than LTE/4g was and in fact, with ATT it seems slower...
  • Windows makes so little sense on touch screens, what's left for small screen sizes. It's a literal pain to operate this 40y old legacy Win32 UI with fingers that I am wondering why is Microsoft even bothering anymore to convince us that Windows is good for touch. It's just not. I see absolutely no point of Go to exist, they are talking about CPUs... Slap 10X on the Go and then we might talk (after we see what is capable of first, of course). Outside of Desktops and Laptops, Windows is just hopeless. iPad OS is just a breeze to operate for a tablet form factor. Anything else is just plain BS. Have you seen ProCreate 5 for iPad OS? It's a breeze application to work with. Which is the match on the Windows/Surface side?
  • Well, if you want a tablet more than you want a very portable laptop, then the Surface Go is obviously not for you. I got mine because I wanted a device that was ultra-portable and yet can run a few legacy Win32 apps I use for my work (plus the included LTE is nice). I can also use it as a tablet as long as I stick to the Win 10 UWP apps, but that would only be a secondary use case...I got mine so it can be an ultra-portable Windows machine first and tablet second.
  • I agree. So nice to be able to stay in Win 10 ecosystem with my Surface Go on the go or in bed to make quick updates to Excel or Word or Bookmarks in Chrome Browser or Embroidery Software knowing all changes will be available to desktop.
  • Because it's absolutely impossible to do quick updates to Excel or Word or "Bookmarks in Chrome Browser" (whatever the hell that means) in iPad, or in Office online by Microsoft...
  • Just out of curiousity, which are these mysterious few legacy Win32 apps that you use for your work?
  • ProCreate and iPad is a match made in heaven. Absolutely good. That being said if there was a Win10 arm 64 bit version of Procreate it would work equally good on Surface too, but too bad devs wont port it. Procreate is already taking Adobe illustrators marketshare, if MS is smart they should partner with Adobe and convenience them to create better touch / pen focused productivity apps for Windows 10X.
  • "Win10 arm 64 bit version of Procreate" a lot of requirements don't you think? If MS is smart they should have acquired Adobe already, 10 years ago at least. But it's still not late
  • Surface go 2
    CPU 7c
    Software W10X
  • After playing with the Pro X, I was left disappointed for the poor performance. I'm happy with my Go so If they put a faster processor, add a massive battery and reduce the bezels, spoiled by an iPad pro :) it will be the ideal device. While I do believe ARM has lots of potential IMHO Microsoft should tweak the OS to perform better on this architecture, i.e. What if instead on killing windows mobile, they include the x86 emulation on it and put it on the PRO X, that will make it an interesting device