Skip to main content

Surface Go 2 hands-on impressions: Core m3 smokes the Pentium in early benchmarks

Surface Go 2
Surface Go 2 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Surface Go 2 is now official, and Microsoft will begin shipping the device on May 12th in more than 20 different markets. Now with a more prominent display, smaller bezels, and new processor options, the Surface Go 2 looks to be a significant bump over its predecessor, so long as you shell out the extra cash.

I have had the Surface Go 2 for nearly the last 24 hours. While it is way too early for battery life estimates, I have been able to run some synthetic benchmarks to add some perspective to that "new" Intel Core m3-8100Y processor.

Here are five things I have noticed with the new Surface Go 2, so far.

Intel Core m3 makes a big difference

Surface Go 2

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

Compared to the Pentium processor in both the older 4415Y and newer 4425Y models, the Core m3-8100Y delivers a significant step up in performance. The Go 2 now feels much more like a regular laptop.

The Core m3 runs at 5 watts versus the 6 watts of the Pentium chip with a lower base frequency (1.1 GHz, vs. 1.7 GHz, respectively). But the Pentium is effectively fixed at 1.7Ghz, whereas the Core m3 can use turbo to 3.4GHz. That's the big difference.

The Intel UHD 615 GPU is also tweaked by 50MHz, which adds a little boost, too.

The early benchmarks speak for themselves when compared to the original Surface Go:

Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Surface Go 2Core m38471,609
Surface GoPentium376947
Surface Pro XSQ17252,819
Surface Laptop 3 13.5i5-1035G71,1774,413
Surface Laptop 2i5-8250U9093,372
Surface Pro 7i5-1035G41,1914,441
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U1,1133,519
Surface Pro 6i5-8250U9043,440

Geekbench 4

Geekbench 4.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Surface Go 2Core m34,0286,804
Surface GoPentium2,0783,934
Surface 3Atom x71,0782,777
Surface Pro X (ARM)SQ13,50511,727
Surface Pro X (x86)SQ12,1826,822
Samsung Galaxy Book2 (ARM)SD8502,2627,405
Samsung Galaxy Book2 (x86)SD8501,3454,164
HP Envy x2 (ARM)SD8352,1116,314
Surface Laptop 3 13.5i5-1035G75,26517,345
Surface Laptop 2i5-8250U4,20313,233
Surface Laptopi5-7200U3,7257,523
Surface Pro 7i5-1035G45,24517,350
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U5,03713,864
Surface Pro 6i5-8250U4,28714,031
Surface Pro 5i7-7660U4,5139,346
Surface Pro 5i5-7300U4,3028,482
Surface Pro 4i5-6300U3,3196,950


Geekbench 4.0 OpenCL (higher is better)

Surface Go 2UHD 61519,488
Surface GoHD 61516,490
Surface 3Intel HD8,055
Surface Pro 4 (m3)HD 51514,650
Surface Pro 4HD 52017,395
Surface BookHD 52018,197
Surface Laptop i5HD 62019,256
Surface Pro 2017HD6 2020,688
Surface Pro 2017Iris 64030,678
Surface Laptop i7Iris 64031,010


PCMark 10 (higher is better)

Surface Go 22,554
Surface Go1,808


CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

Surface Go 2 (SSD)1,630 MB/s373 MB/s
Surface Go (SSD)1,185 MB/s133 MB/s
Surface Go (eMMC)260 MB/s145 MB/s
Surface 3149 MB/s33 MB/s
Surface Pro X2,023 MB/s832 MB/s
Samsung Galaxy Book2722 MB/s205 MB/s
HP Envy x2513 MB/s197 MB/s
Surface Laptop 3 13.52,338 MB/s1,583 MB/s
Surface Laptop 3 152,028 MB/s806 MB/s
Surface Laptop 21,509 MB/s811 MB/s
Surface Laptop486 MB/s244 MB/s
Surface Pro 72,040 MB/s809 MB/s
Surface Pro 61,632 MB/s814 MB/s
Surface Pro 5847MB/s801 MB/s
Surface Book1,018 MB/s967 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 73902,400 MB/s1,228 MB/s


The heat is also well contained despite the higher CPU clockspeed. The Surface Go 2 with Core m3 is a fanless system, like before, but it doesn't get scorching either in my early tests.

The back of the Go 2 gets warm to around 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), which is well below what most laptops get on their top decks. You can see in my thermal image just how the heat is dispersed throughout the chassis.

Of course, the Intel Core m3-8100Y retails for roughly $120 more than the Pentium chip, and that is reflected in the slightly higher price point of the Surface Go 2. That said, the performance boost – when combined with the faster SSD in the Go 2 – makes a big difference in the user experience.

This is an excellent display

Surface Go 2 Display Angle

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

Even though the Surface Go 2 can creep up in price, that $399 model is still impressive, especially the screen for this class of device.

Sure, it's still glossier than I would prefer, but it is pulling in 99 percent Adobe sRGB with nearly 400 nits of brightness with outstanding viewing angles.

That extra half-inch of screen realestate is undoubtedly much nicer too. It's still a small device, but it's a bit better now.

The thinner bezels now look ordinary. They're not crazy Dell-InfinityEdge-thin, but there's a reason for that. The Surface keyboard now comes right up to the bottom of the display. Were the bezels to be any thinner, either the keyboard would overlap onto the screen (not good), or Microsoft would have to have a larger bezel just on the bottom of the Surface Go 2, which would ruin the symmetry and make it look goofy.

Instant On, magnets, LTE, and more

Surface Go 2 Camera Mics

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

Some smaller changes with the Surface Go 2 get less attention, but here are a few.

There is now a better implementation of Microsoft's Instant-On technology that came to the Surface Laptop 3 (Intel versions) and Surface Pro 7 last year. Flipping the keyboard open now turns on the Surface Go 2 much faster without it going into hibernation as quickly. When combined with the zippy Windows Hello, it's very fluid.

Like Surface Pro X there are now small magnets at the top of the display that helps keep the keyboard from flopping around.

Microsoft is hyping the camera and microphones in its new sizzler video for the Go 2. It is right to do so as Surfaces have always had the best web cameras around, and this 1080P one is great. It's the same camera as the Surface Go, but now it has two Studio Microphones flanking it instead of one, making it even better for that online digital meeting life we're all doing in 2020. Compared to every premium Ultrabook on the market, the Go 2 smokes them.

The model I am testing also has 4G LTE, and Wi-Fi 6 is now standard. So far, the wireless abilities have been excellent. It is an unlocked LTE device, as expected. I'm using it with Verizon and have tried Sprint with no issue. There is also a secondary eSIM option letting you switch between a physical and electronic SIM on the fly.

Surface Go 2: More to come

Surface Go Vs Surface Go2 Bezelskeyboard

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

As usual, I'll be spending the next few days with the Surface Go 2 before my review to get a better idea of battery life and performance.

So far, out-of-the-box impressions are great. The 128GB SSD has about 81GB of free space after the initial setup. The Surface Go 2 ships with Windows 10 version 1909 (build 18363.15) in S Mode. Switching out of S-Mode is very easy with a simple button click in the Microsoft Store – you don't even have to reboot. The new Microsoft Edge came pre-installed to and pinned to the taskbar along with a few Office applications.

The Surface Go 2 arrives on May 12 with a starting price of $399. The model I'm testing with LTE, and the Core m3 tops out at $729. You can get all the pricing and full specifications in our announcement post here.

Have any questions? Leave them in comments, and I'll answer them for the review.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Thanks for the information. I was looking for some benchmark data. If Geekbench is available for free, maybe I'll do my i3 Pro 7 so I can see how it compares.
  • Surface pro 7 core i3 : 1151/2319 geekbench 5 4782/9211 geekbench 4 Surface go 2 should be 25 to 30 % slower than sp7 core i3 version. But you get 2X ram & type cover at the same price (749$) of sp7 core i3.
  • Thank you for the information. I'm interested to know if I would notice the difference in day-to-day use. I was pretty happy with my Go... until I had to use Google anything. And my work is all Google, so using Google sheets was an absolute pain. The Go 2 should fair much better.
  • Sorry I don't own any of this. I just told from what was available on geekbench data online. Based on benchmarks we can say that surface go 2 m3 version is equivalent to 6th gen i5 surface pro 4 or i5 surface book 1 in performance. so that means it should be capable machine & as article mentions unlike surface go1 processor , core m3 should work much better due to turbo boost technology like core i series processors.
  • That is the same version we got for our daughter during the $600 with type cover... just sweet. I still think in this device day and age, 4GB RAM on any Surface device should be considered CUUDP "Cruel and Un-Usual Device Punishment" An appropriate law against such crime should be crafted
  • Some enterprise organizations use these low spec device for limited systems that are locked down. Think of a factory floor. Think of an ATM machine. These devices are designed for a very specific user.
  • My Geekbench 5 scores are: 1068/2319. That means I would lose 21/31 percent in performance by going from an i3 to m3. Would I notice a 31% drop in day-to-day use? I'm not entirely sure. Probably when I'm using Google Sheets. I also don't know what affect going from the my Pro 7's UHD Graphics to the Go 2's UHD Graphics 615will have.
  • I hate Google Sheets...
  • Hah! My job is all Google so I don't have much of a choice. In general, I'm also underwhelmed by Google's office offerings.
  • Sorry to hear that. I mean I admire Google for making an Excel alternative that is as robust as it is, but it's just not great, to the point of being frustrating. And it's slow as hell in a browser ...
  • I have a financial background so, maybe I'm biased, but Excel is Microsoft's greatest program. It realizes the ultimate vision of the electronic spreadsheet, pioneered by VisiCalc more than 40 years ago. Word is good, and Outlook has become pretty good, but Excel is the star of Micosoft Office (or whatever the Hell they call it nowadays)...
  • 30% performance decrease in graphics as well imo.
    Only thing you will get is 8gb ram & smaller formfactor with little better battery life.
  • My wife loves her Surface Go and has nearly worn out the keyboard. Does Go 2 have new keyboard colors or are they sticking with first gen? Also, does Go 2 incorporate the new fast charge feature of Laptop 3 , Pro and Pro X?
  • They have the Pro 7 colors available now, so Ice Blue and Poppy Red. Also, it appears they're updating the mobile mouse colors with these and introducing new sleeves for the Go.
  • Same keyboard type, interchangeable, nothing new except colors. Yes, this has fast charge.
  • Actually isn't the function keys layout updated and a magnet in the keyboard for better wake-up experience?
  • Right, forgot about the magnet. Didn't check Fn key layout yet but will make note.
  • Hi,
    about the magnet I would like to have some details. I got this alcantara type cover for my surface go. Could it be possible that this one allready has this magnet? I tested it with another magnet and also some metal and there is a magnet build in the left lower side. Left from the trackpad.
  • Oof, this m3 model is as powerful as my Pro 5 with a 7th gen i5. The price difference to a Pro is still questionable but it is an impressive little machine.
  • Thank you for a good initial perspective. I love my Go and don't want to shell out at this time, but those initial performance boosts sure look tempting...
  • You're getting m3 performance at i5 prices from the competition, arguably even i7. I don't get why the Go is so expensive at the m3 level. It's pretty nuts, given it's sold as a product that essentially requires another $200+ in post-purchase accessories to be a viable laptop replacement. At $630,why not just pay a hair more for the i3 Pro 7? It's not significantly larger and will be far better value.
  • Because Intel charges for the m3 as much as a Core i processor. So, yeah, you're getting basically a smaller Surface Pro 7 here. That's on Intel and why Microsoft is hesitant to put in anything more powerful, it drives up the price. I've been saying it for years now. Intel simply doesn't have both a low cost and high performant chip.
  • Hopefully AMD wriggles their way in eventually
  • I'm with you on this. I know Intel have come out and said the next gen I processors give AMD a run for its money but the cost again will let it down. Now AMD are king of the desk processor market time for them to push in the mobile space and drive down the price to with a good processor.
  • Does AMD sell a 5 watt processor with the same performance as the m3?
  • AMD doesn't have a 5W Ryzen, from any generation.
  • That's the more reason they should've considered a Qualcom Snapdragon chip instead.
  • Yeah missed opportunity there, though maybe Snapdragon 7cx is only been announced relatively recently. I wished they just went Snapdragon since ARM is perfect for this form-factor. Surface Go is not meant to be a workhorse computer that edits and renders 4K video anyways. This is a small light computing device that would suite to most people for personal and light productivity use. Also best PC for kids as well (outside hardcore AAA games). If only Windows 10 has better Tablet Mode like on Win8.1. Windows 10 X is not yet ready though maybe they can put Win10X for Surface Go 3 considering they are focusing on releasing it for single-screen devices first. The issue is that Win10X ARM support. So if Win10X is still not compatible for ARM on 2021, then maybe Surface Go 3 would just go with regular Windows 10. Tbh most issues with Windows 10 tablet experience mostly the File Explorer which is still mouse centric, then other things like apps being desktop centric even on new apps (looking at you Edge and Office apps except OneNote UWP), and not as polished animations and gestures to make the OS feels bit more modern and responsive, fit and finish on Windows 10 remains left to be desired, functional yes, UX still inconsistent.
  • The Surface brand ( a fusion of Windows and new form factors) is an ecosystem using Windows on CISC chips. 10X is the road to something different. Will Surface branch and have two ecosystems (RISC and CSIC)? to do so, the services (Teams/O365) must work seamlessly between the two branches. This takes time.
  • Nah no way, using an ARM processor would've doubled or tripled the price of the Surface Go 2 while simultaneously halving the performance. That was my biggest issue with the Surface Pro X. You were paying 2x the price of a Surface Pro 7 for the performance of a 1st gen Surface Go. I remember one of the benefits of ARM was to bring low cost sub $99 tablets to the market with good enough performance and battery life. Now it's become more expensive than high end x86 CPUs.
  • This is NOT a missed opportunity. Except for speed (which has been improved significantly) there is NO compromise to using a Surface Go 2 in comparison to the Surface Pro X. If you want to use Photoshop (you shouldn't) you can. There is still a lot of life left in CISC.
  • AMD might be a lot cheaper but they have nothing that fits the 5-6 W power budget. So we're still stuck with old Intel chips. A 7nm i3 could be a formidable low-power chip but I'm imagining a 2025 release date...
  • The portability you get with the Surface Go is super convenient, and that is where the price premium comes from (in addition to the Surface quality). It has specific use cases.
  • I agree totally. So many people see the Surface Go as a "budget" computer. As you say, it's really a premium ultraportable -- miniscule size and (in my 4 days with it) surprisingly good performance. I'm really happy with it.
  • i3 surface pro 7 is crippled by 4gb only ram & it starts at 750$ that too without type cover. for the same price I can get surface go 2 with m3, 8 gb ram, same storage as i3 sp7 & a type cover. so overall surface go 2 m3 is a great device for someone who is short on budget but wants to buy premium tablet -laptop hybrid.
  • I think that is because m/y cores are basically u cores but optimized at lower power usage (could be I am simplifying it).
  • On that $200 post purchase issue - I'm an iPad owner since V1 (iPad Pro 11 2018 now) and if you want a "laptop" experience you are looking at $299 plus $129 for the Pencil 2, and you still don't have an infinitely adjustable screen experience of the kickstand. PLUS - the entire Windows ecosystem. By my math, the SG2 accessories are a good value.
  • This changes the game for me. I was originally looking to replace my 6 year old gaming build with a Surface Book 3 to basically be my all in one device. But the SB3 price tag is just out of my reach. With the Surface Go 2 now, I figure I can just build a new gaming rig and then get the Go 2 for portability (mostly as a guitar music reader), while still coming under the SB3 15" price tag.
  • As a Surface Pro X owner, and I really like it, I have to wonder should I have just waited and gotten an m3 Go? Microsoft has something that could potentially be special in the SPX, but will they ever do what's necessary to unlock the potential ARM brings? A quick look at the task manager shows some of Microsoft's own services and apps running in emulation, serving as a bit of a battery life hit on it's own device. Hopefully, Apple's ARM announcement will put a little fire under Microsoft! It really seems to just need some attention to bring it to where it needs to be.
  • For me, personally, the higher res and larger display of the Pro X, plus the neat KB/Pen trick, and just overall design (and even better web camera) beat the Go 2. There is overlap, for sure, but just depends if you like/enjoy working on a 10.5-inch display. That's...a tradeoff.
  • I think it is much more than that - despite the better display and keyboard tricks, 100% Windows compatibility is something many of us need in our day to day business world. I don't want to speed another lifetime tweaking and working around WOA limitations all the time. I just wish MS would grace us with one business SKU with a 512gb SSD, but I guess that cuts against their desire to push us all to the Azure cloud ASAP.
  • It is a different category. The X has a 13 inch screen, that is a lot more area for productivity (+53%). The Go on the other hand is slightly more portable but especially lighter. If you use the X as tablet mostly you might want a Go 2, otherwise you will most likely prefer the X.
  • Too bad the processors don't match the use case. The X should be Intel and the Go should be ARM. This strategy doesn't make sense. Classic Microsoft, they continue to bungle everything. They need someone with a clean vision who can take charge. Panos is blowing it.
  • Actually a m/y core makes perfect sense in a Go apart from Intel's pricing. It is very snappy with its turbo clocks (no one is going to do video editing / rendering etc on a Go anyway), decent battery life (should be slightly better than the pentium since it uses less power) and full legacy support for entreprises. Heck even the igpu got a boost. This will finally be a serious contender to ipads performance/hardware wise where it practically matters (instead of just blindly looking at benchmarks ;) ).
  • Good battery life is
  • less than 5 hours?! If you want a laptop get a laptop, if you want a tablet, get an iPad. The Go is a very compromised version of each.
  • Of course if you're going to stress it than 4-5 hours would be pretty realistic, but Ipads wouldn't be able to offer much longer battery life if you would stress them (techrader):
    "We did see that battery percentage took a hit when we were playing AR games, as expected, but overall it held up when we used it for half of our work day – roughly four hours a day. " , only 4 hours yikes. Besides the Ipad cannot run Steam & GOG, that alone defeats a big part of its purpose for me.
  • I haven't seen the screen of the SG2 yet (obviously), but I'm happy that it using one of the standard desktop resolutions at 1920X1280 (yes, I know newer monitors are 1920X1200, but I have 1920X1280 monitors in my office, and appreciate the extra 80 pixels :-) ).
  • Nice initial review Dan. Waiting for your battery tests vs SG1. Thanks for pointing out the detail on the magnet for the keyboard when closed. Does that work on the original SG1 keyboard, or do you need to buy an updated KB for that to work?
  • Thanks. I'll have to try, but my hunch is you need a small magnet at the top of the Go's bezel for it to work. Will mention for the review.
  • Yes, my question is do you need to buy the newest KB in order for the magnet on SG2 to keep the KB closed? The palmrest/track pad area on the older KB doesn't seem to be magnetic. I assume MS send you the newer KB for testing.
  • Yes...battery info, please! I can't believe I only get (barely) 4 hours out of my GO; I hope this battery is better...
  • So awesome! This would be my #1 recommendation for new college students (unless they needed more power). For note taking and general PC tasks, this looks like a winner, a real successor to the Surface 3 (complete with the same display res and dimensions). And can you imagine this cool little thing with a real game streaming service like xCloud? I hope the battery life pans out. The LTE option looks cool though.
  • At this price, it is hard to not just get the Pro. They need to drop a $100 off each model.
  • For the m3, yeah, the price is close. But as someone who's owned a Surface 3 and a Surface Pro, I can say there's a big difference in portability - even though the Pro models are still very portable. For me, personally the larger screen is/was worth the upgrade. When I switched from Surface 3 to Surface Pro 5 I was a grad student taking lots of notes involving graphs and math and the like and I could definitely notice the difference. But not everyone prefers a larger screen for note-taking, some prefer the even smaller form factor, and for some that tiny $200 difference or whatever it is looms large. That's probably me when I was in college! So if the battery life is OK (and bugs are minimal - looking at you, SP4) I'd recommend the Surface Go 2 to a college student first before recommending the Surface Pro. It's a do-everything device in a super-cute package.
  • Does anyone know if the LTE model will support T-Mobile USA data plans? I'm deciding which one to order.
  • Never had an issue with T-Mobile SIMs and Surface devices; they're all unlocked, support global bands.
  • Thanks, Daniel. I already put my pre-order in.
  • Nice, congrats! I think you'll enjoy it.
  • Which bands? Usually LTE bands for Europe and East Asia are different. I don't know if Microsoft has different SKUs for different LTE regions.
  • I have T-Mobile SIM on my SPX. Works great.
  • Why would anyone get this over an iPad, especially now that it has decent mouse support? It’s a bad tablet (no apps) and a mediocre laptop, don’t really see the point of this thing existing.
  • If you want to run desktop software, you get a Surface. If you want to run mobile (phone) apps, you get an iPad.
  • I suppose, but the Go isn’t going to run any serious software. Nobody’s going to be running photoshop, illustrator or visual studio on this thing. Basic office stuff can be done just as well on the iPad.
  • "don’t really see the point of this thing existing."
    And yet it's the most popular/best selling of all the Surface devices, so much that they were compelled to make a version 2 and launch in globally in 24 markets at once 🤔 Ever get the feeling that sometimes it's you and not the product ;) It's OK to see this and say "not for me!", everyone can relate and understand that; but there's a certain tone deafness to seeing how no one could benefit from a portable Windows 10 PC, or even prefer it over an iPad.
  • Exactly. I just finished ordering a SG2 to compliment my SP7 and replace my iPad Pro. The iPad is a very nice device, to be sure, but for what I use it for, the SG2 will be a much better fit at essentially the same size. Now to replace my iPhone with something... anyone see the Duo preorder page yet?
  • I really wish I could make use of an iPad Pro. I really admire the hardware and even OS, but it just doesn't fit into my life/work all. I'm too busy responding to email, twitter, slack/teams, telegram, etc. t to not have a good KB input method.
  • iPad pencil runs circles around the Surface pen. I have a Pro with a pen and I am always amazed when I use the iPad Pencil as works so much better. Rarely bother with the Surface pen. Windows just doesn't do a good job implementing it.
  • Only for drawing, for note taking they are similar and the surface pen wins with extra buttons.
  • Idunno about runs circles, but the software implementation of the Surface Pen in Windows is a problem. Specifically, the out-of-box calibration is too soft (the pressure curve is too aggressive) and the idiotic Surface app, the only way I know to adjust the pressure curve, resets to the default pressure curve on every restart. It's mind-bendingly terrible. But once I get the pressure curves right (I like linear) the pen flies. Usually I'm taking notes, doing math, and teaching undergrads optimization theory and the like. But I also do sketching, graphic design and calligraphy as a hobby and the pen feels great. (YMMV of course.)
  • I tried to use my iPad Pro as my main computer for a month-long visit to Spain a couple years ago, and it was very unsatisfying. The keyboard is one issue, and also the "multitasking" is just not very usable compared to a regular computer. And, while some apps are great, they don't replace the desktop software I regularly use. The iPad is an app playing device, and I like it a lot as that, but it's not a computer work environment. I just found an interesting use for my iPad Pro -- as a second monitor for the Surface Go 2 using Duet Display! Very cool!
  • Not saying much. Surface doesn't sell in big numbers.
  • They do actually (according to WC best sold Surface or something like that).
  • Best sold surface doesn't mean it sells well in general. They really don't move that many Surface devices. $1 billion in revenue doesn't translate to large device sales when the cheapest is $500 and most are $1000 or more.
  • Same goes for Macbook Pros lol
  • MSFT never intended for the Surface to dominate the Windows ecosystem. They just want to use it as a vehicle to push the WinTel ecosystem. They make money. But in reality, the margins on the hardware side of the WinTel ecosystem will never approach the margins on the software side of the WinTel ecosystem. The reason the ditched W10M is because they could never make money on the software side. They just never could get Apps generating revenue. Since they could not make money (at a suitable margin) selling phones, they stopped pouring money into the OS.
  • I have an iPad Pro and love it, but it's more like an accessory than a computer replacement. The Surface Go 2 (m3/wifi/topline model) -- which I've had for 3 days now -- is not just an e-mail/web browser/reading device. It runs quite a bit of the desktop software I use (music production, digital art, programming) surprisingly well. (My main computer is a Surface Book 2 15", which is certainly transportable enough, but I bought the Go 2 to have an ultraportable option when I'm away from my main work studio.)
  • Surface Go is good enough as a tablet and I can play Steam/Gog games on them (hence no need to buy stuff twice). Browsers are also better and more choice than on iOS.
  • I've been an iPad user form day one - even with the Magic Keyboard for my 2018 iPad Pro 11 it doesn't come to being a mediocre laptop. Try just marking up an incoming email attachment and getting it to forward - it is a nuthouse of saving to the right application and retrieving it again as an attachment. And don't even think about editing several Word or Excel documents at the same time - not going to happen. The Magic Keyboard has already been returned and just waiting to make a business SKU pre-order.
  • Easy. I teach a statistical software program that runs only on Windows. I do a lot on my iPads (iPad Pro 11 2018, iPP 10.5, Mini 5). They are great for web surfing, email, and that sort of thing, but I need full Office software (including Access) and SAS. Can’t run any of that on an iPad.
  • For me it’s filling a niche I’m a ham radio operator that works radio in the girl and it can run all my pc ham programs, an iPad cannot. And frank in my back pack
  • Sounds very promising, but 720$ is a bit of a hard sell for such a small device...
  • I've got the go 1 and the pro 7 and love using the go 1 for being easier to hold one handed
  • Josher, Are you getting the SGo2? I hope so. I want to see what games you get working on it ;)
  • Hehe this is exactly what I will be using it for if I will get one to replace my Pro 1 ^^.
  • $720 is for the LTE model, whereas it's $630 for non-LTE. You have to understand this is effectively a mini Surface Pro with the same quality hardware: same cameras, same Windows Hello, same inking/touch display, same kickstand hinge, speakers, etc. It's not a cheap product, it's a very premium device.
  • I'm just thinking of how much laptop I can get for that money... Is portability and LTE really worth that price point? For some, perhaps... For myself, I'm not quite convinced.
  • You're forgetting the digitizer and good 3:2 display (even though it is smaller, which docking can solve when a bigger screen is needed). Not that I would pay full price for the m/y version but it is not that bad of a deal actually, especially since m/y version will be really snappy and probably slight battery life improvement. I think it is on par with Ipad Air pricing actually for what you get (less bang for buck on the cpu/efficiency but better bang for buck with accessorizes).
  • The smaller iPhone 11 with the same amount of RAM is $30 more expensive... :-)
  • Daniel, thanks for your awesome review. I already ordered the SGo 2. I was wondering if you get a chance, can you see if the microSD card slot performs any better than the original SGo? Thanks.
  • Hm, interesting question. I don't believe it changed but will look to confirm for the review. And congratulation on the order! I'm sure you'll love it.
  • Will Microsoft take my original GO as a trade-in? What could I get for it?
  • Hey Daniel, is the caption on the last picture wrong? "Surface Go (right) vs Surface Go 2 (left) and how the keyboards line up with the dispay." In the pic, (and based on what you said earlier about both the bezels being thinner and the keyboard coming right up to where the display starts), it looks like it's the Go on the left and the Go 2 on the right.
  • correct, and fixed ;)
  • @Daniel, will the Pentium 4425Y variant also have that nice bump in gpu speed? (~40% in 3d mark)
  • Absolutely not. At best, the 4425Y will be a very minor increase in performance.
  • Ah blast,I thought they maybe improved that one's igpu too. :( Thanks for replying.
  • Small mixup on the caption of the side-by-side Gos, correct? Surface Go 2 on the right?
  • Yeah, fixed, thanks!
  • So the initial setup already consumed almost 47GB?
    Is Windows 10 installation that bloated?
  • Well, more complicated than that... The 128GB reports at 118GB to the OS, and from that 81GB is available, so 37GB. That's how all drives work in Windows for...reasons.
  • Fun fact, it's because the prefix "giga" (or mega, kila, etc) actually refers to a power of 1000, not 1024, if the drive was 128 gigibytes, it would be in powers of 1024, like how Windows calculates storage. Why drive manufacturers never rectified this at any point I will never know, but it can be quite frustrating.
  • Probably for profit reasons.
  • No Windows 10 only is something like ~21-25 gb (I had it once on a 32 gb tablet and had a little space available for other stuff but needed a microsd in it to update Windows). The rest are backups / temp files which are not needed. Like Daniel and Sin said however you don't really get 128 gb because the drive manufacturers use confusing numbers.
  • Is there any chance we are going to have a Windows 10x version? That would be great
  • Realistically, I wouldn't expect anything official on 10X until spring 2021. Maybe they'll do an Insider thing for certain Surface devices by end of the year.
  • I love my Surface Go . I have the 8gb/128gb version and for ordinary office tasks, browsing and Netflix etc it's fine. Love the screen quality, the typecover keyboard, the portability. A bit of extra oomph might be nice but really for the things I need from a secondary, mobile computer it's brilliant and perfectly judged - EXCEPT for its battery life which is a joke for something with mobile pretensions. Normal use with screen at around 50 per cent brightness I get around 4 hours. From what I've read the new version could be a bit better, but maybe only 10 per cent better, when really this thing should be giving us 8 hours minimum. I've got round the problem with a power bank, but that's suddenly a whole lot more weight in my bag, and less than ideal. I wait with baited breath for the battery benchmarks...
  • It does have a bigger battery this year in Go 2, so that should help in addition to the CPU.
  • It's a 1Wh improvement from 26 -> 27Wh, I'm surprised Microsoft is even using it in their marketing, any significant uptick in battery life is going to be because of increased efficiency not the increased capacity of the battery. It's still disappointing considering the iPad has a 32Wh one.
  • I guess, but so far, the battery life and standby time has been pretty great. Still need a few more days for actual numbers though.
  • The Go 2 m/y variant and than in Windows Power Plan slightly limit the cpu to ~90% when on battery. This should still keep it snappy enough while giving you noticeable extra battery life in conjunction with what Daniel said.
  • Can't say ive complained about the speed of my Surface Pro (2017) i5 model, but the scores the Go 2 is getting is pretty much on par with it. Im tempted in getting it to replace my Pro.
  • The article says the cameras haven't changed but microsoft are making a big deal about their new webcams. Bigger aperture, bigger sensor, bigger pixels etc. They say their research shows people use webcams in low light a lot and they've optimised for that.
  • Looks like a really good potential replacement for my 6th Gen iPad. Can’t wait to hear a more detailed review. LTE will be interesting if we ever get out of the house again. Can you use it as a phone?
  • Not as a phone, unfortunately! But if you have an Android phone, you can use Your Phone to take calls, do SMS through the Go 2, which is super fun.
  • I allways using my Surface Go as a phone! Over Teams with the telephone system and a calling plan. Since then, I never again want to use any other phone ;-)
  • Perhaps a dumb question but who provides the calling plan? Microsoft or the sim card cell company?
  • @Velvis
    If you using MS-Teams then MS also provides the calling plan. At home I only got a internet connection and everything else is running over MS, also all telephone things.
    But for this to work you need to setup a MS Business Tenant. I have licenced several E1 users in my family and also a "meeting room" user licence to replace our "home telephone". The old number was transfered from telekom to MS, no problem.
    And ones MS Teams is set up, you are available everywhere where MS Teams is running. If not, Teams also runs in a browser, also with the complete telephone system. Thats awesome, this way I am also available in the office where I only have internet connection but no mobile signal.
  • I love my go with 4gb RAM and 128GB SSD. I feel a bit disappointed that they don't use the same setup for Top Tier processor... Brian
  • That's the configuration I have, and I think it's "just right". The fast 128GB SSD makes a huge difference in performance, to the point where it runs fine on the base Pentium and 4GB RAM -- which saves you money. I really wish MS would offer this as a mainstream option on the Go2; IIRC, on the Go1 this specific config was meant for the "Costco bundle" (but I bought my bundle at Amazon for $479 including Type Cover).
  • I couldn't be bothered checking 77 comments so my apologies if this was already covered, but having the keyboard right up against the bottom of the usable screen, does that cause any problems for using touch on the toolbar, or do you not notice any issues?
  • The Pro X is exactly the same and I have not had any issues (on the Pro X is can sometimes block the little active "dash" under the app icon on the taskbar, but haven't noticed that on Go 2).
  • Hi, do you think that it is realistic to think of using photoshop for small photo editing ?
    I have currently an old surface pro 3 i5 and I was wondering if I would lose some performance by switching to the SG2. What's your opinion ?
  • Don't know about photoshop but I've done some occasional editing using Affinity Photo on the SG1 (8gb RAM), and performance is workable. tbh screen is a bit small when you're trying to look at adjustment tools and the image, but for those occasional tasks it's ok
  • It's definitely doable. Whether you enjoy the experience on a 10.5-inch display is a subjective matter.
  • Another Affinity Photo user. I find the Go1 8gb surprisingly capable for a fair amount of photo editing, but it falls short on a few things. For example, some brushes will cause the program to lock.
    The lack of screen is, as mentioned, a consideration however nimble you are with the zoom tool, but that's a trade-off for the Go's convenience.
  • I'm looking at the base model (£399) as a companion device for university. Would I be right to assume this would be fine for note taking, essay writing when away from my main computer, ebooks, maybe some power point creation?
  • Yes, that's how I use the original Go on the job. Notetaking during meetings, events, etc. It was great due to the size. As a companion device, the Pentium is fine.
  • Despite owning a 16 inch Macbook Pro and an iPad Pro, I am definitely interested in this device to fulfill my IT needs from afar and to access the "real" version of Microsoft 365. Or, I must be crazy for wanting to add yet another device to my already packed arsenal.
  • I mean, it is a fun device to use. That was my original take for my Surface Go 1 review.
  • Ipad Pro is a tier higher though in pricing/quality, so while the Go 2 m/y version might be interesting for you it might also be disappointment in some areas if you are used to an Ipad Pro (depending on how important long battery life etc for you is).
  • If you think 6th gen iPad is the same as the iPad Pro then you are dreaming. It is an iPhone 7 with a crappy screen. That's like saying the Surface Go is the same as the Pro 7. Adding pro to the end of the Surface moniker is to entice dummies. 🙄
  • WTF are you talking about? The iPad Pro wipes the floor with the non Pro iPads. But hey, trying to make an apple hater see anything different is futile.
  • He does have a point though, mostly concerning smaller pro models. We have (and had more) several iPad regulars here (incl one from 2018) and 2 pro's (one 9.7 and one 10.5, the latter is from 2018 iirc). The practical difference between them is not that big imo. It mainly differs in anti-reflective screen or not, small performance difference and screen bezels. The designs are very similar imo.
    I can see the difference is much bigger if someone has a 13 inch iPad pro with that new expensive hinge keyboard though (than screen size difference is really noticeable for art etc and the new keyboard would be much better for longer typing sessions etc). Now the Go2 m/y version will decrease the performance gap noticeably between go and pro, but currently still before it's launch the difference between pro and go is day and night.
  • Bending just from being picked up out of the package? Congratulations, you are full of hsit. I have an 11” Pro, a 13” Pro and a mini 5. You can’t bend any of them by opening the box. And all run circles AND ovals around the go 2. Again, you are a fool and full of hsit.
  • So the 8GB/256GB variant only available for businesses? I really like to get one of those... :(
  • Yes. 256G is LTE, ships with Win 10 Pro installed, and my business rep gave me a good bundle deal. If you want that model, contact your nearest MS store and ask that the business rep get in touch with you.
  • What was your final cost and with the stores being closed how do you get in touch with someone?
  • So 81 GB free space on SSD card for 128 GB model. Two questions:
    * If you upgrade to Windows 10 Home, how much is then left on SSD (i.e., 128 GB - space by OS).
    * Is it realistic to store files on micro SD card? Or is that horribly slow compared to SSD drive?
  • Old user of Surface RT lol want a GO 1 but never do it because the price and fear it was so slow like the RT... u think the Go 1 still worth it with a good price cut?
  • Yeah but personally I only think the entry model is worth it (and maybe the 128 sad & 4 gb model) since with a price cut it would be really cheap and personally I would only use it as a secondary device & tablet (browsing, casual gaming, notes, quick office work etc). I feel the cheap models are balanced well for that purpose (4 gb makes sense alongside the Pentium cpu and decent gpu).
    However if you really want a snappy device wait for a price cut on the Go2 m/y version or buy a surface pro.
  • M3 and LTE makes this a pretty good device, but two things would make this a great device. If SG2 came in black, just like the Pro 7 does. If there were a slim pen/keyboard combo (available in Platinum, Black, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red).
  • I've seen you post this incorrect info on other articles and in your podcasts...
    TDP is not power draw. Don't confuse people by saying it draws 5W vs 6W. TDP is not a measurement of power draw. It's a measurement of the amount of heat a system can dissipate.
  • If they could have given the M3 LTE 256GB of storage, I'd be very close to purchasing one sometime in June. Not sure I could live with 128GB of storage. My Surface Laptop 3 has 256GB of storage and that's probably the minimum I'd feel comfortable with. But I'm trying to justify it a bit ... as this is almost perfect for me as a portable go-anywhere machine that I can do almost all my work on that I can do at home. Maybe if there's another SKU added a bit later. Love this thing!
  • Here you go, I believe they added the business pre-orders, the 256GB yesterday.
  • Why can’t I delete a comment? Answered my own question.
  • How do we get our hands on the 256GB version?
  • Get in touch with the business rep that works through your nearest MS store. The business versions come with Windows 10 Pro installed, list is $20 less than the consumer version plus the upgrade. I also got a bundle price on the 256G version (LTE version is the only 256G version available), type cover, pencil, and 2 year warranty that amounted to almost 11% off.
  • I am interested in getting the 256GB with the lte. How do I get in touch with a rep?
  • How much faster does the m3 model feel compared to the Pentium? For loading apps, typical websites. I thought both variants had the same UHD 615 GPU so gaming shouldn't show much of a difference.
  • cpu: 60-100 % increase in burst performance.
    gpu: ~20-30% increase in performance. (Daniel pointed out that the Pentium varient has probably a weaker igpu)
  • I'm more curious about any improvements to the pentium gold version of the SG2 compared to the SG1 128gb ssd / 8gb aside from the screen size. I think that the 128gb ssd/8gb of the SG2 should have been the entry model @ $400 instead of the another 64gb emc/4gb that no one should buy. The fact that they decided to install a Core m3 for the higher end model should have negated the entry level model entirely and a snap dragon version with WOA would've been an excellent replacement for a third sku for those who wanted a SG with longer battery life.
  • Personally I think I would only buy the 64gb emc/4gb model actually, it is the only one besides perhaps the m/y version that would make sense for me with the Go as a second device. Also don't forget that the Intel m/y cpu is basically as expensive as an Intel u3 cpu, which can be found in budget laptops that have bad screens and cheap body etc (so it is too expensive to put in an entry model for the Go that is more like a midrange laptop when you look past the basic specs).
  • Does the Instant On improvement apply to the Pentium as well?
  • Great reviews. I saw on Microsoft website the Surface Go 2 256Gb version for Business. Do you think anyone can buy one for personal usage? Or only to be purchased by company?
  • I bought a SG2 with LTE to replace my SG1. My 9 y.o. son will get the SG1 to use Adobe Fresco and NESMaker. I used my SG1 (and SG2) as a partner to my SP6. I carry the Go to meetings and take notes and essentially that's *all* i use it for. On the side, I have a recording studio and I know the SG1 could be tweaked really well to be as capable as any iPad Pro. I thought about getting the Pro X, but i really like size of the Go and it appears that for non-ARM apps, the SG2 is just as fast. So i'm not really giving up on anything. I do not intend to by a keyboard for the SG2. I have the MSFT foldable keyboard for a pinch, but i prefer to write in my text like i did on my old Palm V!
  • I’m getting mine tomorrow never had the go but I had the older surface 3 and loved it . I bought the m3 LTE version
  • i got my SG2, but verizon said my device/imei is not approved for their system.
  • is the 99% AdobeRGB claim correct? that puts the Go 2 display above the entire Surface line.
  • Any info on how to get the LTE model working on Sprint? I have a compatible sim card but the Sprint website wont accept the IMEI of the SGo2 and the eSim option doesnt list Sprint.