At the recent Microsoft Surface 2021 event, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Go 3, the third iteration of the ultra-portable tablet that has been shaking up the industry ever since the original was released in 2018. Thanks to its tiny 10-inch size and low price tag, the Surface Go line has been hugely beneficial for students, budget buyers, and people who need a device that's extremely easy to carry.
Something that a lot of people don't like about the Surface Go and Surface Go 2, however, is how limited its performance capabilities are. The Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y and 4425Y processors that the base models of previous Surface Go devices shipped with just weren't powerful enough to provide an ideal user experience. The Surface Go 2's optional Intel Core m3-8100Y helped, but the device's performance still felt dated compared to many competing convertible laptops. This was somewhat expected given the Surface Go's tiny chassis and rock-bottom price range, but it was still disappointing regardless.
With the Surface Go 3, Microsoft has addressed the CPU issues of previous generations by refreshing the Surface Go with two new processor options: the entry-level Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y and a 10th-Gen Intel Core i3-10100Y, both of which are significantly more capable than the Surface Go processors of yesteryear. Other improvements include a small bump to battery life (10 hours to 11 hours) and the presence of Wi-Fi 6, but beyond that, the Surface Go 3 isn't very different from its predecessors. Have a look at the official specs below:
|Category||Surface Go 3|
|Operating system||Windows 11|
|Display||10.5 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio
1920x1280 (220 PPI) resolution
|Processor||Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y
Intel Core i3-10100Y
|Surface Pen||4,096 levels of pressure, tilt support|
|Camera||5MP front-facing with Windows Hello
8MP rear auto-focus
|Security||Windows Hello face sign-in|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax compatible, Bluetooth Wireless 5.0
LTE Advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem
|Ports||1x USB-C, 1x Surface Connect, microSDXC card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Audio||2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium|
|Battery||Up to 11 hours|
|Dimensions||9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches (245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm)|
|Price||Starting at $399|
The fact that Microsoft isn't making any significant changes to the design of the Surface Go with this latest model may disappoint some, but did the Surface Go need any changes? As my colleague Daniel Rubino noted in his Surface Go 2 review, the design of the device was already impeccable. The issue was that Microsoft couldn't find a way to get more CPU horsepower into the 10-inch chassis, but that problem has now been solved — on paper, at least. We won't know how well the Surface Go 3 performs in practice until we get our hands on it, but all signs point to a significantly faster and smoother user experience.
The addition of more battery life and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility are nothing to scoff at, either. Even though these are minor improvements, an extra hour of battery life or a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi experience can be seriously helpful in situations where you're going to be away from a charger for a long time or have sensitive work to do and can't afford to deal with Wi-Fi connection mishaps.
What are your thoughts on the Surface Go 3? Do you think it could end up being one of the best Microsoft Surface PCs, or do you think that Microsoft should be doing more with this new version of the device? Let us know. Notably, Surface Go 3 preorders are now available with a starting price of $399.
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