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Surface Go as a tablet review: Is it any good without a keyboard?

The Surface Go is pretty good, but most reviews have focused on having both the tablet and a type cover for the best experience. The Surface Go is a tablet, however, meaning you can buy one without the Type Cover, but should you? In this short review, I've been using the Surface Go without a Type Cover for a few weeks. Here are my thoughts.

What you'll love about the Surface Go as a tablet

Surface Go USB-C port

Surface Go USB-C port (Image credit: Windows Central)

Let's start with what's great about the Surface Go when being used as a tablet. Firstly, the hardware is exceptional. For $399, you're getting a very well built tablet, featuring a magnesium chassis with a high-quality 10-inch IPS display on the front. If you've ever used Surface before, you'll know that Surface devices are the best of the best when it comes to premium design, and the same goes for the Surface Go even at its low starting price point.

CategorySpec
Dimensions9.65" x 6.9" x 0.33" (245 mm x 175 mm x 8.3 mm)
Display Size10" PixelSense™ Display 3:2 Aspect Ratio
Resolution1800 x 1200 (217 PPI) resolution
ProcessorIntel® Pentium® Gold Processor 4415Y
GraphicsIntel® HD Graphics 615
RAM4GB or 8GB RAM
Storage64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD
Weight522 g

The built-in kickstand sits flush with the chassis when closed, meaning you won't notice it when holding the device in your hand. The kickstand itself can be adjusted to any angle, unlike the Surface Go's predecessor, which was limited to just three positions. This means you can set the Surface Go at any angle, for watching movies or typing on the on-screen keyboard.

You've also got the addition of Windows Hello, which allows you to login to the Surface Go with your face. It's great to see facial recognition on even the cheapest available option, as Windows Hello has become a feature only present in high-end, expensive devices.

I'm also a huge fan of the inclusion of USB-C port on the Surface Go. This means I can use any USB-C charger (that's powerful enough) to charge my Surface Go, instead of relying entirely on the Surface Connect charger that comes in the box. Yes, the Surface Connect port is also still present, which I also really appreciate. I much prefer the magnetic port on the Surface Connect over the USB-C port.

Finally, the Intel Pentium GOLD processor inside the Surface Go, while not the most powerful chip in the world, is still a competent performer for tablet experiences. It's excellent for running Microsoft Store apps, browsing the Web, checking email, and watching Netflix. Everything you'd want to do on a tablet for casual use, the Surface Go can pretty much do it with no real issues.

I also think it's worth getting the Surface Pen if you're planning to use the Surface Go as a tablet. The pen experience is fantastic, especially in apps like OneNote. Overall, the Surface Go is a great tablet when it comes to the hardware. For $399, you're getting a very high-quality Windows tablet. But, there's more to a tablet experience than just the hardware; how is the software?

What you'll hate about the Surface Go as a tablet

It's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the tablet experience on Windows 10. Microsoft has a dedicated "tablet mode" built into Windows 10 which users can enable, and makes Windows behave like a tablet OS. Apps run in full screen (more or less,) the Start menu goes full screen, live tiles get bigger which make them better for touch, but that's pretty much it.

The tablet mode experience is the bare minimum Microsoft could be doing for a tablet experience on Windows 10. It changes the behavior of a couple of things, but other than that it's still Windows 10. Apps like Edge don't have any dedicated tablet UI, meaning the chrome is always present at the top of the screen. On any other tablet platform, browsers usually hide the address bar and buttons when you're scrolling down a webpage to give you more content on the screen.

I'm really on the fence about whether or not the Surface Go makes a good tablet. The hardware is exceptional, but it's let down by a mediocre tablet OS experience.

And then there's the animations and gestures; the OS is bare of any. One of the reasons why the iPad is so successful is because the OS experience is a pleasure to use. Animations lead you in and out of apps and experiences, but on Windows 10, there's very little of that actually happening. There are also not many first-party apps on Windows 10, which means if you want to watch videos on YouTube or browse Reddit, you'll have to use a Web browser or download a third-party client.

I will admit, Windows 10 has some of the best third-party apps for YouTube and Reddit on any platform. myTube and Readit are fantastic apps which I'd argue are even better than the official apps on other platforms. Of course, you may not want to use third-party apps, but I definitely recommend you give them a try first.

I've also noticed that Windows Hello on the Surface Go is somewhat slower than Windows Hello on other devices. Perhaps that's because of the processor inside, or the sensor itself, but it's definitely slower to wake-up and recognize you. I also

Should you buy the Surface Go without a Type Cover?

The Surface Go.

The Surface Go. (Image credit: Windows Cnetral)

I'm really on the fence about whether or not the Surface Go is a good tablet. The hardware is exceptional, but it's let down by a mediocre tablet OS experience that isn't a pleasure to use. Even if it had the apps, the OS itself just isn't as fluid or well designed for touch-first experiences, and there's no sign of Microsoft improving this any time soon.

I think you should try out tablet mode first. If you're okay with it, then get a Surface Go. I use the Surface Go as a tablet around the house, and I've forced myself to be okay with the OS experience. I love the third-party apps for things like Reddit, and there are also plenty of first-party apps too for services like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I think the Surface Go is a better device if you've got the Type Cover with it, but not everyone wants to use their tablet as a laptop. So, it's important to make sure you're happy with the experience without the Type Cover.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

89 Comments
  • Hey Zac - All your cry about lack of tablet features in W10 is going to deaf ears. I gave up using tablet mode in W10. Donna and her team will axe this feature sometime soon sighting low usage like they did with W10Mobile.
  • I've used it in tablet mode since release and I didn't have a problem with it. This past week I started using desktop mode just to see if I would like it more... I don't foresee myself ever going back to tablet mode. My particular workflow is flat out faster using desktop mode. Let me skip all these "pretty animations" and let me actually USE the device.
  • It sounds like you're using it as a laptop and not a tablet though, so that makes sense. I use mine as a tablet mostly, so I have continuum (is it still called that?) auto switch for the mode i'm in. Flipping the keyboard. As far as the article in general, yeah, I preferred 8/.1 for tablets, but I don't hate the Windows 10 Experience at all. Most of the things Zac called out in his original article I agree with. But again, I enjoy my Go as a tablet quite a bit.
  • I have a Bluetooth keyboard but I leave it at home and just use the pen when I'm out.
  • You use it in desktop without a keyboard and mouse?
  • Yes. Turn on the option to have the keyboard automatically pop up when you enter a text field, and there's not much difference between desktop and tablet mode other than quicker access to my apps in desktop mode.
  • For once I'm with you. My tablet has no keyboard, no pen, and I've never seen any attraction to using tablet mode. Switching tasks via the taskbar, changing tabs via the address bar, full start menu, x to close - all of that feels far more powerful than using a stripped down mobile type experience. Plus the same gestures still work. I mean that works on a phone, because the screen is too tiny, but once you get a decent screen size, you just scale up for a touch experience and it's fine.
  • Personally I would always buy a Surface device without the type cover, that way you save money and you can use any keyboard you want to from full size to a mini one.
  • Good argument.
  • Not me, love having the keyboard cover. It's perfect. I also use my Surface keyboard as well - at my desk.
  • But what you all says make it completely reasonable for Microsoft to NOT include a keyboard (or pen).
  • Absolutely. MS really can't win. If they don't include it people complain the device is incomplete and they force you spend more. If they do include it people complain they are being forced to buy something they don't want and they would rather pay less and buy what they want.
  • Perhaps it has to do with the size of the tablet because I have had this 8inch dual OS tab for several weeks and I have never had a need for a keyboard in either OS. In fact, I had to get SwiftKey keyboard on the Android side to get the typing experience to par with the Windows keyboard. But of course the Android is stuck on version 5.1 so maybe the default typing experience is better on recent versions. Also, would your experience have been better if you use the Go only as a tablet, like I do?
  • I don't know what the cringing is about the tablet mode. Yes, it is not ideal out the box, but with some tweaks (like hiding the Taskbar, changing the scaling, or have edge start in true full screen etc. ) it is very comftable to use, especially if the device has a pen. I will definetly get me a Surface Go around Christmas this year or latest early 2019.
  • How do you get Edge to open in full screen? That sounds great!
  • Edge sucks. What if you're invested in Google services and want to use Chrome? Both iOS and Android have Chrome web apps, but not Windows 10. In fact I don't even know if there's a good mobile browser app for Windows 10.
  • "What if you're invested in Google services and want to use Chrome?" Simple, buy a Chromebook.
  • I hated edge when it first was released... but, I have to admit, the edge browser has improved significant since then... some of the newer features almost make up for its deficiencies in comparison with IE... strangely, I started liking edge better on iPhone...even if its really a safari web browser under the hood...
  • There's a few other mobile browsers in the store, but if you like chrome use chrome - and if it's poorly optimised for touch, complain to google. Microsoft isn't responsible in anyway for googles products.
  • Google are fighting MS With all they got, and that is not delivering any apps. Can't blame MS for that. And before you start talking about browser engines, Google do have Chrome on iOS, and so do MS. Do you know of any connections between SnapChat and Google btw?
  • I think the problem or is it advantage of the Surface range of tablets, is that they cost enough for many users to think about protecting the screen rather than relying on stuffing it in a standard neoprene case, the most logical way is to buy the keyboard, it's also easier to justify the expense if it's dual purpose. Once you've got the keyboard, you're not going to go back to tablet only very much in my opinion. I got my Go about 2 weeks before I succumbed and bought the keyboard, I'd been using it as a tablet and with a wireless keyboard. I was happy as a media device in tablet mode and I find typing on the screen ok, but I have relatively thin fingers. But using the external keyboard was a right pain, using up the usb slot, although it costs more than I think it should I ended up buying the keyboard and just like my Pro 4, it rarely gets removed.
  • We know Zac loves animations and I do enjoy the fluent elements I see on Windows 10, but I'm not convinced the iPad's success is about app animations and is instead based on its similarity to a widely popular phone and Apple's successful marketing. Using a Surface as a tablet is more than mediocre. I'd rate it fair with room for improvements. I close apps by swiping down from the top all the time and I much prefer the left swipe opening the task view to needing to repeatedly cycle through all open apps or that horrible "swipe just this far and then back" gesture in Win 8 to open task view. The right swipe that used to bring up the charms and now brings up notifications and quick actions could be improved. I am excited that SwiftKey is coming to Windows 10 because the on screen keyboard is, for me, the one really weak spot in using Win 10 in tablet mode. As for the app gap. We all have different needs I guess. I have an Android phone with its millions of available apps. I have about 3 that aren't Microsoft apps or time-killing games.
  • I agree with most of this. I use WIN 10 as a tablet often, and I have no major problems. The only thing that I don't understand is why MS does not put a toggle for using the "cycle through open apps" gesture instead of the task view. It is the only thing I miss from WIN 8.1. The alternative would be adding multi-finger gestures for a quick cycle through the apps.
  • Yeah animations don't matter much. Very trivial. I mean, maybe they help. Same with gestures - most don't use em.
  • To bad the surface go can’t run Windows 8 which was a much better tablet experience then Windows 10
  • Who said you can't do it?
  • I don't get the issues with tablet mode. It is a sea of icons, (tiles that actually provide some utility), which you tap and the launch a app full screen. You have an assortment of ways to close those apps, or switch between them, both gesture based, or finger as a mouse. That's comparable to what you get on iPADs, with the maybe a little less panache.
    Once in apps, it is really an app issue, how well it supports a touch UI. That needs some work. Even MSs first party apps aren't stellar in this area. Most applications are relatively workable though, even if some are just Win7 apps with slightly bigger touch targets. Problem is history. Windows app developers could always assume users had keyboards and mice, even if they had touch screens. iOS developers of course had to assume their users did NOT have a keyboard and knew they couldn't use a mouse, so their UI thoughts were very different. In reality no iOS app couldn't be coded identically under Windows, there has just not been any need to.
  • I bought a surface go for my wife...she didn't really like it compared to an ipad, preferring an ultrabook laptop instead, so I gave it to my 8 year old son and he loves it. the magnetic keyboard exactly fits the size of his hands... but he mostly uses it in kickstand mode at the kitchen table without the keyboard...I think it works great as portable gaming tablet...especially with the kick stand and removing the keyboard... the reduced price compared to other surface line puts it in a good price range as a tablet to buy for your kids... granted ipad has a better gui, but It doesn't really matter once a gaming application is launched...the games look exactly the same as on an ipad or android... after a while, it becomes handy around the house in some situations around the house.... look up recipe in the kitchen in kickstand mode... works better than ipad in those cases because it lacks builtin kickstand... I wouldn't entirely discredit it... it a useful device...
  • I think Microsoft's approach is backwards with UI development. They seem to put everything and the kitchen sink in touch mode and really they need to simplify and streamline the touch UI while allowing people to add more if they want. Too many buttons and stuff in taskbar and left hand side. Also all app should be a swipe up as in W8 or swipe from the left and part of timeline. Simplify it
  • Tablet mode for kids....
    Laptop mode for adults....
  • Can someone comment on reading books on this thing... it seams that Kobo reader is available in the store, but Kindle and Nook are not, but could be installed after removing S-mode. Also, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble do not allow reading periodicals on the PC (or, for that matter, Mac). iPad and Android tablets work just fine for that purpose. How is Surface Go treated in that regard? Additionally, is there general-purpose ePub reader, preferably, with the capability of the current page syncing using some cloud service (DropBox, OneDrive, etc.)? Thank you.
  • Kobo is available, but the last time I checked it does not allow annotations. There's a Barnes and Noble app on the store which works surprisingly well despite being basically unsupported for years. Kindle is a big sore spot since you'll be forced to use the desktop app, pretty much. The best all-purpose ebook app on Windows 10 is, weirdly, Edge. It's a decent reading experience, with annotations, that theoretically syncs up with all of your devices (annotations, alas, aren't quite there yet).
  • > The best all-purpose ebook app on Windows 10 is, weirdly, Edge. Ugh... does it allow to override book's font settings on the Surface Go? On the Android devices it does not. And, thank you very much for pointing out Nook up to me -- somehow I managed to miss it.
  • I stopped buying books through Kindle. I buy books through Microsft Store and read them on Edge, which is far better than the Windows Kindle App. Edge does sync between devices. So if you start reading on your PC, then head to work and finish reading on your Surface, it should sync. However, I just use my Surface Pro everywhere. I use a surface Dock at my home and Office. Use the Surface as a Tablet when I am reading. I do think Amazon is purposeful and "hiding" its Windows App. Plus the App is pretty crude. I think Amazon wants people to buy their Kindle hardware and not use a Windows PC or Tablet. They really don't want people to discover that reading a book on Edge is far better.
  • > I buy books through Microsft Store and read them on Edge, which is far better than the Windows Kindle App. Key word here is, sadly, "Windows" -- Amazon app is fairly decent on Android and iOS. As far, as reading books in Edge... on the Surface Go, can you switch the font family and can you adjust margins? In Edge for Android devices I can do neither and both are fairly important to me.
  • This is windows Central not Android. This is about Surface not Note or iPad. The Kindel app on windows is not "polished". On Edge, you can change the font family. You can adjust text spacing and size. You can change the page theme (white, sepia, dark). The Immersive reader functionality allows you to split words into syllables; highlight nouns, verbs, and adjectives; add other languages; and have the computer read aloud the book. You can additional languages. You can expand to full screen. The "touch" bar at the top contains all these functions plus others which will disappear but reappear if you touch the top center of the screen. If you swipe down the taskbar/ribbon reappears. As far as adjusting margins, I don't see this ability, however, they do adjust depending on the text size you select. For instance, if you make it smaller, in landscape screen orientation, Edge will break the page into two pages of text. If you rotate to landscape, the text size stays the same, margins stay the same, but you have more lines of text. The thing you will find is the vast improvements of graphics included in books. Edge is far better. I don't even think the Kindle reader includes graphics (like a map in the front of the book). I think this is because of the Kindle Paperwhite device I have and used to use doesn't really have the ability to produce "good" graphics. Thus when Amazon generates its Kindle books, they exclude any graphics. Edge does not have this limitation. I don't own an Android or iOS device. I do own a couple of Kindles. The Surface Pro is quite easy to carry around. It is "large". Meaning it is a bit awkward to use in your lap on a plane when someone is sitting next to you. But a whole lot easier to use than a laptop. My assumption is the Go would be the perfect travel device that will allow me to be productive when I am traveling. However, this is always a loaded term. If I am flying to a location where I will be working, I will take my Surface Pro. If I am traveling to be on vacation, then I would assume I would take the Go (smaller). On vacation, I don't want to work but if I must "fix" a problem, then I would prefer to have the Go versus an iPad or Android Tablet. Again, lugging around a Surface Pro, while a whole lot easier than the traditional Laptop, is annoying when you have to carry all the other stuff you need for the vacation. So the Go would be much better. Big enough to be productive in a pinch, but small enough to carry around all day. Better at consuming info (larger screen) than large phones.
  • Let me be clear about awkward using on a plane. The Surface Pro is usually smaller than the seat tray. but the Surface Pro is too big to put on the seat tray along with a glass of water. And it is hard to use a mouse while resting the Surface Pro on the Tray or on your lap. I can make it work ok by using my knee/thigh as my mouse pad and shifting the Surface Pro to the left leg. I would assume the Go would make this balancing act a lot easier, without much impact on the viewing experience on the smaller screen.
  • Doing more comparison, I don't see how you adjust margins in the Kindle app for PC. You can adjust the page width in kindle, whereas Edge assumes you want the width to be the same size as you edge window. The same controls exist in Edge as in Kindle. What I did notice in the Kindle is the graphics are not as bad. I was reading in black mode so I did not notice the different graphics in white reading mode, which provides color.
  • Windows 10 was a real step backwards for tablet experience on Windows. The onscreen keyboard is horrible, opens over the field you want to type in instead of moving the field up to be above the keyboard. Charms bar on Windows 8 was a pleasure. App swapping with a swipe from the left side of the screen was great, better than showing a list of apps. Tablet version of Internet Explorer on Windows 8 was way better than Edge for tablet experience. Address bar at the bottom is what I think is the best for tablet/phone experience with browsers (Love my W10M and previously my WP8.1 for this as well as W8.1 tablet mode). I love though that the taskbar stays there, I turn on the "show icons on taskbar in tablet mode" and I use that to swap apps. Though I'd like to force some apps that go fullscreen to keep showing the taskbar (I suppose usually some old Windows 8 store apps).
  • "I also" Also what?!?!
    Edit!!
  • I just don't see how a 10" screen is good as a tablet or a laptop. A 10" tablet has to be held with one hand while using the touch screen with the other hand. It's too big for that over a long period of time without setting it down. A laptop usually sits about at arms length, but the screen is too small to read at that resolution at that distance. So it's too small and too large at the same time.
  • Why do you have to set it down?
  • What about a 9.7 or 10.1 in iPad? I just my Go as a tablet and it is not much heavier than the iPad my girlfriend has. Without the keyboard of course. Plus I love being able to use the kickstand while she is propping up her iPad.
  • It can set it on your lap quite easily. The included kickstand makes the orientation so much better. I have a Surface Pro. When I am working, I don't use the screen. I use a surface Dock to power 2 27inch screens. Great when you are working with two large spreadsheets or reconciling accounts and you have to look at you accounting software and your bank records. But I am not always at my desk at home or the office. So I need a screen large enough to be productive, which the Surface Pro provides. However, if I am on vacation and I don't really need to be productive and efficient, then the Surface Pro is "too" big. So the Go would be better to read my books, watch video's, Play Civ III, check email, browse the Web, etc. If I get a call and someone needs me to fix a spreadsheet our review other company data, the Go will allow me to access the info and fix the problem. Would I like a better screen? Sure, but in a pinch, the Go would be far better to use than using my phone.
  • Maybe we should look at the Go as for a Pen first experience.
  • I love it, but slightly annoyed that my Go has a better pen experience than my SB1. haha.
  • I would love to hear more from Dan about his experience with the pen. It sounds like he enjoys it, but in my experience the pen support in Windows 10 is all over the place.
  • There are not a whole lot of pen first apps. I do use the pen to take notes in OneNote and the experience on my Pro is great. I don't have a Go so I can not comment. However, I do have a Surface 3 and used it to "draw". I am not an artist so I really could not comment about the use of various apps that allow you to sketch. I would have to argue that the hardware of the Go is better than most anything you can buy at a similar price point. But let's be quite clear about something. Typing info into Word or Excel, Reading info, and jotting down notes is one level of software and hardware capability. But the graphics arts, video and photography is a far higher level of software and hardware capability. People should not get confused about the "pen first" experience. There is not a "pen first" OS. The reason iOS has done so well is that they are a "touch first" OS supported by a robust "touch first" store. Is there a sizable market for a pen first ecosystem? I think Windows is trying to allow the OS to work with all types of input. Apple has OSX which will not allow touch screens and iOS which won't allow a mouse input. Apple makes these limitations work. Windows allows many inputs on any Windows 10 device (provided the hardware provides the capability). Clearly, some devices are more suited to touch or pen or keyboard/mouse. Who knows. Maybe OneNote will evolve to allow people to sell add-ons or skins that customize the interface and usability. Thus your company can create an app which allows your company to provide a specific service offering.
  • I have ventured to our local Best Buy THREE times to 'use' the demo Surface Go.
    Still not able because no apps are setup to accept any input and their demo Surface Pen is still not setup for use on Surface Go.
    Guess I'll have to buy, use at home, then keep or return.
    Best Buy has no opened boxes to purchase either.
    I loathe buying and returning 'deliberately'.
    I want to know if I can input characters with Surface Pen into Excel cells using Surface Go.
  • Why couldn't you? Text input with the pen sucks, but you can do it. You will want the keyboard for productivity.
  • I think the Con you listed was the primary reason the Go or any other Windows 10 tablet misses the mark as exclusively a tablet: Windows 10 sucks on touch screens. Windows 8 was infinitely better, and Microsoft is so terrified of all the Deskop hangers-on that they are reluctant to bring the tablet/touch friendly aspects to Windows 10. Having said that, the reason why we want to get a couple of Surface Go devices is precisely to use them as backup tablets for our Surface Pro's. The Go's are great as music chart devices, both for displaying while gigging and for making edits.
  • Windows 8 sucked with touchscreens too. So much of the UI wasn't touch friendly.
  • But doesn't the GO ship with the keyboard? If its the same keyboard I have for my Surface Pro 4, then taking it with you is a moot point, because it adds no bulk whatsoever. The only time I use my surface without the keyboard is drawing, taking notes, or doing the NYT crossword puzzle. In short, if you're using it as a tablet ALL of the time, you're doing it wrong.
  • Different size, different keyboard.
  • Unless you get something like the Costco bundle, no it doesn't come with the keyboard and it's different to the Pro 4 keyboard, so no re-use. It is lighter and smaller than the Pro 4 keyboard, so all the benefits are still there. I would not say you're doing it wrong to anyone, it's not really a statement you can make, the whole point of a PC is it's wide variety of capabilities, it's perfectly possible to use as a tablet, but it's not like the OS has been designed from the ground up for touch, unlike the iPad. The thing is once you attach a keyboard, you're going to use it and it's really necessary to get the most out of this tablet. The power, variety of software (not restricted to a market place) and beautiful screens are what make the Surface range, and this adds affordability to the mix.
  • On my Surface 3, I use tablet mode all the time I'm using the device for consumption. It's when I'm doing productivity that I prefer desktop mode. I still love having windows opened and them all active.
  • Tablet mode for any tablet is bs.. Unless all you want is to watch Netflix, play, etc.. Android is a toy, while windows users expect a lot more. I find if I only want a toy, windows tablet is fine. But I switch back and forth depending on what I want to do. The GO is great for travel. Period.
  • > Android is a toy, while windows users expect a lot more. That, actually, would have made a great comparison article: what can you do on the Surface Go, that you could not do on Android tablet of the similar size. So far, I have a few examples of the opposite, mostly revolving around reading, only because that is the bulk of what I do with the tablet.
  • I use it as both and have qualms at all with either. I see and use both for its versatilities, tablet when I need it as such with its kick stand in that mode so that I am not holding it all the time, desktop when doing work. So I got the Costco package, 4GB Ram, 128GB SSD HDD and type cover was good for my use case.
  • I leave my Surface Go in tablet mode regardless if the keyboard is attached or not. On a device that small it just works out better for me that way. Yes, I feel like W10 could be better in that respect but have no problems with navigating the current implementation. As a tablet, it rocks! It's a perfect note taking device and does entertainment very well. Im usually browsing the web, writing, drawing, or media stuff like movies and music.
  • The most annoying thing is the stupid decision to make ALL type covers ever released incompatible with the Surface Go. I'm not paying for the keyboard what's exactly 1/3 of the price of the tablet. Microsoft continues the stupid strategy of not including the keyboard and while on the Pro they might have gotten away with it, on the Go it'll really hurt sales more than it would if they had bundled the bloody thing.
  • The keyboard comes in several colors and styles. It doesn't make sense to bundle it. Think about it, if there are 7 different keyboard choices and 4 different Surface Go models, that would require Best Buy or whoever to stock 28 different SKUs to cover all combinations. That is why they aren't bundled.
  • Your Surface 4 type cover will work on a Surface Pro. These devices are "compatible". My Surface Doc will work with my Surface Pro and my Future Surface GO LTE. Surface GO is a different size device. Now you can argue that MSFT should have made Surface 3 and Surface Go compatible. But Surface 3 "failed". MSFT decided that Surface GO was the correct Form Factor. So in 2 years when they refresh Go, your keyboard will be compatible.
  • I think if your list of tablet mode complaints is genuinely, no dropped address bar, animations and gestures most people don't use, that's genuinely fairly trivial. Could be improved sure, but if it's that bad, you MUST be able to do better than this surely?
  • Thanks will get the ipad then or maybe the Samsung S2... :-)
  • Why waste money on a S2 though?
  • > Why waste money on a S2 though? I am assuming that OP meant Tab S2, if not -- I do apologize for the noise. Tab S2 has come down in price considerably and the screen quality is way up there. I own 9.7" version and use it to read Kindle books/Nook books/Kobo (Walmart) books/Microsoft Store books and random ePubs (Moon Reader), watch occasional movie and remote to the computer or three (Windows or otherwise). Without keyboard cover it is so light, I sometimes have to root around the bag to make sure, I have not left it behind. Not a waste at all IMHO.
  • I still say the biggest problem with Surface tablet modes of all kinds isnt so much UI and gestures, but its touch browsing experience - you literally CANNOT navigate way too many websites with touch. The buttons and too many drop down menus dont stay visible and you literally cannot navigate, etc., -- the only thing that saves it for me is the onscreen touchpad (which was obviously added for this very reason).
  • I have read a lot of comments that Windows 8/8.1 has the better touch tablet
    experience. So I think Microsoft should add the touch screen gestures of it's
    Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10's Tablet mode. After all they have the Code to
    add to Windows 10. Microsoft software Engineers should do this.
  • Yeah, because Windows 8 was a big hit! You might be able to argue some of the gestures in Windows 8 were ok, but it wasn't good on tablets overall. It was a failure for a reason.
  • The reason was that people wanted Windows 7 UI back. Everybody I met that use Windows 8 as a tablet hated 8.1
  • I have not made the leap yet but have, as noted above, noodled on the Go at a Best Buy. I suspect I will get the Costco bundle with some, but not great, hesitation over the 4gb of Ram. I am looking to replace an 8" Android tablet but am intrigued by the ability to use the Go as a travel machine for productivity and usage of a keyboard. To me the sum of the comments above and the reviews we have all read is the Go will not be perfect but I suspect the lane I am choosing makes it an ideal choice. The only other device I think I would consider would be the Samsung Tab S3 or 4 both of which would be more "tability" than the Go but both of which would still allow me to type out a memo or write something in Word. hmm.
  • > ... would be the Samsung Tab S3 or 4 ... Seldom, if ever mentioned data point: unlike iOS devices you *could* pair a bluetooth mouse with the Android tablet, which removes one of the frequently mentioned advantages of the Windows devices.
  • I disagree with your first criticism. I have ditched Kindle in favor of Edge and the Microsoft Store. The only draw back is the limited number of authors and books available on the Microsoft Store. Hopefully this will improve as publishers and authors see more and more people buying books on the Microsoft Store. Anyone know how MSFT is doing selling books online through the store? Reading a book on Edge is better than on Kindle. Kindle can not or will not reproduce all the qualities of a printed book. Edge does a whole lot better (graphics especially). Edge has a dark mode and light mode. Immersive reader is a plus (I am dyslexic, although I am well past struggling to read). Further, there is a button on the address bar that lets you expand the window, which eliminates the address bar, which I think you call the chrome. To have it reappear, just swipe down from the top. To ditch an open app, just swipe down from the top and then down towards the right corner, which will close the app. Further, you can wipe from the left to split screen the app. If you swipe from the right you open the system tray (I believe that is what you guys call it). This opens up more controls to allow you to turn on various systems and revert to desktop mode. There are probably more gestures but those are the big ones for me.
  • > Reading a book on Edge is better than on Kindle. Am I right to assume that you are comparing e-Ink device with the application running on ... erm ... what exactly? Kindle app has all of the things you are talking about and a few things Edge is not capable of doing...
  • I am talking about using the Kindle app on my Surface Pro. They may have the same capability (except for graphics). But I find the implementation better on Edge. I made a replay to an earlier comment you had in the stream. Look there for a better response. The e-ink device (I believe) is history simply because an iPad/Surface Go/Android tablets have the advantage of additional utility and share similar battery efficiency (not really but you get my point). Why carry two devices when one will do.
  • There's a hundred little trivial things that's lacking in Windows 10 as a tablet experience. But dismissing those little things as not important is a mistake. It's the little things that separate a mediocre OS from a great OS, and Windows 10 as a tablet OS is definitely mediocre.
  • They are generally pretty trivial. But it's hard to do a tablet experience review, without a point of comparison. And you can't generally do that without recognising windows has more feature rich software including touch friendly software, and less ads and freemium software than android, which generally avoids criticism as a touch platform. All things considered windows as a tablet platform is underrated despite it's flaws.
  • In the world of tablet OS's: iOS = A
    Android = B+
    Windows 10 = C-
  • > iOS = A I am sure that for the your use case set, it is. For me, ability to connect mouse or (hilariously enough) Apple trackpad to my Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 instantly puts it way ahead of the iOS. I do a lot of remote access from my tablet and my fingers are way fatter than I am willing to admit publicly :) Second thing, important to me, is an ability to read external devices via USB OTG. YMMV.
  • God no. Android has a derth of freemium software, ads, it has no power software and it scales poorly to the larger UI of tablets. It's not number 2. It might have more of a touch focus than windows, but it's not better. It has non trivial flaws that mire the experience. There is a reason why android is the fastest shrinking tablet OS in the market, and why google is moving to chrome. iOS I will grant is first in class. But you cannot ignore than android is descendant in the marketplace, and windows ascendant. Windows must, logically have some advantages and android some disadvantages that speak to the market, more and more, as time goes on. If nothing else, it's because, tablets need to do more than phones now, need to be more like laptops to actually offer value, and android simply does not do enough. So, in observing this trend, I will say something few here will have noticed I think - a good tablet has PC like function. It can write music, it can draw, it has powerful software. It has deeper UI. It is not merely a large phone. So a GOOD tablet must have not just gestures, animations, apps, touch friendliness - it must also have power software, and large screen UI. Windows here, performs better than android, for all of windows flaws. It has power software, and richer large screen UI.
  • There is a simpler way of thinking about this. Intel has been much slower pushing their CISC chips into lower watt scenario's while retaining the horsepower you correctly identify. The Go is using a 2017 Pentium Chip. Not nearly as power efficient as an iPad, but enough to make a days work manageable. The Atom line failed. So, Intel has finally produced a CISC chip with the wattage and capability to power the Windows experience. When I say power, I mean the device will fulfill 85% of the use cases for power software. I suspect that once Intel moves to 10nm, the watt requirements for more horsepower will fall again, allowing the Wintel ecosystem to strengthen (longer battery life combined with LTE/5G connectivity). But there is a transition occurring in the Wintel ecosystem, moving apps to PWA and applications to UWP. This will take time. I also assume that MSFT and Intel are working on improving the efficiency of running windows under any scenario.
  • Consuming-wise for most people I would say:
    iOS = A
    Android = B
    Windows 10 = B-
    Though with Windows do having the advantage of being able to use games/apps on desktop, laptop and tablets/2-1's etc. And arguably the start menu with live tiles can be really sweet (if apps make smart usage of it). Productivity wise with plugged in keyboard/mouse I would say:
    Windows 10 = A-
    Android = B-
    iOS = C
  • I could almost use it as a tablet to surf internet...except my fingers are too big and it always opens the wrong page web page by accident when i'm only trying to scroll the page up or down... I also find that the using the menus requires some extra finger tip precision... which is strange since edge is a UWP app that was made for tablets... so go figure... on the other hand, I don't have anyh problem surfing the web on the smallest iPhone they make using iPhone edge browser app from microsoft...without feeling like "meat hands"... I think they should throw in a stylus pen for free if they are going to keep the web browser in desktop mode... of course any app the chucks most of Microsoft's UWP UI controls out the window seems to run great as a windows app on surface go.... basically any games that require painting the entire window, that don't need UWP form controls...
  • Why don't you change the scaling?
  • Nobody mentions Bluestacks, but I think is a must if you are using this device without a keyboard cover, since it lets you perform "Admissible" procedure to get the best of both worlds (iOS+Android + Windows)
  • So basically Microsoft has to step up their tablet mode OS pronto
  • Firefox has an always auto full screen extension which auto hides the top bars which helps a lot imo on small screens. Would be nice though if either Edge would get something similar or Firefox would get better touch controls/selection (though that is Mozilla's fault of course).
    Also I use tablet mode since it allows you to hide the task bar which essentially gives you even more screen estate. Increasing windows scaling also helps for bigger buttons and GestureSign for more gestures.
  • Off topic comment and a wishful note; The new Note 9 by Samsung has nearly the same dimensions as the Microsoft 1520. I could only imagine that in my hands with a Snapdragon 845 and 6 gigs of memory and the storage does not even need to be mention it was already large at that time and would have had at minumim 2 Terabyes now. Those wonderful (Live Tiles) that OS was ahead of it's time look where it could been under Win10, they are giving away all the goodies to Apple and Android who are not in their league. Sorry for my rant but I had to vent it...