How Microsoft's Surface Go could buck the declining tablet trend

Microsoft's 1999 foray into tablets with partner devices built to Microsoft Tablet PC specifications, and early efforts that followed, had little success. But when Apple introduced iOS-powered iPads in 2010, the iPhone-like tablets were a hit. Apple's category-defining slate tablets were swiftly joined by an army of Android tablets, some of which were also successes.

Microsoft's tablet-friendly OS, Windows 8, and its Surface Pro 2-in-1, didn't arrive until 2012. And two years after iPads and Android tablets conquered the market, affordable Windows slate tablets began joining the fray. Sadly, Windows 8's highly-criticized desktop and mobile duality drove Microsoft to sacrifice its mobile-friendly aspects to return to a familiar desktop-centric OS with Windows 10, which has a tablet mode that is far from optimal.

After their meteoric rise, slate tablets have been in perpetual decline. So why would Microsoft position Surface Go in a failing market category? The answer? It's not.

See Surface Go at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Slate tablets vs. 2-in-1s

IDC provides data on market performance and gives predictions for device categories. As such, it assesses "slate-shaped tablets" and "detachables" as distinct tablet categories that are performing differently in the market. It is slate tablets, like iPads, that have been declining since 2014 and that IDC predicts will continue this trend.

IDC attributes this decline to users spending more time on their other slate-shaped devices, smartphones that are approaching mini-tablet dimensions. Modern six-inch-plus smartphones dwarf the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note and 4.7-inch HTC Titan that made headlines for their "gargantuan" proportions in 2011.

Apple's 13.9-percent drop in iPad shipments capped 13 consecutive quarters of declining shipments as smartphones have gotten bigger and more powerful, according to IDC. Ironically, China-based Huawei's tablets grew 31-percent, which IDC attributes to the company's tablets' ability to plug into a "keyboard and mimic laptop-like functionality." This is consistent with IDC's findings that detachable tablets, or 2-in-1s, grew while slate tablets and traditional PCs fell.

This phenomenon may indicate consumer desire for devices that provide both laptop productivity and tablet portability and leisure options. Microsoft's positioning of Surface Go may reflect a realization of that reality.

Go Surface Go

Microsoft's Surface Go brings the productivity attributes, premiere build quality and context-conforming ideology of Surface Pro to a smaller more portable form factor. Microsoft is calling it the most mobile Surface yet. And though it's virtually a smaller Surface Pro, which Microsoft calls its most versatile laptop, this less powerful Surface's positioning, TypeCover and all, is more dubious.

Microsoft categorically calls it a "Surface" with the "performance of a laptop and portability of a tablet" without locking it into either category. This is likely deliberate so that individual usage will define the device, rather than Microsoft imposing a category and risk marginalizing potential users, particularly since it claims Surface Go is for everyone.

Microsoft's pushing of usage scenarios such as watching Netflix, listening to music, and web surfing (without keyboard) hammer home that Microsoft is targeting slate-tablet and leisure smartphone usage with Surface Go. Still, this device is also positioned as a productivity beast.

Surface portability, leisure and productivity

Microsoft recognizes leisure activities enjoyed on devices like iPads and large-screen smartphones are important to users. It also knows PC productivity is key to users getting things done. Furthermore, Surface Go, particularly the LTE version, is being pushed as a device that is always by a user's side and fits comfortably into a small bag. Fielding smartphone notifications through iOS and Android Windows 10 integration is an important part of this strategy.

The combination of leisure, extreme portability and productivity is arguably not something declining slate tablets like iPads do very well, though they excel as leisure devices. That's why many people who carry tablets also carry a laptop.

Though there are no guarantees, Surface Go's lightweight, thin design, productivity attributes, and iOS and Android integration may help Surface Go achieve that, "always by your side," position in users' daily lives, thus defying the declining tablet trend.

See Surface Go at Microsoft (opens in new tab)

Jason Ward

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

  • Just left the Microsoft
    Store, played with a surface go
    For about 30minutes. Its small, quick, light. Its cool, not a must have for me right now, i already have 2 surface pros, a surface book, etc, etc, so lets see how goes.
  • Which store did you go to? I tried Bellevue Square and they didn't have demo units.
  • Bellevue Square you would think have the most updated items, they dont the matebook x pro was never in stock so instead I bought an x1 yoga gen 3
  • This isn't going to do anything in the market. Without the critical apps it so desperately needs, it will not be a success. I love the form factor, but it's too limited in use by lack of apps. No business apps, no home automation apps, no mobile games, nothing.
  • So, I'm guessing you don't have a PC or laptop. Because those don't have the "critical apps it so desperately needs". And it absolutely does have "business apps". What do you call such things as Office 365? And for home automation, what about such apps as Home Remote, HueDynamic or the Ring app? And, by the way, the trend now is for people to simply rely on the web rather than traditional apps, which any Surface device is well-suited for. Surface Go isn't a phone, and it's not meant to be.
  • No, I don't own a PC, I don't see any real use for it. I live in a touch first world, as I am a road warrior for work. There is no touch friendly way in Windows 10 to access Salesforce, Concur, or any of the other business apps I use all day. Since when is the trend for people to use web pages instead of apps? That's an awful experience on a touch first device. The Surface Go is meant to be used primarily as a touch input device, and it doesn't do a good job of it. If they intended for it to be used primarily as a laptop, they would have included the keyboard with it. Ring is the only first party home automation app in the store that I am aware of. The rest are 3rd party, and I suspect the quality is quite poor. Honestly people aren't going to buy a Surface Go if the 1st party apps aren't available. So what is the Surface Go meant to be? It's not meant to be a phone, sure. But it's not meant to be a laptop either. And it certainly isn't meant to be a tablet. It makes no sense to the general market. Look at it another way, why would your average person consider buying this over an iPad or an Android tablet? The App Gap is real, and it has to be addressed before this can be successful.
  • It is meant to be a laptop. That is why it has an attached keyboard and the software is designed to be used with a keyboard 95% of the time.
  • Seems the Surface team doesn't understand marketing then. They refuse to sell the tablet bundled with a keyboard, and market it as an optional accessory. To me that says it's a tablet first, laptop second. If they can't even get this kind of basic messaging right, how can they hope to sell this at volume in the market?
  • They don't bundle the keyboard so you can choose which one you want. It would be much harder if they had separate SKUs for each Surface with each keyboard, especially for retailers. If they want this to be a tablet, they need a dedicated tablet interface. Maybe Windows Core will bring this. I think they should have had it ready for this device. Right now, it just uses a standard Windows desktop interface. It is just a laptop, it requires a keyboard and mouse to be used efficiently.
  • They don't bundle a keyboard, in my opinion, to keep below the critical price point, just like the iOS devices, which basically are not suitable to type on with touch, unless you don't actually type very much for your job. I don't understand the idea web apps aren't good for touch, perhaps it's the web apps you've tried, my home automation systems all work fine either with native apps or by web interface. As for business apps, makes me laugh you think the only one is Saleforce, I'm sure there are millions of 'road warriors' who don't use it and probably many actually need a decent keyboard. You forget perhaps MS isn't targeting 'dusteater' I'm sure they don't have sales and marketting meetings to careful pick the features you need, because you're not the only one, and maybe, just maybe you're not the person the world revolves around.
  • Not bundling the keyboard also makes the base price look better, good point. As I said above, it also relieves pressure from retailers. If there are 4 different version of the Surface Go (64, 128, LTE, etc) and 4 different colors for the keyboard, that is 16 different Skus. It is much easier for retailers and better for the consumer to keep them un-bundled. You are not dependent on Best Buy having the 1 of 16 possible combinations you want.
  • Costco bundles the different keyboards with the Surface Pros. So, it is really no more complicated than assigning a SKU number to the product. Plus at times you get the bundle with an Alcantara keyboard and pen for what a Surface Pro by itself would cost you from Microsoft by itself. @dusteater, Microsoft does seem to have a very bad time at marketing. They should spend some of that money they've earned and hired an above average marketing/advertising firm. They've got the money but, they don't have the savvy. Or, I really don't know if they're using in-house or outside marketers. If they are using an outside company they really need to fire them and hire someone else. Microsoft has some good products, they should let the world know about them.
  • Dusteater, even bleached can't stand your illogicality. If you don't need a PC, stop looking for it then.
  • My position is that the Go targets notebook and other relative simple needs, using pen as the primary input.
  • Since websites are actually supposed to be touch frendly
  • You are a troll.
  • You seem to know alot about a device you could not use (you said earlier that there were no demo units) and do not actually own. Have you ever even used Windows 10 on a touch device?
  • You are Uber trolling - and an obvious Windows hater so go away and spend your time on Android or Apple forums.
    "The Surface Go is meant to be used primarily as a touch input device, and it doesn't do a good job of it" so you have bought one? Trolling.
  • The trend is since both Google and Microsoft started promoting PWA.
  • For tablet use, the only app needed it texture. I hope in the near future, apple decides to either fix the windows 10 app, or release a pwa so we can use our subscriptions on our windows devices. I would probably move from my ipad to a go then.
  • Surface Go is restricted to store only apps Office 365 isn't in the store properly yet and Microsoft know that is an issue so had it built in to the Go. PC users will always prefer the interweb or proper software over apps I'm the same as that, but when an app is easy has more functionality then a website this is where Microsoft lack. You won't see how crap Microsoft store is being a PC user. I have a SP4 I never use the store because I know I can't find what I want like GoPro suite or even Windows recovery tool if my windows phone ***** up. Most the apps on Microsoft Store are far behind compared to Android or Apple or they are 3rd party made which still lack latest features. Microsoft are thinking PWA but I just can't see it changing for them it's taken to long.
    Fact: Office is probs the biggest used suite on Windows but I can get that on Android and Apple plus other stuff.
    It's a cool device the Go but that's it price is to high for the spec and has taken to long to come out.
    Everyone was screaming at Microsoft to make a tablet something smaller then the Pros long after a 5th gen Pro is released it comes along.
  • The Go isn't restricted to the Store, S mode is easily disabled.
  • Very ill informed comment.
  • You can revert Windows 10 S to standard.
  • "the trend now is for people to simply rely on the web rather than traditional apps." If that were true, W10M would still exist today. Apps mean everything on a mobile device especially on small "tablets/laptops?" like this.
  • Because when W10M still were a thing, this trend had just about started. It has been shown that people use the web more and more and apps less. Probably because of faster Phones, faster internet and optimized sites. PWA is just the latest step in this progression.
  • Not this clown again. Why are you even looking at WINDOWS CENTRAL?
  • For our entertainment and debates.
  • We'll have to wait and see. People already have mobile phones and this is a gokd companion device when you want to get some work done. Plus there fb messenger, skype, instagram, Line, Viber, Telegram apps in the store. What more you need.?oh office? I think people are wrong to label it as an ipad killer. It's the best companion device I think.
  • Bestbuy have Surface Gos you you play with. I was in the store on Sunday and played with one for about 15 minutes. I liked it, I liked it a lot. I will be getting the LTE version.
  • Great read.
  • Could have used this to introduce some improvements to tablet mode since such a small screen would be a good showcase for it. Apart from being small not really seeing any USP to this.
  • I should think it would be for those who feel even the largest smart phone don't provide the screen real estate, typing, inking, storage or processing capability but don't want to carry a 12 inch or greater tablet/2-in-1.
  • Surface Go is just another ultrabook/laptop. It cannot have an affect on tablet sales as it isn't a tablet. Pulling the keyboard off a laptop doesn't make it a tablet, especially if it doesn't have a touch UI or software. Surface Go will just be counted as another laptop sale.
  • "Surface Go is just another ultrabook/laptop. It cannot have an affect on tablet sales as it isn't a tablet. Pulling the keyboard off a laptop doesn't make it a tablet, especially if it doesn't have a touch UI or software." The claim wasn't that it would affect tablet sales. The claim was that it would "buck the declining trend 📈 of downward tablet sales. Meaning, as a device with a particular market positioning, and attributes it would not be affected by that trend. The second section of the piece actually makes that point clear where I stress how IDC classifies "slate tablets" and "2-in-1s" as distinct categories. 2-in-1s being the category to which many of us would say the Surface Go belongs. What's interesting, however, is how Microsoft, contrary to what it does with Surface Pro, is really pushing "slate-type" usage with the Go:, Netflix, music, web-browsing, etc. Surface Pro is pushed more for productivity and in fact, Microsoft calls it its most versatile laptop. As I mention in the piece, though Surface Go is essentially a smaller, less powerful Surface Pro, Microsoft isn't calling it a laptop, or even a tablet, just a "Surface" with the probability of a tablet and productivity power of a laptop. Still, with such an obvious "slate tablet" usage push, it bears considering how the Go, won't likely suffer the market 💹effects that are driving that category downward. And that's what I address in the peice. Not how it will affect other tablet sales.😉
  • Jason, trying to reason with Bleached is like trying to reason with a lamp shade. 😂
  • You know it isn't a slate. No one is buying and using this without the keyboard. That isn't a extreme statement in the slightest. This will be used the same way any ultrabook is used, as a legacy PC first and foremost. It is the opposite of a slate like the iPad or Galaxy Tab. Very few people use those devices with a keyboard just like very few people will use the Surface Go without one.
  • I use my windows tablet without the keyboard 99 percent of the time, and that doesn't have that fantastic pen, that substitutes for the majority of mouse function (such as emulating mouse over) as well as some keyboard function. I think you are completely wrong here, I would definately use the surface go without the keyboard.
  • You are very few people.
  • You probably know all the people in the world then.
  • Of course he does Hans.
  • Windows 10 in tablet mode & scaled is pretty decent most of the time as a tablet (browsing, email, reading/pdf/ebooks, netflix, vlc, photo's etc) and with GestureSign (open source) to add some much needed gestures e.g. to quickly close an app. I especially really like the start menu & task bar (set as auto hide). That being said, I do feel Windows 10 needs to be set up for a good tablet experience (setting up the start menu, installing GestureSign, changing some scaling and auto-hide settings, messing around with the settings), while other tablet OS's are better out of the box.
  • What useage push? It has a standard desktop Windows interface. If they are pushing slate useage, they should have had a dedicated slate interface for this device. As it is, it is just another laptop with a removable keyboard. A smaller Surface Pro. It isn't a slate. The interface is keyboard and mouse driven, it is no different than my 27" desktop. Where is the useage conforming interface you wrote about the other day?
  • What usage push? It has a standard desktop Windows interface. If they are pushing slate useage, they should have had a dedicated slate interface for this device. Your failing to distinguish between what I'm saying about how Microsoft is marketing the device with how you perceive the device is made/designed. The two are very different things. You can argue that the design is inconsistent or is not optimally suited to accomplish what Microsoft is marketing the device as, but that is not my point. Particularly since I identify that same shortcoming early in the piece. The usage conforming interface, would be Windows 10 tablet Mode (and UWP apps) which I stress in the beginning of the piece is less than optimal and provided an inline link you could follow to Zac's piece that goes into greater detail as to why that is the case. Now, my with the "usage push" references, again, is how Microsoft is pushing the device. And slate tablet scenarios are the highlight of those scenarios. If you go to the main Surface Go page, most of the images are consistent with that messaging where you see an image of two children on a couch using it as a slate, a mom cooking with her kids using it as a slate, a woman with friends taking a selfie using it as a slate, a woman laying on her bed using it as a slate, two children in a car using it as a slate etc. They company is stressing watching movies, listening to music and reading emails, they even single out, contrary to tablet social decorum, using it to take pictures 📷, etc. A lot of slate activity🙂 Panos stressed it in his Wired interview I referenced in my peice before this one, and the official Surface twitter account did the same which I also embedded in a recent piece. That's the usage push I'm talking about. Now, if you're talking about the UI, that's a separate discussion, though related (because it's important to optimally accomplishing the marketed purpose) discussion. That's why I made it a point to highlight that issue early on. Note: I had another reference to the UI and app issues toward the end, but it was edited out😉 Anyway, hope this helps. I try to address distinct issues as distinct issues and so that they can be clearly hashes out. When, one claim is confused with another claim and presumptions are then made based off of that the points get muddled. The marketing of usage scenarios and The UI/app shortcomings for those usage scenarios are related but distinct discussion in the context of this piece.😉
  • I see what you are talking about, but almost everything on their website starts with the word "work". They might show it being used as a slate, but I see nothing focusing on it being a consumption device. I am sure it will be successful though. It just isn't a tablet. Anyone buying it an expecting an iPad like experience is going to be disappointed. You talk all this game about microsoft, but they keep leaving you hanging. Where is Microsoft's magical conforming UI? Why does this device have the same interface as my 13" Surfacebook, 27" desktop, and 55" home theater PC?
  • You talk all this game about microsoft, but they keep leaving you hanging. Where is Microsoft's magical conforming UI? Why does this device have the same interface as my 13" Surfacebook, 27" desktop, and 55" home theater PC? Again, you're getting confused.😉 I'm not talking game. I present analysis of the company's strategy, what they are doing, their position in the industry and their intended outcomes. I do that with a mix of criticisms and caveats or acknowledgement of shortcomings that could hinder some of thier efforts. For instance you continued: "Where is Microsoft's magical conforming UI? Why does the device have the same interface as my 13" SurfaceBook, 27" desktop and " 55" hone theater PC?" Bleached in the comment, you're responding to I LITERALLY just pointed out my reference in the beginning of the piece to the shortcomings of Windows 10 tablet mode, and the inline link 🔗 I put in the piece to Zac's piece which expounds on that even further. I agree Tablet Mode is less than optimal, I literally said it in the text. You seem to want to frame my position in a context that is not reflective of the reality I'm presenting. Sir, we agree on the point that tablet mode needs work😉. P.S. I have a 7-inch HP Stream that, like everyone with Windows devices, kept getting the alert to upgrade to Windows 10. Do you think I switched that keyboard-less, nearly pocketable tablet to Windows 10!?😉 Nope!!! Windows 8.1 is a better experience on a tablet-centric form factor😉
  • I agree with bleached. I would never use a 10" windows 'tablet' (touchscreen device without a keyboard) over an Android 8" tablet if given a choice.
  • Good for you.
  • I don't think the Go is meant to be a traditional tablet for consumption. It's geared more toward productivity. This device is perfect for the Education sector which MS needs to do a better job penetrating if they want to compete with Chromebooks.
  • 10" tablets are awkward to hold as a tablet and too small to see when placed at arms length like a laptop. Phone: 4.5" - 5.5", Tablet: 7" - 8.5", Laptop (2 in 1): 11.5" and up.
    The reason tablets are not selling is that everyone already has one, and the hype isn't enough to replace a working device.
    For me, I already got an Acer Switch 3 a year ago while waiting for a new version of the Surface 3, so I won't be buying this one.
  • Nobodies buying 7 or 8 inch tablets. 9.7 is the biggest seller. At 7 you might as well use a phone
  • Tell that to all the people who bought the nexus 7 or the Nvidia Shield tablet. "Nobodies", really?
    I don't care what the sheeple buy, a 10" tablet is a pain to carry around and hold with one hand while using a touch screen with the other hand. Maybe they should come with handles or a neck strap.
  • I like 10 inch tablets more, 7/8 inch is not different enough compared to phones unless it has a 4:3 ratio but that is quite rare. Also 10 inch and bigger has the added benefit of allowing some productive work when needed while still being not clumsy to hold (as long as it isn't to heavy of course, like many of the bigger OEM windows tablets are, whereas the Surface Go is not so heavy).
  • I am in with your analysis Jason.
    My stand is that yes, it can be seen as a 2-in-1, but I feel more important is that it is ground breaking for pen/ink. To my perception it has the right blend. Actually, my just turned 80 "mother in law" shows signs of wanting this device, as she feels her Lumia 1520 to be too small to show off photos and her 15" notebook not to be portable enough. So yes, we are thinking of checking screen and device size with her, using my Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. What do you think, that we don't want one ourselves? I bet we have one all 3 of us before years end, if it is not within 3 months. LTE is something to ponder about. Would tethering be good enough from our smartphones?
  • I do see a reason for this device as I think the 10 inch size is just right between a reading tablet 7-8 inch and a productivity tablet 12-13 inch. I think the go is priced about $50.00 too high and the keyboard is critical for its use case. I think of a device like the go great for someone that does not do a lot of typing maybe just emails and updates to resume, but needs the functionality of windows from time to time. I think that though there are better options in windows for instance when the galaxy book 10.6 goes on sale for around 499. The galaxy book comes with pen and keyboard cover. I also think the ipad, and Huawei mediapad m5 are superior options if you aren't using legacy programs. Having to deal with windows on such a mobile device is not a pro in my book. I have the mediapad m5 and it has a desktop mode when the keyboard cover is attached. It is fast and works for the smaller things I mentioned above. Why do some people want the surface go? They are attracted to the name, just like apple. People buy surfaces and think they have arrived or they look trendy. It has a floppy keyboard at the end of the day that is not the best way to be productive. Laptop has the word "lap" in it, and since the surface go or any device that uses a folio keyboard cover cannot be use in lap properly. Also some photos of the device are flattering. Sometimes it looks like "my first tablet", and other times it looks like a prop for some futuristic device on some 80's sci-fi movie. Don't misunderstand me as I think for some people this will be their device, but for others they are wanting to belong.
  • You mean like the size of a galaxy tab or iPad, the two biggest selling tablets?
  • Right, but they are built with touch in mind. It all comes back to apps. If you are using x86 you have to sit down and with the floppy keyboard at a desk and that reduces portability. When do people use their tablets? Mostly when lounging around, on the couch. Windows store store apps just need some work.
  • Sure but 10 inches is plenty big enough to use windows in a standard desktop mode. I use my 9.7 inch tablet without tablet mode, all the time. Only old, dusty legacy software, and desktop games ever make the UI uncomfortable. People keep complaining about the UI of windows in touch, but for the most part, I don't see it. I've used lots of tablets, and the only issues I experience is using software that isn't really designed for casual use (which you don't want to use anyway when using casually). UWP apps all work nicely with touch. Android and iOS are literally modelled off the desktop/icons. The touch gestures work fine. There's actually a handful of desktop grade games designed for touch. Adobe illustrator works in a touch mode. Plus, windows has unparalleled pen support, so even in most instances where you might find touch more complicated, you have the pen (which you can also use to play mouse over requiring desktop grade games, like top down strategy and rpg). 12-13 inches is way to big to lug around all the time, and unconfortable to hold for extended periods. If you want the power of windows on the go, which people in the hybrid and laptop market clearly want, there's a place for this. Personally I'm _way_ more keen on this that the normal surface pro. I want to use my portable windows device as a tablet primarily. If I need to do input or power user stuff, I'll use my desktop. Using the Netflix or facebook app, or the edge browser on a windows tablet is not complicated or difficult. It's just as pleasant an experience as on android or ios, interface wise. That you CAN do more stuff than those OSes, but SOME of it, isn't designed for touch, is sort of a weird complaint. It's like sure, you can't run a commandline well on touch only, or use some legacy backup software, or run GTA V - but you can't do those touch only on android or ios either.
  • Drael646464, you nailed it concerning most use cases concerning this device. I think most people haven't really used touch on Windows 10, or are just feeding off the rhetoric that's been going around for years. Surface Go will probably cover most of the bases, and who doesn't carry a smart phone anyway for that specialty app one might need. Toss in the LTE and who knows, some folks may ditch the phone altogether.
  • How does a keyboard that folds into the device that is essentially the same thickness as ipads "smart cover", reduce portability? please. I would love to hear the mental gymnastics on this one.
  • No gymnastics needed. The portability part is that you can't just use it on the couch, for typing, and windows store isn't there yet for pure tablet usage either. Floppy keyboards are the issue. Why? Since you need a desk. Or are you going to tell me how great using a folio keyboard is on your lap. Why are tablet sales declining? Not just because 2 in 1's are a thing but also because people relized that a laptop still is the best form factor if you do a lot of typing. Surface book style detachable or convertible is a better 2 in 1 solution. As I said earlier I am using a folio keyboard with my mediapad m5 which has the same restrictions. The difference is that my mediapad is a better tablet experience since there are a ton of andriod apps for it.
    Now if Surface natively supported android apps than that would be something. I still think microsoft needed to make the go but it just is going to trail the others in term of quality.
  • Speak for yourself. I use my Surface Clone (Lenove MIIX 510) on the couch all the time. And yes if I'm going to type a lot, I'll use the coffee table or a desk, thank you. Your Mediapad is better for you because that is what you wanted and paid for. I don't find very much need for "a ton of Android apps". And, how can you come compare quality to a device you've not used yet (it's August 2). The only thing I agree with you is maybe Microsoft may want to support Android apps. Microsoft does not really need apps in it's store because...what exactly can't be found on the web. The no store apps thing is a tired worn out refrain. It's not like you're going to throw away your Android phone anytime soon.
  • I once had the Miix 700, sharp looking device. You just mentioned my point though, you have to move to the coffee table to type. Would if that same miix 510 had a hard base instead? That would allow you to use it on the couch as well. I was speaking for myself, although I do like the miix better just for reliability purposes than the surface line. Is the surface go just a smaller pro? I apologize when I said quality I meant that both the ipad and mediapad are giving you more for your dollar. The ipad and m5 have faster processors in them, a higher resolution, less bezel (if you like that), and lower price. If you can snag or borrow a surface go and m5 compare the browsing speed and I'm confident it will not be close.
  • Sure you can, the keyboard detaches, or just flips around just like the iPad case, it then works just like the iPad, minus the texture app. You did provide the mental gymnastics I was referring to since you are taking out of your ass.
  • Mature. Not surprised though. Please follow along I did mention the issue is not the size, but the typing experience. You need a flat surface! With a hard base or convertible you still have the same typing experience as a laptop. Those 2 in 1's you can use anywhere. Feel free to continue to hurl insults and convince me of your position.
  • No. You don’t. No more than you do with an iPad. And yes. You are talking out of your ass. Try again.
  • I like Windows 10 for 10 inch tablets more compared to Android / iOS because:
    - compared to Android it has a better & longer update policy.
    - I find Windows 10 clearer to use as an OS, especially compared to iOS (where I am looking for things I should not have to look for or it just isn't there).
    - good real browser choices (Firefox great for privacy, Edge better for touch etc) with lots of plugins.
    - for those times that I do want to do some productivity work, Windows 10 is a lot better and 10 inch with a 3:2 or 4:3 ratio is usually enough screen space.
    - I can play some of my Steam / GOG games on it which I already bought earlier on my laptop. I feel like pc games are often more unique and have more depth than compared to most tablet games.
  • I am very intrigued by this device. I am a long time iPad Pro user and this device seems to fit the leisure lifestyle, as you mention, and the productivity needed in a pinch option. Might have to pick one up.
  • Just be aware that Windows 10 tablet experience is not always as smooth as iOS (especially compared to a more expensive/faster Ipad Pro) and battery usage etc is better on Ipads. And while many popular and essential apps are there, especially local apps etc are not there (though you can use the internet as an alternative in most cases).
    So there are advantages and disadvantages.
    Also keep in mind that the entry version has eMMC storage, which is slower than a SSD which is recommended to have for a smooth/fast Windows experience. So if you do buy it, buy the version with 128 gb or larger ssd.
  • Nice article Jason.
    I hope the device is successful, being recognised as tablet or laptop doesn't matter.
    There's a reason why this is called a 2-in-1.
  • Played with the higher spec demo in NYC flagship store. Build quality is top notch, and keyboard size is usable. Touch pad is nice, certainly much better than SP3 days. Pen is similar although I don't use it much yet on any surface devices. I like the magnetic clip and it seems cooler on a smaller surface for some reasons. Pen clips on the left, although it can be mounted on the right but it will not be stable due to ports. The stand is solid. Overall balance is excellent. The bezel size makes sense once you hold it in portrait mode. You can flip the kb to the back in tablet mode if you don't want to remove it. Ran some online videos, and it isn't fast to load but once it runs I didn't notice any stutter. Speaker is not loud although the store was very noisy. All in all, I would get one with LTE. I think it will be excellent for reading on subways and still able to run softwares at work. Only thing is the battery life, not sure if it is well optimized for standby and LTE (if there is no signal, it will keep drawing power or just smartly switch to wi-fi?). I also played with WOA device like hp and Lenovo. Solid device, bigger screen and kb. But it doesn't have the quite the premium feel despite being more expensive.
  • I can't wait to get one. I am; however, looking forward to the LTE version.
  • Hybrids are certainly a growth market, and the go more hybrid than laptop with typecover. 10 inch is a great size for windows especially in this aspect ratio and with the pen.
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  • Have you been in the Microsoft Store lately? Almost every major app needed for productivity (other than specific usage apps) is in there, or at least a "lite" version with not all the features, but most you need to get the job done. Moreso, if you want to use full version apps not found in Microsoft Store and UWP, they give you an option for free update to Windows Pro which allows you to run virtual desktop remotely to your workstation at your office or home so you should be able to get most productivity tasks done that you would need to on the go as well as enjoy media consumption on the Windows Store version of the app. Windows 10 S is just meant to be a less resources demanding UI of Windows due to the fact that the hardware isn't as beefy as the internals in the Surface Pro.
  • Only because you are ok with good enough, half baked "lite" apps, does not mean everyone is. MS's app store is a junk yard filled with web wrappers and win32 centennials...a very few exceptions are there, but that's it.
  • Try the macOS store if you want to see half baked wasteland. I use my son’s mba and had a look through the store. Total crap. Ms is way better in that dept.
  • Why the hell doesn't MS just re incorporate the windows 8.1 touch UI when the keyboard is disconnected?
    Back to the traditional PC style when the keyboard is re connected, but when the keyboard is not in use, go back to the beautiful seamless experience that was the touch UI of 8.1.
    It beggars belief we have such a gimped touch experience on the beautiful Surface in 2018.
  • Because Microsoft is too stupid also maybe to get away from ballmers era.
  • Because they don't give a damn about this. Considering how many layoffs that imbecile made, I hardly expect any experienced engineer to be left working on windows these days...because, well, quality does not matter.
  • I don't understand the fascination with this device as if it's something brand new.
    The Surface GO is a mild refresh of the Surface 3 with a new marketing message. Spec for spec the two are nearly identical.
    I know because I owned a Surface 3 and sold it earlier this year.
    I liked it very much but rarely used it because it lacked the power of a laptop, the tablet interface was too clunky with Win10 and battery life was average at best and Microsoft's app store was too bleak.
  • Because there are not many 10 inch 3:2/4:3 Windows tablets, especially for low entry prices and perhaps most important with a low weight (so it is really portable and not the illusion of being portable like some of cheap Acer tablets which are > 1 kg without the keyboard).
    Also compared to the Surface 3 it is faster (especially the igpu, also wifi/network), much lower weight, non-entry version has an SSD which should make a lot of difference in speed in some cases, cheaper (note that are cheaper OEM pens, and there will probably also be cheap OEM keyboard cases for the Go just like there is for the Pro).
    Win10 is not the best tablet OS, but it is not that bad when you scale it, turn tablet mode on, configure the start menu and possible install GestureSign for some much needed gestures. And there are some clear advantages with Win10, like many fully fledged browsers with plugins etc (even Edge has Adblock Plus and Ublock Origin now).
  • “Tablet sales have been declining for years“. Not according to Apple. They just reported their 5th consecutive quarter of growing iPad sales. THAT is why MS is now selling a “tablet”. THAT is why Photoshop is coming to the iPad Pro. If the market is as dead as you claim, why would Microsoft (or Adobe) jump into it?
  • The market is not dead. Jason is again delusional thinking that this half baked Surface Go will even make a dent in the tablet market, because it is not a tablet...or a tablet with an incredibly mediocre touch UI and UX.
  • Dan's review of the Surface go tells me that Microsoft has a Winner product. Folks
    there are 2 types of Tablets out there. 1= General Tablets such as the Apple Ipads
    and the Google Android Tablets from many OEM's. They have lots of Apps and can be
    fun to use, 2= PC Tablets these are REAL PC's that are shaped like a Tablet they have
    Less pure Tablet Apps but however can run Millions of Windows Desktop PC Programs.
    they are Compatible with most Business and home Computer because they run
    Windows software. for business Productivity they are the best to buy. One thing
    Microsoft has to do is put the Windows 8, 8.1 Tablet jestures into Windows 10
    Tablets when it is Tablet mode to make a better Tablet experience
  • Gad, same ole whiners and fanbois. Same ole "I'm smarter than you, nyah, nyah." and the like. Have had it and worked on it for 6 hours now. Nifty additon to the herd. Too bad so many can't afford to take a chance and are absolutely sure those grapes are sour even though they won't ever have one to work on.
  • :))) Yeah right, with that "amazing" windows 10 touch UI and UX :)) sure it will.
  • Wow, you are quickly becoming the new bleached.
  • That person sure likes to grin virtually it'll be even weirder written in real time.
  • There seems to be an abundance of people who have either misunderstood Jason, or misunderstood the purpose of this tablet.
    From what I've seen, heard, felt, and experienced, this tablet is a marked improvement over the older Surface 3 in almost every aspect (performance, screen quality, design/build quality, Type Cover quality, Pen performance) and hits a price point that Windows 10 has been struggling to offer quality at since its induction 3 years ago.
    The biggest mistake people are making is assuming this tablet is going to immediately reverse the declining tablet market and return slate tablets to favor in the eyes of the consumer. It is not. The Surface Go isn't going to revolutionize the market, and it isn't going to make people who want nothing to do with a tablet suddenly see the light and invest in a tablet. However, the Surface Go offers portability, productivity, quality, and now *performance* at a price bracket in a package never achieved before. Here is a tablet 98% of people could pick up and use for all their daily needs quite comfortably. No, it isn't as good of a slate tablet as the iPad 9.7, and it's not as good at being a laptop as the Surface Book. But the iPad can't run legacy programs, has a restricted typing experience, and is, quite simply, a tablet through and through. Yes, you *can* use the iPad for your daily work needs, but at its best it won't be as good as a dedicated laptop...or a tablet with a kickstand and keyboard like the Surface Go. Yes, the Book or another traditional laptop can do more and do it faster than the Go or iPad, and still offer a touch experience. But a large size means it will never be as good of a tablet as the iPad or Surface Go, and will never offer the same lever of portability or ease of use. So why is this so hard for some to grasp? They believe because they have no place in their own workflow for a hyper-portable tablet running Windows 10, that no one else can. That just because iOS is better at being a tablet, and has more tablet-centric applications, that no one will ever look at the Go. But the Go does exactly what the Surface Pro and iPad Pro have been trying to do for years: a single device that can do both with minimal compromises. For many people though, the Pro devices were simply too big to reliably be used as a tablet all the time. The Go fixes that. No, this isn't a device for everyone. But what is? There's no singular product out there that is the perfect solution for every individual. The Surface 3 was the best selling Surface of its generation for a good reason, and there is zero reason to believe that a Surface that is better in every conceivable way while also coming it at a lower price point would be any different. I have a Pro 4, so this device isn't necessary for me personally. But you better believe if I ever get the change to treat myself, this will be my next choice.