Microsoft Surface Go 3 Review

Being a big fan of the Surface Family, and being a fan of the Surface Go 2 LTE for traveling and working on the go, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Surface Go 3 and put it through a days work!

Introducing the Surface Go 3

The Surface Go 3 is essentially an under the hood upgrade to last years’ Surface Go 2. Internally, the entry-level Pentium Gold 4425Y processor has been replaced with a Pentium Gold 6500Y chip, while the higher end model (the one I have been evaluating) has had its Core m3-8100Y chip replaced with a 10th-gen Core i3-10100Y chip. Being 10th-gen is key as this means it will run and support Windows 11 which the Surface Go 2 family will not (officially anyway).

Surface Go 3
Surface Go 3

While not a power horse (and not designed to be), the Surface Go 3 is still the cheapest, smallest and lightest Windows 11 Surface device from Microsoft that gives you the full experience of Surface including Surface pen support, 10-point multi-touch and Windows Hello camera.

Same Quality Look and Feel

The Surface Go 3, looks almost identical to the Surface Go 2 which is no bad thing. There are rumours and “leaks” online that a black version is also coming very soon which will be nice as I am a fan of the Surface Pro X which I have in Black and feels a little more “Professional” in my opinion.

A year on, the Surface Go still looks modern, but the screen bezels, which are 13mm at the top and 12mm at the sides, are wide by modern standards and again I’m surprised these weren’t made a bit smaller. Surface is very popular in schools and one of the reasons for the larger bezels is to help with screen grip and reduce accidental tapping on the screen or so we are told!

The size of the Surface Go 3 is 245 x 175 x 8.3mm and weight is 544grams. The screen is the same 10.5inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS screen and the body is high quality, solid magnesium body, complete with “any angle” kickstand, single USB-C port, Surface Connect Port and, headphone jack port.

Specifications, Speeds and Feeds!

As with the Surface Go 2 before it, the spec sheet is only half the story and it is easy to dismiss the Surface Go range due to its specification when comparing to the big brother devices like the Surface Pro 7 or 8. Whilst I would have liked to see a “little more grunt” under the hood, the Surface Go, is, however, in my opinion, a great bit of modern workplace kit and deserves serious consideration when looking at future 2-in-1 purchases for both home and work – depending on the use case of course. Here’s the headlines:

  • Core Spec: The base model features just 64GB eMMC and 4GB RAM with no pen or keyboard. The higher end version (I really wouldn’t bother with the lower end one unless on a real tight budget) is built with a Intel Core i3 10th Gen/128GB SDD and 8GB RAM.
  • Battery: The Surface Go 3 improves on the battery life of the Go 2 and delivers 9hrs 31mins according to benchmark data. My own personal tests delivered me just over 8hrs of constant use with a blue tooth mouse and the Type Cover Keyboard attached, connected via wireless and with me in and out of Teams calls, Outlook and usual office type apps. That’s not bad considering the battery is only a little larger than the Surface Go 2’s (28Wh versus 27Wh) but not as good as Apple manage with their iPads.
  • Wireless: comms in the Surface Go 3 has been extend to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 which is powered by the Intel AX200 card, and there is also an NFC radio inside too. The LTE version also ships with Fast 4G support either in physical SIM or eSIM.
  • Keyboard: The Surface Type Cover keyboard is rightly regarded as a design classic and something that has been copied, cloned and built upon my most other OEM vendors. The Surface Type Cover keyboard is sleek, easy to type on, and very light and even has a backlight. Unlike the majority of it’s “clones”, it also has a trackpad for the full-on “mini laptop” experience.
  • Front Facing Webcam: The Webcam on the Surface Go is 5MP and is exceptionally good quality. The picture and video quality is crisp and colours are vibrant and low light support is good too. The camera also supports video recording at 30fps / 1080p. Generally the cameras on Surface devices are always fantastic – and the Go 3 is no exception. Combined with the highly effective microphone array, makes the Surface Go 3 ideal for videoconferencing apps like Teams (or WebEx or Zoom). The webcam also supports Windows Hello facial recognition.
  • Rear Camera: At the back of the device is average quality flash-less, 8MP camera that, like the front facing webcam, can shoot 1080p 30fps video. Quality is good and clear and great for school field trips etc.

Cost

Surface Go 3 starts from £369 (£30 cheaper than the Go 2) and as always with Surface devices, specification options, regional variations, promotions and volume, and accessories all affect the end price.

Note: Surface Go doesn’t ship by default with a Pen or the Type Cover Keyboard which to me are what makes a Surface a Surface.

Without these promos the price for commercial organisations is around:

ModelTypical Price (inc. VAT)
Surface Go 3: Pentium Gold/4GB/64GB eMMC [no extras]£369
Surface Go 3: Pentium Gold/8GB/128GB SD [no extras]£499
Surface Go 3: Intel i3/ 8GB / 128GB SSD [no extras] £569
Surface Go 3: Intel i3/ 8 GB / 128GB [plus Pen and Type Keyboard]£740 [ish]
Surface Go 3 Consumer Pricing Table

Summary

Stay clear of the entry-level Surface Go 3. Yes, it is very cost effective, lovely to look and great if you just want to do web browsing type activities or use it for the occasional film or word doc etc.

If you are going Surface Go, go for the Core i3 model with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD and dont forget the keyboard.

Finally bear in mind the use case. I love the Surface Go family but as a secondary device to my primary and not as a daily driver. They are great for school use – my 7 y/o uses my old Surface Go 2 for school work and loves it as its a “proper” laptop, runs Windows and he can use the pen to make “things come to life!”. I also work with many commercial organisations that use Surface Go for front-line staff due to the light-weight build, LTE options and good battery life.

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