Microsoft Surface Go 2 – Two-week in review

18 months I did a review of the original Surface Go since I was immediately impressed at just how well suited this was as a secondary device and how for many role it was the perfect front line worker or education device.

One of the confusing factors about the original Surface Go, was really where it fitted in with the rest of the Surface family for business and who the target audience was. I certainly found that many of my customers sometimes struggled between whether their users needed a lightweight, cost effective Surface Go or whether they needed the big brother – the Surface Pro. 

Tech reviewers often slated the Surface Go (despite its sales success) as they would compare the processor and other tech-spec items, namely the (sluggish at times) Intel-Gold processor and larger than necessary screen bezel which, depending on the use and workload you put it through they were right!

The new Surface Go 2 addresses every “issue” the first model had, so long as you don’t need a mobile power-horse of a laptop of course. 

Introduction the Surface Go 2

The Surface Go 2 (I have the Intel M3/8Gb/128GB LTE version) in my opinion, and through a couple a weeks of using it as my daily driver – this upgraded version has perfectly sufficient processing power, RAM and storage for everyday use – which for me is internet browsing,  Office 365 apps (Word, PowerPoint etc) photos viewing and basic editing and consuming content like Netflix etc., and is a compelling and affordable alternative to a traditional laptop.  

SurfaceGo 2 unboxed
Surface Go 2 with Type Cover and Pen

Great Look and Feel

There are some subtle but important changes to the Surface Go 2, which make it look a lot more like an iPad Pro than the Surface Go, which is due to the smaller bezels. Overall the, dimensions of the Surface Go 2 are unchanged, but by slimming down the edges around the screen, Microsoft has managed to upgrade the screen size by 1/2 an inch which, though it doesn’t sound lot, gives the Surface Go 2 a much more modern look

SurfaceGo2 vs SurfaceGo
Image of original Surface Go screen vs new Surface Go 2 with thinner bezels

 

Specifications, Speeds and Feeds!

Looking purely at the spec sheet, the Surface Go 2 is still only a baby in terms of not only size, but performance, with a less powerful processor, smaller screen and of course, smaller keyboard but, just like the first generation, it is, however, in my opinion, great bit of modern workplace kit and deserves serious consideration when looking at future 2-in-1 purchases for both home and work.

Most of the real improvements to Surface Go 2 are tucked away under the hood.

  • Much-improved battery life. The original Surface Go was really let down by its battery life and despite the advertised “up to 9 hours“, I never got it to last more than about six. So far in testing, the Surface Go 2 has managed to serve me all day (8.5 hours) with a “normal” workload – Word, some PowerPoint, Teams Calls (I do a lot of these), and of course Outlook and some web browsing.  I did do a “how far can you go” test by setting to screen brightness to 70% and attended an all-day Teams “Live Event”, and my Surface Go 2 still had some juice in it after nine hours which I was really impressed with to be honest!
  • USB-C Charging – for when you do need more juice, the Surface Go 2 supports charging via USB-C and I could even charge it with my USB battery pack – it was quite a “trickle” charge to be fair but it charged so great for when it’s in your back-pack! 
  • 5 Mega Pixel Front Facing Camera – The Surface Go 2 has a much better front camera to what you’d expect and is better than most laptops that I come across.  This is vital of course for all those Microsoft Teams or Zoom Calls you might be doing as we all adjust to life during and after lock-down. 
  • Fast 4G (LTE) – One thing i haven’t had much use for due to COVID-19 lockdown is mobile data which is another thing that I love about the Surface Go 2. Popping a SIM into the device means you are connected all the time and for someone that “usually” spends a lots of time traveling and between meetings, being connected on the go (as well as being able to charge on the go) are great assets for the mobile modern workplace
  • It is faster. The internals, like I mentioned, have been upgraded (the higher models anyway). The model I have has the newer Intel Core M3 chip, 8Gb RAM and a 128 Gb solid state drive along with LTE (mobile data).
SurfaceGo2 Showing Mobile Data
Using Mobile Data

What about cost?

Surface Go 2 starts from just £399 (inc VAT) 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:

Model Typical Price (inc. VAT)
Surface Go 2: Pentium Gold/4G/64Gb (no extras) £379
Surface Go 2: M3 / 128Gb / 8Gb with Type Cover and Pen £790
Surface Go 2 LTE: M3 / 128Gb / 8Gb with Type Cover and Pen £895 

I know what you are thinking…. Apple iPad Pro right?

Well, to be honest, an 11-inch iPad Pro with 128Gb Storage, Apple’s new Smart Keyboard and Pencil is well over £1,250 (inc. VAT).

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