Microsoft Surface Go 2 Review
Product Name: Microsoft Surface Go 2
Product Description: The second version, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 tablet-laptop has a lot of noticeable improvements compared to its predecessor. This includes longer battery life, bigger screen, and better overall performance. The message here is that bringing the tablet to your workplace or school is more efficient (and definitely lighter) than laptops and books. The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is lighter, compact, and cheaper than a standard laptop and this is something you appreciate from the moment you first grab it.
- Build Quality
- Easy to Use
You can pay more and get a surface pro 7 or an iPad Pro if raw performance is what you need and are after. But the Surface Go 2 is a solid 2-in-1 tablet for those who don’t need the latest and most powerful tablet and especially, do not want or are not willing to pay those pro prices.
Bigger screen with thinner bezels
Stylish magnesium design
Small and lightweight
Longer battery life
Type Cover and Surface pen are additional expenses
Only one USB-C port
Still low performance
User Review( votes)
Microsoft Surface Go 2 Review
Company’s Smaller and Cheaper Tablet-Laptop Hybrid
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 tablet-laptop has a lot of noticeable improvements over its predecessor. Longer battery life, bigger screen, and better overall performance to start with. The message here is that bringing the tablet to your workplace or school is more efficient (and definitely lighter) than laptops and books. The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is lighter, compact, and cheaper than a standard laptop and this is something you appreciate from the moment you first grab it.
Critics consider the Microsoft Surface Go 2 as one of the best mid-range Windows tablets. Aside from the tablet being cheap, its accessories such as Type Cover keyboard and Surface Pen are also cheap. On the other hand, the highest internal storage for Apple is just up to 512 GB while Microsoft can store up to 1 TB. So not all are gloomy news and specs. With all its great features, can Microsoft Surface Go 2 be an interesting alternative to the more expensive iPad Pro and iPad 10.2? Let’s find out!
For years, Microsoft has continuously developed Windows tablets under the Surface brand. The Surface Go 2 has the same basic design as the Surface Go when it comes to the rectangular shaped-tablet. It still has a power button, volume, and ports around the edges. And our favorite part of the tablet is its unique stand that pops up at the back for hands-free purposes. But in terms of dimensions, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is bigger than the previous model measuring 0.33 x 9.7 x 6.9 inches. The screen is also larger from the Surface Go, increasing from 10 inches, to now 10.5 inches, which we have to admit, it is a welcome upgrade. It is also heavier at 1.5 pounds compare to Surface Go’s 1.15 pounds but nothing that is overly noticeable as we are talking about small weight differences anyway.
Based on the specs of the 1st Generation Surface Go, most of us requested for specific improvements to the follow-up model. We had hoped for smaller bezels, faster performance, and longer battery life. Fortunately, Microsoft listened to users’ feedback and did exactly that. They addressed the issue by creating the 2nd generation of Surface Go with thinner bezels, just like the iPad Pro. Additionally, Microsoft upgraded its processor to the 8th generation Intel Core M3. This new intel processor not only adds enough power to perform basic functions but it also provides more than 11 hours of battery life. That is pretty cool as there is enough power now to run whatever we want without dreading running out of juice. All these updates are truly amazing, but there is always a catch and that is, costs have gone up.
- 8th Generation Intel Core M3 Processor/Intel Pentium Gold 4425YWindows 10 Home in S Mode with device encryption
- 10.5-inch LCD screen
- 1920 x 1280 screen resolution
- 220 pixels per inch
- 8MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera with Windows Hello
- 4 GB or 8 GB RAM
- 64 GB or 128 GB storage
- 0.33 x 9.7 x 6.9 inches dimensions
- 1.25 pounds of weight
It is obvious to the eye that in terms of design, externally, the Surface Go is almost identical to its successor. Even with minor changes such as the increased display size from 10-inch to 10.5 inches, reduced the bezels, and slightly higher weight, the look, and feel has not changed dramatically from the previous model. The physical buttons, silver magnesium framework, and kickstand at the rear have not changed which means that if you loved the surface go design and feel, you will feel at home with the surface Go 2. If something works, why change it? However, it is not all about the looks, under the hood is where the interesting changes have taken place.
In terms of functionality, we can say that the Surface Go 2 has more premium features than other PC-tablets by a mile. Microsoft was clear with its goal to create a low-cost tablet-laptop that provided a high-end feel and experience. The one feature that still stands out is its kickstand, which is so attractive, functional, and efficient. It just works, it does the job it was intended for very well and you never feel it is on the way. Instead of getting a stand folio or tablet cover like iPads and Samsung tablets have done, the Surface Go 2 has implemented its own stand which we can rotate up to 165 degrees. It is worth pointing out though that when in the stand configuration, the tablet is best used on a desk rather than on your lap because the keyboard flexes and tends to bend quite badly when typing or tapping the screen.
Expanding the screen size to 10.5 inches with 1920 x 1280 screen resolution is not what you would consider a major upgrade although it is a substantial update from the Surface Go’s 1800 x 1200 10-inch display. But it is big enough for us to enjoy gaming or watching movies and provides a great viewing experience. The touchscreen is very responsive and while using it we had no trouble tapping small icons or editing photos. And even though it has a lesser color range compared to the iPad Air, it can reach an average luminance of 408 nits.
It is bright enough to display vivid images with accurate colors, and it is slightly brighter than surface Pro 7’s 395-nit. It is still out of reach from the 425-nit iPad Air and 473-nit Galaxy Tab S6 which are noticeably brighter. The display screen is bright and produces beautiful images. The Surface Go 2 edges are sharp but pleasing to the eye and overall, it is a really pleasant experience.
Type Cover Keyboard
Just like the Type Cover for the Surface Pro 7, the keyboard of the Surface Go 2 has a decent travel distance and we really liked how soft and bouncy the keys are when typing. And to add a tiny bit of color to the tablet, the Type Cover keyboard comes with Alcantara fabric with different colors such as Black, Red, Blue, and Platinum. We love the red color as it is not too flashy but has the right amount to stand out but at the same time look smart and professional. Below the keys, you will find the 3.8 x 2.2 inches touchpad which makes navigation light and easy and turns the tablet into a laptop-like functionality.
The size of the keyboard, though, can be a bit of a deal-breaker, especially for people who have big hands. We felt the keys are a little too compact and jammed together for our liking and it would have been nice to have them spread more in order to avoid the occasional typing error. Unfortunately, the Type Cover keyboard that comes with the Surface Go 2 in an extra and not part of the standard package. Is it worth it? We think so. It is all about getting used to the keyboard and it doesn’t take too long to do so. The functionality you get out of it is tremendous. Price is reasonable, it is not as expensive as the Magic Keyboard for iPad which helps.
Another brilliant accessory to use with the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is the Microsoft Surface Pen. It is one of the most sensitive digital pens in the market with 4,096 pressure points, a customizable button, and a tail eraser. Great for students who take notes using their laptops, people who enjoys drawing, artists, and anyone who feels comfortable using a traditional pen, rather than typing everything as we do these days on laptops and tablets. For artists out there, this pen is perfect to satisfy your needs for drawing as the pen is so sensitive and responsive.
Windows 10 Home in S Mode
Microsoft made the Surface Go 2 run on Windows 10 Home in S Mode which restricts you from using third-party apps. Limiting the use of external apps is a real bummer, as it allows only the use of all integrated apps in Windows 10 such as Office, Edge, and Xbox Game Bar. As a user, you want to take advantage of the raw power inside this tablet and try different apps. You can easily move from S Mode to standard Windows 10 Home and in doing so you bypass this restriction, but then going back to S Mode is not be possible. For some people, this is a real issue, for others not. We just hope that Microsoft addresses this issue and provides an operating system with as much access to apps as possible and create a proper ecosystem.
Taking selfies with Microsoft Surface Go 2’s 5-megapixel front-facing camera gives you sharp and colorful pictures. The same goes with the 8-megapixel rear camera, although there is a bit of an issue with dark lighting, it still captures accurate and sharp images. It uses facial recognition to automatically log you in via Windows Hello and the infrared camera worked flawlessly throughout the testing process. But don’t get your hopes too high as it is widely known that tablet’s cameras are far behind phone’s cameras. And this tablet is no different.
Let’s be honest, realistically, can you see yourself taking selfies on a tablet when you have your phone with a better camera in your pocket? The same applies to the back camera, can you see yourself walking around recording a video with such a large tablet, when your phone probably has a better camera, it is lighter and easier to handle? Cameras in these devices are great for fixed situations such as video conferences, etc and let’s face it, we overlook a lot in these situations. Overall it has good cameras rendering bright and sharp images, just don’t expect groundbreaking performance because you won’t get it.
Placed on the right side of the tablet, we can find the dual speakers of the Surface Go 2. Since it is dual, we expected a loud performance, high enough to fill a small room without any distortion even without the presence of bass. Still, if you want to get the best sound quality, you should connect it to a speaker system, there is literally no comparison in terms of quality of audio. If you use your headphone you get brilliant audio quality but that also depends on the headphones you use as they vary on the way they handle bass and treble. Overall, it is has a pretty good sound quality but don’t expect studio performance.
In a similar fashion as the previous model, the Surface Go 2 has the USB-C port and Surface connect at the right side for charging or docking along with a headphone jack. You can choose from an internal storage capacity of 64 GB and 128 GB with an additional storage boost of 256 GB through a micro SD card. Perfect to store large files without affecting the speed of the tablet. The slot for the SD card is placed under the kickstand and this is really useful as it means we no longer have to worry about running out of space. But in the LTE version, however, the NANO-SIM tray is on the left side.
In our test we watched a few YouTube videos at 1080P while running video live streaming services like Twitch and we did not experience any lags or buffering, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 worked flawlessly. However, opening several tabs on the Microsoft Edge browser gave us some random slow-down performance and minor delays for the photos to appear. This means that the tablet is not particularly good for multitasking or a heavy workload environment. We also test its performance using the Geekbench and it surprisingly surpasses the Surface Go with a score of 6,815. The overall performance was great but it still is a no match for iPad Air with an outstanding score of 11, 471. We won’t even discuss the iPad Pro that would blow it out of the water, but you would be paying a premium for that luxury and this tablet. The storage speed, video transcoding, and game graphics fall short to its promise. When you compare anything to the best range of tablets in the market, iPads, it is easy to feel disappointed. In terms of the ratio between cost and performance, it did very, very well.
The Surface Go tablet was terrible in battery life. Microsoft addressed this issue well in the Surface Go 2’s battery. It has gone from a 6-hour battery life in the previous model to 11 hours and 39 minutes now. That is almost doubling the battery life and it is awesome. However, this is for continuous web surfing at 150 nits of brightness, essentially lightweight use. It beats the standard 8-hours battery life for most tablets and comes close to iPad Air’s 11 hours and 54 minutes.
Naturally, if you only use it for the usual tasks such as watching movies or playing music, the battery can last longer.
While the iPad Pro, iPad Mini, and iPad 10.2 are all three a better tablet, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 has its own unique selling points. It is definitely more useful as a laptop/tablet for running multiple tasks. It is still a decent tablet-laptop for some who plan to use it for common tasks like watching videos, creating documents, or sketching. This is perfect for students who need their laptop for studying and tablet for some little entertainment or support work. In this day and age tablets are very useful for online classes and given the current climate with people working from home and students taking lessons remotely, this is a great tablet that will meet anyone’s requirements. You can also use it as a laptop so you get the best of both worlds, giving you excellent functionality and flexibility.
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