Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup has been a design win for the company for several years now. The Surface Go was launched in July of 2018 as a lower-cost version of the Surface Pro, offering buyers a less expensive way to become a Surface customer, and by the nature of its smaller size compared to the Surface Pro, an even more portable convertible Surface tablet. When the device was initially announced, a model with LTE connectivity was also in the works, and the Surface Go LTE arrived in November 2018.

Featuring a 10-inch display, the Surface Go is quite a bit smaller than the Pro, and the obvious comparison to make would be against the Surface 3, which launched way back in 2015. In the three year gap between these models, Microsoft had seemed to abandon the idea of the smaller convertible tablet in their lineup. But thanks to the smaller price tag, it was always a popular model, and it is great to see them reintroduce the reduced size Surface again. Even though the Surface 3 launched way back in 2015, it still has a usage share higher than any Surface launched outside of the Pro models, and now the Surface Go.


Source: AdDuplex.com

Looking at numbers from AdDuplex from December 2018, it makes it clear why the Surface Go was launched. And despite it only being on the market for about five months, it’s clearly gained a lot of traction in the Surface market, with usage share outstripping that of every other non-Pro model ever launched. We never got a chance to review the original Surface Go, but Microsoft has sent us the Surface Go LTE model for a full review.

The Surface Go LTE offers the benefit of always-on connectivity – assuming you have cellular coverage of course – and this opens it up to an even wider audience of customers. Microsoft is clearly aiming the Surface Go LTE at business customers looking for a small device they can take on-site, with an even smaller footprint than the Surface Pro LTE, and a lighter form factor. As has been the case with the last couple of LTE variants for Surface, the Surface Go LTE utilizes a Qualcomm X16 modem.

The rest of the Surface Go is unchanged. It’s still powered by the dual-core Intel Pentium 4415Y processor, and has the same 10-inch 1800x1200 3:2 PixelSense display. The only real difference is that the LTE variant is only available with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage. The 4 GB / 64 GB eMMC model cannot be purchased with LTE.

Microsoft Surface Go
  Surface Go Specifications
CPU Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y (Kaby Lake-Y)
2 core, 4 thread, 1.6 GHz base frequency
GPU Intel HD 615
24 EUs 850 MHz boost frequency
Display 10-inch PixelSense
1800x1200 3:2 aspect
216 Pixels Per Inch
10-point Multitouch
Surface Pen support
Dimensions 245 x 175 x 8.3 mm
9.6 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
Weight 522 grams (WiFi) / 532 grams (LTE)
1.15 lbs (WiFi) / 1.17 lbs (LTE)
RAM 4 or 8 GB LPDDR3-1866
Storage 64 GB eMMC
128 NVMe SSD optional
256 GB NVMe SSD (Commerical Option)
Wireless 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.1
Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE Optional
Battery Up to 9 hours of video playback
24W Charger
Cameras Windows Hello IR camera
5 MP Front Camera with 1080p video
8 MP Rear Camera with 1080p video
Ports USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1 with power delivery
Surface Connect
MicroSD
Headset
Price 4GB/64GB $399
4GB/128GB $499
8GB/128GB $549
8GB/128 GB LTE $679
Windows 10 Pro $50 extra

The Surface Go offers many of the same features as its larger siblings, including the Surface Connect port for charging and data. This is a big upgrade over the Surface 3, which only offered micro USB charging, and the Surface Go ships with a 24-Watt AC adapter. The advantage for business customers here is that the Surface Go will work with the same Surface Dock as the rest of the lineup, meaning it can easily be connected to power, displays, and Ethernet on the desk, and then with one magnetic connector, becomes instantly portable.

The Surface Go also offers USB Type-C, which is a huge advantage for the Surface Go compared to the Surface Pro, since you can use any Type-C charger while on the road with the Surface Go. It does lose the USB Type-A port that is a key feature of the Surface Pro, but on a portable device like this, that is a worthwhile trade-off. If you need Type-A, you can of course get an adapter for Type-C, or use the Surface Dock.

It's been quite remarkable to see just how popular this device is in the market, despite it only being available for a few months. Let’s dig into the Surface Go LTE.

Design and Accessories
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  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    Check out the ifixit teardown:

    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+...

    The batteries make up less then half the interior volume, Compared to something like 80-90% for the ipad 6

    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPad+6+Teardown/10...

    It appears that not only is the chip much larger, butthe needs for a laptop style heatpipe cooling system eats up a TON of room, not to mention the PCB itself just seems far too large for the minimal components and ports. Perhaps MS's design efficiency leaves a LOT to be desired?

    Either way, this is why windows on ARM is so exciting, and why I wish it was a lot further along. It seems ARM packaging is just way more efficient, allowing for far larger batteries. Combined with ARM's greater efficiencies, and x86 tablets like the go wind up with pathetic battery life numbers.
    Reply
  • HStewart - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    I have never really cared about IFixIt's repair scores - I have had a Surface Pro 1 - since the beginning and it never need repair - only thing I can say able Apple iPad's and iPhone - after a couple of years there battery died.

    I think MS did a good job on this Surface GO.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    I'm not referring to the scores. Look at the pictures, at the sheer amount of room in the Go VS the ipad.

    I cant see how having such poor battery life can be considered good. The OG surface pro had around the same usable life with a more power hungry chip and a compromised battery size.
    Reply
  • dontlistentome - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Have one of these - 8GB/256GB/LTE/W10pro (and an SP4, Thinkpad X1 Carbon 5 and a Dell 7370).

    It's fine - it runs all the business apps I need (including some local database work, Python etc). Not perfect but feels much snappier in use that the Surface 3. Happy to take it when I travel knowing I can (bearably) run all I need to do work should the need arise. My 7370 also has LTE and is small, but this is a lot smaller/lighter - to the extent I can dump it in the wife's bag if we're out for the evening, something I never could with the dell.

    Is it perfect? No, the Dell is also fanless but manages to cram in a m7 that turbos to 3.5GHz, something I guess I miss when a few processes are busy right after bootup.

    As a pointer to the future, I'm happy - a few years from now when the performance distinction will be more based on core count, a Go2 or Go3 with a two core 10th gen fanless chip and decent RAM/SSD combo (which this already has for what most people need). Suspect when I do buy a Go3 though, it'll be Qualcomm inside, not intel.
    Reply
  • HStewart - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    I doubt the GO3 will have a Qualcomm, by that time Intel will Perfect Sunny Cove - with more power than and battery life than Qualcomm.

    It is very interesting to me that Qualcomm got Microsoft to create Windows for ARM ( or can we say Windows for Qualcomm ) and yet Microsoft has release single product with it. It seams to me Microsoft does not trust it own OS. They would know better.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Sunday, January 20, 2019 - link

    It will be interesting if and when Apple either converts the 12” MacBook to the Ax series (A14X is my guess) and/or opens up iOS for iPad. I think ARM has a lot of capabilities and Microsoft is equally aware of them and could optimize Windows for ARM, at least for new applications. However, they are wedded to a lot of legacy x86 code and ARM hasn’t proven very adept at running Win32. Reply
  • Evil Mr M - Saturday, February 2, 2019 - link

    FWIW, Costco members in the US can get a Surface Go bundle with 4GB/128SSD plus keyboard for $449.99. That appears NOT to be a sale price, but is limited to Costco members.

    At that price, it really does challenge an iPad...
    Reply

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