Microsoft's low-cost Surface Go takes aim at Apple's entry-level iPad

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 10
Microsoft is angling for a bigger piece of the tablet market with Surface Go, the smallest -- and cheapest -- of the company's two-in-ones to pack the usual assortment of hybrid internals into a sleek reference design.




Billed as the "smallest, lightest, and most affordable" Surface do date, Surface Go packs a nearly two-year-old Intel chip, the seventh-generation Pentium Gold 4415Y, into a svelte chassis that comes complete with a 10-inch 1,800-by-1,200 pixel PixelSense Display, front and rear cameras, Surface Connect magnetic charging and docking port, USB-C port, a MicroSD card reader, headphone jack and Surface's trademark friction hinged kickstand.

Wi-Fi only models will be available at launch, with cellular-equipped versions shipping later this year.

Like other Surface hardware, Surface Go boasts compatibility with Surface Pen, Microsoft's custom designed stylus that affords 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, low latency and high precision input. Other supported accessories include a down-sized Type Cover with trackpad to match the new model's dimensions, as well as the Surface Mobile Mouse.

The chassis is similar to its spiritual predecessor, the defunct Surface 3, an Intel Atom-powered tablet that served as a low-cost sidekick to Microsoft's 2015 Surface Pro lineup.

A next-generation two-in-one, the Go boasts convenience features including Windows Hello facial recognition, which processes data input from the tablet's front-facing 5-megapixel camera. The rear camera comes with an 8 megapixel sensor. By comparison, Apple's 9.7-inch iPad includes a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel rear shooter.

Price is perhaps Surface Go's best feature. Coming in at $399, the tablet is $400 cheaper than its closest Surface Pro stablemate. Affordability, as always, comes with a few caveats.

Surface Go's CPU, the aforementioned Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, is a dual-core processor built on the chipmaker's aging 14-nanometer Kaby Lake microarchitecture. Microsoft says it worked with Intel to optimize power, performance and battery life "for the most critical tasks people perform every day," but whether the chip can handle a full build of Windows 10 has yet to be seen.

Despite massaging the chip for maximum efficiency, Microsoft is claiming an estimated 9 hours of operating time, down from 13.5 hours for Surface Pro. Onboard memory starts at 4GB, while standard storage is limited to 64GB of eMMC memory, a good chunk of which goes to Windows 10 Home.

Buyers can upgrade to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for $150, while an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro tacks on another $50.

No accessories are included in the base package, meaning customers have to shell out $99 for the Surface Pen, $99 for a Surface Go Type Cover ($129 for premium versions covered in Alcantara) and $35 for the Surface Mobile Mouse.





Surface Go serves not only as a full-featured Windows machine, but seeks to lure in consumers who are in the market for an affordable tablet. This puts the device in direct competition with Apple, whose $329 iPad anchors to the company's industry-leading product lineup.

Though it lacks an app store filled with hundreds of thousands of tablet tailored titles, Surface Go benefits from its ability to run desktop class Windows software, including full versions of Microsoft's own Office suite. This capability makes Go an alluring option for on-the-go professionals and certain education buyers.

Surface Go will go up for pre-order on Tuesday, July 10, in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S. ahead of store availability on Aug. 2.

Microsoft plans to extend sales to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand in the coming weeks, with more regions to follow.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    claire1claire1 Posts: 124unconfirmed, member
    Why do they always brag about intel chips?
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 50
    Total trash. An iPad is a much better option.
    jbdragonwatto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 3 of 50
    I'm not buying this if it doesn't ship with an optical drive...
    SoliuraharairelandGeorgeBMacwatto_cobratechprod1gylkruppDAalsethStrangeDays
  • Reply 4 of 50
    Windows still has an abysmal selection of tablet optimized Apps, so this doesn’t look very compelling.

    And running eMMC storage?
    Soliirelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 50
    iPad lover here. Junk....Lol.
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 50
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,779member
    claire1 said:
    Why do they always brag about intel chips?
    It’s part of the deal when you sign up with Intel; when you advertise your device you have to help sell Intel chips too. 

    The only company that doesn’t have to do this is Apple. 
    Soliredgeminipairelandwatto_cobrajbdragonStrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 50
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 901member
    Windows still has an abysmal selection of tablet optimized Apps, so this doesn’t look very compelling.

    And running eMMC storage?
    The buying public will be blind to this.  It will sell regardless.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 50
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 138member
    I personally much prefer Windows 10 to MacOS. But Windows just doesn't run well on low end hardware like this. Apple doesn't put MacOS on the iPad for a reason.
    RoseBudduBesoR
  • Reply 9 of 50
    Microsoft is releasing some pretty decent gear these days. After switching my main work machine back to windows after 14 years of being loyal apple fan due to the dismal state of apples hardware I must say they are getting close. I still thing OS-X is the better OS but overall win10 with the more powerfull PC hardware outperfoms apple in my use case for far less money. 

    So well don MS. There surface offerings are really starting to appeal to me, really considering the jump for my next laptop / tablet also.
    williamlondonsingularity
  • Reply 10 of 50
    The eMMC models I would avoid outright: eMMC is slow.

    64 GB isn’t optimal, but is workable, if you don’t have great storage needs for applications.  I’d still recommend getting more, and SSD, of course.

    The RAM question isn’t as big of an issue as people think, as long as you’re not using the slower eMMC, because swap works well and fast on an SSD.

    There’s always room to desire a faster CPU, but if you need a faster Windows machine, it’s cheaper to get a faster Windows laptop than to get a Windows tablet, because as a general rule, smaller things with the same speed/capacity cost more than the larger things.  For regular Office use, a faster CPU is wasted: MS Office is more than efficient enough that anyone that’d have a reason to go for a cheap tablet would ever care.

    Where a small Windows tablet undeniably comes up short, however, is the relative dearth (at this time) of software properly designed to work on a small tablet, because most Windows software is designed with mouse usage in mind, and a majority of the software has come to expect a lot of screen real estate, so if you use traditional Windows desktop software on this (certainly possible with Windows 10 Pro, at least: I haven’t yet taken time to verify if any artificial restrictions for desktop software is involved with the non-pro Windows 10 SKU, and I’d still want to verify the Pro version isn’t stuck using Windows Store applications only).  Using Win32 software (not UWP applications from the store) that’s not explicitly designed for touch is an unpleasant thing in practice for usability.

    I’d love to see this be very successful for a couple of reasons:
    1. I’m an iOS developer outside of my regular day job, and I’d love to see Apple be forced to compete at maximum capacity towards the goal of a better iOS platform to develop for...
    2. I work there!  In theory, the more profitable this is, the more secure is my employment and the better my overall income is.
    Here’s what I find comical in regards to learning it’s using a 2 year-old Intel CPU that’s likely not as fast as my 10.5” iPad Pro: that’s largely a result of what I’d term the “Intel Tax” and the only way Microsoft had a chance to make this price point was by spending as little as they could reasonably do on an Intel processor and whatever support chips or whatever the details are (SOC? But, not using the most recent tech).  The reason Apple can afford to put such a high performance processor in an iPad as they do is because they get them at cost and they get to set the CPU/SOC price without being beholden to a price being set by Intel to retain their high gross margins.

    I find myself wondering when Apple’s next major Mac line CPU architecture/ISA transition will happen, and if it’s due to Intel’s failing to keep up with their desires.  Historically, Apple has changed twice thus far: it doesn’t mean with certainty they will in the future, but in both cases, it was due to the vendor reaching a dead-end in the CPU advances with that family of CPUs.  Unless, of course, Apple finally allows iOS and its hardware to “grow up” into all the desktop use-cases and then ends the Mac line, like they did with the Apple 2 series coexisting with the Macintosh line, until they discontinued the Apple 2 series.

    muthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 50
    asciiascii Posts: 5,693member
    2018: the year of the low cost tablets. First Apple and now MS. Google, everyone is looking at you! Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab still a thing?
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 50
    adm1adm1 Posts: 833member
    ascii said:
    2018: the year of the low cost tablets. First Apple and now MS. Google, everyone is looking at you! Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab still a thing?
    there still demand for them apparently; I dusted off a 2012 10.1 galaxy note that I bought on a whim one black-friday. stuck it on facebook at £60 with a view to being haggled cheaper, I had to fend off the buyers, sold same day and had a few offers of more money to sell it to them! I was shocked, checked ebay later that day and found I could've got over £100 easily if I'd held out, madness for a 6yr old samsung.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    adm1adm1 Posts: 833member
    promising but 10" is still huge. 8" is portable imo; "pocketable" and light but still big enough and powerful enough to work on (iPad Mini 4).
  • Reply 14 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,236member
    claire1 said:
    Why do they always brag about intel chips?
    Somebody has to look bad when Intel falls by the wayside in a decade!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 50
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,884member
    ascii said:
    2018: the year of the low cost tablets. First Apple and now MS. Google, everyone is looking at you! Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab still a thing?
    Tack on $100 for the keyboard (who uses a Surface without one?) and most people will probably go for more storage/RAM and then you’re getting close to $700. I wouldn’t call that low cost. 
    redgeminipadewmeGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 16 of 50
    metrixmetrix Posts: 204member
    Is it just me or is that getting close to Zune Brown
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 50
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,236member
    metrix said:
    Is it just me or is that getting close to Zune Brown
    Even better, it’s Surface Dried Blood.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,208member
    mcdave said:
    Windows still has an abysmal selection of tablet optimized Apps, so this doesn’t look very compelling.

    And running eMMC storage?
    The buying public will be blind to this.  It will sell regardless.
    Compared to iPad, Surface is selling in small numbers still. Remember someone commenting their surprise Surface was only selling one or two million units when every third comment on MR was "apparently" in love with the product. Worst community ever over there anyway. A sea of astroturfers have taken over.
    edited July 10 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,208member
    metrix said:
    Is it just me or is that getting close to Zune Brown
    It is shit-brown. Well spotted.

    They do get the trackpad Gruber has been after.
    edited July 10 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 50
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,341member
    ascii said:
    2018: the year of the low cost tablets. First Apple and now MS. Google, everyone is looking at you! Is the Samsung Galaxy Tab still a thing?
    Tack on $100 for the keyboard (who uses a Surface without one?) and most people will probably go for more storage/RAM and then you’re getting close to $700. I wouldn’t call that low cost. 
    Yep!   I wonder how many people missed that?
    What they are offering is a stripped down version -- the equivalent of Honda Accord with stick shift, wind up windows and no A/C.   To get it up to spec requires money:
    "Buyers can upgrade to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for $150, while an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro tacks on another $50. "  (and that doesn't include the keyboard).

    But, the flip side is that the 2018 iPad Gen 6 isn't much less:  The 128Gb WiFi version with Logitech keypad I bought for my grandson came out to $637 with AppleCare & tax.  

    But, that brings up an astounding point:   The Apple product is cheaper than the Microshaft product!
    watto_cobraberndog
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