I Used a Surface Go for a Month

Only hours after I landed back in Seattle after a two week long trip to Nairobi, Kenya (I promise I'll make a post about this) I drove to the Microsoft Store in Seattle's University District and picked up my Surface Go. It comes in the typical Surface product box, almost all white, professional photo of the Surface Go on the front, Microsoft logo in the top left corner, and a bunch of text on the back of the box. I also bought a standard Surface Go keyboard to try out as well. Just like every other Surface besides the Surface Books and the Surface Laptop, the Surface doesn't come with a keyboard, just the device. I decided on the upgraded model, 128 GB of storage and 8 GiB of RAM. This model also has a real SSD in it which many say makes it perform much better than the base model sitting at 64 GB of storage and just 4 GiB of RAM.

Here's a table with all the relevant info. What I bought is in bold

Item Storage RAM Price
Surface Go 64 GB 4 GiB $399.00
Surface Go 128 GB 8 GiB $549.00
Type Cover N/A N/A $99.99
Type Cover with Alcantara fabric N/A N/A $129.99
Surface Pen N/A N/A $99.99

Up front let me say that I'm going to return this device later this week, I wanted to try it out but I don't really have much use for it. I have a desktop and I have a Surface Book. I also own a Surface 3 but I use that as a control point for lights and music in my apartment, it's mounted to my wall and stays there. The Surface 3 is a little slow but it does its job very well. After saying all that, the Surface Go is still a pretty great device. The screen is 11.5 inches across with a 10 inch, 1800 x 1200 resolution display and it weighs 1.15 pounds. Basically it's a light, mid to large sized tablet with a high res screen. I would have really enjoyed owning this when I was still in college. It was great being able to take handwritten notes on my Surface Pro 1, I almost never needed to buy a paper notebook my entire college career.

The Surface Go comes with Windows 10 S installed. Windows 10 S only lets you install apps from the Windows Store, meaning the first thing I did after opening the box and turning this thing on was to upgrade to full Windows 10. It's free, easy to do, and takes maybe 5 minutes. 4 minutes and 59 seconds to find out how to switch to Windows 10, and 1 second to actually switch. This device performs excellently at while taking handwritten notes, browsing the internet, or while using apps such as Word or Netflix. I've made 128 GB of storage work on my Surface Book while having Visual Studio installed on it so I'm sure 128 GB should work for most people. If not there is a microSD slot under the kickstand that can be used to expand the storage capacity.

I used the Surface Go with and without the keyboard. Without the keyboard it's a pretty good tablet. I used it to read recipes in the kitchen while cooking, I used it to watch Netflix in the gym while biking, and I used it to browse the internet before going to bed every once in a while. With the keyboard I used it to write this post you're reading. The keyboard is smaller than the standard Surface Pro keyboard but even with my larger than average hands I became comfortable with this keyboard very quickly. The key travel is pretty identical to other newer Surface Type Covers; I prefer more key travel and I like the Surface Type Covers much more than the new MacBook keyboards.

Overall it's a great device, if you're looking for a smaller computer to carry around to do light work the Surface Go is perfect. If you're looking for a tablet you probably don't exist as everyone who wanted a tablet already bought an iPad years ago. If you somehow didn't buy an iPad years ago you still probably don't need a tablet now. The appeal of the Surface Go is that it's more than just a tablet, it's a device running a full fledged OS than can be used as a laptop but it can also be used as a tablet. I would maybe keep it if I didn't want to use the money for the new iPhone that will probably be $1,500 this year 😬.