After much speculation, Microsoft has finally announced the Surface Go – a budget tablet designed to compete directly with Apple. The 10″ device is the company's smallest and lightest tablet yet, and it happens to be the least expensive.
The Surface Go will weigh just 1.15 pounds with a thickness of 8.3mm, debuting at just $399 in the US. For that price, users get an 1800×1200 PixelSense display, 4 GB RAM, and Intel's Pentium Gold 4415Y processor. It also offers an 8 GB/128 GB variant.
For a company who has previously focused on flagship devices, it's a huge diversion, and the use of USB-C charging shows Microsoft is finally willing to adapt. Though the 2-in-1's specs won't make it a powerhouse for video editing or gaming, it's nicely poised as a device for students.
That's enhanced by the Surface Go's next generation kickstand, its 3:2 aspect ratio (the same as paper), and its Pen support. Like the devices before it, the Go comes with minimal accessories, letting users pick and choose the ones that suit their needs.
Accessories, Accessories, Accessories
Unfortunately, that also makes its price point a little less attractive. Users who want to be truly productive will have to shell out an additional $99 for the Type Cover, pushing its price up to $498. Add the Surface Pen to that and you're looking at $600.
However, it's worth noting that Apple's new iPad has none of these and costs $329 for half of the Go's 64GB storage space. In specs alone, the Surface Go's processor may not necessarily impress, but Microsoft says Intel has done some tuning.
The Surface Go should last around nine hours, with optimizations for power, performance, and battery during everyday tasks. Microsoft says the use of Office was a key target in this, as well as watching Netflix and Hulu.
Keeping the theme of recent releases, the 2-in-1 will ship with Windows 10 in S mode but will provide a free upgrade to Pro. It's not the powerhouse we expect from Microsoft, but for students, it could be a good balance between design, price, and productivity.
The Surface Go will launch on August 2 in the US, with an LTE model arriving later in the year.