Dubai: Microsoft’s Surface Go two-in-one hybrid laptop is a shrunken version of Surface Pro with rounded edges, rather than the angled edges on the 12.3-inch Surface Pro.
It is more of a tablet rather than a laptop and the keyboard makes it a laptop.
Microsoft has clearly put some design efforts into this model to stay ahead of Apple’s new iPad. One big advantage is the kickstand which can bend up to 165 degrees, for drawing and taking notes compared to iPads. The hinge is strong and sturdy and the body is made of magnesium.
The 10.1-inch PixelSense touch LCD display has a resolution of 1,800x1,200 pixels with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 217 pixels per inch density.
The display is not the brightest compared to iPad’s 2,048x1,536 pixels or 2,560x1,600 resolution of the Samsung Tab S4.
Having said that, the Surface Go’s colours are bright and crisp. The 3:2 aspect ratio is good for web browsing and work, but when watching a 16:9 movie, you will get black bars on top and bottom of the screen.
It is powered by 1.6GHz Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y dual-core processor and Intel HD Graphics 615 processor, and houses 8GB of RAM and 128GB solid-state drive. Running on Windows 10 Pro version, the device weighs 522 grams without the cover.
The device is not a powerhouse for using Adobe Photoshop to edit photos and videos for gaming, but for writing, watching videos, web browsing and taking notes and daily office, the lightweight processor is suitable.
So, it’s adequate for daily use with a bit of work and a bit of play.
One strange thing about Microsoft is that the Alcantara fabric Type cover ($129), mouse ($34.99) and pen ($99) has to be purchased separately and does not come with the box, which adds up the cost further. It comes in burgundy, cobalt and platinum colours.
The keyboard is a must-have and it can also be used as a cover for the tablet. The typing experience is better on the desk than on the lap.
Microsoft has managed to add a USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack and a propriety charging port on the right side of the device but no USB-A port. On the top are the power and volume buttons.
There is a microSD reader that can also be used to expand the storage capacity underneath the kickstand, on the right side.
The 77-key Alcantara Fabric Type Cover has a large glass trackpad and the keys are spaced closer, but typing is easy and has a good tactile feel. The trackpad is excellent and responsive. The keyboard is a bit flimsy and may time to get used to.
The keyboard attaches to the bottom of the tablet via a strong magnet. You can hold the unit upside down and the tablet does not peel off.
The bezels are a bit wide and it could be due to the Dolby-tuned 2W speakers on the sides, which are quite loud and audible. There is no fingerprint sensor, but the device can be unlocked with Windows Hello facial recognition using the 5MP front-facing camera, which is fast and reliable and even works well in lowlight conditions. If the camera can’t recognise you, it asks for a PIN or password.
The 8MP rear camera can be used for Full HD video recording.
As for connectivity, the Surface Go has WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.1.
During a battery test, the device lasted for just close to six hours while using video and just close to five hours for web browsing and typing documents. It is priced at Dh2,399.
• Good speakers
• Neat design
• Surface kickstand
• Decent stereo speakers
• Light and portable
• Backlit keyboard
• microSD card reader
• No keyboard and mouse with the box
• Screen could be brighter
• Processor could be faster
• Wide bezels
• Mediocre battery life
• Flimsy keyboard
• No USB-A ports