If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Microsoft is taking the old saying to heart as they make another go with the Surface Go. The least expensive member of the Surface family was originally released two years ago and was clearly positioned against Apple’s entry-level iPad. While it certainly wasn’t a disaster, when measured against the sales of Apple’s tablets, there’s no way it could be considered a major success, either.
So now comes the Surface Go 2. This refreshed version of the smaller Surface was announced today, along with the Surface Book 3, Surface Headphones 2, and Surface Buds and is slated for release next week. So what makes the new version better than the old?
First off, Microsoft increased the screen size from 10″ to 10.5″, mostly by slimming the bezels down. That’s a win-win for anyone interested in the Go 2. It also brings it back to parity with the iPad and iPad Air, which are its primary competition. A 10″ devices with a Windows desktop feels very small, so any upgrade there is a welcome one.
Microsoft also beefed up the processor options, which was a much-needed change. I had the higher-end version of the first gen Go and it was passable, but the under-powered Penguin processor was still pretty ordinary when it came to performance. By most reviewer accounts, the lower end version with less memory and cheaper, slower internal storage was downright dismal.
While the bottom tier version of the Go 2 isn’t going to be much better than its original Go counterpart, there are now more options above it. Specifically, the new top end model sports an 8th gen Intel Core m3 processor, which is definitely a step up in class. It remains to be seen how much performance this new processor will deliver, but it should be a solid improvement.
The only problem with this step up in processor is that it also comes with a noticable step up in price, as well. The base model retails for a reasonable $399, but the Core m3 model is a tougher to swallow $629.99. While that does get you 128 GB of of storage, it also prices the Surface Go 2 well above its competition. Will it deliver enough performance to be worth that price? Time will tell.
So why I am writing about the Surface Go 2 here at an iPad site? What better way to gauge the competition than to cover it yourself and compare it directly? I bought the Surface Go and reviewed it against the iPad family last year and I plan to do the same with the Go 2 now.
I liked the Go initially, especially the hardware and the keyboard. I never thought it was in the same league as Apple’s tablets, but I liked it on some of its own merits. However, the lack of performance, the lack of great apps that take advantage of the touch and Pen capabilities, and the lack of a great touch experience without the Type Cover were too much for me to ignore in the end. I still have it, but it has mostly become the default Windows machine for the house when my wife and kids need one.
Will the Surface Go 2 fair better? I’m still intrigued enough to give it another shot. I hope to pick one up at launch next week and see how it measures up to both its predecessor and its competition. I will definitely let you know how it goes.