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Microsoft Surface Go 2 Review: The go-to Windows 10 convertible or an Apple iPad Air alternative?

Is the Microsoft Surface Go 2 the perfect Windows 10 convertible for you? Read our full review to find out

January 29, 2021 / 08:11 AM IST
There has been this constant debate over how 2-in-1 tablets can be the next multipurpose device offering the features of a laptop while offering the portability of a tablet. Over the years, we have come a long way where manufacturers and developers have come together to bring the best of both worlds. The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is one such offering coming from the Windows 10 maker. While I did not get the chance to use the original Surface Go, on-paper specifications suggest that the Surface Go 2 comes with some key upgrades over its predecessor. What are these upgrades? Is the Microsoft Surface Go 2 worth its price in India? Or should you pick the iPad Air 2020 instead?
There has been this constant debate over how 2-in-1 tablets can be the next multipurpose device offering the features of a laptop while offering the portability of a tablet. Over the years, we have come a long way where manufacturers and developers have come together to bring the best of both worlds. The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is one such offering coming from the Windows 10 maker. While I did not get the chance to use the original Surface Go, on-paper specifications suggest that the Surface Go 2 comes with some key upgrades over its predecessor. What are these upgrades? Is the Microsoft Surface Go 2 worth its price in India? Or should you pick the iPad Air 2020 instead?
Before we detail down our review, let’s take a look at the Microsoft Surface Go 2 price in India and specifications: Pentium Gold 4GB/ 64GB: Rs 42,999, M3 4GB/64GB: Rs 47,599, Pentium Gold 8GB/ 128GB: Rs 57,999, M3 8GB/128GB: Rs 63,499.  Specifications : 10.5-inch PixelSense Display, Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y/ 8th Gen Intel Core m3 Processor with Intel UHD Graphics 615, 5MP 1080p front camera, 8MP 1080P rear-camera, Up to 10 hours of battery life, Windows 10 operating system.
Before we detail down our review, let’s take a look at the Microsoft Surface Go 2 price in India and specifications: Pentium Gold 4GB/ 64GB: Rs 42,999, M3 4GB/64GB: Rs 47,599, Pentium Gold 8GB/ 128GB: Rs 57,999, M3 8GB/128GB: Rs 63,499. Specifications: 10.5-inch PixelSense Display, Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4425Y/ 8th Gen Intel Core m3 Processor with Intel UHD Graphics 615, 5MP 1080p front camera, 8MP 1080P rear-camera, Up to 10 hours of battery life, Windows 10 operating system.
Microsoft Surface Go 2 Review: The Surface Go 2 looks a lot like its predecessor or even like the iPad Air from a distance. The solidly-built convertible feels premium with the magnesium body and weighs just above 550 grams. The sides are made of aluminium, adding to the premium feel. It might not look as modern as the new 2020 iPad models but makes up for it with some key add-ons, in my opinion. These include more ports (thank you, Microsoft), a built-in kickstand that you will appreciate a lot while binge-watching content or while using it as a laptop with the keyboard accessory.
Microsoft Surface Go 2 Review: The Surface Go 2 looks a lot like its predecessor or even like the iPad Air from a distance. The solidly-built convertible feels premium with the magnesium body and weighs just above 550 grams. The sides are made of aluminium, adding to the premium feel. It might not look as modern as the new 2020 iPad models but makes up for it with some key add-ons, in my opinion. These include more ports (thank you, Microsoft), a built-in kickstand that you will appreciate a lot while binge-watching content or while using it as a laptop with the keyboard accessory.
What makes the Surface Go 2 better and far from attractive from its predecessor is the bigger display in the similar form factor, courtesy of the slimmer bezels. Although the bezels are quite prominent, Microsoft has managed to add an extra .5-inch more to the screen estate for a slightly better viewing experience. The display is more than bright at 270 nits when indoors. There were times wherein I felt the need for a slightly brighter screen when working outdoors in direct sun. The larger 10.5-inch screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a higher 1,920 x 1,280 resolution, otherwise, is pretty good for the average Joe. It is sharp and vivid and comes with touch-support.
What makes the Surface Go 2 better and far from attractive from its predecessor is the bigger display in the similar form factor, courtesy of the slimmer bezels. Although the bezels are quite prominent, Microsoft has managed to add an extra .5-inch more to the screen estate for a slightly better viewing experience. The display is more than bright at 270 nits when indoors. There were times wherein I felt the need for a slightly brighter screen when working outdoors in direct sun. The larger 10.5-inch screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a higher 1,920 x 1,280 resolution, otherwise, is pretty good for the average Joe. It is sharp and vivid and comes with touch-support.
Another minor attention to the design's practical use case is placing the 5MP front camera on the top bezel when in landscape mode. This is definitely useful when you rest the Surface Go 2 on the table while using the kickstand for video calls and those Zoom meetings.
Another minor attention to the design's practical use case is placing the 5MP front camera on the top bezel when in landscape mode. This is definitely useful when you rest the Surface Go 2 on the table while using the kickstand for video calls and those Zoom meetings.
The edges house multiple ports. These include a USB Type-C port, a MicroSDXC card reader slot that mirrorless/ DSLR users will be grateful for, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the proprietary Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port. It also supports magnetic charging.
The edges house multiple ports. These include a USB Type-C port, a MicroSDXC card reader slot that mirrorless/ DSLR users will be grateful for, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the proprietary Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port. It also supports magnetic charging.
The sturdy hinge mechanism does aid in using the touchscreen and the screen does not lean back when you tap on the screen. It also supports the Surface Pen that delivers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and magnetically attaches to the tablet. By the way, the Surface Pen is an added accessory that costs Rs 7,999.
The sturdy hinge mechanism does aid in using the touchscreen and the screen does not lean back when you tap on the screen. It also supports the Surface Pen that delivers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and magnetically attaches to the tablet. By the way, the Surface Pen is an added accessory that costs Rs 7,999.
Microsoft is offering the Surface Go 2 with two SoC variants, each offering 4GB/ 64GB and 8GB/ 128GB RAM + Storage configuration. The top-end review unit we got gets powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core m3 processor. I am going to be direct here and state that the Surface Go 2 is not for the ones who edit 4K videos or want a convertible laptop for intensive tasks. For that, I would recommend an iPad Air 2020 or even the iPad Pro model. My daily use case involved filing stories using Word, maintaining my day-to-day task sheets on Excel, watching YouTube videos or streaming shows on Netflix and Prime Video, attending a few virtual meetings, basic editing for my Instagram on the Lightroom app, etc. In most cases, there wasn’t a hint of lag on the Surface Go 2 running on the top-end M3 model with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal memory. While loading RAW images directly from the Class 10 SD card to Lightroom, I did come across some slight lag though.
Microsoft is offering the Surface Go 2 with two SoC variants, each offering 4GB/ 64GB and 8GB/ 128GB RAM + Storage configuration. The top-end review unit we got gets powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core m3 processor. I am going to be direct here and state that the Surface Go 2 is not for the ones who edit 4K videos or want a convertible laptop for intensive tasks. For that, I would recommend an iPad Air 2020 or even the iPad Pro model. My daily use case involved filing stories using Word, maintaining my day-to-day task sheets on Excel, watching YouTube videos or streaming shows on Netflix and Prime Video, attending a few virtual meetings, basic editing for my Instagram on the Lightroom app, etc. In most cases, there wasn’t a hint of lag on the Surface Go 2 running on the top-end M3 model with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal memory. While loading RAW images directly from the Class 10 SD card to Lightroom, I did come across some slight lag though.
The best part of the Surface Go 2 is that it runs on a desktop-class operating system, unlike some tablets that run on Android. This helps in better support for desktop websites and even Microsoft’s own set of apps like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. If your use case revolves around these apps and also watching videos online, then the Pentium Gold processor with 8GB RAM could be a decent option. However, for someone who has a slightly more heavy use case, I would recommend the M3 model, provided you only need a Windows convertible and not something like the iPad or a laptop.
The best part of the Surface Go 2 is that it runs on a desktop-class operating system, unlike some tablets that run on Android. This helps in better support for desktop websites and even Microsoft’s own set of apps like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. If your use case revolves around these apps and also watching videos online, then the Pentium Gold processor with 8GB RAM could be a decent option. However, for someone who has a slightly more heavy use case, I would recommend the M3 model, provided you only need a Windows convertible and not something like the iPad or a laptop.
If your use case, like mine, involves typing stories, I would recommend getting the Surface Type Cover that costs under Rs 9,000. The backlit keys have good travel (much better than my 2017 MacBook Pro’s butterfly keys) and offer good feedback. The trackpad too is quite large than most laptops. As far as audio is concerned, the front-firing speakers are loud and clear. I didn’t find the need to use Bluetooth or wired earphones while consuming audio/video content.
If your use case, like mine, involves typing stories, I would recommend getting the Surface Type Cover that costs under Rs 9,000. The backlit keys have good travel (much better than my 2017 MacBook Pro’s butterfly keys) and offer good feedback. The trackpad too is quite large than most laptops. As far as audio is concerned, the front-firing speakers are loud and clear. I didn’t find the need to use Bluetooth or wired earphones while consuming audio/video content.
While I am okay with the average SoC, what was a bummer was the battery life. For a convertible tablet aimed at serving on-the-go performance, the Surface Go 2 lasted about six hours. It’s almost half the time claimed by Microsoft, which is up to 10 hours. The display was always at the brightest setting as per my requirement and maybe setting it to 60/70 percent could give you a few more minutes of juice. Another problem is the lack of app support. Although the Surface Go 2 is primarily a tablet, not many apps that I use come with support for Windows 10.
While I am okay with the average SoC, what was a bummer was the battery life. For a convertible tablet aimed at serving on-the-go performance, the Surface Go 2 lasted about six hours. It’s almost half the time claimed by Microsoft, which is up to 10 hours. The display was always at the brightest setting as per my requirement and maybe setting it to 60/70 percent could give you a few more minutes of juice. Another problem is the lack of app support. Although the Surface Go 2 is primarily a tablet, not many apps that I use come with support for Windows 10.
Verdict: Should you buy the Surface Go 2? The Surface Go 2 is certainly a productivity machine but comes with a bunch of compromises. Firstly, the pricing, starting at Rs 42,999, it is hard to recommend the entry-level model when you look at the spec-sheet. The top-end Intel M3 variant with 8GB RAM will offer the best performance but when you look at the price tag that it comes with, the Surface Go 2 is, again, hard to recommend. Add the definitely-useful Type Cover keyboard case and you’ll have to shell out nearly Rs 70,000. For that price, I would recommend buying an iPad Air 2020 that not only is a lot more powerful but also offers significantly better app support.
Verdict: Should you buy the Surface Go 2? The Surface Go 2 is certainly a productivity machine but comes with a bunch of compromises. Firstly, the pricing, starting at Rs 42,999, it is hard to recommend the entry-level model when you look at the spec-sheet. The top-end Intel M3 variant with 8GB RAM will offer the best performance but when you look at the price tag that it comes with, the Surface Go 2 is, again, hard to recommend. Add the definitely-useful Type Cover keyboard case and you’ll have to shell out nearly Rs 70,000. For that price, I would recommend buying an iPad Air 2020 that not only is a lot more powerful but also offers significantly better app support.
The Surface Go 2 fits the niche set of users who watch movies on their device or browse through the web or perform basic editing and need a desktop-class experience on the Microsoft Windows 10-running convertible. Push the device to the limit and you are likely to experience lag. Users demanding performance can look towards the iPad Air/ iPad Pro or a bunch of gaming laptops that come with integrated/ dedicated GPU and 10th/11th generation CPU laptops.
The Surface Go 2 fits the niche set of users who watch movies on their device or browse through the web or perform basic editing and need a desktop-class experience on the Microsoft Windows 10-running convertible. Push the device to the limit and you are likely to experience lag. Users demanding performance can look towards the iPad Air/ iPad Pro or a bunch of gaming laptops that come with integrated/ dedicated GPU and 10th/11th generation CPU laptops.
Pranav Hegde
first published: Jan 29, 2021 07:40 am

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