Microsoft Surface Go Earns Strong Marks

Comparisons With the iPad

The Surface Go is “almost as light as an iPad but can also run most of the Windows apps you need,” wrote Devindra Hardawar for Engadget.

It is “an intriguing option as a secondary device,” he said.

The Go “is the first Surface that can actually take on the iPad,” Hardawar maintained. “It’s impressively thin and light, while also being a fully fledged Windows PC.”

The iPad “is better for entertainment — but if that’s what you want, I’d suggest the large Amazon Kindle is a far more economical choice than either,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“This Surface Go is far closer to what people seem to want in a small product that’s more focused on productivity than the iPad has yet been able to deliver,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“While the iPad is likely to offer the better tablet experience, the Go runs Windows 10 S or 10 Pro, both of which support more traditional PC applications,” observed Lauren Guenveur, senior research analyst for devices and displays at IDC.

That means it likely will offer a better PC experience, she told TechNewsWorld.

“In addition, with Windows 10 security and encryption features, IT buyers may find the Surface Go appealing for workers that need either more portable or secondary devices,” Guenveur said.

Fit and Finish Win Kudos

The Surface Go earned praise for product quality, with reviewers noting its superiority to other inexpensive PCs in terms of design and finish.

“It’s rare to have a device at this price with such a premium feel,” Guenveur remarked.

On the downside, the CPU isn’t up to handling large applications such as Photoshop and games, or loading big PDFs or complex Web pages with embedded videos, reviewers noted.

Another issue is the paucity of apps in the Windows Store. The Surface Go runs Windows 10 in S mode, which restricts it to using Microsoft’s Edge browser and Microsoft apps.

Still, the upgraded version could run eight or 10 lightweight apps simultaneously, together with a dozen Edge browser tabs, noted The Verge’s Dieter Bohn.

Enterprise Potential

Microsoft has positioned the Surface Go as an enterprise device, emphasizing its security features.

Microsoft “did see fair success with the Surface 3 in the enterprise, and this would be a timely replacement for those devices,” IDC’s Guenveur said.

However, “the modest inner workings could dampen an employee’s ability to use the device as a daily driver, depending on the vertical they work in,” she added.

An ARM-based product “is coming under the ‘Always Connected’ effort, which will likely be a stronger enterprise product,” said Enderle, “but it’s waiting for the next-generation Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 1000.”

Chromebooks and small iPads, “the natural competitor to this offering, haven’t been that popular for work in the enterprise, and I doubt this will be much better,” he noted.

 

“It’s a stronger alternative for education, though, due to price and capability,” Enderle said. “There really isn’t much in the productivity area with this screen size. The exception has been schools and people with extreme requirements for portability, but this latter group hasn’t been well targeted with a product until now.”

Education “and perhaps millennials” will be the strongest markets for the Surface Go, he suggested, “though for the latter group, I think the Snapdragon version will be far more attractive long term.”