Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 delivers the performance of a tablet you’d enjoy using…a few years ago. The original Surface Go debuted in 2018 as the smallest, least expensive member of Microsoft’s tablet family. The second generation offers up to an 8th-gen Intel Core m3 under the hood, making it about as fast as the 2014 Surface Pro 3

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Think of the Surface Go 2 as a competent, though pricey, ultramobile tablet. It may not win over many iPad users (even though it is better in some ways), but because it’s fanless and compact, business travelers may appreciate it as a secondary Windows device, especially with its LTE option. We just wouldn’t recommend the $400 lowest-end version, as it has skimpy memory and storage.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them. 

Microsoft surface go 2 surface pro 7 Mark Hachman / IDG

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 compared to its larger sibling, the Surface Pro 7.

Surface Go 2 prices, specs and features

Like many of its other Surface tablets, Microsoft will sell the Surface Go 2 in both consumer and commercial editions. The consumer version ships with Windows 10 Home in S Mode, from which you may switch to Windows 10 Home if you wish. Microsoft sells the Surface Go 2 Signature Type Cover and Surface Pen separately, though the former, at least, is essential.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 propped up Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 ships without a Type Cover keyboard, though your interaction is quite limited without one.

As we reviewed one of the consumer versons, we’ll reiterate that pricing below. For the full list of prices for all models, see our original Surface Go 2 news story

Surface Go 2 consumer prices

  • Pentium Gold 4425Y, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC: $400
  • Pentium Gold 4425Y, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD: $550
  • Core m3-8100Y, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD: $630
  • Core m3-8100Y, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, LTE: $730 (our test unit)

While the $400 price of the entry-level model is tempting, resist. No one should be using a tablet with a measly 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. The minimum configuration should be the $550 (8GB RAM/128GB SSD) model. 

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Surface Go 2 specifications

Surface Go 2: Solid build, brilliant display

Microsoft Surface Go alt primary Mark Hachman / IDG

This photo of the original Surface Go on an Amtrak train tablet shows how well the tablet works for commuters and travelers.

For this second-gen Surface Go, Microsoft maintains the magnesium chassis and fanless design of its predecessor. A small section on the rear of the tablet warmed as we ran various tests, but never approached hot.

You need a bit of bezel for gripping a tablet, but Microsoft slimmed them down enough to squeeze in a larger 10.5-inch PixelSense display and more pixels (1920×1280, 220 ppi). Save for the additional pixels, the display remains virtually unchanged from the prior generation’s. The colors are vivid, and the display brightness is a high 493 nits.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 rear Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 includes an integrated kickstand, which solidly holds the tablet in place. 

A physical kickstand—still a rarity in the tablet world—folds down from the rear. It can recline to about fifteen degrees off of the horizontal, making it easier for use with a Surface Pen (which we tried—it worked fine) or Surface Dial (which we did not try). The kickstand gives a bit when in full recline, but the friction hinge keeps the Surface Go 2 steady. 



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