Here we have another “is it a laptop or is it a tablet” confusion. It is made by Microsoft and it’s called the Surface Go 2. Since it is commonly sold without the keyboard attachment, we will consider it as a tablet. And while it supports full Windows 10 experience, it “only” comes with the Windows 10S version, which as we know, is a bit limited. By limited, we meant that you can exclusively use apps found on the Microsoft Store.

Other than that, the Surface Go 2 seems like a good family or small business device. You get a 3:2 1920x1280p touchscreen panel that can work with dedicated styluses. In terms of performance, it is nothing spectacular, as it features either the Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y or the Intel Core m3-8100Y, both of which have extremely low TDP – something that will work great in favor of battery life and efficiency.

Keep in mind that this device can be purchased with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and there are two storage options – a 64GB eMMC drive, and a 128GB SSD – you would want to go for the latter ideally.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/microsoft-surface-go-2/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Microsoft Surface Go 2 – Specs


OS


Windows 10 S, Windows 10 Home


Dimensions


245 x 175 x 8.3 mm (9.65″ x 6.89″ x 0.33″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-C
  • Card reader mSDXC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 3.5 Combo Jack

Features

  • Web camera Full HD
  • Microphone Dual Studio Mics
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Dolby Atmos
  • Optical drive


Keyboard / Dock(Convertible)

What’s in the box?

Once you open the package, you will be met by the Surface Go 2, itself, protected by the usual plastic sleeve. Beneath it, you’ll find two sections – one holding the paper manuals, and one housing the 24W power brick.

Design and construction

One of the biggest improvements on the Surface Go 2, compared to its predecessor is the screen. You now get a 10.5″ panel with a larger resolution. In terms of build quality, we are pretty satisfied, as Microsoft uses Magnesium for the casing. It results in a light and tough construction. In fact, the Wi-Fi version weighs 544 grams, while the LTE one is about 9 grams heavier. As far as the thickness – it is 8.3mm.

And for a second we thought that Microsoft had forgotten… Of course, the Surface Go 2 sports the signature stand that provides quite the amount of adjustment. It is extremely stable so it won’t retract when you are using the touchscreen. However, we found that on smooth surfaces – like a desk, for example, it appears to slide all over the place. This is mainly because of the lack of rubber feet, and also because of the lightweight of the entire package.

Here, the 10.5-inch display is covered and protected by Gorilla Glass 3. And while the bezels are a bit thick all around the panel, we are happy to see a 5MP 1080p front-facing camera that has some IR scanners around it for Windows Hello support.

Speaking of cameras, this unit sports an 8MP 1080p world-facing camera, as well. It is located pretty much in the top center part of the machine when looking from the back. In addition to that, there is a plastic layer around it that takes a big chunk of the top part of the tablet. Fear not, however, as Microsoft didn’t do this to cheap out on materials, but in order to use it as an antenna for the Wi-Fi and LTE connections. By the way, traditionally, this tablet has only two buttons – the Power button, and the volume rocker, both located at the top. They offer short travel, but a very satisfying click.

Ports

In terms of ports, you get one Audio jack, a USB Type-C port, and the proprietary Microsoft magnetic charging plug. This is all located on the right. And on the bottom, there is the also magnetic keyboard dock.


Display quality

Microsoft Surface Go 2 has a touchscreen display with a 10.5″ (26.7 cm) diagonal a 1920 x 1280p resolution. Additionally, the screen ratio is 3:2, the pixel density – 220 ppi, their pitch – 0.116 x 0.116 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 40 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are great. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 390 nits (cd/m2). The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6450K (average) – basically matching the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the tablet for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1390:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is an essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream device.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Microsoft Surface Go 2’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 99% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976. This is a prerequisite for a vibrant and punchy image.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. Below you can compare the scores of Microsoft Surface Go 2 compared to the sRGB standard.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 27 ms

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Microsoft Surface Go 2’s display uses PWM for brightness adjustment up until 76 nits and with a relatively high frequency. This makes it comfortable for your eyes during long work periods in this aspect.

Conclusions

Microsoft Surface Go 2 has a touchscreen IPS panel with a FullHD resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a maximum brightness of 390 nits. Thankfully, it’s backlight doesn’t flicker and it practically fully covers the sRGB color gamut (99%). Moreover, the factory calibration of the colors is respectable with an average dE of 1.7. This makes it good for color-sensitive work like design, e-commerce, and more.

Sound

For a tablet, Microsoft Surface Go 2’s stereo 2W speakers sound pretty good. Although they are a bit on the quiet sound in terms of maximum volume, the low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Software

Microsoft Surface Go 2 uses a Windows 10S OS, which is a bit limiting. This means that all of your drivers will be automatically managed by the internal Update section of the operating system. Keep in mind you can always switch to the full-blown version of the OS, but Microsoft is suggesting to keep it at the “S” version since it is better optimized for this machine.

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the tablet with. This device lasts for 12 hours and 23 minutes of Web browsing and 8 hours and 32 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

Our unit came equipped with the Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y. It has two cores and four threads, that work at 1.70 GHz, and it has 2MB of Cache and 6W TDP. It is based on the 14nm Amber Lake architecture.

CPU Benchmarks Octane V2 Mozilla Kraken 1.1 (lower is better) Sunspider 1.0.2 (lower is better) Basemark MotionMark
Microsoft Surface Go 2 14972 2422 ms 547 ms 381.38 164.32
Acer TravelMate B1 (B114-21) 4738 6773.0 ms 571.2 ms 44.08 31.31
Acer Chromebook 314 (C933) 21011 1988.7 ms

GPU options

This device only features an integrated GPU, which is the Intel UHD Graphics 615.

GPU Benchmarks GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 (1080p offscreen)
Microsoft Surface Go 2 43.6 fps
Acer TravelMate B1 (B114-21) 15.2 fps
Acer Chromebook 314 (C933) 20 fps

Verdict

What is the tablet’s biggest selling point? It definitely has to be the display. Microsoft Surface Go 2 has a touchscreen IPS panel with a FullHD resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a maximum brightness of 390 nits. Thankfully, it’s backlight doesn’t flicker and it practically fully covers the sRGB color gamut (99%). Moreover, the factory calibration of the colors is respectable with an average dE of 1.7. This makes it good for color-sensitive work like design, e-commerce, and more.

Thankfully, you can use this beautiful display for about 12 hours of Web browsing, and 8 hours and a half of video playback. Together with the relatively good Web performance, we saw in the benchmarks, it means that the Surface Go 2 is a great all-rounder. It can handle light workloads, and it is equipped with Microsoft Office. Also, it has a USB Type-C port, which it doesn’t charge through, so you can attach a dongle, to connect more devices.

Ultimately, you have to have one thing on your mind before buying the tablet. First, go for the 8GB option, so you feel safe going to the full Windows 10 version, should you need it. And second – it is mandatory, in our point of view, to get the 128GB storage option. Why? Well, because it gives you double the storage over the default, and you upgrade from eMMC to SSD drive, which as far as we know – is nonupgradable.

And although the magnesium chassis is extremely lightweight, and the hinge is great in terms of usability, we found it to be a bit slippery on smooth surfaces. Microsoft, if you are reading – please put rubber feet on it.

By the way, you also have two cameras – one world-facing, and one front-facing. However, don’t expect miracles for them. On the other side, what is important here, is that both support Full HD video capture, so you don’t look like a potato on your conference call, and the other point scored here is that it supports Windows Hello, thanks to the IR sensors.

At the end of the day, this device is great for light workloads, e-commerce, and pretty much anything, provided you buy yourself the keyboard and pen accessories.

Pros

  • Light and sturdy all-magnesium design and Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection
  • Covers 99% of sRGB colors (SHP14D2) and has a great color accuracy out of the box
  • 12 hours of Web browsing on battery
  • Doesn’t use aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment (SHP14D2)
  • Windows Hello thanks to the IR face recognition

Cons

  • You have to buy all accessories separately
  • Practically non-upgradable
  • The stand is slippery on smooth surfaces

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/microsoft-surface-go-2/





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