Home Tech News Surface Go 2, the best experience on a Windows tablet

Surface Go 2, the best experience on a Windows tablet

by Tejas Dhawan

Surface Go 2 is the new version of the lightest and cheapest device from Microsoft’s own brand. A tablet to which you can comfortably add a keyboard cover and that improves the qualities of its predecessor on issues like autonomy, display, connectivity and performance. All this with a base price within reach of all budgets.

Microsoft continues to increase the quality and quantity of its own hardware line, which turned eight years old this month. A few generations later, Surface Go 2 rises to the 2-in-1 concept as a highly mobile and versatile device for use as a tablet or ultraportable.

Ideal for those looking for the best experience of a Windows 10 tablet at an affordable price and also as an approach to 2 in 1, a format that is among the most attractive and demanded of today’s computing.

Microsoft Surface Go 2, features and versions

Microsoft markets the Surface Go 2 in various hardware configurations, starting with a base version made up of a processor Intel Pentium 4425Y, 4 Gbytes of RAM and 64 Gbytes of storage capacity. With the same processor, you can go for a version that includes 8 Gbytes of RAM and 128 Gbytes for internal storage.

One of the great novelties of hardware comes from the possibility of choosing a processor Intel Core m3, the first time this series includes a «Core» CPU. The overall performance improvement can reach 64% compared to the previous generation and thus smoothly perform all kinds of tasks.

This CPU is included in two different versions. The most complete edition of Surface Go 2 incorporates support for LTE mobile broadband with a Snapdragon X16 from Qualcomm. This makes it possible to use a SIM card to enjoy a full Internet connection anywhere and not have to depend on public (generally insecure) wireless access points when we are away from home or office, further enhancing the mobility provided by the device.

Other aspects that complement the data sheet of Surface Go 2 are:

  • screen: 10.5-inch ‘PixelSense’ multi-touch IPS
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1280 pixels with 3: 2 aspect ratio
  • Cameras: Front of 5 MP with 1080p resolution, IR and Windows Hello support. 8 MP rear camera with 1080p resolution
  • Sensors: Ambient light sensor. Accelerometer. Gyroscope. Magnetometer. NFC
  • Dimensions: 245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm
  • Weight: 544 grams
  • Battery: 10 hours of autonomy
  • Operating system: Windows 10

The well-protected device is delivered by Microsoft in white packaging, which in addition to the Surface Go 2 includes the power supply for use with Surface Connect, a quick start guide, and safety and warranty documents.

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Design and finishes

All Microsoft Surface have stood out from their beginnings for the build quality and finishes, with a sober design, without stridency, but enormously attractive. Surface Go 2, despite being the cheapest in the series, is no exception.

It maintains the Surface Go design, although on the outside we notice the slightly more rounded corners and when we turn it on, we appreciate a remarkable trimming the display bezels, which in addition to a more modern and elegant appearance increases the inches of the screen. He Foot support Included on the back has a small notch that makes it easy to open and allows you to hold the tablet on a table up to a 135 degree angle. Well done, it is an ally when we work at the desk to place it in the inclination we need.

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Its chassis is premium, really. Using a magnesium alloy injected It marks the level of this device and is a guarantee of robustness, durability and a differentiating aspect that we can see throughout the Surface series. Its dimensions and weight are kept at values ​​suitable for its size (just over half a kg) and allow it to be carried anywhere comfortably in a bag or backpack.

The Microsoft logo stands out on the back and the set is finished in a platinum-colored finish. To complete the customization to suit each user, Surface Go 2 has different accessories in other colors such as red, blue, black or platinum.

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Excellent in this section. There is a careful design and attention to detail that we do not usually see in devices of this category, with a build quality and first-class finishes, something that has also become a norm for all Surface devices.

We also have to highlight the cooling design inside. A passive design that does not need active fans, in order to work without any annoying noises or vibrations.

screen

The new PixelSense panel installed on the Surface Go 2 is a notable improvement over the original. In addition to a slight increase in size for a diagonal of 10.5 inch, the best comes from advancing native resolution to 1920 x 1280 pixels.

Its aspect ratio is 3: 2 and -to our liking- it is more suitable than the typical 16: 9 in this type of device. The additional vertical space is useful for document creation and general use of a tablet.

The panel employs IPS technology that facilitates viewing angles, covers 107% of the sRGB color spectrum, and in our tests achieves an average brightness in environments of 400 nits. Its contrast is also very good, with a 1500: 1 ratio.

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It is not that we are going to use this tablet for hard tasks of image or video editing, but it looks really good and in any light condition despite certain observable reflections depending on the inclination. To highlight the reduction of bezels commented for greater visualization while maintaining the total size.

The response of the multi-touch panel is extremely accurate, both with fingers and with the pencil for Surface that we will see later. This is helped by the quality of the digitizer, the Microsoft drivers and the improvements that the latest versions of Windows 10 offer in this section.

Connectivity

The support for Wi-Fi 6 is one of the most outstanding novelties in this section. The new wireless standard changes the landscape of network connectivity by quadrupling the speed of Wi-Fi ac to 10 Gbps of theoretical throughput. The best that can be said is that allows us to completely forget about Ethernet cabling. Also includes support for Bluetooth 5.

Surface Go 2 has the necessary ports and is located in a convenient location. On the right side we find a connector 3.5mm jack for combo audio, a USB Type-C port and a Surface Connect port.

Surface go 2

The Microsoft patented port works by magnetic connection and serves to charge the device battery and connect accessories such as Surface Dock with which to use external monitors.

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The USB port is used for data transfer, to connect the equipment to an external monitor (up to 4K) and, eventually, for recharges using any USB-PD charger, which will be useful when we do not transport the dedicated Surface Connect power supply. At the top is the start button and volume buttons. Well integrated into the set like the rest of the connectors.

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At the bottom, another magnetized connector allows you to add the cover. Its placement is as fast as it is simple and it immediately detects the keyboard and touchpad.

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The slot for microSD cards It is hidden behind the rear cover where the support foot is located. We just introduce it and forget about it. We already have good additional storage capacity.

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Surface Go 2 includes a front and rear cameras. The first is of a high level as we will see later. It has a 5 megapixel sensor for video conferencing with resolutions up to 1080p and also infrared for use in authentication tasks using Windows Hello. The rear camera offers an 8 megapixel sensor, enough for shooting images or video.

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The dual studio microphones complete the sound section, with very good performance in video conferencing. Includes typical tablet sensors, including accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, NFC, and ambient light sensor.

software

Surface Go 2 comes equipped with Windows 10, Microsoft’s constantly updating operating system to incorporate new functions for users. In addition, to be more productive, a trial of Microsoft 365 is included, the company’s new on-line productivity solution that adds Office applications, OneDrive cloud services and other advanced security.

The rest of the pre-installed applications will sound very familiar to any Windows user. We can highlight the new camera application that allows document scanning with the rear camera or the Microsoft Whiteboard for note taking that works very well with the Surface Pen.

Finally, cite the «Surface» application included with all Microsoft proprietary devices. Provides device information; technical support options; general settings for usage preferences; identification and solution of basic problems with its use; individualized assistance and many more functions.

Accessories: keyboard and stylus

Microsoft has marketed quality mice and keyboards for decades. The launch of the Surface brand and the need to complement the devices, has caused an explosive increase in a catalog of accessories and peripherals that today offers a wide collection of keyboard covers; mice, styluses and dials; chargers and docks; Carry bags and cases, plus others like headband and wireless headphones.

Signature Type Cover It is a keyboard case that connects to the tablet through a magnetic connection. Its adjustment is instantaneous, safe, can be done from almost any angle and immediately detects the keyboard and touchpad. Its uses are varied. Deployed when we use it as a full physical keyboard on the desktop; folded back when we use Surface Go 2 as a tablet or closed on the screen both to protect it during transport and to extend autonomy.

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When you open the case, the Windows Hello facial recognition camera is automatically activated to automatically log in. It is a very useful function that was not available in the previous generation. Well thought out and designed, it is made of a soft touch Alcantara textile with anti-stain protection, which seems to be durable over time. Its thickness is reduced to an absolute minimum, 4.6 mm, and its weight adds a reasonable 245 grams to the tablet.

Count with one full QWERTY keyboard, backlit keys on three levels, and a size and separation adjusted to the size of the tablet. The design of the set allows it to be kept flat on the table or placed at a slight angle to facilitate writing. Its compact size and touch will require a few hours of use to write without errors, but the truth is that we have gotten used to it in a very short time.

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It also has a glass touch panel, with which we do not miss a mouse, although the user who needs it can be added through the Bluetooth connection or the USB Type-C port. It’s not too big, but it’s smooth and precise, and it recognizes all the scrolling and touch gestures Windows 10 offers very well.

Type Cover is available in various color finishes (ice blue, poppy red, platinum and black) to combine with the silver of the tablet. The build quality, ease of use and productivity they are remarkable.

The second of the essential accessories is the Surface Pen. Offers a user experience that is close to the natural one of a pencil or pen when offering 4096 pressure points and tilt support.

Surface go 2

It works both in OneNote, in other Office applications -now Microsoft 365- and in image retouching applications. The user experience has been correct. We do not notice delays or excessive latencies and like everything on Surface the product is of great quality. To the Platinum and Black finishes, two new ones have been added, Ice Blue and Poppy Red. It is compatible with almost all Surface that have a touch screen.

Performance and user experience

The combination of an Intel Core processor, 8 GB of RAM and an SSD is all a guarantee for a tablet and a good approach to a 2 in 1. Beyond the extensive battery of tests that we have subjected the Surface Go 2, the best we can say is that its operation has been fluid in all kinds of scenarios. A device that fits perfectly for those users and families who need a fast and portable computer for web browsing, office automation, entertainment, multimedia streaming or casual games.

CPU and GPU

Intel Core m3-8100Y is an ideal processor for a Windows tablet. An ultra low voltage 64-bit model under the Amber Lake Y microarchitecture, offering two cores and four threads native processing with working frequencies ranging from 1.1 to 3.4 GHz. It has 4 Mbytes of cache and its TDP is only 8 watts.

In addition to low consumption, we must highlight the no noise and vibration level thanks to its passive cooling system. Even without pesky fans, temperatures stay under control at all times. We have not noticed excessive heating in normal use except when we have run the benchmarks that push the hardware to the limit. It is not a type of applications that a typical user will use.

The GPU power is enough for a tablet. It is integrated in the same silicon of the CPU and corresponds to the Intel UHD 615 model. It works at a maximum frequency of 900 MHz, supports multimedia libraries such as DirectX 12 and OpenCL 4.5 and has technologies such as Quick Sync Video or Clear Video. You can stream content on up to three external monitors or just one in 4K resolution with 60Hz refresh rate.

The results we have obtained in the tests confirm that the Core m3 is a micro much superior to the Intel Pentium and Celeron Mobile models:

  • Geekbench 5 (Single Core): 878 points
  • Geekbench 5 (Multicore): 1608 points
  • Geekbench 5 (OpenCL): 4441 points
  • Cinebench 20 (CPU): 578 points
  • Cinebench 20 (single core CPU): 255 points
  • PC Mark 10: 2,816 points
  • 3D Mark Time Spy: 345 points
  • 3D Mark Night Raid: 3,028 points

Surface go 2

Storage

The installed solid state drive offers a significant performance jump on all terrains versus tablets using internal eMMC-based storage. And it doesn’t take too much testing to prove it. Booting the system or recovering from sleep modes is immediate, as well as launching applications and speed when transmitting data from external devices.

Measuring the speeds with CrystalDiskMark 7 we get good results, especially in readings:

  • Random Read: 1,637 Mbytes per second
  • Random write: 378 Mbytes per second

Autonomy

An important section for a device intended for mobility for which we will not always have energy networks on hand to recharge it. The user who purchases this device can extend the autonomy to one day of use, although this is a parameter that varies greatly depending on the brightness level of the screen and the type of task to be performed.

Surface Go 2 has up to 10 hours of autonomy depending on the tasks we are doing:

  • 10.5 hours on web browsing tasks with 150 nit brightness.
  • 8.5 hours of streaming video with Netflix in half brightness.
  • 6.5 hours of performance-packed Mark 10 PC battery test with video calls, document creation and web browsing.

Surface go 2

Internet connection

The Wi-Fi 6 support that Surface Go 2 has released is a guarantee to get rid of Ethernet cabling. It also supports Bluetooth 5, it is compatible with MU-MIMO, with Miracast and with the dual band of 2.4 and 5 GHz to reach theoretical speeds close to Gigabit.

Tested on a 600 Mbps network over the 5 GHz band, at distances close to the router with applications such as iPerf3 to measure the performance of both the Internet and the local network, the result in downloads, browsing or streaming has been remarkable. With access to a good Wi-Fi wireless network, preferably with a Wi-Fi 6 compatible router, we don’t need LAN connectors or their cables.

Cameras

The front webcam that mounts the Surface Go 2 is the best we have tried in this category. Its performance in videoconferences with resolutions up to 1080p is excellent, something that is appreciated in a time of “teleworking” where this type of application has become common.

Compared to a typical laptop, the inclusion of the electronics behind the screen of the Surface Go 2 favors the capacity of this component and it shows. We were also impressed by how quickly the infrared sensor perform facial recognition connected to Windows Hello. Simply: goodbye to passwords.

The rear camera has an 8 megapixel sensor and is specially designed for fast scanning of documents to digitize them and be able to share them online.

Surface go 2

Surface Go 2: conclusions

Surface Go 2 is the best Windows tablet experience you can find. Its quality of construction and finishes is fantastic, well above the segment average and at the level of other Surface models. Light and thin, it can be transported anywhere and its screen is of a high level both in image quality and in response to your digitizer.

The Intel Core m3-8100Y processor is a huge performance boost, as is the solid state drive for storage. Wi-Fi 6 has arrived to improve wireless Internet connectivity and any modern device should include its support like this Surface Go 2. Completing the conclusions, we must highlight the outstanding webcam and sufficient autonomy, for which it achieves our award for recommended product.

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Versions and price

Surface Go 2 is available in the Microsoft Store and in the specialized retail channel with a price that starts from 459 euros.

Microsoft offers free technical support, a two-year warranty, and special discounts for eligible students, parents, and teachers. It also offers the device for the business market. More information | Microsoft Surface Go 2

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