Technology

Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 Review: Portable And Affordable

The Surface Go 2 is Microsoft’s second iteration of its low-cost, smaller tablet computer and continues to prove that cheap Windows PCs don’t have to be terrible. The Surface Go 2 starts at £399, but for that, you don’t get the £100 Type Cover keyboard, which is a must-have. That places the Surface Go 2 in the low-end PC bracket and makes it Microsoft’s cheapest current PC, undercutting the Surface Pro 7 by £300.

By any metric the Surface Go 2 is a tiny portable PC, that’s easy to carry or fit in a bag, much like Apple’s similarly priced and sized iPad Air. The 10.5in LCD touchscreen is great. Crisp, bright, good looking, and responsive. The kickstand on the back continues to be fantastic, while the build quality is top-notch.

The Surface Go 2 comes with either an Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y or an eighth-generation Core m3 processor, the latter of which Microsoft says is 64% faster than the previous version.

The new Pentium Gold 4425Y performs more or less the same as the Pentium Gold 4415Y in the original Surface Go, according to both benchmarks and real-world experience. That means it’s not exactly fast, but is capable of more than you might imagine.

The Surface Go 2 lasts over five hours between charges at 50% brightness and recommended battery mode, which is just under an hour longer than the original Surface Go. That’s with fairly heavy usage, including using six tabs in Edge, two tabs in Chrome, Typora, Windows Mail, Google Chat, Slack, Signal, Evernote, plus a little photo editing in Affinity Photo. When just used for video playback the Surface Go 2 lasted closer to eight hours, streaming video via Netflix.

The Surface Go 2 ships with Windows 10 Home in S mode, which restricts the installation of apps to those from the Microsoft Store for greater security. Turning off S mode is a one-time operation that cannot be reversed, but it takes just a couple of clicks.

The Surface Go 2 once again proves that budget Windows PCs can be good. The magnesium body and 10.5in screen are far better than what you’ll get elsewhere for under £400, while the kickstand and range of accessories are great.

As with the original, the app gap means Surface Go 2 is a better productivity machine than a media-consumption tablet. But it’s also good for sharing with the family, and is up to being your only computer or used as an ultraportable second computer.

The 64GB version will be slower as it uses eMMC storage instead of the faster SSD technology. And while £399 is an extremely attractive starting price, it doesn’t include the essential £100 Type Cover keyboard.

Other than wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5 support, only the slightly larger 10.5in screen really separates the lower-end Pentium Gold Surface Go 2 models from the equally excellent original, so look out for cut-price deals. At the real price of £499 or more, you can certainly get a more powerful Windows laptop, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better experience. The gutsy little Surface Go 2 is simply great.

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