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Microsoft 2020 Surface Go 2 – more of the same, just better
4.5Overall Score
Name: Microsoft 2020 Surface Go 2
Price (RRP): $from 629-1199
Manufacturer: Microsoft

The Microsoft 2020 Surface Go 2 is an update to the popular Microsoft 2018 Surface Go. This time around the difference, while subtle is substantial.

I should start Microsoft 2020 Surface Go 2 review as I did for the Surface Go (review here):

The Surface Go is back to its roots – a smaller lighter version of the original Surface RT/3 that was missing from the range. It is for those on the go offering a full-fat Windows 10 experience in a smaller Surface device. By that we mean it runs Office 365, Outlook, browsers, connects to networks, printers and a vast array of USB devices. It is also more than a strong competitor for the iPad Pro – only it runs Windows.

Well, that has not changed. But the Microsoft 2020 Surface Go 2 is well, subtly different.

  • Australian Website here
  • 12-months ACL compliant warranty
  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Microsoft is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services
  • Price: Pentium 4425Y 4/64/Wi-Fi $629, 8/128/Wi-Fi $879, and Core m3 8/128/LTE $1199
  • Optional Keyboard Type Cover ($199.95), Pen ($139.95) and a range of accessories

While you will buy the new model, I have the old one, so I want to use that as a comparison.

  • Gone are the huge bezels – this now sports a 10.5” against the old 10.”
  • Option for a more powerful Intel 8th Gen Core m3 processor over the previous Pentium Gold variety
  • And it has put on a little weight

Not gone are

  • The angular chassis edges that defined ‘Surface’
  • The amazing kick stand
  • The eye wateringly expensive optional Keyboard Type Cover ($199.95), Pen ($139.95) and a range of accessories
  • The terrific 3:2 ratio Pixel Sense screen although it seems a little brighter
  • The proprietary Surface ribbon connector (power and data) but the USB-C port gets a kick up to 3.2 Gen 2

So, it is a 10.5” Windows 10 tablet with an optional magnetic clip-on keyboard and stylus. And Windows is on about 85% of the world’s laptops!

OK, enough reminiscing – every bit of tech is out of date as soon as you buy it.

At least the 2018 Surface Go still does what I need it to do – travel and content consumption in a full Windows environment. What the hell- here is a comparison!

NameSurface GoSurface Go 2
CPUPentium Gold 4415YPentium Gold 4425Y OR
8th Generation Core m3-8100Y
GPUIntel UHD Graphics 615Same
Memory4GB / 8GBSame
Storage64GB (eMMC) / 128GB (SSD)Same
Display10-inch PixelSense
1,800 x 1,200 dots
217ppi, 1,500:1
10.5-inch PixelSense 1,920 x 1,280 dots, 220ppi, 1,500:1
Touch/penTouch / Surface PenSame
Camera5MP (front, Windows Hello compatible)
8MP (rear)
USB Type-CUSB-C 3.1 gen 1
USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps
Card readerMicro-SDXC to 1TBSame
Audio3.5 mm and a single mic
Stereo front-firing with Dolby premium
3.5mm and dual mic
Same but Dolby Premium seems to be missing
Other portsSurface Connect ribbonSame
Wi-FiWi-Fi 5 AC
(Atheros QCA6174A)
Wi-Fi 6 AX
(Intel AX200)
BluetoothBT 4.1BT5.0
LTESnapdragon X16 LTESame
KeyboardSold separatelySame
Pointing devicePrecision TouchPad
on optional keyboard
AC adapter24W24W
Size HxWxD245 x 175 x 8.3 mmSame
Weight522g (Wi-Fi) / 532g (LTE)544g (Wi-Fi) / 553g (LTE)
OSWindows 10 Home (S mode) with a free one-time upgrade to Home, general model) OR Windows 10 Pro (corporate model)Same

And that leads us to use cases!

Who buys this?

Well, as it turns out, there are lots of use cases. And it is equally for work and play.

  • Students because its light and powerful enough – it also has USB-C Alt DP for external monitors and Miracast
  • Women – because it fits in their Tardis-like handbags and is a great Kindle e-book reader and content device. Ditto on Miracast to display content on TVs
  • Commuters – it is perfect for content consumption and plays torrents (take that Apple!)
  • Road warriors – it is quite rugged, has a great 3:2 productivity, daylight readable screen
  • People that want full-fat Windows to connect to networks, printers, USB devices and more without driver or setup issues
  • People on the move that will never go to macOS or iOS
  • Me – it is a mini version of my Surface Pro 7 that I can chuck in the backpack and later plug into the Surface Dock at each of my homes and have the same work environment. It does not get indigestion changing networks, printers, NAS and more – it just works!
  • And some can afford to pay mobile data charges that like the LTE version. If you watch Magnum PI and Huawei 5-0 (sadly ended) everyone in Hawaii uses these. How is that for product placement?

We use the terms fail, pass and exceed against all test paradigms below

Windows S Mode – PASS for average users

While I immediately use the free one-time upgrade to Windows 10 Home, others may be happy with S-mode. It limits you to apps from the Microsoft Store and can give better battery life and responsiveness.

Screen – EXCEED

10.5” 1920 x 1280, 220ppi, 3:2 ratio PixelSense IPS display under Gorilla Glass 3.

It is a bright 400+ nit screen with a 1500:1 contrast ratio – perfect for indoor or outdoor use. MS claim 130% sRGB and we measured 110% sRGB. It has bright and vibrant colours.

Microsoft 2020 Surface Go 2

BOE make the panel – model NV105WAM-N31 that is different from the Surface Go from Sharp. Still, it appears to be a great panel.

If you have not used a Surface device, these have a 3:2 ratio – not the usual 16:9. It is more usable for productivity like Word and Excel, as it is closer to the A4 sheet ratio.

The GPU is an Intel HD Graphics 615 that supports up to three displays (internal and two external) – either 2 x [email protected] or one x [email protected] If you intend to run dual screens, I suggest the 8GB RAM version as it shares system memory with video memory.