Microsoft kindly lent me an 8/128GB Surface Go to see just how practical a 10-inch Surface is in typical everyday use. It was not the 4G/LTE version.

While the Surface Go review (here) is 100% accurate, it is over a shorter period. You don’t have time to become one with the machine – setting it up the way you want and for example, ditching Windows 10S!

The conversion from Windows 10S to Windows 10 Home is remarkably quick.

Then use my new best friend ShutUp10 to tie down privacy and stop all manner of things running in the background, and you are away.

I then installed Office 365, Norton’s Security Premium, Private Internet Access VPN, K-Lite Codec pack, Kindle reader, and various other tools.

That leaves about 92GB free. It idles at around 2% CPU (down from 12% before ShutUp10) and 24% memory (down from 36%) with Windows Defender using 174MB of that.

First impression

Small and light. In comparison to the original 10-inch Surface Pro, it is lighter and thinner. Bezels are smaller to allow the same screen size into a smaller body. And it fits so well in my backpack or for that matter my wife’s Tardis-like handbag.

Surface Go

Surface Go keyboard is a little more compact – the original Surface keyboard was a bit of a clunker.

Screen

The original Surface had 250 nits, and this is up at 400 – similar to the Pro. While the Pro appears brighter the Go has a nicer contrast – making it a good content consumption device.

A 3:2 ratio is good for productivity showing a well-scaled A4 sheet x 14 lines in Word – the Pro shows about 25 lines. Resolution is 1800 x 1200 – the Pro is 2376 x 1824.

Surface Go
Original Surface (left), Surface G and Surface Pro

One thing I miss when travelling is my dual monitor setup. I find 10, 12, 15” laptops just too small to do what I do. But even though the Surface Go screen is smaller than the Pro, it is about as useful.

Ports

Speaking of dual screens, it works with the $299.95 Microsoft Surface Dock that adds Gigabit Ethernet, four USB-A 3.0 and 2 x Mini DisplayPort. This plugs into the proprietary Surface Ribbon connector for charging (15V/1.6A/24W), video and data.

Surface Go

This also has USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 that supports altDP (DisplayPort), data and power delivery. It does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge (where voltage goes from 5-20V/3A), but a Quick Charge 2.0 or 3.0 charger will charge it. We recommend Belkin’s 45W USB-C PD charger or Cygnett’s massive 65W charger.  

Surface Go

Basically, as long as the charger can provide 24W or more of 15V power or even 12V/2.1A, then it charges fine.

We tested with a Laser AO-UCHUB8 USB-C multiport dongle and Laser USB-C 3.1 Gen 1, Power Delivery 2.0 Multiport Hub.

Any brand USB-C PD compatible dock or dongle should work, and you don’t have to worry about power passthrough if you use the Ribbon connector.