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Grow Your Business Technology

Microsoft Surface Go: Best (And Worst) Business Features

Microsoft Surface Go
Credit: Microsoft

The Microsoft Surface Go is a petite 10-inch touchscreen tablet with keyboard and stylus capabilities. As the newest member of Microsoft's lineup of hybrid devices, you might be tempted to opt for the Surface Go rather than one of the pricier Surface Pros, whose starting prices outstrip the Go by a good $400. With its glossy screen, kickstand and optional accessories, the Surface Go does look a lot like the Surface Pro, but the business features are what really matter.

If you're a frequent business traveler and you're looking for a secondary device, to supplement your primary work laptop, the Microsoft Surface Go has some nice features to offer.

Microsoft's Surface Pen is among our favorite styluses available on the market. With low latency and a better overall feel than the competition, the Surface Pen delivers a decent writing and drawing experience. While it is a bummer that the pen is sold separately ($99.99), for prodigious note takers the investment may be worthwhile. [Interested in tablets that come with styluses? Check out our best picks.]

The best thing about the Microsoft Surface Go is its slim and lightweight design. This little tablet is just 10-inches across and weighs in at a featherweight 1.15 pounds (without the keyboard cover attached). Unlike some super light devices, the Surface Go also feels like a quality machine. Thanks to the Gorilla Glass display and magnesium casing, you can toss this into your carry-on without worrying much about scratches, cracks or nicks. The generous bezels are ideal for holding the Surface Go without activating the touch screen, and the overall look and feel is high end. 

Due to its portable size and build-in kickstand, this tablet is a good bet for watching movies, even on a cramped flight or bus. The resolution is good, too. With 1800 by 1200 pixels, for a total resolution of 217 PPI (pixels per inch), this little device movie-ready. The size is great for holding and reading the occasional article, but the glossy screen and bright display might not be comfortable for longer reading sessions. If you mostly want to consume books and magazines, you're better off getting a Kindle or Nook.

The Microsoft Surface Go isn't a good bet for a primary business device. As nice as it is, there are a few major drawbacks to this little tablet.

The detachable Signature Type Cover for the Microsoft Surface Go is sold separately, and it's expensive. At $129.99 a pop the keyboard cover for the Surface Go is stylish enough, but hardly worth the price. The design is virtually indistinguishable from the Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard cover, but the build isn't the issue, the size is. As attractive and responsive as the keyboard seems to be the 10-inch size is not going to be comfortable for most business users. Sending an email here or there while on the go is probably fine, but don't expect the keyboard cover to transform this tablet into a fully functional laptop.

Microsoft refers to the Surface Go as having "laptop performance," but that's a highly subjective claim. If you want to use this little tablet hybrid for answering emails, catching up on social media, accessing the occasional web app and maintaining your social media presence, you'll probably be happy with the Intel 4415Y processor. If you're looking for a true mobile workstation, though, even the upgrade (which has the same processor but 8GB RAM instead of 4GB, and 128GB onboard storage instead of 64GB) won't meet your needs. That said, there's nothing wrong with the Microsoft Surface Go if your expectations are in line with the specs; it's a decent portable tablet hybrid for basic use.

The entry level price ($399) for the Microsoft Surface Go is high, especially considering that none of the accessories are included. The upgraded tablet is $549, and if you opt for the keyboard cover and stylus to go with it your total purchase price will hit close to $800 with sales tax – and that's a lot for a 10-inch tablet. The fact is, there are cheaper options out there for people who want a portable tablet for watching movies and reading (like the Amazon Fire series), and there are better devices out there for creative pros who want a powerhouse tablet for heavy stylus use and design work (like the iPad Pro series).

If you're buying devices for an all Microsoft company, the Microsoft Surface Go is a decent tablet option for staff members that want on-the-go portability, but don't need the robust processing power, larger size, or increased cost, of the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Mona Bushnell

Mona Bushnell is a New York City-based Staff Writer for Business.com and Business News Daily. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and has previously worked as an IT Technician, a Copywriter, a Software Administrator, a Scheduling Manager and an Editorial Writer. Mona began freelance writing full-time in 2014 and joined the Business.com team in 2017.