Surface GO 2

Microsoft's Surface Go 2 is easy to fall in love with but hard to live with.

The small tablet has updates in it that go a long way toward addressing the problems with the original Surface Go, but not entirely. The screen is bigger, and there’s an option for a faster processor, both of which make this a better computer.

It starts at $399.99, but that price isn’t really what you’ll pay. It would be silly to get a Surface Go 2 without a keyboard, so add $100 for that. At five hundred bucks, though, it’s a category where you will find competing products that do many of the things the Surface Go 2 does but better. If you spring for the faster processor ($730 with a keyboard), that’s even more true.

The only thing those competing products can’t do is be a little tablet that happens to run Windows 10. So the question is simple: how much do you need that?

If you’re unfamiliar, the Surface Go 2 is a Windows tablet that’s about the same size as a regular iPad or the 11-inch iPad Pro. But because it’s a Surface, it has a few accouterments that iPads lack. It has a kickstand that works at any angle, a microSD card slot for expandable storage, a Surface connector to go along with its USB-C port, and a headphone jack.

Maybe my favorite thing about Surface hardware these days is a camera that’s actually where it belongs on the top of the screen when in landscape orientation. It works with Windows Hello for logging in with your face and looks much better on videoconferences than laptops with puny sensors inside their thin laptop lids. It’s one of the benefits of putting all of the computer guts behind the screen.

Other than increasing the screen size, Microsoft hasn’t changed a single thing about the body on the Surface Go 2. It still has gently curved corners, feels solidly built, and works with all of the same accessories — including the keyboard.


Unfortunately, that keyboard still has a bit too much flex to it. When I’m using the Surface Go 2 on my lap (where, really, it feels like it belongs), if I rest my hands too heavily on the palm rests, it will click the mouse on me. And maybe because there’s less room for magnets in the bezel, the keyboard sometimes doesn’t stay up at an angle when you press down on it.

But the screen is the major change here: it’s now 10.5 inches diagonally (and still at a 3:2 aspect ratio). It has a 1920 x 1280 resolution, and although it doesn’t get super bright, I think it looks good. Even though it’s not that much bigger than the first iteration, it feels much less cramped. Plus, as a bonus, the bezels are no longer vaguely, embarrassingly large.

There’s nothing else like the Surface Go 2. But while the idea of a little Windows 10 tablet is appealing, I’m not entirely sure it’s really practical. It’s a tiny niche for a small computer.

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