Microsoft Surface Go launched with $399 pricing

Microsoft Surface flagship in Taipei

The aesthetics of the Surface Go are similar to other Surface tablets, retaining the hinge found across the product line. It weighs a bit more than 520 grams, making it heavier than an iPad but lighter than its bigger and mightier sibling - the Surface Pro. It's also made much of the new device's ability to run full Office applications, a strong hint it feels that keyboard input is important to the device's success.

The new Surface Go has the same 3:2 aspect ratio of other Surface slates, with Microsoft's iconic kickstand that lets the tablet open up to a huge 165 degrees. There's also front-facing stereo speakers, so the sound is directed straight at you.

The system is powered by an Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y. IT admins are free to configure those machines to run in S mode if they choose to, too. 4 GB is cutting it very close when you're running Windows and eMMC storage is only better than running of a microSD card. It's worth noting that the Surface Go's camera has facial recognition login technology and the device comes with a USB-C 3.1 port for charging and outputting video and data to external devices.

The Surface Go should provide plenty of endurance. The tradeoff for all these features is battery life: Microsoft expects the Surface Go to get up to 9 hours of battery life, which is less than estimates for the Surface Laptop (14.5 hours), Surface Pro (13.5 hours), and Surface Book (17 hours). Claimed to be the smallest Surface to date, the company also stated that this is the most affordable model in the family at the moment.

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The new Surface Go Signature Type Cover has ergonomic key pitch, "exceptional" key travel, high-precision tuning, a Windows Precision Trackpad that supports 5-point multi-finger gestures. So if you want to use the Surface as a laptop - and most people will - you're looking at spending at least $499. The person added that it would top out at $829 before you add in accessories.

There are some pretty decent Windows 2-in-1s available for $500 or less. But get up close and you'll notice the changes.

The Surface Go is still more expensive than the cheapest iPad, but the Go tablet is compatible with professional features, like the detachable keyboard, that are missing on the entry-level iPad.

While the base variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage costs $399, the high-end variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage is priced at $549. We've seen the Surface Go render and manipulate 3D imagery in a biology studies app with nary a stutter. This means that not only can this tablet's storage be expanded, but it has two methods of hardwired docking and display expansion to the iPad's one, thanks to the mainstay Surface Connect port.

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