Surface Go 2: Everything you need to know about Microsoft’s smallest 2-in-1

When the original Surface Go launched, it marked a new way to buy a premium Microsoft Windows 2-in-1. Not priced like the $1,000 Surface Pro, the Surface Go was more of a take on Apple’s iPad at the top of the tablet lineup. With a 10-inch screen and budget-friendly Intel processors under the hood, it was an extremely portable 2-in-1.

This spring, and possibly as soon as May, it is widely expected that Microsoft will unveil the successor to the Surface Go, appropriately named the Surface Go 2. Although Microsoft hasn’t said much about the device, there’s quite a bit to talk about. From price, specs, and performance, here’s everything we know about it so far.

Price and release date

The Surface Go was originally announced in July of 2018 with the launch coming just one month later in August. According to a report from Windows Central, though, the Surface Go 2 might come in an earlier time frame, as soon as May of 2020.

This makes sense, as it was recently rumored that Microsoft could be holding a hardware event this spring in New York City. That rumor also indicated that the event would be centered around the Surface Go 2, and the Surface Book 3. The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of events, but it looks as though a May 2020 release is not out of the picture.

As far as pricing goes, the Surface Go 2 is expected to stay affordable, starting at $400. Current models of the Surface Go already start at $400 and range up to $549 when adding more RAM and storage or LTE connectivity. Of course, that price does not include the Type Cover keyboard or the Surface Pen. Buying those are separate $130 and $100 purchases, respectively.

Unless Microsoft changes its mind and bundles the Type Cover in with the Surface Go 2, we do expect it to come in the same $400-$550 price range. That’s considerably cheaper than the Surface Pro 7, which currently starts at $749, without the keyboard or Surface Pen. Of course, we’re just suggesting, and no official price is available as of yet.

Design and portability

We expect the Surface Go 2 to feel largely the same way as its predecessor. It might feel slightly different, though, as Windows Central recently reported that the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch display, with slimmer bezels akin to the Surface Laptop 3. That would be an improvement from the 10-inch panel on the original Surface Go.

Previously, it was also suggested by Petri.com’s Brad Sams, that the design will remain the same as the last generation with a “minor refresh.” This seemingly confirms what Windows Central suggests.

Aside from that, we don’t expect any crazy changes. It’s said the Surface Go 2 will likely keep its magnesium-alloy finish and signature kickstand which opens up to 165 degrees. It also could keep the same weight and dimensions. As a reminder, that was already plenty portable, coming in at 9.65 by 6.9 by 0.33 inches, and a mere 1.5 pounds.

The Surface Go 2 will likely maintain the same connectivity and battery life as well. It’s competitor, the iPad Pro only sports one USB-C port, so it won’t be surprising if Microsoft keeps its single USB-C port on the Surface Go 2. The other ports from the original Surface Go such as the 3.5 mm headphone jack, MicroSD Card Reader, and Surface Connect port will also likely return again.

Specs and performance

When it comes to performance, this was one of the downsides to the original Surface Go. Under the hood, it had the underpowered Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor with options for 4GB or 8GB of RAM.  As we noted in our review, this combination is fine for conventional programs, but not the best for multi-tasking or heavier applications. Judging from leaked benchmarks, we expect this to change with the next Surface Go model.

The Surface Go 2 could sport a base-model option for the Intel Pentium Gold  4425Y processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage.

A higher-end option with the Intel Core m3-8100Y processor and a 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM is also said to be expected as well. A similar choice of the processor was once found on the older Surface Pro 5 model, designed to keep the price of the device down without sacrificing overall system responsiveness.

Much like when Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6 didn’t feature Intel’s Whiskey Lake processors, the 8th-generation Intel Core m3-8100Y chipset expected for the Surface Go 2 is still a bit dated. You might get some performance gains when compared to the original Pentium Gold 4415Y, but it won’t compare well to other modern laptops.

If you want Intel’s latest 10th-generation Ice Lake processors, you have to opt for the Surface Laptop 3 or Surface Pro 7. Whatever processor Microsoft chooses, the Surface Go 2 remains a device that’s best suited for casual computing, rather than gaming, multitasking, or another heavy usage.

Qualcomm may be absent

With its portability in mind, many have believed Microsoft could introduce a Surface Go 2 powered by Qualcomm’s 7c SoC, but this once again won’t be a reality. In fact, with the original Surface Go, Microsoft intended to use Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon processor. This would have given the Surface Go the advantages of improved battery life and instant-on capabilities. However, Intel instead offered Microsoft “deep discounts” on its Pentium Gold processor, and a Qualcomm Surface Go never came to be.

As Microsoft now has its own device with a custom Qualcomm-inspired SoC, the Surface Pro X, it isn’t likely that the Surface Go 2 will be powered by Qualcomm processors. Writing about those rumors, well-trusted Microsoft watcher Brad Sams reported this “does not appear to be accurate at this time.”

You can instead expect the Surface Go 2 to keep the same options from older models for both Wi-Fi and LTE, with no Qualcomm chip inside. Windows Central reports that the higher-end model, with 128GB of SSD storage, and 8GB of RAM might be the one with the LTE modem.

Windows 10, not Windows 10X

The original Surface Go was powered by Windows 10 Home in S Mode and locked to apps only that are downloadable through the Microsoft Store. Users could, however, upgrade to Windows 10 Home for free, at no additional cost to download and enjoy programs like Google Chrome.

Still, the Surface Go didn’t work too great as a tablet at all. That’s in part thanks to the clunky Windows 10 tablet mode, which doesn’t have a split-screen mode or an intuitive way of switching between apps.

Microsoft is working on a new flavor of Windows 10 known as Windows 10X which could correct all this. With an improved static Start Menu, intuitive multitasking gestures, and a cleaner Action Center, it is designed to offer a more optimized touch experience similar to an iPad. However, this OS is only going to pre-loaded on dual-screen devices like the Surface Neo.

Rumors have said that Microsoft could be delaying Windows 10X in order to bring it over to regular laptops and tablets too, but this is not confirmed by Microsoft yet. Granted the May release and timeframe, we think the Surface Go will just be powered by Windows 10 Home, but we can dream of a Surface Go with a clean and efficient touch-screen friendly OS.

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