If you’re looking to buy a Surface-branded device from Microsoft today, you can choose from either a Laptop, a Book, a Pro, or the ultra-portable and affordable Surface Go. Each of those devices are great, but with the recent addition of the Surface Pro 6, you might be wondering how it stacks up against the Surface Go.
In this comparison, we’ve put the two devices up against each other to help you get the best bang for your buck.
In terms of design and build, the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Go are on similar footing. Both are built with Microsoft’s magnesium material and sport a sturdy articulating kickstand with movement of up to 165 degrees. This makes them hard to tell apart from a far, but there is still one way to compare the two: Size.
With a 10-inch screen, the Surface Go is more of a compact iPad-like device. Meanwhile, the 12.3-inch screen on the Surface Pro 6 is bigger, more like a traditional PC. Keeping the Go in mind, that display is at a resolution of 1,800 x 1,200 with a pixel density of 217. On the Pro 6, the 12.3 inches accounts for a resolution of 2,736 × 1,824, with a pixel density of 267. Both displays look great, but for long periods of use, the bigger display on the Pro is the more comfortable option.
Just like with the display, the keyboards on the accompanying Type Covers are also different between the two models. The keyboard on the Go is impressive, but the 10-inch form factor is just not as comfortable over long periods of time, and the layout is a bit cramped. The Surface Pro 6 is the better option if you need to type a lot. In both cases, the detachable Type Cover doesn’t come bundled in, and neither does the Surface Pen stylus.
The difference in performance between the two Surface devices comes down to chipsets and pricing. The Surface Go starts at $400 and sports an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y dual-core processor with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space. On the other hand, the entry-level $900 Surface Pro 6 comes with a quad-core 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and 128 GB of SSD storage. There’re also options for an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB or 16GB RAM, or 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage, but those are more expensive.
For the extra $500 with Surface Pro 6, you get a more powerful processor, which is good for more demanding tasks like photo and video editing, or running a multiple-monitor workstation. The Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y dual-core on the Surface Go is impressive for what it is, but you’ll be limited to more basic computing tasks.
Bear in mind, the Surface Go ships with Windows 10 Home in S mode, so you’ll initially be limited to using apps on the Microsoft Store, but you can always switch back to Windows 10 Home for free via the Microsoft Store. The Surface Pro 6 ships with Windows 10 Home, so there’s no worries about app limits there.
The Surface Go comes in at 9.65 x 6.90 x 0.33 inches and weighs about 1.15 pounds. That’s significantly smaller than the Surface Pro 6, which is 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches and comes in at 1.71 lbs. The Go is noticeably lighter and makes it a far better tablet. Unlike the Pro, it can easily be used in one hand.
Since you’re using the devices while out and about, we’re also going to warn about battery life. The Go falls very short there, as we got between 2-5 hours of battery life. On the other hand, Microsoft promises you’ll get up to 13.5 hours with the Pro 6. We haven’t tested it yet, but if you want to use the device all day, that will be the better option.
As for the connectivity on the devices while you’re on the go, the differences between Go and Pro 6 boils down to USB-C. The Surface Pro 6 comes with mini-DisplayPort, and a classic USB-A 3.0 port. That is somewhat aging tech to most. But if you’re all about living a dongle-less life and are not yet feeling ready for USB-C, it’ll be more convenient. On the other hand, the Surface Go comes with a single USB-C port on board, for both charging and data. This is great for when you’re looking to charge up the device on the go or use those dongles to extend your connectivity range.
Both devices also include Microsoft’s Proprietary Surface Connect port, a microSDXC card reader, and headphone jack.
Bigger is better: Buy the Surface Pro 6
If you’re considering both devices, the better option is the Surface Pro 6. The two might look similar, and prices might be higher, but the specs and the hardware trump the Surface Go. You’ll be sacrificing USB-C and some portability, but the larger display, beefier processor, better battery life, and spacious keyboard make it the go-to option for Surface tablets.
The Surface Go is the perfect device for a small demographic of people, primarily those who need an affordable, portable option. For everyone else, the Surface Pro 6 is the way to go.