Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Go

Is the new Surface Pro 6 worth the extra money or is the Surface Go good enough?

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

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.

Design

Microsoft Surface Go Review
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

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 a movement of up to 165 degrees. This makes them hard to tell apart from afar, 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.

Performance

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

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, Surface Pro 6 comes with options for a quad-core 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor an Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB or 16GB RAM, or 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage. The base $900 Surface Pro 6 comes with the Core i5-8250U processor, which we found was good enough for running more intense software. 

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 Pro, so there’s no worries about app limits there.

Portability

Microsoft Surface Go Review
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

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 pounds. 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, the Surface Pro 6 almost triples that, as we got 9.5 hours when web browsing, and 14 hours when watching videos. 

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 a 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, and headphone jack.

Bigger is better: Buy the Surface Pro 6

Surface Pro 6 Review
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

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.

Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Computing

Qualcomm’s dual-screen PC concept looks like two connected Surface Go tablets

In Qualcomm's video teaser, we got a glimpse of the company's vision for how a dual-screen ARM PC should work. The internet reacted to Qualcomm's video, calling the device in question merely a mashup of two Surface Go tablets.
Computing

Get a Surface Pro 6 bundle for $800 today only at the Microsoft Store

Still looking to save on holiday shopping? Right now you can get the Surface Pro 6 for as little as $800 at the Microsoft Store, and also save on the black version of the device at Best Buy.
Computing

Microsoft blocks optional Windows 10 update that bricked Surface Book 2 devices

The Windows 10 problems just keep on coming. Microsoft is now pulling back an optional monthly cumulative update that recently bricked and rendered some Surface Book 2 devices useless.
Computing

Leak reveals that Nvidia’s RTX 2060 gaming chipsets will be headed to laptops

The latest leaks of Nvidia's upcoming RTX 2060 have given performance benchmarks and further detail about the future chipset and its capabilities, while a RTX 2060 Max-Q variant has also been discovered for thin and light gaming machines.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Supermicro investigation: no spy chips found on our motherboards

Supermicro announced the results of an investigation into the controversy surrounding its motherboards. The investigation was launched in response to reports that alleged the motherboards were compromised with malicious hardware.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Computing

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…
Computing

We want every laptop to be as thin as an iPhone. But is it practical?

The Acer Swift 7 is the thinnest notebook you can buy, and it feels like the notebook of the future. But it makes too many compromises along the way, and some weird design choices hold it back.
Photography

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.