Microsoft Surface Go: What the pros need to know

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When revealing the tablet at a press briefing earlier this month, Microsoft product marketing manager Natalia Urbanowicz pulled the Surface Go out of a crossbody clutch from Knomo - showing how easy it would be for a busy mom to carry around a full laptop without lugging around a huge bag.

The Go retains the Surface's 3:2 aspect ratio, while the 10-inch IPS touchscreen sports an 1800 x 1200 resolution. Each variant will be powered by a dual-core Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor. The new 10-inch tablet is available now for pre-order in the USA and several other countries and is priced competitively to the iPad Mini, with a $399 price tag for the 64-GB storage option, and $549 for a 128-GB version.

The Surface Go will ship with Windows 10's "S Mode" enabled, which means you can only install apps from the Microsoft Store - a tradeoff for better battery life and generally smoother performance. It also has a Windows Precision Trackpad that supports five-point multi-finger gestures and can connect to the new Surface Mobile Mouse. While I have not fully tested the battery on the Surface Go, I would put real-world usage at around 6 hrs based on my experience with other Surface devices.

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One of the more interesting components of the Surface Go is the low-end Intel processors.

Starting at $399, the Surface Go is a 10-inch device that may need a handful of accessories in order to achieve its potential. If both are true, the product could be unveiled on July 10, and then become available for pre-order on the 13th. It's nearly a surprise, as the more advanced Surface Pro doesn't have that yet (but we expect to see a refresh of the Surface Pro later this year). The 10-inch tablet is a little larger than the standard iPad, but is capable of running a full version of Windows.

"In terms of other connectivity, the Surface Go retains the 3.5" headphone jack and USB-C 3.1 connector, as well as the Surface Connect magnetic charging and dock port. The snazzy Surface Type Cover adds $99 or $129 to the price, depending on which you get. Microsoft has promised an LTE model will come later this year, though. You'll also get the friction kickstand found on the Surface Pro so it's definitely still firmly within the Surface family of devices. We've seen the Surface Go render and manipulate 3D imagery in a biology studies app with nary a stutter. The USB-C 3.1 port can be used for charging as well as data transfer. We've played Minecraft on the Surface Go with not a dip in frame rate. While ZDnet recently reported that the Andromeda project was on thin ice and unlikely to ever come to market, Microsoft enthusiasts were optimistic that it was close to debut.