Surface Go 2 review roundup: Great device, underwhelming performance

Reading time icon 5 min. read

Readers help support MSPoweruser. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Tooltip Icon

Read the affiliate disclosure page to find out how can you help MSPoweruser effortlessly and without spending any money. Read more

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Last week, Microsoft announced the new Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2 laptops. Both the new laptops come with refreshed specs and offer better performance than their predecessors. While we are still waiting to get our hands on the new Surface devices, multiple media outlets have already published their first impressions and they are mixed, to say the least. You can head below to check out the review roundup of Surface Go 2.


Engadget seems to be the most dissatisfied with the Surface Go 2. They noted that the laptop improves upon its predecessors but still lacks behind the competition and doesn’t justify the $400 price tag.

The Surface Go 2 offers some slight improvements over the original: A larger screen and a faster CPU option. But the $400 model isn’t much different, and all of the upgrades and accessories add up quickly.

For the Surface Go 2, Microsoft increased the performance a bit with a Core m3 CPU option, dropped in a slightly larger 10.5-inch screen without making the device larger and added a dose of connectivity with optional LTE. But fundamentally, it’s not that much different from its predecessor.

You can check out Engadget’s review here.


TechCrunch called Surface Go 2 a mixed bag with some improvements but had some shortcomings namely the processor and the exclusion of accessories like the keyboard.

Between the device’s design and low starting price of $399, the new Go is still best contextualized as a second travel device, in spite of a larger screen and improved specs. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s just worth noting before we get too far in that I can’t recommend the product as a primary device for most users.

It’s also worth noting what you actually get if you buy the $399 model. For starters, there’s no keyboard. And the keyboard is really the thing here. After all, that sort of convertibility is a huge part of the motivation for buying a Surface in the first place. Along with the full Windows 10 experience, you’ll want the sort of productivity that requires a keyboard. That will run you $99-$129.

A harder pill to swallow is the processor upgrade. Similar to the MacBook Air I just reviewed, the real top-line component refresh mentioned in the press material requires a not inconsequential premium. Microsoft heavily advertised the addition of the eighth-gen Intel core line, which was heralded as helping transform the Go into a proper laptop. The base level, however sports the Intel Pentium 4425Y, chip, far more in line with the original’s 4415Y — one of the bigger issues reviewers had with the first Go.

You can check out TechCrunch’s review of the Surface Go 2 here.

Tom’s Guide:

Tom’s Guide mentioned Windows 10 S and the exclusion of the keyboard as the shortcomings while they liked the design and the camera on the device.

By thinning down the Surface Go’s bezels and (hopefully) improving battery life, Microsoft may have figured out how to make the Surface Go 2 a winner after all. The optional faster processor, extra memory and actual SSD (eMMC is rarely decent) are also welcome additions.

We just wish that Microsoft didn’t charge extra for the Type Cover that makes the Surface Go an actual laptop. Apple also charges extra for the iPad’s keyboard cover, but that tablet starts at a more-affordable $329. But the Surface Go 2’s sharp front-facing camera is exactly the kind of tweak we want to see more of from laptops and tablets in the era of constant Zoom calls.

You can check out Tom’s Guide review of the Surface Go 2 here.

The Guardian:

The Guardian also liked the design, camera and speakers and mentioned short battery life as well as the exclusion of the keyboard as the disadvantages of the device.

The Surface Go demonstrates two things. The first is that budget PCs don’t have to suck – a cheap, low performance processor can do Ok if you pair it with other good but not top-of-the-line components.

The second is that Microsoft can make really great PCs even at lower price points.

As a media-consumption tablet, the Surface Pro is OK, but not the best. It gets solid video-watching battery life, has good speakers and the kickstand is just great. But a lack of apps holds it back compared to the best-in-class iPad.

As a productivity machine the Surface Go is really quite good. It won’t be winning any performance awards, but it’ll get the job done with a little patience and give you a nice experience with it. It is far better than non-PC tablets at getting real work done, with a desktop-class browser and proper keyboard and trackpad.

The Surface Go is a great little machine but don’t be fooled by the price. The £100 Type Cover is a must, which means the Surface Go actually starts at £479. You can get a lot more power for your money, but you’ll struggle to get as good an experience.

You can check out The Guardian’s review of Surface Go 2 here.

All the media outlets seem to agree on almost all the positives and negatives of the device. While the device certainly is better than its predecessor, it still lacks the power to make it stand out as a great device.

But that’s not necessarily Microsoft’s fault as the company is relying on Intel’s 14nm chips which are now old compared to the industry standards. Moreover, expecting Microsoft to bundle a keyboard and pen with a $400 device seems a bit unfair especially since the company’s major competitor charges almost the same for both the accessories.

In short, the Surface Go 2 is not designed to break records but is for people who either want a great touch experience on a budget or want a budget secondary device to use during travelling.

More about the topics: microsoft, surface go 2