Microsoft’s Surface Go is one of the best work-focused tablets — and it’s currently $50 off for Black Friday

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Gone are the days when Microsoft was a software company and that’s it.

These days, the company releases excellent hardware on a yearly basis, and that hardware has been well-reviewed and much-loved. This year, Microsoft took the wraps off of three new mobile computers — including the Surface Laptop 2, Surface Pro 6, and the new Surface Go. We’ve already taken a look at the previous two devices, so now it’s time to take a look at the Surface Go.

The Microsoft Surface Go is the smallest and least powerful of the three new devices, but it’s also the cheapest — making it one of the better choices for a portable computer in its price-range. Notably, it’s far cheaper than the new iPad Pro, yet it still runs a desktop-class operating system, Windows 10, albeit with less processing power.

Is the Microsoft Surface Go the way to go for those looking for a relatively powerful device they can take on the road with them?

Microsoft

At first glance, the Microsoft Surface Go looks like a Microsoft device. That’s to say, it carries many of the same characteristics as other Surface devices, like the infinitely adjustable kickstand on the back, plus if you opt for the keyboard accessory ($100), it boasts the same Alcantara feel around the keyboard, which is looks and feels great.

When it comes to ports, however, things are a little different. You will find the same type of magnetic charging port as other Microsoft devices, which is pretty nice, although we do wish Microsoft would just go for the more universal USB-C port. Speaking of USB-C, there’s one on the right side of the device — essentially meaning that it has more modern ports than the Surface Pro and the Surface Laptop. Above that, there’s a headphone jack — thankfully.

The overall design of the Surface Go isn’t bad, but in an age of slimming bezels, it does look slightly dated, especially when you use it in tablet mode. The keyboard, however, helps make it look a little better, plus the design doesn’t really have an effect on the power under the hood. The device itself is only available in one color, but you can buy the keyboard in a few different colors, which is nice. We got the matching gray one, and quite liked it.

The display on the device is pretty nice, but it won’t blow any minds like the display on the Surface Pro or Surface Laptop might.

It has an aspect ratio of 3:2 and a resolution of 1,800 x 1,200. That’s noticeably less than the new 10-inch iPad’s display, which comes in at 2,048 x 1,536. That’s not to say the display is bad — it’s not. Just don’t expect to get the best 10-inch tablet display out there.

Read more: The best tablets you can buy

Microsoft

While this is a Windows 10 device, it runs Windows 10 S rather than Windows 10 Home.

That means there are a few limitations to it — including that you can only run apps downloaded from the Microsoft Store app. For many, that won’t be such a big deal — especially those who really only need the device for web-browsing, typing in Microsoft Word, and so on. For others, however, that may be a deal breaker. Thankfully, you can switch the device to Windows 10 Home — though if you decide to do that, keep in mind that things like battery life and overall performance may suffer a little.

Under the hood, the Surface Go isn’t bad, but don’t expect a powerhouse.

The base model comes with a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y processor, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. You can upgrade it from there, however, all the way up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s also options for either Wi-Fi-only, or LTE connectivity too.

In use, we found the Surface Go to be quite a nice device. For basic use, it seemed quick and easy to use. Of course, it’s important to go into using the device with tempered expectations — it’s not a powerhouse like the new iPad, so don’t expect to much more than basic working, a few basic games, and so on. Word processing was easy with Microsoft’s suite of Office 365 apps, and you’ll find it easy to keep several tabs open in your web browser — which will need to be Edge unless you make the switch to Windows 10 Home.

Read more: Microsoft has revealed its Black Friday deals for the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Xbox One

The Surface Go also has a few accessories, though you’ll need to buy them separately.

We found that all of the accessories worked very well with the device — the Alcantara keyboard, for starters, felt quite nice. The keys were a little small, but they’re about as big as they possibly could be on a tablet this size, and they offered a good amount of travel and a nice, clicky feel.

The Microsoft Surface Pen also worked quite well with the device. If you’re a serious artist looking for a digital device to take your art to a new level, we recommend the more expensive Surface Pro or the iPad Pro, but the Surface Go is still more than capable for some things. The Surface Pen in general is a great device — it offers 4,096 levels of sensitivity, tilt support, and more, making it one of the better options for a stylus on a tablet. Ultimately, many consider the Apple Pencil to be a better option — but for the Apple Pencil you also have to buy a much more expensive device.

Ultimately, the Microsoft Surface Go is one of the best work-focused portable tablets out there.

It’s a solid option for those who type a lot, though you will have to pay extra for the Alcantara keyboard. It’s a great way to get a desktop-class operating system in a portable and inexpensive device — though keep in mind that you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Home if you want to download third-party apps from the web. If, however, you need processing power, then we recommend instead opting for the slightly more expensive Surface Pro, or considering buying an iPad.

Buy the base model Microsoft Surface Go for $349 (normally $399) at the Microsoft Store and Amazon [You save $50 until November 24]

See all of Microsoft’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals here

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