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Microsoft Surface Go 2 review

The Surface Go 2 is Microsoft's affordable yet full Windows 10 toting tablet that's well worth a look

Microsoft Surface Go 2
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a tablet that offers you the full Windows 10 experience in a well built form with some great features but at a low price. You may pay for that in performance but this is well worth a look with the right spec setup.

For

  • Decent battery performance
  • Large and bright display
  • Great design and build quality

Against

  • Performance could be faster
  • Type Cover is a bit fiddly

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is an affordable version of the company's top-end tablet, meaning this gets you the full Windows 10 experience only without the steep price tag. It was good enough, in fact, to make it onto our best tablets list.

You still get the premium design and build quality of a Microsoft Surface device, only now you can potentially afford to spend more on getting a higher spec model and accessories too.

This lacks some of the processing power of many tablets and perhaps doesn't have that OLED screen of the more recent iPad models, but with a great webcam, excellent battery and plenty more going for it, this is a stand out tablet.

Microsoft Surface Go 2: Design 

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is high-quality and you can see that before you even touch that premium silver magnesium metallic build. The bezels have been minimalized over the previous generation and that 10.5-inch display is still kept portable thanks to the form factor of this device.

This might not have all the design smarts that Apple's iPad Pro delivers, but for the price this is well above what we'd expect. 

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Future)

The kickstand at the rear is a really useful way to angle this tablet for viewing movies, video chatting online, working – whatever you need really. It's easy to use, holds it position well and goes from zero to 135 degrees – it even has a little notch for your finger to make it super simple to use.

Ports are minimal with a USB-C and Surface connector along with a headphone jack on one side, and a microSD reader on the other. More than Apple offers on its iPads then.

The display, at 10.5-inches is plenty large enough for multi-screen working, movie watching and multi-tasking. This is thanks to that decent 1920 x 1280 resolution and the punchy visuals are thanks to some impressive 107% of the sRGB color spectrum being displayed at over 400 nits of brightness.

Microsoft Surface Go 2: Performance

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 lacks power in some configurations. There, we said it. Yup, that's the major and maybe only real complaint about this tablet. This is thanks to it having an 8th Gen Intel Core m3 at its hearts. Great for battery life but not so great for raw processing grunt. 

That said, you do have the option to spec this out with more RAM, up to 8GB to be exact. We'd say definitely go for that top end if you're doing anything that might cause a strain on processing power. You can get a dozen Chrome tabs, 1080p YouTube video, Slack and Spotify all running without lag. But once you add more tabs that does start to slow things down. So that may be enough power for most users, to be fair.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

On a Geekbench test the tablet hit a score of 6,815. Not amazing when you compare that to the A12 Bionic in the older iPad which managed 11,471, or the 17,225 from the Surface Pro 7. But of course this tablet is about being portable, being kind on battery life and being affordable, so that's to be expected.

The only other performance gripe was with the Type Cover keyboard case. This is easy to clip on and remove but the keys do take a little getting used to. It's not a deal-breaker but is just worth a mention as this didn't feel as good as a full keyboard, initially at least.

Microsoft Surface Go 2: Battery Life 

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a battery life winner. In testing, with real world use, this managed to push beyond the 11 hour mark. That makes this a true all-day tablet that will go the distance no matter what you throw at it.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Future)

Compared to the first gen Surface Go this is a big jump, up from a six hour battery life in real-world testing. Compared with the iPad Air, it stands slightly ahead as this manages about 10 hours on a charge.

This is also a lot better than the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, which tops out at about eight hours, at best in real-world testing.

Microsoft Surface Go 2: Price and value for money 

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a starting price of $400 which gets you the 64GB storage and 4GB RAM model. If you want that extra processing grunt and storage you'll have to pay $550 for the 128GB and 8GB setup.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

(Image credit: Future)

So, in terms of value, this is a very well priced tablet, at the base spec setup and you get a lot for your money. But if you did want a bit more processing power then the price jumps up a fair amount which makes it a bit less impressive for the cost. So it comes down to if you can live with the basic setup – which is good enough for most needs, even laptop like ones.

Should you buy the Microsoft Surface Go 2?

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is an impressive tablet with gorgeous design and build quality. The kickstand is useful, the screen is stunning and the battery life is long. There are a good selection of ports and you get full Windows 10 for a price that's decent.

But if you want lots of processing power and need something to replace your laptop you may want to spend more or even check out the best laptops instead.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.