Microsoft's New Surface Go Aims To Be Your Travel Tablet Of Choice

Photo: Courtesy of Microsoft.
Are you the kind of person who always packs three bags when you'd planned to just pack one? Or maybe you always get stuck paying United's ridiculously steep overweight luggage fees? Or you somehow end up coming home with more in your suitcase than you left with, despite getting rid of sunscreen bottles and finished books along the way?
If any of the above rings true, a new generation of devices is vying for your affection, with the promise to help you travel lighter. In March, Apple unveiled an upgraded version of its affordable, lightweight 9.7-inch iPad. Today, Microsoft announced its own promising competitor, the Surface Go, a lighter, thinner, less expensive version of the Surface Pro.
The Surface Go with WiFi starts at $399, weighs just 1.15 pounds, and has a 10-inch display, making it roughly the size of a composition notebook. In comparison, the Surface Pro starts at $799, weighs almost two pounds, and has a 12.3-inch display. Meanwhile, the latest iPad costs less (prices start at $329), and is slightly smaller (a 9.7-inch display) and lighter (1.03 pounds).
However, while Apple's iPad has always felt like a tablet, Microsoft's Surface Pro has been able to more successfully straddle the line between tablet and laptop. That's what could set the Surface Go apart as your travel companion of choice.
Photo: Courtesy of Microsoft.
A built-in kickstand makes Go more suitable for working or streaming shows on the go, and the promise of a nine-hour battery means you can do both on one charge. Like the 9.7-inch iPad, which works with the Apple Pencil, the Surface Go supports the Surface Pen ($99), a stylus you can use to annotate essays or mark up presentations. Alcantara, a luxuriously soft material Microsoft used to line its Surface Laptop, is present here too, on an attachable type cover ($129) that the company says features "laptop-class typing".
Additionally, you can sign in with facial recognition, video chat with a five megapixel, front-facing HD camera, and, if you're so inclined, take photos with the eight megapixel rear HD camera.
We'll need to test the Surface Go before knowing if it's worthy of a business-class ticket, but at a first glance, it looks like a promising way to get some of the basic needs of a laptop without the extra weight. Still, the $399 price point seems less ideal when you factor in the cost of accessories like the Surface Pen and Alcantara type cover, so the Surface Go will need to prove it deserves a place in your travel bag.
Surface Go will be available in store on August 2, and can be pre-ordered beginning tomorrow, July 10, online.

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