Surface Pro has for a few years now, been Microsoft’s flagship device to show off whats possible. It sets a benchmark for other laptop manufacturers to aim towards and show what Microsoft has in mind with hardware when its designing its software. Google uses this same strategy with its Pixel range. The Pro started off a little shaky though. It launched with Windows 8, we all know how bad Windows 8 was and for a moment, the Pro’s future was tainted. The base model also shipped with Windows RT, an even worse version of Windows 8 which has since been reincarnated into a much more usable Windows 10s. The first gen keyboard was also embarrassing, without proper movable keys, and flimsy design this was not a 2 in 1 to be proud of in public. Yet Microsoft persevered and by Pro 4, it was evolved into a tablet come laptop that that even the design conscious can carry with pride. An important feature if the Surface Go is to attract a new generation of users.
With the Pro 6 almost around the corner, we have been given a surprise release for another Surface model to enter the market. The Surface family has always been flagship, high-end models started at £750 upwards. Yet here we have a new model starting at $399 (£379 in UK). This opens the Surface family to many more consumers and gives Microsoft a fighting chance at the education market again.
Since the iPad, Apple has gained a lot of traction in education, becoming the favoured tool for many schools. That is until Chromebooks entered the classroom war and rapidly became the go to device for putting a computer into the hands of every student. They were cheaper, low maintenance, rugged and free of licenses, iPad’s began to dwindle slightly and Microsoft didn’t stand a chance. So can the Surface Go compete at the low cost end of the market?
The Surface Go tablet weighing in at 1.15 pounds and 8mm thick, that’s 0.15 pounds more and 0.5mm thicker than the iPad. The screen comes in at 10″, 3:2 ratio, high resolution, supporting a pen that can have over 4000 levels of pressure sensitivity. It’s powered by a fanless Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y, giving it 9 hours battery. A USB-C for charging, data and video. SD card slot, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage at the base model. It will also come shipped with the pre-mentioned Windows 10s. This slightly stripped down version of the OS will be much more secure against viruses, protecting the device as well as the user. This was a huge selling point for Chromebooks and is the likely reason for “S modes” existence if it is to succeed in the education market.
The Surface Go pen and keyboard will be sold separately just like on the iPad, which could put some schools off investing, since the keyboard alone will be another $150 or so, which is something a Chromebook already has within its price.
When the tablet enters the market on 2nd August in the UK and other countries, this Surface will appeal to many, I’m guessing students at college who have always wanted a Surface, but couldn’t justify the $1000 price tag. Yet I doubt it will be enough to steal the education sector from Google.