Microsoft Surface Go 4: everything we know so far about the new 2-in-1
The Microsoft Surface Event is over, and we didn’t get to see the Surface Go 4 – but it looks like Microsoft quietly announced it anyway, sneaking it out in a press release during the live event and saying that it’s targeted at business users.
Much of the event was focused not on Surface, but actually on Microsoft’s upcoming AI assistant Windows Copilot, and the ways in which it’ll be integrated into Windows systems. (Now that it’s over, you can see our blow-by-blow of the event by checking out our Microsoft Surface Event 2023 liveblog.)
However, Microsoft did reveal the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the Surface Laptop Go 3, which we have compared to the MacBook Air as well as pitted against its predecessor, the Laptop Go 2… then threw in the Surface Go 4 quietly into the mix in the form of a press release.
Even though the new addition to the Surface Go lineup was treated like a footnote to a generative AI-centered event, and it seems only available for front line workers and businesses for now, it’s still worth checking out. Especially since it is likely going to be made available to the general consumer sometime in the next few months.
It seems like an obvious move for Microsoft to release a new Surface Go. After all, the Microsoft Surface Go 3 did launch on September 22, 2021, and after its not-so-favorable reviews, it made sense for the manufacturer to seek redemption – though it’s now possible that Microsoft will abandon the product line entirely.
The Microsoft Surface Go device has never really reached the heights of the best 2-in-1 laptops and best touchscreen laptops on the market, due mostly to the low-end components under the hood. However, 2020’s Microsoft Surface Go 2 still proved to be a great affordable Windows 10 option for users who don’t need a lot of power and appreciate having to save money on their laptop.
Sadly, its successor, the Microsoft Surface Go 3, just couldn’t keep up with the competition due to its low power and short battery life. The Microsoft Surface Go 4 is, therefore, the perfect opportunity for Microsoft to prove that it is capable of making a 2-in-1 device that’s both affordable and reliable, if not one of the best Windows tablets.
Microsoft Surface Go 4: cut to the chase
- What is it? The next Microsoft Surface Go device
- When is it out? Possibly Q3 2023
- What will it cost? May sit at a higher price point than its predecessor
Microsoft Surface Go 4: Price and release date
Both the Surface Go 2 and the Surface Go 3 started around the same price point, with the former sitting at $399 / £399 / AU$547 and the latter asking $399 / £369 / AU$629 for their respective base configurations. That puts this 2-in-1 in the budget market – a rare treat for hybrid laptops, which typically put a premium on their versatile form factor.
This time around, however, it’s likely that the Surface Go line is going to sit at a higher price point. According to Windows Central, the Surface Go 4 might set you back around the $500 (about £500, AU$775) mark. That’s because it’s likely that “the company is omitting the 4GB RAM model from the lineup,” a sensible move seeing as 8GB of memory is the threshold for laptops in this day and age. Windows Central also asserts that the Surface Go 4 “will be announced on September 21, and begin shipping sometime in October.”
While it was quietly rolled out during the event, however, it is currently only available for businesses – meaning that you can’t go to the Microsoft web store to purchase it at the time of writing. Microsoft hasn’t even shared its retail price yet. So those who’ve been holding off for two years to replace their old Surface Go will have to wait a little longer until the manufacturer makes it available for purchase.
Microsoft Surface Go 4: Design
Despite the Surface Go 3 having less favorable reviews, mostly due to it being underpowered, it was praised for some of the design choices like a 1080p webcam (a big deal back in 2021), its very portable form factor, and a microSD card reader thrown in.
Luckily, the Surface Go 4 has inherited those features, boasting a 1080p Full HD front-facing camera, an 8MP 1080p Full HD rear-facing camera, and only 1.15 lbs (521g). That’s the good news.
We would have loved to also see the Type Cover included in the box, especially if Microsoft is going to increase its price of entry. The accessory is what makes the Surface Go a laptop, instead of a mere Windows tablet, but at $129.99 / £124.99 / AU$199.95, it does add to the overall cost. And if Microsoft doesn’t include it in the box this time, you’re basically paying around $500 (about £500, AU$775) for a Windows 11 tablet – if rumors of the price were true.
Another thing we would have liked to see is a more modern-looking screen. The Surface Go 3 has thick bezels, which not only made it feel outdated but also gave you considerably less screen real estate to work with. Unfortunately, the Surface Go 4 doesn’t look like it’s improved much in that area. You’re still getting the same 10.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,280) touch display and the same 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33-inch dimensions. As a small concession, it is 0.05 pounds lighter.
One promising thing Window Central has said is that Microsoft may make it easier to repair and replace its components: “The device will feature a replaceable battery, kickstand, display, and even motherboard.” This is now confirmed, with Microsoft announcing that the Surface Go 4 is more serviceable than its predecessor “with replaceable parts like display, battery, kickstand, and motherboard.”
Microsoft Surface Go 4: Specs and performance
One big reason for the Surface Go 4 getting a price increase is that Microsoft is rumored to be phasing out its 4GB RAM devices, and that has been confirmed as well.
According to the spec sheet, all configurations for this upcoming Surface Go have 8GB of memory, and you’ll have your choice of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB UFS drive for storage. It’s powered by an Intel Processor N200, which means that it should be more capable than the Surface Go 3’s top Intel Core i3-10100Y-powered configuration, and fitted with Intel UHD Graphics.
Another modest improvement here is in the battery life. While we only managed to squeeze out a little over six hours from the Surface Go 3 in our tests, which was embarrassing even in 2021 standards, Microsoft rated it at 11 hours. And the Surface Go 4 will offer up to 12.5 hours.
We’ll share more information about the upcoming Surface Go 4 as soon as it lands on our desks.
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