After the recent Apple special event, the world is abuzz with talks about which iPhone to get and whether the Apple Watch Series 4 is worth the upgrade.

If you ask us… YES! It’s TOTALLY worth the upgrade! You can touch the digital crown to generate an ECG waveform that tells you if your heart is beating normally! How cool is that?! (Disclaimer: the opinions of this tech-enthusiastic writer is definitely biased)

With so many products announced, it’s understandable that there are some who are disappointed with the lack of updates regarding Macs and iPads (we expect an October follow-up though).

Well, for those looking to buy a laptop with the portability of a tablet, there are plenty of options out there. And one of the most exceptional options out in the market right now is the Microsoft Surface Go.

Microsoft Surface Go
Image Credit: Microsoft

**Update: We’re aware that the new Surface Pro 6 has just been released and have updated the comparison table for your ease of reference. If you’re wondering what the difference is between the Pro 6 and its predecessor, it can be summed up like this:

  • Same screen as Surface Pro 5
  • Looks pretty much like the Surface Pro 5, but comes in Black and Platinum, and has more rounded edges
  • Better graphics card
  • Use of Intel 8th Gen processor promises better battery life (we’ll see when it’s available officially)
  • No USB-C port (so not really future proof)
  • No LTE version (for now)
  • No new Surface Pen announced (might have to wait till Surface Pro 7)

Should you get the new Surface Go or its bigger brother, the Surface Pro 5? What’s the difference? Once again, we show you the Smarter Way to make a decision.


Size Does Matter

Released on 2 August 2018, the Surface Go is the latest entry in Microsoft’s lineup of Surface devices. It’s also the smallest device which Microsoft (up to 7% cashback) has added to its 2-in-1 (a portable computer that has both laptop and tablet features) range.

How small you ask? The Surface Go clocks in at a dainty 522g (without the Type Cover) and comes with a 10-inch PixelSense display. To put that into perspective, the Go can fit within an A4 size piece of paper with plenty of space to spare.

What Is PixelSense?

The PixelSense display is an interactive touchscreen that works brilliantly with a finger as well as with Microsoft's Surface Pen.

This is what the Surface Go looks like with Microsoft’s proprietary peripherals:

Microsoft Surface Go Perspective
Image Credit: Microsoft

Pretty snazzy huh?

The Surface Pro 5, on the other hand, weighs 784g at its heaviest (different processor options will give you different weights; without the Type Cover) and comes with a 12.3-inch PixelSense display.

The Pro 5 may be slightly heavier and bigger than the Go, but both are light enough that they’ll have you checking your bag once in while – just to make sure that you still have it with you.


Looks Matter Too

Design-wise, the Surface Go is comparable to the Surface Pro 5 and looks nearly identical to its elder brother. Heck, if you put them side by side you’ll be hard pressed to tell them apart.

Microsoft Surface Pro Perspective
Image Credit: Microsoft

Just in case you’re wondering, pictured above is the Surface Pro 5.

The Go sports the same magnesium chassis as the Pro 5 that makes it look sleek and sturdy, with a decidedly premium feel to it. However, we did notice that the Surface Go has slightly more rounded edges as compared to the Pro 5, and that probably makes it easier to hold for extended periods of time – especially for reading or doodling with the Surface Pen.

Girl Reading Microsoft Surface Go
Image Credit: Microsoft

We were disappointed to discover that the bezels around the display for the Surface Go seem a tad too thick. This, unfortunately, detracts a little from the overall premium look of the device.

However, we suspect that the bezels also help make it easier to hold the Surface in tablet mode. And it’s also probably a necessary evil in order to accommodate the inbuilt webcam and magnetic keyboard connector.

Surface Go With Pen
Image Credit: Microsoft

Looking at both displays and comparing their resolutions, the Pro 5’s 12.3-inch screen has a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824, with a PPI of 267. In comparison, the smaller Go offers a respectable 1,800 x 1,200 display with a slightly lower PPI of 217.

What Is PPI?

PPI stands for pixels-per-inch, or pixel density. The higher the PPI, the better it is as it means that you'll get a lot more detail for whatever is displayed on your screen.

 

TL;DR the Surface Go feels better to hold, but the Surface Pro 5 looks better.


The Insides Matter Even More

The Surface Go only comes in two options:

  • Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y, 64GB eMMC Storage, 4GB RAM ($618)
  • Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y, 128GB Solid-State Drive (SSD) Storage, 8GB RAM ($828)

If you’re planning to go for the Surface Go (pun intended). We’re partial to the 128GB SSD storage with 8GB RAM option, especially if you have a bigger budget. The reason is two-fold:

  1. The Surface Go comes with Windows 10 in S mode (more about this in a bit). And while you can run Windows 10 with 4GB RAM – the bare minimum – we wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll find your computer getting bogged down when you have 15 browser tabs opened simultaneously with YouTube playing in the background, and a multimedia editing task on hand.
Slow PC
Image Credit: giphy
  1. Without going too much into the specifics, eMMC is always slower than SSD. You’ll usually find an eMMC storage in a portable electronic device like a digital camera or cell phone. And you’ll be probably fine as your point-and-shoot doesn’t need a full SSD with its increased complexity, size, and speed. But when you’re using it in a laptop or tablet, the limitations of eMMC storage will be more pronounced.

The main selling point of the Surface Go is that it’s really portable, so as a compromise for its size, Microsoft had to step down on power (read: a less powerful processor).

Packing Light Microsoft Surface Go
Image Credit: Microsoft

Naturally, our more tech-savvy readers will have noticed that the Surface Go is powered by an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y Processor. This means that the Surface Go will not be blazing fast. However, it’ll definitely perform better than other ultra-portable laptops that use the industry standard Intel Core m3 or Intel Atom processors.

To put it simply, you won’t be using your Surface Go to play games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PSA: the private beta is out!), but it will handle day-to-day stuff like using Word, listening to Spotify, and checking your email on Outlook just fine.

Working With Microsoft Surface Go
Image Credit: Microsoft

Unlike the Surface Go, hardware customisation is where the Surface Pro 5 really shines because you can cherry-pick your internal hardware:

  • Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 Processor
  • 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD Storage
  • 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB RAM

If you’re considering a Surface Pro 5, we would recommend the Intel Core i5 Processor, 128GB SSD storage with 8GB RAM option ($1,488).

And if you’re the high SES type, you can get a top-of-the-line Intel Core i7 Processor, 1TB SSD storage, 16GB RAM Surface Pro 5 for $3,888.

Parks and Recreation Treat Yo Self
Image Credit: tenor

More importantly, unlike the Surface Go (which comes with Windows 10 in S Mode), the Surface Pro 5 comes with Windows 10 Pro installed.

What Is S Mode?

To put it simply, S Mode is a more secure version of Windows that is also supposed to improve performance and battery life. While in S Mode, your device can only install apps from Microsoft Store and functions pretty much like a tablet.

 

This also means that you are limited to browsing the web via Microsoft Edge (you can't install external browsers like Chrome) and your default search engine is Bing (although you can change your homepage). For people who can get by using only apps from the Microsoft Store, then S mode will suffice. For those who want to customise their Windows experience, you'll need to disable S Mode. However, you should note that this is irreversible.

 

Overall, the Surface Pro 5 is definitely more expensive, but you’re also getting a more powerful system that does more than the basic computing tasks that the Surface Go is more apt for.


Go-ing The Distance

(Writer’s note: Did you get it? As in Surface Go. GO-ing the distance… Haha. Sorry.)

On a more serious note, we’ve established earlier that the Surface Go is a product of portability. And naturally, a smaller device comes with a smaller battery. According to Microsoft, the Go has been rated for up to 9 hours of battery life for non-stop video playback, whereas the Pro 5 has been rated for up to 13.5 hours.

We Bare Bears Watch Video
Image Credit: giphy

It’s important to note that actual battery life will vary significantly with settings, usage, and other factors. However, we can generally conclude that the Surface Go is unlikely to last very long on a single charge.

So far, the Surface laptops we’ve discussed are all Wi-Fi capable versions. For those who want a truly mobile computer that can go anywhere and not lost any of its functionality; you’re going to need integrated cellular connectivity.

Enter the Surface Pro 5 with 4G LTE, which only comes in two specifications:

  • Intel Pentium Core i5 Processor, 128GB SSD Storage, 4GB RAM ($1,728)
  • Intel Pentium Core i5 Processor, 256GB SSD Storage, 8GB RAM ($2,028)
Microsoft Surface Pro Outside
Image Credit: Microsoft

Yes. This could be you at the beach, signing a business document on your Surface Pro 5 4G LTE, while your kids bury your feet in the sand.


Which Surface Device To Get

So which Surface device should you get? The Go? Or the Pro? Why not a Go-Pro… (Writer’s note: Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Side Eyeing Chloe
Image Credit: Know Your Meme

While it would be great if there is an offering that combines the best of both the Go and the Pro 5, that would probably be Microsoft’s next iteration of Surface laptops.

Here’s a summarised version of the comparison we’ve made so far:

Tech SpecsSurface GoSurface Pro 5Surface Pro 6

Display

10" PixelSense

1800 x 1200 (217 PPI)

12.3" PixelSense

2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)

12.3" PixelSense

2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)

Processor

Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y

Intel 7th Gen Core m3, i5, or i7

Intel 8th Gen Core i5 or i7

Storage

eMMC: 64GB

SSD: 128GB

SSD:

128GB

256GB

512GB

1TB

SSD:

128GB

256GB

512GB

1TB

Memory

4GB or 8GB RAM

4GB, 8GB, or 16GB RAM

8GB or 16GB RAM

Software

Windows 10 S Mode

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 10 Pro

Battery Life

Up to 9 hours video playback

Up to 13.5 hours video playback

Up to 13.5 hours video playback

Graphics

Intel HD Graphics 615

Intel HD Graphics 615 (m3)

Intel HD Graphics 620 (i5)

Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (i7)

Intel UHD Graphics 620 (i5 & i7)

Wireless

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

4G LTE

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

No LTE version yet

Camera

5.0MP front-facing camera

8.0MP rear-facing camera

5.0MP front-facing camera

8.0MP rear-facing camera

5.0MP front-facing camera

8.0MP rear-facing camera

Speaker

2.0W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium

1.6W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium

1.6W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium

Ports

USB C

microSD card reader

3.5mm headset jack

True Cover Port

Surface Connect Port

USB A 3.0

microSD card reader

3.5mm headset jack

True Cover Port

USB A 3.0 (No USB C)

microSD card reader

3.5mm headset jack

True Cover Port

 

Our verdict?

If you’re comparing both devices based on features, it goes without saying that the Surface Pro 5 is a better device. It has a:

  • higher resolution display
  • more powerful processor
  • lengthier battery life, and
  • even comes in a 4G LTE version for ultimate mobility

However, the Surface Go feels better to use as a tablet and is a decent device if you’re clear about what you’re getting it for: it’s portability.

Surface Go Portable Power
Image Credit: Microsoft

If you think that the Surface Pro 5 is more your style, here’s a little bit of great news!

From 12 to 16 September, you can save $200 on a Surface Pro Bundle (U.P. $1188). And if you’d like to get the Signature Type Cover Bundle to complement your new Surface Pro 5, you can get it at 20% discount! Sounds great? Click here to find out more!


ShopFest Ultimate Experience

Do you fancy the Surface Go instead? Well, there’s a chance to win it through the ShopFest Ultimate Experience!

With every Qualified Order you make, you earn points that unlock levels and get a chance to win awesome prizes like a 3D2N stay at Labuan Bajo, Plataran Komodo Beach Resort + $1000 cashback, or a Microsoft Surface Go Bundle worth $1,218, and more!

Pro tip: For even more chances to earn points and unlock levels, check ShopBack’s Facebook page and daily newsletters during key dates, in order to find special keys to unlock Treasure Chests via the ShopBack App!

ShopFest 9.9 Treasure Chest

Which Surface laptop will you be getting? Let us know in the comments below!


Featured Image Credit: Microsoft

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