Microsoft Surface Go 3 – a little Windows tablet (mini-review)

The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is the software giant’s latest iteration of the 10.5” Surface Go 2. It is a refresh – slightly faster processor, Wi-Fi 6 and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) port for upstream charging, audio/video, and data.

You buy it because it is one of the smallest, fully functional Windows 11 tablets. The processor is not for heavy lifting, but it is perfect for Microsoft 365, browsing, audio and video content consumption, and it can drive two 4K@60Hz monitors and its screen.

This is a mini-review for a min-tablet, so feel free to ask any unanswered questions.

Microsoft Surface Go 3

WebsiteMicrosoft site
ModelsIntel Pentium 6500Y 4/64 $628 and 8/128GB $846
Core i3-10100Y still coming
Special prices for students and business
Warranty12-months ACL
CompanyMicrosoft is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services
MoreCybershack Microsoft news and reviews

Processor – fine for light work

Choice of dual-core, low wattage (3.5-7W) Intel Pentium 6500Y 14nm 1.1/3.4GHz, Amber-Lake series (GeekBench 5 single/multi-core 767/1523) or the Core i3-10100Y (GeekBench 5 990/1890). At this time (29/11/21), the i3 is only available on its Business website at 4/64GB and 8/128GB for $769/1039. Unless you need the extra power, the Pentium is fine.

RAM – 4GB or 8GB

Go for the latter, allowing for more multitasking and open browser tabs.

Storage – 64 or 128GB plus a microSD slot

The 64GB Is eMMC flash, and the 128GB is SSD – again, go for the latter, but it also has a MicroSD slot to 1TB that accessible as a disk drive.

Screen – 10.5: 1920 x 1280, 3:2, touch, Gorilla Glass 3

It is just the right size as a paperwhite Kindle reader (with the App) to a bright 400nit/1500:1 contrast HDR-replay capable video content screen. It is 105% sRGB (Surface always have great screens) and very colour accurate. The hinged signature Surface kickstand folds back to 165°.

Battery – 11 hours claim but closer to 7-8 hours office use

More importantly, the recharge time is about 2 hours using the Microsoft Surface Connector 25W charger. But it is great for travellers as you can use a 5V/3A cigarette lighter adapter too – although charging time doubles.

You can also use any USB-C PD 2.0 25W or more charger or a power bank with at least 25W charge (most will do 9V/3A).

Wi-Fi 5 AX and Bluetooth 5.0 – fast

It connects to our NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 AX1100 router at 2400Mbps and holds the signal strongly to about 15 metres – that is seriously fast. Bluetooth is good to about 25 meters.

Port – USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps, Surface Connect, Keyboard pogo and 3.5mm

If you want to expand this, you can use a lower-cost dongle like the ATEN USB-C Travel Dock UH3239 (review) or even a high-end Plugable Intel Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 dock (backwards compatible with USB-C 3.2 Gen 2).

Sound – 73dB and Bright vocal

It is quite pleasant for general music and clear voice, but the lack of bass (and can you blame the tiny speakers) means it is far better to use a Bluetooth or cabled headphone. This is loud and clear with good left/right stereo separation.

If you want to know more about measuring sound, please read How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key).

Camera/Mic – excellent sharp and bright video images

  • Rear: 8MP sensor, fixed focus, 1080p@30fps
  • Front: 5MP with IR for Windows Hello sign-in and 1080p@30fps – great for Skype
  • Dual studio class mics adequate to a distance of about 2m.

Keyboard/trackpad and stylus – at extra cost

You possibly don’t need the keyboard or stylus if all you need is a Windows tablet. It has a 1mm throw and 30g actuation, so it is really not for experienced typists. The Pen is the older Bluetooth barrel type, still with 4096 pressure levels and perfect for annotation and doodles.

  • Type Cover $149.95
  • Signature Type Cover $199.95
  • Surface Pen $139.95
  • Surface Go Sleeve $119.95
  • Microsoft 365 1/6 people $99/129

Hint – as it is fully compatible with Surface Go/2, check eBay, where you will find new and used from about $50. Ditto for the Pen.

Cybershack view – Microsoft Surface Go 3 is a mighty little tablet

Buy it for what it is. A Windows 11 (comes in S mode that you can upgrade to Home for free) with expandability and options to make it a perfect lightweight, small device for travel, students, and commuters. The kickstand is convenient for aeroplane tray tables.

If you need more look at our Microsoft Surface Pro 8 – a whole new device with Thunderbolt 4 (review).

Microsoft Surface Go 3

From $628
8.5

Features

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Performance

8.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Pros

  • Enough power for everyday tasks and content consumption
  • Expandable to dual 4K@60Hz screens
  • Fair price for Windows 11 tablet

Cons

  • No IP rating (few tablets have this)


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