Should You Consider the Surface Go?
Earlier this year, Microsoft came out with a miniature version of its workhorse Surface Pro. The smaller version, called the Surface Go has a 10 inch display with a 1800 x 1200 display ratio and comes in various configurations and memory. Just like the Pro, you have to pay extra for the keyboard and pen that goes with it.
But it’s substantially cheaper (starting at $399 v. $799 for the Pro at Microsoft, lower elsewhere) which may make it a tempting last minute gift for a lawyer. But based on my experience, I don’t think this is the device for most lawyers. (Perhaps signaling that this is not a business machine, Microsoft sells the device with the Windows 10 Home package in Safe mode. You can and I did configure it with Office and removed the Safe mode, which is no big deal to do).
Certainly, the Go’s smaller size and weight ( 1.15 lbs v. 1.7 lbs) make it more portable and easier to lug around; Microsoft touts it as “our smallest and lightest Surface yet”. And its pretty cool looking especially with the Burgundy keyboard. Perhaps suggesting a professional use of the Go, the Law School Admission Council recently announced it would allow the Go to be used in taking the LSAT, suggesting it might indeed be great gift idea for lawyers and even law students.
But I purchased one of these devices some months ago, gave it a try and was disappointed. First, for several years I used a Surface Pro, which is a really nice device for most things lawyers want to do (given that it’s a Windows based device with a few software quirks that most of us are used to with Microsoft). It ran well, did most of what I wanted it to do quickly, had lots of storage and was durable as hell. A real workhorse.
The Go I purchased had more storage than the entry model: 8 GB Ram and 128 GB storage capacity. I got this bigger size since I thought the standard size would not be able to do what I needed. That of course cost me extra and got me much closer to an entry Pro price point. And while this configuration marginally did what I needed, I’m not sure it would for lawyers that have more document intensive matters. Certainly the entry one would not.
My crtitcism of the Go is exactly what makes it a smaller sized tablet.
My crtitcism of the Go is exactly what makes it a smaller sized tablet. The screen doesn’t have the resolution of the Pro and is just too small for intensive work. I almost felt I was working with a toy reproduction of the Pro. And the keyboard was too small for lots of long and intensive work. My fingers kept getting all tangled up and I regularly missed keys. It was pretty frustrating.
With the advent of larger sized phones, its hard to see the need for a tablet just a slight size bigger than these phones that gives you few advantages over them.
In many ways, it resembled a iPad mini: a nice really portable unit that’s good for reading emails and surfing the net but just not fit for real hard lawyer work. And unlike the mini, the screen resolution was not as good and the price was a little higher. With the advent of larger sized phones (Apple Xs and Samsung Note 9 for example), its hard to see the need for a tablet just a slight size bigger than these phones that gives you few advantages over them.
But what about for students? Here I think the Go perhaps does have some advantages. Its smaller size it easier to carry and the Go’s note taking feature is pretty good particularly in the smaller size. But again, at this price point, I am still not sure but that there are better option available.
So there you have it. The Go is a nice fun little tablet. But it’s not a Pro and you shouldn’t t expect it to. Probably not for working stiff lawyers.