Microsoft is readying a new, low-end Windows 10-based tablet created to compete with smaller and cheaper iPads: The Surface Go.
The new tablet is also the first to have both USB-C and Microsoft's Surface Connector, following the introduction of USB-C to the Surface Book 2 in December. A Wi-Fi-only model will arrive first, with LTE-equipped versions launching later in the year.
By lowering the entry level pricing of the Surface family to $399, this opens the door to more usage scenarios where I higher-powered device is not needed. Microsoft promises the Surface Go can handle productivity apps like Office and casual apps like Spotify and Netflix.
Microsoft release a $499 Surface 3 tablet in 2015, but discontinued the product in 2016. Pony up for the $549 8GB/ 128GB model, and you're starting to encroach on ultrabook territory.
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Rumours around a budgets Microsoft Surface device have been floating around for a little while now, with the latest rumour suggesting a Friday 13 July announcement. With the Surface Connect port, you can power two external 2K monitors at once, so this slate can pull double duty as a full desktop PC.
Microsoft's Surface range has become popular in Taiwan, with sales increasing by between 10 and 20 percent every year since the product launched five years ago according to Hsueh Wei-hung, deputy head of Microsoft's Consumer Channel Group.
In the future, versions of Surface Go with integrated LTE and 256GB SSDs will be added to the line-up.
There is also a 5MP selfie camera in front alongside a Windows Hello face sign-in camera so you can log in with facial recognition.
If you were expecting a Microsoft Surface with an ARM processor inside, this does not seem to be in the cards yet. There will be a black polyurethane Type Cover and a Signature Type Cover that comes in Alcantara, the suede-like material Microsoft has used for its keyboards and on the Surface Laptop in the past.
Microsoft further claims that the Surface Go gets 9 hours of battery life, which comes with the caveat that this was tested by playing a video file that was stored on the device. Microsoft also developed a Surface Type Cover (USD99, around RM397) specifically for the Surface Go, because it's so small, that will apparently give you a laptop-class typing experience with 1mm mechanical travel and a scissor key mechanism. The Surface Go is a 10-inch tablet that starts at a pocket-friendly $399, but you'll need to pony up more cash for more storage and memory. It runs in Windows 10 S mode out of the box but can be switched to regular Windows 10 at any time. After even just a brief time with the Surface Go, we're plenty optimistic about it. Hardware is due to ship on August 2.