Basic Tech Specs
Comparing form and function
The Surface Pen experience was equal to that on my Surface Pro, which I generally find excellent. Surface Pen magnetises firmly to the side of the device unlike the Apple Pencil on an iPad. This is a small but impactful feature because, let's face it, kids lose things. I was a little sad to see that there was no USB port on the Surface Go. While I cannot say that I use it very much, it always offered a good alternative in an emergency. Admittedly, as we continue to work in more online environments and students become more skilled with cloud storage, this will be less of an issue.
I toyed with Office 365 on the Surface Go and everything performed beautifully. Even working in Paint 3D appeared on par with my Surface Pro. Nothing puts a machine through its paces like a bit of gaming, so I fired up Minecraft Education Edition. It performed well on the device but I would be curious to see how it handles being on a class server with 30 other students. The Pentel Gold chip has been a topic of much debate online, but I wasn't able to kill it during my weekend test.
At the end of the day...
The second major consideration is operating system. Surface Go does run a full Windows 10 operating system which is loaded with some amazing tools that are great for learners, including Paint 3D, the deceptively capable Photos app and the Mixed Reality Viewer. The popular Microsoft Office suite is more feature heavy at home in Windows and offers more to students with learning needs. If your school or institution leverage and Office 365 environment, its a no brainer. It will just add up to a better experience.
Finally, the connected keyboard, Surface Pen and option of an additional mouse offer more to the user. If you wanted a Smart Keyboard for iPad, you would have to jump to an iPad Pro (which is $979 AUD) for a base model. Otherwise, a third party Bluetooth keyboard is required. The Surface Go keyboard is perfect for little hands and includes a trackpad. The Surface Pen sticks to the side of the machine, which offers some help in preventing loss but also makes the pen readily accessible and right there when you need it. The optional addition of a mouse also provides more opportunities for individual preferences.
All in all, I really like it. It is the perfect size for students and school - particularly primary and middle school students. It packs in all the features of a full PC in an easy to transport package. Battery life was up to a full day of use, with the Surface Go keeping up with my Surface Pro 4. The build is sleek and high quality - no student would be embarrassed to whip this out in the classroom. I would have liked for it to be a little cheaper, only to see the magic that is the Surface experience in the hands of more students.
This article is based on a personal opinion and was not sponsored.