• November 30, 2021

Microsoft Surface Go 2 Review: An Improvement in Every Way

The sides of the Surface Go 2 are where you’ll find a USB-C port, power button, volume rocker, headphone jack (yay!), and SIM card slot if you have the LTE model. There’s also a nice scallop at the base of the kickstand, which makes it easy to pry open. Behind the kickstand is where you’ll find the MicroSD card slot.

It’s worth noting that in these video conferencing times, the 5-megapixel front-facing camera on the Surface Go 2 is much better than what I’ve used on most laptops. Though, the color cast often shifted dramatically as I moved, oscillating between a fairly normal white balance to an overly-green, washed-out look reminiscent of an Instagram filter.

The Accessories

The hybrid tablet-laptops of the world exist on a spectrum that runs from pure tablets, like the iPad, to pure laptops. The Surface Go 2, which is capable of some tablet-like behavior, leans toward the laptop end of the spectrum.

Alas, the keyboard and the pen are still sold separately. The Type Cover will set you back $129 and, if you plan to do anything more than browsing the web and watching movies, it is a must-have. The backlit keyboard is a little on the small side, but I adapted pretty quickly and after a couple of days I was able to type just as fast as I can on the Lenovo laptop I use most of the time.

My only complaint about the Type Cover is that in the raised mode, where it’s attached at a slight angle, I tended to accidentally hit the screen quite frequently. This is one area where having larger hands can be a disadvantage. Luckily, this mode isn’t significantly different than keeping the Type Cover flat. There’s also a Pen and a Surface Mouse available, though Microsoft did not provide either with my tester unit.

To cut down on costs, you can always go the route of getting a separate, cheap Bluetooth keyboard to use with the Surface Go 2. There are third-party alternatives that will be just as elegant of a solution worth looking into as well.

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Windows S-mode Lives On

Unlike iPads and Android tablets, the Surface Go 2 ships with a “real” desktop operating system—Windows 10. This remains both the best and most disappointing thing about the device.

It’s nice because, in theory, all the power of Windows—and the ability to run any desktop application—are baked in. But as with the previous Surface Go, Windows ships in what Microsoft calls S-mode. Windows in S-mode attempts to impose some restrictions you’ll see in app stores on other platforms to Windows. For example, you can only install software from the Microsoft Store out of the box, which might cut it if you mainly use popular applications such as Microsoft Office and the like.

Photograph: Microsoft 

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