Microsoft Surface Go 3: price, features and everything we know

As we expected, Microsoft announced the Surface Go 3 at its Fall 2021 hardware event. We’d seen an influx of rumors recently, which made the likely hood of an appearance likely, so we were pleased to see the affordable 2-in-1 device get an update.

© Provided by TechRadar Press images of Surface Go 3 tablet

Toting up to 10th generation Intel processors, and with Windows 11 pre-installed, the Surface Go 3 looks like it could be an ideal device for students, or anyone who likes the look of the Surface Pro 8 (which was also announced at the event), but doesn’t want to pay the premium price tag of Microsoft’s flagship device.

Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it with any new details that reach our desks.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next-generation Surface Go  
  • When is it out? Pre-orders are now live
  • What will it cost? Starting at $399/£369/AU$629

 Surface Go 3 release date 

The Surface Go 3 was announced at Microsoft’s Fall Hardware Event on September 22, 2021. As well as announcing the new device, Microsoft also revealed that pre-orders are live as well.

With it coming with Windows 11 pre-installed, it will get into people’s hands on October 5, 2021, alongside the operating system’s launch.

Surface Go 3 price  

The Surface Go line has always felt like Microsoft’s attempt at securing the budget market and giving Apple’s iPad and iPad mini a good run for their money.

It definitely succeeded there, touting the original Surface Go at $399 (£379, AU$599) for its lowest configuration and $549 (£509, AU$839) maxed-out. The Surface Go 2 is just as affordable, starting at $399 (£379, AU$599), although it does go up to $729.99 (£719, AU$1,199) for its highest configuration.

In the UK, we now have a launch price of £369, which is slightly cheaper than the original Surface Go sold for. In the US, the starting price remains the same at $399.

In Australia, the starting price is slightly higher at AU$629.00.

Surface Go 3 specifications

The Surface Go 3 comes with a 10.5-inch 1920 x 1280 resolution display, 4GB or 8GB RAM, and either a dual-core Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor, or quad-core 10th generation Intel Core i3-10100Y.

This should be fine for most day-to-day tasks, though it won’t compete with the Surface Pro 8 when it comes to performance.

It also runs Windows 11 S Mode, which is a limited version of the operating system which only allows you to install apps from the Microsoft Store. This could help prevent people from installing apps that the Surface Go 3 will struggle with.

If that sounds a bit worrying then don’t worry, as hopefully it’s easy to switch off S Mode to use the full version of Windows 11, allowing you to run any app you like. You may find that the Surface Go 3 will struggle with some of these applications, however, and we’d rule out any gaming as well – unless you stream games via Xbox Game Pass.

What we want to see in a Surface Go 3  

The Surface Go 2 is already a pretty impressive Windows 10 tablet, rocking a premium design and decent specs for less. It’s certainly a great value for consumers who don’t want to spend close to a thousand dollars for a tablet.

However, as can be expected in cheaper devices, it also comes with its share of shortcomings. The base model is underpowered. Considering that there are quite a few Android tablets out that will give you what you need for a lot less, and you’re missing the Type Cover and Surface Pen, which you have to purchase separately, it’s not as compelling a purchase for its target audience as its rivals.

So, for the Surface Go 3 to be really worth it, Microsoft would need to make a few adjustments. Luckily, the company has a couple of years to work on necessary improvements. In the meantime, let’s talk about what we’re hoping to see in the Surface Go 3.

More power in its base model

Those hoping to only use the Surface Go 3 as a tablet, either for after-work entertainment or catch up on current events and with loved ones on social media might be satisfied with the line’s entry-level configuration. To the rest – students, for example – the base model will feel it underpowered, especially next to its cheaper Android rivals.

The higher configurations are more powerful, certainly. But, you’re then paying more, which beats the purpose of getting a cheap tablet.

If Microsoft wants to convince more budget buyers to upgrade to the next-generation Surface Go, it needs to give its base model a bit more juice.

Cheaper configurations

Something we hope might happen with Microsoft opting to use AMD chips, replacing the Intel chips in the Surface Go’s earlier models, is for the price to drop – if not for its base model, then for its higher configurations. That will make it more in line with its Android rivals in price.

Of course, the aforementioned lower-powered AMD chips might not even show up in the Surface Go 3. If it does, however, it might prove an even better value to its target audience.

Higher resolution cameras

Both generations of the Surface Go feature the same 5MP front-facing and 8MP rear cameras, but let’s face it, those resolutions are hardly enough these days. The Surface Duo has an 11MP camera while the Surface Pro X has a 10MP rear-facing one. 

Type Cover and/or stylus pen included

One of the biggest gripes about the Surface Go line is that they do not come with a Type Cover or a stylus pen. For those looking to use it as a tablet, that’s certainly not a problem. And, to be fair, its biggest competitor, the iPad, doesn’t either. 

Still, Microsoft is touting this as its “smallest, lightest 2-in-1 laptop” – and what is a laptop without its keyboard and trackpad. Microsoft cannot hope to continue touting the Surface Go as one without that Type Cover, especially not to students who’d rather not spend an extra $100+ for it.

Slimmer bezels

Microsoft did shrink the bezel on the Surface Go 2 so it has an even bigger display without increasing the tablet’s size. However, the Surface Pro X has proven that even slimmer bezels are possible, so it would be nice to see the Surface Go 3 to follow suit, giving its users a bigger screen area for the same device footprint.

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