Update: The new device is finally here and it’s called Microsoft Surface Go. It starts at 400$ with an Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC storage (slow storage). For 550$ you can get one with 8GB RAM, and 128GB SSD that is very fast. As always with Microsoft, the keyboard cover is 100$ extra.
It is a Surface device, so it is very durable and well built. Performance is better than Atom processors but still i wouldn’t get the cheaper one. It makes sense for students as a budget option and unless you want to edit videos, render graphics, use engineering applications or do any heavy gaming you will be very happy.
Is it competitive?
I would say that the more expensive model makes sense for students. If you consider any student discounts it should be around 600$ or even less with the keyboard cover. For that price, you have satisfied all the students except the ones doing engineering, graphic design and similar tasks. Students that want software like SPSS and R studio that only run on Windows will be very happy with this device. Maybe even photographers, since the onboard GPU is good enough for Photoshop. Maybe even engineers will be happy as long as they use a workstation on campus for heavy applications.
Article before the announcement starts here.
It is 10/07/2018. It’s been a while since we saw an update to the Surface lineup and there are plenty of rumours suggesting that in the next few days we will see new products from Microsoft.
The affordable one.
There have been for a while now rumours that Microsoft might be making an affordable Surface product. Although this seems weird to me, after all the whole Surface lineup isn’t supposed to be cheap, it’s supposed to make an example for what Windows devices should look like. But anyways, let’s discuss specs.
Rumours say it is a 10-inch device with a 1800×1200, 3×2 display which is a great aspect ratio for Windows. A USB-C and a microSD port. Then the specs are supposed to be, a pentium processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage plus an 8/128 LTE. All that in a smaller Surface pro like device. Now if it includes a keyboard cover, it should cost around 450$. But microsoft tends to like selling the cover for extra, so we may see a smaller and cheaper cover for 50-70$ and the device costing around 400$.
This would be a direct competitor to the iPad from Apple that costs a bit less. But here the question is, will this device beat the A10 in the iPad combined with the lightweight operating system? It has Windows on it that in the latest version work well in tablet mode and have a lot of features for low power PCs. But someone who buys a small computer/tablet like that will probably be fine with an iPad that has longer battery life, no risk for malware (imagine an older person using it) and no complicated extras for most people. If you need to work with photoshop though to do some light photo editing you may prefer the Surface, especially if you are working with RAW files. Of course there is an app for everything and in 2018 photo and even video editing is possible on almost everything but some windows apps like photoshop can’t be replaced.
Something essential that might make a big difference is software. Microsoft has been trying to make windows better at everything for a long time and rumours suggest that Microsoft has been making software changes for a particular product launch. Either they have something new to release other than this cheaper Surface, or they have made changes to the OS or a different version like the Student one we saw last year to make it run better on that low power, cheap Pentium. This may be just an update to the existing student version of windows. I have used that and it does make sense. For most people it is all they need. I had people using Surface laptops with this version of windows without realizing it for more than 6 months. The Microsoft store does have great apps now. It had a slow start but it has become much better.
Another rumour said that Microsoft plans to use an ARM processor on a Surface device and has been working on a version of windows that works best with ARM processors. If that’s true then this may be in the new Surface instead of the Pentium Processor. It will be interesting to see how it will compare to the A10 processor in the iPad. It will also be interested to see how stable that version of windows will be, how it will perform and what other features it may have. It may be completely different since Microsoft would have to make fundamental changes to the OS to make it work perfectly on the ARM architecture.
For now we do not really know but the rumours are between two devices. One has a Pentium processor and the other has an ARM processor. Microsoft will eventually release devices with partners that work on ARM processors with the student version of windows. It makes sense that they will release a similar Surface device. But i don’t know. We will see in the few next days.
Those might be just updates to the regular Surface line including the Laptop, Book and Pro. I don’t think they will change anything about those, just an increase in the specs.
What i would like to see is a thinner Surface Book, a decrease in prices or an upgradable Surface Studio. Or even a Surface Studio monitor. Or all of those. But probably not.
I will update the article once we have more information on the topic. For more science and tech news follow Qul Mind on Facebook and Twitter and for other articles on the topic check the sources at the end of this article.
Image: By WikIan – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59911870