May 11, 2020

It’s go time: meet the new Surface Go 2

The smallest member of the Surface family, the 2-in-1 Surface Go, may have only made its official debut two years ago, but it’s already found its place as the ultimate tablet for firstline workers and students. It quickly gained market traction in the education and enterprise sectors for its unmatched mobility, swiss-army-knife-like functionality and attractive price point.

Now, Microsoft have announced the latest round of upgrades with the Surface Go 2 launching on 12 May 2020. This time, it’s all about giving users power to do more, no matter where they are or what they need to achieve.

Without further ado, let’s dive into what the new Surface Go 2 will bring to your workplace or education setting.

What can you expect in Surface Go 2?

The quick rundown:

  • More power and performance – from 7th to 8th gen processors
  • Better batteries – 2 hours additional battery life, fast charging (80% charge in less than an hour) and instant on
  • Larger screen – Thinner bezels increase the screen size from 9.8-inch to 10.5-inch while maintaining the same overall size of the device
  • Dual SIM compatibility – Support for both e-SIM and physical SIMs
  • Longer SurfaceConnect cable – Now doubled in length to 80cm
  • Kiosk mode – Configurable battery limits to maintain performance
  • Eco-friendly brown box packaging

Packing more punch

For business customers, Surface Go really found its niche as the perfect compact device for mobile workers – whether going meeting to meeting, onsite or interstate. However, the main feedback from customers revolved around its lack of power. It’s true, the Surface Go was never designed to be an all-purpose machine tackling power-intensive tasks. But business users who like the small-form factor have found those limitations, well, just too limiting.

The first generation Surface Go came with 2 CPU options – Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y and Core M3. Compared to other devices in the Surface lineup, these are relatively low-end, and again only cater for light productivity tasks. Even for the customers that spec-ed out their devices with the more powerful Pentium Gold, they still lacked the oomph needed to multitask across applications.

In response, Surface Go 2 has had a significant performance boost. Microsoft have upgraded the latest model from a 7th gen Intel Pentium Gold to an 8th gen – turfing out the 4415Y replacing it with a 4425Y. That’s the top end CPU, so customers can expect a notable performance improvement. While the 8th gen Pentium Gold has been very much aligned to the daily tasks of information workers, budget-aligned education customers will benefit from a few different affordable Core M processors.

Conveniently powered mobility

Surface Go 2 will include fast charging to take the battery from 0 to 80% in about an hour. They’ve also included the popular instant on feature which means the device is perpetually ready to go. It’s not a setting, rather instant on gets the device from off to ready-to-use in seconds, with minimal battery drain.

Battery life has been given a boost too with Microsoft reporting an additional 2 hours of battery life with this edition – ensuring your device performs for 11 hours all up.

Battery protection in kiosk mode

This is a game-changing addition for some industries. Incremental support of kiosk mode allows you to configure battery limits to maintain battery performance. Typically, devices used as kiosks are plugged in for extended periods, adversely impacting the lifespan of a battery. With the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) settings, you’ll now be able to enable Battery Limit (which limits charge to about 50%) to avoid problems like battery swelling.

A much-welcomed bigger screen

Unique to the Surface Go, wide bezels on either side of the device left plenty of room to rest weary thumbs or petite student hands without blocking the screen. But it turns out that design feature wasn’t all that critical, particularly for kids who are growing up surrounded by all sorts of digital devices – they intuitively know how to handle edge-to-edge screens. In fact, most customers didn’t care for the screen edging, they wanted a modern looking device with razor thin bezels. As a result, you’ll now enjoy 10.5-inches of screen real estate (up from 9.8), and 22% thinner bezels.

Travelling is easier with dual SIM compatibility

International travellers in particular will benefit from this feature. At home, an e-SIM with a local telco provider will keep you connected. If you’re globe-trotting, you can slot in a physical SIM from your destination to use the data services of the country you’re in, while keeping the existing e-SIM profile upon return.

Connectivity you can count on

With this new model comes a longer SurfaceConnect cable. It’s now twice as long at 80cms – a small but important update for the many who found its length inhibiting. Connectivity ports remain unchanged with users still having the USB-C, SurfaceConnect, Micro SD, and Near Field Communication (NFC) at their disposal, as well as the option of LTE.

From mobile to desktop, with the new Surface Dock

Instantly transforming your ultraportable Surface into a desktop PC, a refreshed Surface Dock 2 adds to the growing list of exciting announcements. Its internal makeover includes USB-C, dual 4k monitor support and, perhaps most importantly, a bigger power supply. The latter addresses a known issue with the dock discharging, even while plugged in, when hooked up to a number of peripherals.

For IT teams, firmware updates and management features are going to make their lives a whole lot easier. Previously, updating the firmware required connecting a Surface device into each and every dock to run an updating program. Now, firmware updates are automatic and will also feature:

  • Wake on LAN – Remotely wake to perform management or maintenance tasks or enable solutions such as Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager automatically. For example, you can deploy applications during a scheduled window at night, to avoid disruption.
  • Network Boot – Start up and load an operating system or other program directly from the network without any locally attached storage device.
  • Surface Enterprise Management Mode (SEMM) – Via Surface UEFI, you can secure and manage firmware settings within your organisation. IT professionals can prepare configurations of UEFI settings and install them on a Surface device.

The Surface Go 2 verdict

It’s clear that Microsoft have taken the design principles of previous devices and refined the innovation while keeping features that customers love – the generous trackpad, rendered screen edges, snappy magnetic connection between keyboard and tablet, fully articulated kickstand.

What has changed is the mobility capabilities. The processors are more powerful, the battery charges quickly and lasts longer, the e-SIM supports global travellers, and the screen is that little bit more generous.

Enterprise customers who found some shortcomings with the original Surface Go – but loved the highly portable form factor – will be won over by these upgrades, particularly the addition of increased processing power options.

As a compact, versatile and affordable device, we also expect to see these devices remain a popular choice for primary schools.

Ready to explore further?

As Microsoft’s largest Australian partner, Data#3 is your go-to partner for end-to-end support, maintenance and training for all your Surface fleet requirements.

To learn more about the latest additions to the Surface family, request a demo device, or place an order, get in touch with a Data#3 Microsoft Specialist today.

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