Microsoft Surface Go 3 Review: Battery Buster

In the previous, Microsoft has struggled to marry its legacy desktop working system with extra fashionable touchscreen interfaces. The Surface Go 3 is the right illustration of this downside. The touchscreen expertise on Windows 11 is healthier, however on account of restricted {hardware} and middling battery life, it’s nonetheless irritating to make use of.

The new Surface Go 3 is a modest spec bump from its predecessor, nevertheless it additionally launches alongside Windows 11, the first-named iteration of Microsoft’s OS since Windows 10 launched in 2015. That replace brings quite a lot of quality-of-life upgrades for touchscreen customers, which could make this pill interesting for informal readers and note-takers. I simply want the battery lasted just a little longer.

Minor Updates

At first look, it may not look like the Surface Go 3 is that a lot totally different from its predecessor, however look underneath the hood and … effectively, there nonetheless isn’t a lot distinction. The new tablets run on Tenth-generation Intel chips, which is a marked enchancment over the eighth-generation processors used within the Surface Go 2. However, if uncooked energy was your solely concern, you’d nonetheless in all probability be higher off taking a look at a comparably priced iPad.

The base mannequin begins at 64 GB of inner storage and 4 GB of RAM, although you would possibly wish to spring for extra of every. I examined the Intel Core i3 mannequin ($630) which comes with a 128-GB SSD and eight GB of RAM, which often strained a bit throughout a traditional workday. It by no means dipped into what I’d essentially take into account poor efficiency—besides when utilizing Chrome, however extra on that later—I additionally had the most effective model of Surface Go 3’s {hardware}. That’s one thing to bear in mind when deciding which mannequin to purchase.

Physically, the Surface Go 3 can be very like its predecessor. That’s a very good factor. It maintains the identical 10.5-inch show with Goldilocks bezels—sufficiently small to really feel minimal whereas nonetheless providing you with a strong grip. It has a MicroSD card reader tucked underneath the fold-out kickstand and a single USB-C port on the aspect subsequent to the headphone jack.

You can nonetheless magnetically stick (*3*) to the aspect of the Go 3 for comfort and charging, however the newer Surface Slim Pen can’t be connected the identical means. It’s nonetheless suitable as a wi-fi pen and could be paired with the pill, however you’ll must cost it by way of USB-C each every now and then. This is disappointing, however hey, the Surface Pen works effective and is just a little cheaper than the Slim Pen. It’s no enormous loss.

Photograph: Microsoft

A Better Tablet OS

The most substantial change on the Surface Go 3 isn’t the {hardware}, however the concurrent arrival of Windows 11. Microsoft has by no means fairly nailed the steadiness between desktop and touchscreen interface, however this expertise is the closest to this point. The revamped taskbar, extra touch-friendly settings menus, and an up to date File Explorer all work extra intuitively together with your finger than the clunky context menus and tiny contact targets of Windows 10.

However, that is an incremental enchancment at finest. There are nonetheless moments the place it’s clear the interface expects you to make use of a mouse. You can drag a window to the left or proper aspect of the display screen to snap right into a side-by-side view, however there’s no apparent means to make use of Windows 11’s new, extra helpful Snap Group layouts.

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