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Ready to Go? Microsoft’s New Hybrid Upping the Education Ante

Launched with much fanfare this summer, the latest member of the ubiquitous Surface family the Surface Go is available to buy now. Aimed squarely at the Education market, this new price-conscience and ultra-light hybrid enters a fierce market with the Apple iPad and Google’s budget Chromebooks having already carved out a sizeable chunk of market share, respectively. Not to mention the plethora of sub €500 Windows 10 laptops and bargain-basement 2in1 tablet devices out there. So where exactly does the new Surface junior fit in this hierarchy? To claim it’s an iPad killer is off the mark as you’re not comparing like with like (And Apple’s pricing starts at €369) and it certainly won’t get close to Chromebooks on price. Instead it would appear, Microsoft is pitching the Surface Go at teachers and students that want the functionality of a laptop, the convenience of a tablet plus ultra-portability. Microsoft have been here before of course, the original Surface RT and  its sequel the RT 2 crashed and burned commercially and the Surface 3,  whilst attracting a loyal fanbase (I’m the proud owner of one that’s in daily use) never gained real market traction. So is it fourth time lucky?

The existing Surface range is synonymous with premium hardware, with premium pricing to match (Starting just shy of €1000 for the latest incarnation) so there have been inevitable compromises to the get the Go under the €500 price point. However, despite appearances, this isn’t simply a shrunken Surface Pro with less oomph, instead, Microsoft claim to have completely re-engineered the device and the Go is the smallest, lightest Surface yet. Weighing in at just over 500g, the Surface Go has a 10-inch high-res display, powered by an Intel Pentium processor, pressure-sensitive pen capabilities and a 165 degree kickstand. It’s hard to argue that you’re not getting bang for buck and the Go designed to hit a particular price point, and get budget-conscience students and indeed schools alert. So is the Surface Go the perfect fit for the classroom? Microsoft, needless to say certainly thinks so and on it’s UK Microsoft Educator blog goes as far as bullet pointing why..

– 10” Screen, weighing 1.15 pounds and 8.3mm thin
– MSRP £379
– High-resolution PixelSense Display
– Built to watch videos, create art or editing photos
– Designed to scale most school textbooks for comfort in portrait and landscape mode
– Writing on the screen feels natural
– Built for Microsoft 365 Education experience
– Perfect for using 3D and Mixed Reality experiences within Windows 10 in S-Mode
– Read or watch in Tablet Mode, type on Laptop Mode and draw in Studio Mode
– Enjoy better accuracy with an extra-large trackpad

And that’s only the start of it…Read More

The Surface Go with type cocer, pen and bluetooth mouse
Personally I see the Surface Go’s ability to be both a tablet and a laptop with full Windows (Including legacy software support) as the real attraction here. Yes the aforementioned Surface 3 offered this also but this time around the Go is better designed and more balanced. It’s not perfect, in particular the fact that the (almost) obligatory type-cover adds a minimum €99 to the bottom line, whilst a Surface pen (Not as essential but nice to have nonetheless) will set you back a further €120. So you’ll quickly find the final price escalating at a rate of knots, which is a tad irksome as the true cost of ownership should be more transparent. However, with that said and as a current Surface 3 user, I’m delighted to see that Microsoft have finally got around to releasing a new, improved and premium successor, instead of just focussing on high end Surface Pro devices, laptops and Surface books. Maybe fourth time around, this iteration will prove the hybrid device for the masses (And classes!). Time will tell…

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