Microsoft's Surface Go tablet has a sluggish debut

Microsoft's Surface Go tablet has a sluggish debut
Back on August 2nd, Microsoft launched the Surface Go line. These are tablets running Windows 10, powered by a dual-core Intel Pentium 4415Y processor. With a 10-inch display (featuring an 1800 x 1200 resolution), and a price tag starting at $399, these slates were designed to be competition for the Apple iPad. But data from cross-promotion network AdDuplex indicates that the Surface Go has not experienced a fast start.

According to AdDuplex, the Surface Go was responsible for only 1.24% of Surface PC usage during this month up to August 22nd. The only Surface device used less during this time period is the Surface Studio and its 28-inch display. The problem here for Microsoft is that the Surface Go tablets are priced to move, and there might not be much wiggle room for the company to lower prices. Still, the device is doing better in its first month than the Surface Laptop (.6% usage data), and the Surface Book 2 (.4%) did during their debuts.

Even though Microsoft has run prime time ads for the product (click on the video below), these spots seem to get lost in the shuffle. This doesn't mean that Microsoft should give up competing against the iPad. It just means that the company needs to more heavily promote the Surface Go. With the Back-to-School season underway, now might be a good time for Microsoft to widen distribution of the device by offering more than just the 15% discount that one retailer tried earlier this month.

source: AdDuplex via Thurrott

Related phones

Surface Go
  • Display 10.0" 1800 x 1200 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Intel Pentium, Dual-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB



1. domfonusr

Posts: 1094; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I hate to have to say it, but the Surface line is just Microsoft's attempt to sell PC's for almost as much as Apple's Mac's and MacBook's, and yet not really offering more performance. A Surface Go, for $399, and yet equipped with a dual-core Intel Pentium processor, sells for the same amount or more compared to a Windows 10 laptop with an Intel Core i3 from Toshiba, Dell, HP, or a host of others. More than five years ago, I bought a 15.6" full-touchscreen Toshiba Satellite with Intel Core i3 and 6GB RAM for a competitive price... a similar computer, with the same overall specs, from HP or Dell at a similarly competitive price now costs about $350 in 2018. I have been very satisfied with my laptop, and it got me through my final three college years (took me a total of seven years to get my 4-year degree, but I had disabilities that interfered), and although it got beat up being in a bookbag for so much of the time, it is still doing just fine. I hook it up to my parents' television, and we watch Babylon 5 episodes together, streaming from iTunes, these days, among other things. The iPad is not yet as capable as a Windows PC, but it is getting closer all the time, and now has better specs than the Surface Go at a lower price. As I start to look for desktop PC's to replace my parents' aging Windows tower in the basement (which I am typing on at this moment), I am drawn fairly equally toward Windows 10-based Intel Core i3 desktops w/ 6 to 8GB of RAM that start around $400, and an Apple Mac Mini with an older, but slightly better, Intel Core i5 and 4GB of RAM for just $100 more. After watching what Microsoft has done with Windows and hardware in general, I am more torn than ever between these two base options.

3. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

The problem with the Surface Go is not anything you mentioned. Specs. A dual core Intel x86/64bit processor, is more powerful overall than any quad or octacore SoC. The Intel option, has mor einstructions and the code for x86/64 applications is much heavier than what ARM SoC runs. Example, Windows alone has at least over 100M lines of code, while a typical ARM application may have less than 500k lines of code. The issue is marketing. Microsoft has always marketed itself as a business software company. Now that they make hardware, all of them run Windows. When people think of Windows, they think of running power desktop apps from Adobe, or apps like Office and playing high end games with Direct X. They don't see a Surface as a toy, that only runs stripped down server-side applications and can check emails and play time-waster games. Yes the Surface can do this, but Microsoft doesn't have the same developer support with Windows, to do what Google and Apple are doing with Tablets. The Surface overall is not a laptop or a tablet. It is a Windows PC, shoved into a tablet. It can be both to many or one or the other to others. The Surface is not an iPad competitor as long as it runs Windows. if Microsoft wants the Go concept to work, they need to make it be more like an iPad, get devs onboard and market the device, not as a Windows PC, but a Windows Mobile device design for the light everyday tasks of a general purpose tablet. They shouldn't even have used the Surface moniker for the device. They could have called it the Microsoft Go - Powered by Windows or just the Microsoft Go.

12. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I see nothing wrong with what Microsoft is doing with the Surface Line... in fact I think you are missing the point, that it was to encourage their partners to produce more quality products (as well as the regular cheap ones) so that the high end market didn't belong only to Apple.... Yes, the Surface line is expensive by nature, but Microsoft also provides customer service that, IMO, is the best I've experienced in Windows side... I have had Toshiba, Acer, Asus and worked with Dells and HPs.. and the worst part has been dealing with some sort of customer service... But Microsoft has been doing a great job there. The hardware is also very good, and while reliability haven't been well documented, it is also blown out of proportions.... specially Consumer Report that refuses to properly review newer models and still gives a bad review because they "think it will still fail".. I have a Surface Book since 2016 (1st gen.) and besides a couple of issues, that microsoft helped me solve, it has been the single best laptop I've ever used... and the way I am able to work with it, is unlike anything I've ever had... Apple is still stubbornly crippling MacBooks and iPads by not merging the two form factors, and limiting what you could do with each... and they do this so people HAVE to buy BOTH in order to do what I can do with a single device (and even if is Surface-expensive, is still less than a MacBook+iPad) At the end of the day, if all you need is a $200 Chromebook to get you through school and that's it, then you will be fine... a $2000 Surface won't make you a better student, but in the right hands it can transform the way you use a computer, and be actually more productive, creative and efficient with certain task and workload. Mine has served me well in the past 2 years and it has returned my investment more so than any other laptop before it.

14. domfonusr

Posts: 1094; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I almost never use customer service when it comes to Windows-based products. My Dad and I fix pretty much everything that is fixable ourselves. We tend to be able to hang onto computers for seven to ten years at a time. My Dad runs his own computer repair business, and has a basement computer lab where he does all of the major work, though he also goes on-call for some of his business clients, and often works on site when he needs to see the computer's native environment in order to diagnose a problem. He is very good at what he does, and while I am nowhere near as skilled with computers, I have picked up a few things, and do some things myself to this day. Sure, I won't have my Dad around to fix computer issues, that I am not skilled enough or experienced enough to tackle myself, forever, but I am able to mostly maintain things on my own computers without much help. I have never called 'customer care' for a computer problem (I have had issues with mobile phones for which I have called on support, but not for PC's). As far as laptops, go, now that I am out of school, my needs are much smaller than they were previously for power in that segment. I could probably get by with a $200 Chromebook as long as I have a desktop PC to fall back on, and a mobile phone for my mobile needs. I personally believe in diversifying when it comes to platforms, so I would like to have a desktop, laptop, and mobile phone that are different from each other in terms of the platforms that they run, but that can cross-connect accounts for things like Facebook, Google Drive, and other things. I look forward to seeing what Google's Fuchsia can do when they finally release it at some point, as that might take up one of my 'slots' for either a desktop PC, laptop, or mobile phone at some point. Tablets are another matter... haven't really seen the need for one as long as I have a laptop, but at some point someone will make a tablet that can replace a laptop in a more traditional sense. I just don't see the benefit of my spending the added money for a Surface Go, when I could get a traditional laptop cheaper, or even a new iPad for cheaper. There just isn't a true comparison or competition in relation to my needs.

2. domfonusr

Posts: 1094; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

double post...

4. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

They should copy apple when it comes to pc lineup. They should have something to compete with macbook, macbook pro, imac and mac. And their surface go should compete with ipads. Because there are companies that still cater windows support, with low budget and prefers windows.

5. TheNeighbor

Posts: 370; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

It was called Windows RT. I still use the Surface 2. Got me through my master's degree. More capable than an iPad.

11. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

They already kinda do, but at the same time, they are in a class of their own when they started blurring the line between tablets and laptops... Competition goes a bit like this: Surface Pro - iPad Pro Surface Laptop - Macbook / Macbook Air Surface Book - MacBook Pro Surface Studio - iMac Surface Go - iPad However the Surface line can be other things by nature... I have the Surface Book and I often use it in tablet mode, and while I don't have access to the same consumption apps that an iPad offers, I have absolutely no need to get one or the iPad Pro... so in reality my SB is replacing a potential set of iPad/MacBook Pro. The Surface Pro can replace a MacBook Pro for many as well, if you go for the one with Iris Graphics...

6. audibot

Posts: 678; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

man i remember the rt wow problem is i have never heard of this surface go or seen anything on tv, advertising for god sake and good advertising, not stupid ones show it working doing things that you would normally do

7. midan

Posts: 3121; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

People aren't buying Microsoft products if they don't have to.

13. japkoslav

Posts: 1552; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Software wise, I have to agree, hardware wise as well with one exception - Surface tablets. Surface tablets are really good, not great ... it's made by M$, of course, they did some stupid decisions down the line - dock, design, SOC in Surface GO. Still Surface is the best product made by MS.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.