Microsoft announces entry-level Surface Go

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Microsoft late Monday added a smaller sibling to its Surface line of tablets - the Surface Go.

One of the more interesting components of the Surface Go is the low-end Intel processors.

The Microsoft Surface Go can be used as a lightweight tablet, too. Back in 2016, Surface Phone images and renders appeared online for the fabled, dual-screen device. All signs indicate it's created to be affordable.

The tablet features a built-in kickstand, 10-inch PixelSense Display that will support the Surface Pen and will run Windows 10 Home in S mode or Windows 10 Pro depending on user preference.

The new tablet is also the first to have both USB-C and Microsoft's Surface Connector, following the introduction of USB-C to the Surface Book 2 in December. That Apple has offered up an even cheaper version of the iPad in the wake of a stagnating tablet market has likely lit even more of a fire under Microsoft.

"When we designed this device, we had to ask ourselves what people want and need from a 10" Surface", Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay wrote in a blog announcing the device. The new Surface Go is super-thin as well, at just 8.9mm thick you can put it anywhere.

By lowering the entry level pricing of the Surface family to $399, this opens the door to more usage scenarios where I higher-powered device is not needed. This gold processor is the big question mark in the whole Surface Go idea as we are yet to see whether it will be powerful enough to drive demanding Windows applications.

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Microsoft further claims that the Surface Go gets 9 hours of battery life, which comes with the caveat that this was tested by playing a video file that was stored on the device. At US$399 (R5 350 before taxes at the time of writing), the device is $400 cheaper than the current Surface Pro tablet, but has slower Intel processors and about four hours less battery time, Microsoft said. The iPad, on the other hand, runs on the Apple A10 Fusion chip.

A keyboard case with a trackpad will go on sale at the same time for between $99 and $129, depending on the color, and a Bluetooth mouse costs $34.99.

The starting configuration comes with 4GB of RAM but 8GB is also available.

The Surface Go will be up for pre-order this July 10th, and out later in August.

Make no mistake, Microsoft's Surface business in total is still a fraction of Apple's enormous hardware revenues.

You can preorder Surface Go today in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Taiwan, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Malaysia, and Thailand.