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Microsoft Surface Pro vs Surface Go (2021): Comparing 2-in-1 Detachables

As its name suggests, Microsoft’s Surface Pro is geared toward professionals who need that extra oomph for demanding tasks. In comparison, the Surface Go is made for the budget-conscious who needs an easy-to-carry machine for basic productivity.

That said, we put the Surface Pro 7 and the Surface Go 2 side by side to paint a clearer picture of how the lineups stack up against each other. Basically, the Surface Pro 7 is proof that a 2-in-1 detachable running Windows can deliver a solid performance in a compact package, but it’s not the only one that lives up to that. The Surface Go 2 takes portability a step further but at the cost of raw power. And yet it can still keep up and get through a busy workday.

Surface Pro vs Surface Go Comparison Chart

Microsoft Surface Pro 7Microsoft Surface Go 2
Top-Rated ModelsNew Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3' Touch-Screen - Intel Core i3-4GB Memory - 128GB Solid State...New Microsoft Surface Go 2 - 10.5' Touch-Screen - Intel Pentium - 4GB Memory - 64GB - Wifi -...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Display12.3-inch PixelSense 10-point touchscreen, 2736 x 1824 (267 ppi), 3:2 aspect ratio10.5-inch PixelSense 10-point touchscreen, 1920 x 1280 (220 ppi), 3:2 aspect ratio
Processor10th-generation Intel Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G4, or Core i7-1065G7Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y or 8th-generation Core m3
RAM4GB, 8GB, or 16GB4GB or 8GB
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics (Core i3), Iris Plus Graphics (Core i5 and i7)Intel UHD Graphics 615
SoftwareWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Home in S mode
CameraFront: 5MP, Windows Hello, 1080p
Rear: 8MP, 1080p
Front: 5MP, Windows Hello, 1080p
Rear: 8MP, 1080p
AudioDual far-field microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby AudioDual microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby Audio
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem (nano SIM)
Ports1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A, 1 x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port, microSDXC reader, 3.5mm headphone jack1 x USB-C, 1 x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port, microSDXC reader, 3.5mm headphone jack
BatteryUp to 10.5 hoursUp to 10 hours
AccessoriesSurface Pro Signature Type Cover, Surface Pro Type Cover, Surface Pen, Surface DialSurface Go 2 Type Cover, Surface Pen, Surface Dial
Dimensions11.5” x 7.9” x 0.33”9.65” x 6.9” x 0.33”
WeightCore i3 and i5: 1.70 lbs
Core i7: 1.74 lbs
Wi-Fi: 1.2 lbs
LTE: 1.22 lbs
ColorsPlatinum, Matte BlackPlatinum

Design

The Surface Pro 7 has the sharper panel, but the Surface Go 2’s has better color accuracy and brightness.

Surface Pro vs Surface Go Design
The Platinum (left) and Matte Black (right) Surface Pro 7.

Both look similar in that they have a magnesium chassis and an encompassing flap for their kickstand, which makes for stable positioning on any flat surface. The Surface Pro 7 sports a 12.3-inch PixelSense panel with a 2736 x 1824 resolution, while the Surface Go 2 has a 10.5-inch 1080p screen. The former has a sharper display with a 267 ppi density as opposed to the latter’s 220 ppi.

However, the Surface Go 2 comes out on top in terms of brightness and color accuracy. To be exact, it covers 107 percent of the sRGB spectrum and boasts 408 nits of brightness. In contrast, the Surface Pro 7 produces 97 percent of the sRGB gamut and goes up to 395 nits, which aren’t bad by any means. For the record, they have pretty thick bezels on them.

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the Surface Go 2 has a more compact form factor than the Surface Pro 7. While both are only 0.3-inch thick, it measures at least one inch smaller in height and width. Needless to say, the story’s the same when it comes to weight: the miniature 2-in-1 is 1.2 lbs, while its bigger sibling is 1.7 lbs.

As for color options, both are available in Platinum, but only the Surface Pro 7 comes in Matte Black. Their Type Covers do have more choices, including Poppy Red and Ice Blue.

Performance

The Surface Pro 7 blows the Surface Go 2 out of the water in terms of power and storage.

Surface Pro vs Surface Go Performance
The Surface Pro 7 (left) and the Surface Go 2 (right) with their Type Covers.

Compared to the Surface Go 2, the Surface Pro 7 is a powerhouse. Depending on the configuration, it can house either a 10th-generation Intel Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G4, or Core i7-1065G7. Meanwhile, the Surface Go 2 can either have a Pentium Gold 4425Y or 8th-generation Core m3 under the hood.

For a clearer idea of their difference here, the Core i7 Surface Pro 7 has a single-core score of around 1,500 and a multi-core score of 4,900 on the Geekbench v5 benchmark. Going through the same test, the Core m3 Surface Go 2 manages only a single-core score of about 830 and a multi-core score of 1,500.

In addition, only the Surface Pro 7 can be configured to ship with 16GB of RAM, and all of its models are packing an SSD. On that note, there’s a Surface Go 2 variant with 64GB of eMMC storage. Even though it’s cheaper, it just doesn’t hold a candle to SSDs. Storage capacities for the Surface Pro 7 also go up to 1TB SSD, while the Surface Go 2 maxes out at 128GB SSD.

As for their GPUs, the Core i5 and i7 version of the Surface Pro 7 are backed by Intel’s Iris Plus, which beats the Surface Go 2’s integrated Intel UHD 615 graphics. Sure, neither one will win awards in gaming performance, but the former clearly edges out the latter here.

Click here to see our comparison between the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro.

Connectivity

The Surface Go 2 may have LTE, but the Surface Pro 7 has Wi-Fi 6.

Surface Pro vs Surface Go Connectivity
The Surface Pro 7 (left) and the Surface Go 2 (right) side by side.

True to its purpose, the Surface Go 2 has an LTE variant for productivity on the go, which is made possible thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem coupled with a nano SIM. However, only the Surface Pro 7 has Wi-Fi 6, but both do have Bluetooth 5.0, so there’s that.

Regarding connections, both have one USB-C port, one Surface Connect port, Type Cover port, microSDXC card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. But only the Surface Pro 7 has an additional USB-A port.

Other Features

The Surface Pro 7 and Surface Go 2 have Windows Hello and work with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial.

Surface Pro vs Surface Go Other Features
Here are the Surface Pro 7 (left) and Surface Go 2 (right) with some of their accessories.

Both are compatible with the usual Surface accessories, including the Surface Pen and Surface Dial. They also have the same 5MP front-facing cameras with Windows Hello authentication and 8MP rear snappers.

On a single charge, the Surface Pro 7 is rated to go up to 10.5 hours, while the Surface Go 2 can last up to 10 hours. However, real-life tests with typical usage show that the latter works as advertised and even tops the former by about two hours.

To no one’s surprise, both run on Windows 10, but the Surface Go 2 has an S Mode version of the operating system. That just means installing third-party apps aren’t allowed, but it’s as easy as 1-2-3 to opt out of it and get the full Windows 10 experience.

Verdict

Each one has their strong points, and it’s hard to go wrong with either one.

The Surface Pro 7 may be better across the board than the Surface Go 2 because of its faster performance, sharper screen, and more advanced Wi-Fi connection. But the latter isn’t going down without a fight. It has better color accuracy, a higher max brightness, and LTE, making it more suitable for outdoor use.

Rather than declaring a winner here, it’d be better to say the Surface Pro 7 is better suited for power users, while the Surface Go 2 is for those who need a portable productivity machine.

FAQs

📌 Which is better, the Surface Pro or Surface Go?

Overall, the Surface Pro line has better performance than the Surface Go, but the latter typically has a smaller size, making it more portable while having enough power for basic productivity tasks.

📌 Is a Surface Go worth it?

Yes. The Surface Go has decent performance, but where it really stands out is in its relatively affordable price point and compact form factor.

📌 Can a Surface Go 2 replace a laptop?

Technically, the Surface Go 2 can. However, it doesn’t have that many ports, so to truly replace a laptop, an expansion dock or something along those lines is more or less necessary.

📌 Which is better, the Surface Pro 7 or the Surface Go 2?

Neither one is exactly better than the other. The Surface Pro 7 does have a sharper screen and faster performance, but the Surface Go 2 has better color accuracy, brightness, and an LTE option, making it the better on-the-go machine.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.