Microsoft sticks faster chips in the tiny Surface Go 3

Just don't expect a redesign.

Microsoft Surface Go 3 (Microsoft)

Microsoft's new Surface launches include a refresh for its smallest tablet, the Surface Go 2. The tech firm has unveiled the Surface Go 3, a performance-focused upgrade that brings faster chips to the 10.5-inch slate. The base model gets a relatively slight bump to a Pentium Gold 6500Y (up from a 4425Y in the Go 2), while the higher spec jumps from the Core m3 to a quad-core 10th-generation Core i3. You’ll get up to a 60 percent speed boost, Microsoft claimed. You’ll definitely want that quicker i3 if you juggle multiple apps.

Don’t expect a revolution otherwise, though. You’re still saddled with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and you’ll need to spring for the 128GB or 256GB SSD options if you want to avoid the pokey 64GB eMMC storage in the base Surface Go 3. You’ll have to be content with the 1,920 x 1,080 screen and lone USB-C port, too. Microsoft still includes a microSD slot and an option for LTE data, at least, and the 11 hours of claimed battery life (appropriate for a Windows 11 machine) is still solid.

Accordingly, the prices are largely the same. The Surface Go 3 is available for pre-order today ahead of its October 5th launch starting at $400 with the Pentium chip, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. You’ll likely want to spend $630 for the jump to the Core i3 model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. You’ll have to wait a while to buy LTE models that carry a $100 premium over their WiFi-only equivalents. And no, the keyboard cover ($100) and pen (starting at $100) aren’t included.

This update might be disappointing if you were hoping for an overhaul. It’s a speed bump for a design that hasn’t changed much since 2018, and the base version is still likely to be too slow for more than simple tasks. We wouldn’t rush to buy this incarnation if you already have a Surface Go — this is more for newcomers who prefer Microsoft’s tiniest Windows machine.

Follow all of the news from Microsoft's fall Surface event right here.

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