Happy Plugs Air 1 Wireless Headphones Review

I’ve always said good headphones shouldn’t cost a fortune. However, cheap headphones shouldn’t be bad either. Check why the Happy Plugs Air 1s made me anything but happy.

You should probably just get the Air Pods.

When I first opened the Happy Plugs Air 1 Wireless Headphones, my first impression was that they were close in look and feel to Apple’s ubiquitous Air Pods. However, my experience was far from what you experience when setting up and using Air Pods. 


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What’s In The Box

It was a box of Q-Tips…

The unboxing experience of the Happy Plugs Air 1 was utilitarian, which is expected from lower priced wireless headphones. 

Inside the box were. 

  • Happy Plus Air 1 Ear Buds
  • Charging Case 
  • Silicon Ear Sleeves 
  • Micro USB Cable 
  • Multilingual Manual

Happy Plugs promises 14 hrs of playback time with the Air 1s

What I Liked – Pros 

Comfort & Fit 

When I first tried to use the Air 1 earbuds, the fit in my ear was awful. Anything more than sitting perfectly still led to one or both buds falling from my ear. Then I tried the silicon ear sleeves and the fit in the ear was far better. Time will tell if natural oils from my skin will lead to the earbuds falling out again. Overall, the fit is solid, and they are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time as long as you use the ear sleeves.


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Control, Control, You Must Have Control 

Like many other wireless headphones, the Air 1s offer touch controls built into each earbud, but one thing that stood out was the quantity of controls available. 

There are 14 different touch controls including Play/Pause, Volume Up/Down, Previous/Next Track and Google Assistant/Siri launch.  Sadly my use of them was short lived. Read on to see why!

Sound Quality 

The Air 1 sound quality far exceeded what I was expecting given the price point of $49.99. Music was punchy and there were no issues with overly thin sounds. They were a tad on the bassy side, but I would rather that over the alternative of flat, thin audio. 

Spoken audio from podcasts and audiobooks were handled well and the few phone calls I made with them were great. However, as is the case with all lower-end wireless ear buds, they only have 2 microphones so in some instances, callers on the other end had issues hearing me. 


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What I Did Not Like – Cons 

Reliability 

When I first charged and connected the Happy Plug, both buds worked great. However, since that first use, the left ear bud will power on, but cannot connect to any device I try to pair it with.  I have tried the reset function a dozen times and have had no luck. Without the use of the left ear bud, 50% of the touch functions are unavailable including the Google Assistant/Siri activation.

Design 

There are two types of people in the world; those who like Air Pods and those who do not. While I do not mind wearing ear buds using the Air Pod, or Q-tip, design, they look odd. I much prefer the more bean style like those of the Samsung Galaxy Buds or the Jabra series. The Happy Plugs, using the Air Pod approach have an added layer of design I do not like. The silver trim at the bottom of the ear bud just looks tacky. The Air Pods have it, see below, but it is more subtle and does not look as cheap.

Air Pod 2 (left) | Air 1 (Right)

I will give the case some props though. I like how easy it is to open and pulling the ear bud out is quite easy too. I am also reviewing the Anker Soundcore Life P2 TWS ear buds right now and the orientation used for the case makes it particularly challenging to pull out the buds without having to preform hand gymnastics to get them ready for your ear. 


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Should You Buy The Happy Plugs Air 1

In a word, no. Yes, at about $50 depending on where you find the Air 1s, they cost a fraction of what the Air Pods do and look almost the same. However, the overall form, function and quality leave me doubting that you would get more than a few months out of these. If cost is a factor, there are dozens of other brands out there that make a reliable product. They may not look this close to the Air Pods, but something like the aforementioned Soundcore Life P2’s from Anker are a far better option and cost considerably less.

You should probably just buy the Air Pods…


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Overall, I gave the Happy Plugs Air 1s a 2.5 out of 5. They got some things right, but overall they missed the mark for me.

Let me know what you think about the Happy Plugs, Air Pods or other true wireless headphones in the comments!


Check out other Wireless Headphone Reviews!

Blitzwolf BW-FYE4 Review

Blitzwolf BW-FYE5 Review

Blitzwold BW-ANC1 Review

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go Review

The Surface Laptop Go Review: Everything you would expect from a Microsoft Surface in a smaller package.

My Favourite Surface Ever!


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Intro

I’ve spent the last two months using the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go. After getting over the lack of a few premium features such as inking support and a backlit keyboard, I am convinced that this is possibly one of the best Surface devices ever released. It is certainly my favourite.

I used the Surface Go and Go 2 in the past few years and enjoyed them; they left me wanting more out of them and feeling like I wasn’t getting the full Surface experience. On the face of it, the Surface Go is a miniaturized Surface Pro, but with the power of the Pentium Gold processor, lack of RAM and a slightly cramped keyboard and trackpad, I felt slightly underwhelmed compared to my times with the Surface Pros and Books.

I went into my time with the Surface Laptop Go expecting the same thing—a boiled-down version of the Surface Laptop. After two months, that absolutely wasn’t the experience I had.



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Specs

The below specs are of the unit Microsoft send me for review. It was a top-end version of the Surface Laptop Go, so please keep that in mind while reading through!

Display: 12.4-inch PixelSense Display, 1536 x 1024 pixel resolution (148ppi), 3:2 aspect ratio, 10-point multi-touch

Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1

Memory: 8GB LPDDR 4x RAM

Storage: 256GB SSD

Dimensions: 278.18 x 205.67 x 15.69mm Weight: 1,110g (2.45lb)

Camera: 720p HD f/2.0 front-facing camera

Operating System: Windows 10 Home in S Mode

Battery: Up to 13 hours of “typical device usage”

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 6

Sensors: Ambient light sensor Ports: 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x Surface Connect port

Graphics: Intel UHD graphics



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Display

The display on the Surface Laptop Go is a lower resolution (1536 x 1024 pixels) than what you find on other Surface machines but, as was the case with previous Surfaces I have used, including the Go versions, the Laptop Go’s display was bright, vibrant and for my use, accurate. No, it isn’t Full HD, but this is not a media consumption device. It is geared towards users who are on the go and need something small, reliable and well built.

Like all other Surface devices, the Laptop Go has the same 3:2 aspect ratio. I think that all laptops should have this aspect ratio. I think the world is over 16:9. Some manufacturers have moved to 16:10, which is great, but for productivity, nothing beats 3:2.

Like all Surface computers, the Laptop Go has a touch screen. It works well, but with the laptop form factor compared to the Surface Pro and Go tablet-style, I didn’t use it much. It was more for scrolling webpages and documents.


Ports and Connectivity

I/O ports and Surface devices have always been a point of contention. Microsoft has taken the Apple approach of less is more, but they have also taken a safe approach by being slow to adopt the newest I/O connectivity on their devices.

The Surface Laptop Go is no exception. Onboard you have a Surface connect power port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, one USB 3.0 Type-A port and one USB 3.0 Type-C port.

I read many complaints that the Laptop Go should have had USB-C charging and Thunderbolt 3. While I agree with the charging, this is a budget laptop, and for the target market, Thunderbolt 3 would have driven up the cost of the device.

In my opinion, this is the first Surface to strike the right amount of ports for the type of customer it is geared towards. The single USB-C port is acceptable in this context, considering the most you will need to connect to a machine of this type is a USB-C display adapter, your smartphone or other USB-C peripherals such as a card reader. If the USB-C port is occupied, you can easily fall back to the USB-A port.

I don’t have strong feelings about the 3.5mm headphone port. That was a feature on many devices a few years ago, but TWS headphones are much more readily available and affordable today than wired headphones are nothing more than an inconvenience.

The only port I would change would be to ditch the Surface Connect port for another USB-C port for charging. I am hoping Microsoft takes that bold move away from the proprietary power connection some time in 2021. Fingers crossed!


USB-A – USB-C – 3.5mm
Surface Connect Power

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Performance

I eluded to this earlier, but I had low expectations for the Laptop Go. My previous Go experiences were positive but slightly underwhelming. In my time with the Laptop Go, I was amazed at how well it kept pace with other more powerful devices.

The 8GB of RAM helped, but I think the difference-maker is the processor compared to the Surface Go devices. The Laptop Go comes with an i5, regardless of the model, whereas the Surface Go offers a Pentium Gold processor, which is wildly underpowered by today’s standards.

Microsoft’s decision to avoid a low powered processor is a massive win for Laptop Go customers.

My Surface Laptop Go use was not incredibly heavy, but I did have to jump in and out of Photoshop periodically. Not once did I feel like the Go was lacking. Like all other Adobe apps, Photoshop is a heavy app, but the Go was up for the challenge.


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Fingerprint reader in the power button.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Pen

The keyboard on the Laptop Go is amazing. I can’t really say much more than that. With each new surface device, I use I fall more and more for the keyboard. I used to put Lenovo on a pedestal when it came to keyboards. However, as I type this review between an X1 Carbon and this very Surface Laptop Go for the purposes of comparison, the X1 doesn’t meet the mark. Surface Laptop, to me, is the new keyboard king.

The touchpad, like all other surface devices is large and pleasant to use. I found it to be accurate and responsive.

When I initially received the Laptop Go, I was excited to use my Surface Pen, like all other surfaces. However, I had forgotten that the Laptop Go does not support inking. At first, I viewed this as a disappointment and a mark against the device. Then, when considering my earlier points about the device’s form factor, its intended audience and its price, the pen and inking support would add cost to an already premium-priced device.



Software and Windows 10

The Surface Laptop Go, like its other Go family members and the original Surface Laptop, ships with Windows 10 in S mode. In case you are unaware, Windows 10 in S mode restricts users to install apps from the Microsoft Store only. This is good for organizations that do not want their users getting into trouble installing potentially harmful applications. It is also good if you’re only browsing the web and happy with the default apps like Edge (which you should be because it is great!) and the Mail and Calendar apps. The store does contain many popular apps like Twitter and Facebook Messenger as well.

For someone like myself who likes to test various different applications or has legacy applications, I use for various purposes, S mode does not work for me. Thankfully, you can easily turn off S mode with a quick settings toggle.

Other than S mode, Windows 10 is Windows 10 and for me, that is a good thing!


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Windows 10 in S Mode Settings
A few clicks will free you from the shackles of Windows 10 in S Mode.

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Pros:

  • Premium build quality
  • Outstanding webcam
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • Intel Core i5 processor

Cons:

  • No backlit keyboard
  • No support for inking
  • Lower resolution display
  • Limited I/O

Conclusion: Should You Buy The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go?

I always find myself hard-pressed not to recommend a Surface device, which is still the case here. I will admit, the Surface Laptop Go is expensive, some may say too expensive, but with a Surface device, you are buying into a family of devices that are incredibly well built, well supported and look great. The Surface Laptop Go makes the perfect laptop for someone on the go who wants to consume the web, send email but can hold its own for tasks like editing photos and consuming multimedia when needed.

If your needs are exceptionally low and you live only in email and on the web, with no need for more power from time to time, a Chromebook may suit you fine. However, a Chromebook boxes you in with no way out, even with a more expensive model. The Surface Laptop Go will have its limits, but the ceiling is considerably higher.



The Surface Laptop Go is available from Microsoft starting at $759.99 CAD and the configuration I reviewed will set you back $1,229.99 CAD.

Check out the Surface Laptop Go from Amazon right HERE!

BlitzWolf BW-FYE4 True Wireless Headphones Review

You don’t need to break the bank for good true wireless headphones! Check out the GadgetSyrup review of the BlitzWolf BW-FYE4 True Wireless Headphones

Don’t break the bank on wireless headphones.

True wireless headphones shouldn’t cost a fortune!

This is the 3rd pair of BlitzWolf wireless headphones I have reviewed over the past year or so. I really have enjoyed each pair more than the previous. They are always affordable and provide an excellent bang for the buck. Yet I am still surprised every time I see someone dropping an insane amount of cash on wireless headphones. Sure, something like the Jabra 75t or Galaxy Buds are better if you compare them pound for pound, but most just buy those devices because they are placed in front of them at stores like Best Buy or Costco. I have used both of those headphones too and yes, I liked them, but did I like them several hundred dollars more than what I have tried from other, cheaper brands? Simply, no.

Read on below the break to see a set of true wireless headphones that don’t break the bank but delivery the quality you would expect from a higher priced pair.


Also, check out my other BlitzWolf Wireless Headphone reviews below!


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What if I told you there was a cake in the box?

  • 2 x True Wireless FYE4 Headphones
  • 1 x Large Replacement Ear Tips
  • 1 x Medium Replacement Ear Tips
  • 1 x Small Replacement Ear Tips
  • 1 x FYE4 Charging Case
  • 1 x Micro USB Cable
  • 1 x User Manual

Pretty standard unboxing with BlitzWolf FYE series headphones.


Design

I reviewed the BlitzWolf BW-FYE5 TWS headphones this past fall, and while I mostly liked everything about them, the design, wasn’t my favourite. Overtime I found they started to lose the quality fit and feel from when they were new. When I saw the chance to check out the FYE4 TWS, also from BlitzWolf, I was immediately interested, thanks to the earbuds design.


Left: BW-FYE5
Right: BW-FYE4

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As you can see the FYE4s are considerably larger than the FYE5s, however the larger size is actually deciving. The FYE4s are lighter than their smaller sibling.

Despite the larger size I found that it was easier to press the Play/Pause button. Also, the shape of the bud where it enters your ear provided a more comfortable and snug fit. Wearing the FYE5s for extended periods was pretty easy, but the FYE4s were far more computable, for my ears. I was a little concerned at first that they would look chunky or gaudy in my ears, but for the most part, they are pretty inconspicuous.

The design of the case isn’t ideal due to it’s size. Which makes it harder to put in a pants pocket, but it does come with a button that when pressed shows how much juice the cases battery has remaining. Something the FYE5 lacked.


Sound Quality

If you have read a headphone review on GadgetSyrup before you’ve heard this. If you’re new here, first off, thanks for reading!! But I like to mention in every review, I am not an audiophile and I don’t listen to that much music, especially through headphones.

Most of my listening is tech and Formula 1 related podcasts with the odd audiobook sprinkled in here and there. For the use case I have, and the small amount of Bud I did listen to, the FYE4s had excellent output. Volume was good and loud and there were no points where I thought the sound was distorted or cracking.

Outdoors I had next to no issues with volume and did not struggle with wind noise interfering with the audio output.

I will say though that phones calls are a total no go with these headphones. Most callers said I sounded far away or muffled. No matter what I did, indoors or out, it was a struggle to use these for phone calls.


Ports and Connectivity

The FYE4 use Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to your Smartphone meaning that power usage should be minimal when connected and latency should be less when compared to older Bluetooth devices. Not much else to say on this…

Unfortunately, BlitzWolf elected to continue on using micro USB to charge the headphones. This is fine, but I would have really preferred if they made the move to USB Type C. Yes, using the older standard is cheaper, but we have to make a leap forward at the low-end of this market at some point.


Micro USB is fine… but we really need everything to move to USB C

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Battery Life

I’m not sure if my FYE5s had battery issues or not but despite having the same 50 mAh battery inside, the FYE4s lasted considerably longer. I even went back to the FYE5s for a week to double-check and sure enough I was getting hours more life.

The biggest difference wasn’t just in the earbud use between charges, which choose to 5 hours of continuous use. The battery case, thanks to it’s larger size houses a larger 500 mAh battery. The FYE5 sports a 400 mAh battery.



Ease of Use

One thing I’ve noticed when using inexpensive Bluetooth true wireless headphones from any manufacturer is how difficult it is to get each earbud operational separate from the other. The process is backwards from FYE5s. With the FTE4s the left bud is the primary device. Meaning, if you take out both buds, use them and put away the left bud, the right bud stops working. Take out only the left bud, connection successful! Take out just the right bud… Crickets. You have to manually power down the bud by pressing and holding the button. Repeat to turn on, but hold to enter pairing mode. Then pair from your Bluetooth device.

With the initial setup taking out just the left bud you’re automatically entered into device pairing, but not with the right. Not impossible to sort out and maybe my expectations are too high for this process, but it certainly should be improved.

Once you get them paired, day-to-day use is not an issue at all.


Pros:

  • Comfortable to wear for long hours
  • Excellent battery life
  • Solid build quality
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Micro USB charging instead of USB-C
  • Large charging case compared to other headphones, including the BlitzWolf BW-FYE5

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Conclusion: Should You Buy The BlitzWolf BW-FYE4?

I said you should buy the FYE5s when I reviewed them and they are still decent, but if you’re asking me if you should buy the FYE5s or the FYE4s, it is it contest. Buy the FYE4s. The superior battery life, ease of use and comfort make them a far better choice.


If you’d like to pick up a pair of BlitzWolf BW-FYE4 True Wireless Headphones you can pick them up on Amazon for CAD $49.99.



Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about the process of true wireless headphones. Do you agree with me?

Motorola Moto G7 Power Review – Battery Beast!

If you need a phone with incredible battery at a very low price, this may the phone the for you! Check out my Moto G7 Power Review!

The Moto G7 Power is a monster on the battery front, packing a 5,000 mAh battery

In case you haven’t noticed, Motorola is releasing phones at a torrid pace. In 2019 we have seen a refreshed G7 lineup, a new Moto Z phone, the Z4, a refresh the E series and most recently an onslaught of Moto “One” branded phones. The most notable of those for me, the Zoom and the Action.

Earlier in the year though, Motorola kicked off this phone release cycle with the Moto G7 Plus, G7, Power and Play. I have already put the G7 through its paces when I reviewed it in August. Since then I have been splitting my time with the Moto Z4 and the Moto G7 Power. I will be posting a review of the Z4 soon, but in the meantime, let’s check out the G7 Power.

What’s In The Box

The Box Has The Power! So Much!!

I should mention that my device was an open box sent by Motorola’s PR team, so I didn’t get the full BNIB experience.

  • Moto G7 Power – 32 GB – Marine Blue
  • Motorola TurboPower™ 15 W Wall Charger
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • SIM Removal Tool (mine was actually missing, so I had to add one back into the picture)
  • Manual and Legal Documents

Pretty straightforward. I was surprised Motorola didn’t include a clear TPU case for the G7 Power like they did with the Play last year. They may have with the Play this year, but I don’t have one of those versions to compare.

Motorola G7 Power Specifications

My unit came with the following specs;

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SDM632 Processor
  • 32 GB Storage with microSD expansion up to 512 GB
  • 3 GB RAM
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 12 MP Rear Camera, 8 MP Front Camera
  • 6.2″ LCD Display with a 720 x 1570 resolution at 279 ppi (FYI, not that great…)
  • Headphone Jack
  • 5,000 mAh battery

There is another version of the G7 Power that ships with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. I have no idea why Motorola offsets the RAM based on the storage size, but that’s the budget market in a nutshell.

Normally I would do a “What I Liked” and ‘What I Didn’t Like” about the phone, but I am changing it up slightly here. Instead, I wanted to talk about a few of the highlights since the phone, for the most part, is very close in performance and day-to-day use as the Moto G7 Check out the G7 review right HERE.

The camera on the G7 Power held its own considering this a phone that sells for $249.99 CAD on Amazon in this configuration. Much like the G7, I reviewed before the Power, the camera app from Motorola offers a lot of functionality that I really like portrait, spot colour and Google’s AR Stickers, the performance of the software really holds the camera back. However, thanks to the booming community of devs that have ported the Google Camera app to almost every Android device on the market, I was able to up my photo game when using the G7 Power. Without this APK, I think I would have been incredibly disappointed with the G7 Power camera.

If you have a Motorola G7 or G7 Power and want to try the Google Camera port, you can download that right here.

The G7 Power has the … Power!

If the name Power wasn’t a good enough clue, the G7 Power hangs its hat on the size of the battery. Coming in at 5,000 mAh the G7 Power is an absolute monster. Getting through two days of use is a simple task for this phone. On average I was able to get through 3 full days before I dipped below the 15% battery mark. THREE DAYS! That’s insane considering most other phones I have been using, with my usage style, require a top-up on my way home from work mid-day.

The Moto G7 Power packs a mega notch. Think iPhone X + Pixel 3 XL…

One thing that was different about my usage of the G7 Power compared to most phones I use daily is the lack of Formula 1 Mobile gameplay. I’m a Formula 1 junky and the G7 power does not handle any sort of graphics-heavy game well. Basic games that require no heavy GPU/CPU load manage to work fine for the most part, but anything that is graphic intensive fails miserably.

One game that functions brilliantly on the G7 Power is Pokemon Go. I spent a day playing the Pokemon Go while mixing in the usual video, email, text and more. At day’s end, I still had just under 40% remaining on the battery. This phone is easily on the shortlist of devices that are best for playing Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite or Jurassic World Alive (does anyone play that game anymore…)

The overall performance of the phone was pretty good, within the expectations I set out with. However, despite the fact it is nearly identical to the Moto G7 specs, I found it suffered from more slowdowns and app crashes than the G7. It is likely attributed to RAM with only 3GB to the G7’s 4GB, but it was noticeable. I would like to see if the 64GB/4GB version suffered the same way, but that is neither here nor there.

Bottom line though, should you buy this phone? No, I don’t think the benefits of the massive battery outweigh the negatives I encountered. Now, the caveat with my decisions, as I mentioned, the higher spec’ed model may not suffer the same issues. For that price, you would be better with the standard G7 which has dual cameras and a more appealing design.

Microsoft Surface Go Review: One Year Old

I’ve spent a month with the Surface Go from Microsoft. The Go is just over a year old. Is it still worth considering? Find out!

Microsoft has been incredibly successful with its niche and high-end lineup of Surface computers. I have reviewed the Surface Laptop (1st gen) and the Surface Book 2. The Surface Book 2 I reviewed was the top-shelf version that retailed at the time for $3,849.00. The Surface Go I have retails for $699. With that in mind, I really had to adjust my perspective on what a Surface device was capable of. With the Surface Go there would be no high-ish end gaming, no insane battery, no (real) editing of photos, etc.  I’ve spent a little more than a month with the Surface Go. Find out how it performed for me int he full review below.

How many times have we pondered the contents of that box?

What’s in the Box?

Unboxing a product from almost any niche or high-end electronic device is very much like unboxing an Apple device ever. Clean, minimal packaging with the bare minimum found inside. This is true with the Surface Go as well.

  • Surface Go
    • Actual model was the Surface Go for Business
  • Surface Go Power Adapter
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety and warranty documents

Note the lack of the Type Cover and Surface Pen. Queue sad trombone!

Pen not included 😢

Surface Go Specifications

Most customers picking up a Surface Go will end up with the standard Go version which comes with Windows 10 Home in S Mode. The model Microsoft loaned me was the Surface Go for Business which comes with Windows 10 Pro, sans S Mode. If you do find yourself using the Go or any Windows device in S mode, be sure to turn that off as soon as possible.

Dimensions: 9.65″ x 6.90″ x 0.33″ (245 mm x 175 mm x 8.30 mm)

Weight: Wi-Fi: Starting at 1.15 lbs (522 g), not including Type Cover*

Storage: 128GB SSD

Display: Screen: 10″ PixelSense™ Display with 1800 x 1200 (217 PPI) resolution, Aspect ratio: 3:2, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Processor: Intel® Pentium® Gold Processor 4415Y

Memory: 8GB RAM

Connections

  • 1 x USB-C
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
  • Surface Type Cover port4
  • microSDXC card reader

Cameras: Windows Hello face authentication camera (front-facing)

  • 5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p Skype HD video
  • 8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video

Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 615

Exterior Casing: Magnesium

Colour: Silver

What I Liked About the Surface Go

Battery Life

The Surface Go is the perfect device to have an ARM processor but Windows, at the time was not ready for ARM devices. Well, at least not ready for a device that carries the Surface branding. Neither was the Snapdragon chips available on the time. Those are just starting to come to market now, known as the Snapdragon 8cx. Having an ARM chip, in theory, would provide several more hours of battery than any Intel CPU, but we’re not there yet.

With the right expectations in tow, the battery on the Surface Go was great

Regardless of all of that, and only having an Intel CPU option, the battery life of the Surface Go was excellent in my time with the device. I have been using the Surface Go for all forms of typical day-to-day use as well as some light (Microsoft Store Apps) gaming.

The company I work for at my day job has pretty much fully transitioned over to Office 365 and Dynamics 365 for nearly everything. With this in mind, I used this opportunity to use the Surface Go as my “meeting” device so I could leave my Lenovo X1 Carbon docked at my desk for some of the heavier tasks I have to work on in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.  Using the Go for this purpose was great. I was able to move from meeting to meeting all day and did not have the need to charge the battery for 3 workdays. 

Size

The Surface Book 2 was a bit of a boat anchor, but it was also a workhorse. The Surface Go was a pleasure to carry around and it stowed nicely in any bag I had. The device has some really large bezels in a world that wants to shrink bezels of devices to near zero, but those large bezels gave a bit of non-screen area to hold onto when using the Surface as a tablet device. I’m not going to lie though, a slightly larger screen would have been great.

The size also was appreciated while I used the device as my “meeting” device as I mentioned above. Some of our boardrooms and meeting rooms lack a lot of table space. While others carefully found ways to place their X1 Carbons, coffee, phone, etc, I rolled in and was ready to go right away!

Left: Lenovo X1 Carbon (4th Gen)
Right: Microsoft Surface Go, Type Cover and Surface Pen

As I mentioned above, my previous Surface experience was with the Surface Book 2 which had amazing specs and performed better than any computer I have used before (I’m not a gamer, a graphic designer or anything that requires a high-end computer). Switching the Surface Go, now a mature and about a year on since its release, I knew I wasn’t going to see the same type of performance. 

The Type Cover

The Type Cover on the Go may be small, but it is a joy to use

The Type Cover doesn’t ship with the Surface, which is the norm despite how much people complain about it. The type cover on the Go is just as good as those before it. The trackpad is excellent, which has been the case since the Surface Pro 3. Not much else to say here. If you’ve used a Surface Type Cover or any Surface keyboard, you know how good they are. I am even starting to flip my stance on the Surface keyboards vs the Lenovo X1 Carbon keyboards. In the past I was siding with Lenovo, but I am not so sure any more.

What I Didn’t Like About the Surface Go

Performance

Overall, for most basic use cases the Surface Go held its own, but if you are trying to multitask on the device for any period the Pentium CPU in the Go would suffer and performance would fall off a cliff. I know the device isn’t going punch at the same level as the Surface Pro 6 or Book 2, but I had hoped that it would not bog down so significantly when using multiple apps and having multiple tabs open in Edge (Edge Chromium Dev, by the way).

I didn’t run any sort of bench marking software, as I personally feel that is a major waste of time and never tells a proper story.

If you drop the Surface Go into Windows 10’s tablet mode and run one app at a time, you will actually have a really great experience. Running in normal desktop mode, get Edge/Chrome and a few other apps going, performance degrades.

Should You Buy the Surface Go?

It’s complicated…

When I reviewed the Surface Book 2 I said it was complicated. That device was and still is a power users dream. It does absolutely everything. My recommendation of the Surface Go is the same but for the opposite reasons. It’s complicated…

The Go, like the Book 2, is a niche product designed to fill a specific use case. The Go is great for someone who is a front line worker, or someone who is doing basic data input for things like orders but cannot or does not want to be tied to a desk or finally for those doing just email or word processing on the go. If you are one of these or really want an incredibly portable Windows tablet, the Surface Go is for you, but if you need a little more performance and speed I would recommend the Surface Laptop 2. I spent a few months with the original Surface Laptop and it was great. Well, great once I got rid of Windows 10 S.

The Surface Go is now a year old and it does not look like there will be a Surface Go 2 at Microsoft’s upcoming event on October 2nd, 2019. So take that into consideration too when deciding if this is the right device for you.
The Surface Go is available from both the Microsoft Store and Amazon.ca for $699.00 CAD. Don’t forget to check out the Type Cover and Surface Pen too!

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