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Surface Go 3 is a processor bump for Microsoft’s smallest tablet

It’s not as big an upgrade as the Surface Pro 8, but Microsoft’s Surface Go tablet got an update today. The Surface Go 3 retains the same 10.5-inch 1920×1280 screen, the same ports, and the same physical design as the Surface Go 2, but it upgrades the processors, adds 802.11ax Wi-Fi support, and ships with Windows 11 Home by default. The Surface Go 3 starts at the same $400 as the previous model and is available for preorder today; the cellular model will be available in “the coming months.”

The Surface Go’s biggest problem has always been that, especially in its cheapest configurations, its processor, RAM, and storage specs have all been dangerously close to the bare minimum it takes to run Windows comfortably. And the Surface Go 3 doesn’t do much to address that. The dual-core Pentium Gold 6500Y and quad-core Core i3-10100Y processors are a significant and welcome step up from the Pentium and Core m3 chips in the Surface Go 2, but the entry-level Go 3 still includes just 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. That’s a bit more than Microsoft’s minimum system requirements for Windows 10, but they just barely meet the increased minimum RAM and storage requirements for Windows 11.

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The version of the Go 3 that is available to consumers tops out at 128GB of storage, so you’ll need to rely on microSD storage or cloud storage if you need more than that. There is a 256GB version of the Go 3, but it’s only available to businesses. And unlike the Surface Pro 8 or Pro X, the SSD on the Surface Go 3 still isn’t user-replaceable.

Because the new tablet is physically identical to its predecessor, all the accessories that work with the Surface Go 2 will work with the Surface Go 3 and vice versa. You can’t pair and charge the new Surface Slim Pen 2 wirelessly using the Go or its keyboard cover, but the pen is still compatible with the Go 3 as long as you have a separate USB-C cradle for charging it.

The Go 3 still includes a single USB-C port, a Surface Connect port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader, as well as an IR webcam for use with Windows Hello. The Go ships with Windows 11 Home in S Mode, which like Windows 10 restricts you to apps from the Microsoft Store and requires using Edge as your browser. You can still switch to the unrestricted non-S version of Windows 11 for free.

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Listing image by Microsoft