With the Surface Go detachable 2-in-1, Microsoft has pushed its Surface tablet line, for the first time, into genuine budget territory. With the lowest-end model coming in at $399 with 64GB of flash storage and no keyboard or stylus, this is, at heart, a basic Windows 10 tablet with a Pentium CPU and flash-based memory. Once you’ve outfitted it with the very minimum to get it to basic laptop functionality, you’re looking at a $500 buy ($99 for the least expensive Surface Type Cover that fits it, plus the cost of the tablet itself). The Surface Pen, meanwhile, will tack on another $99 if you don’t already own one from an earlier Surface. Now you’re at $600.
So, then, you might be wondering, why would you go with the Surface Go, as opposed to certain other budget-minded Windows 10 2-in-1s that come in at well below $500, fully equipped? After all, laptop makers such as Acer, Asus, and Lenovo offer detachables and convertibles with included keyboards and styli for, in a few cases, as little as half the cost of the cheapest Surface Go outfitted with a keyboard cover and the Surface Pen. But as in most things, there’s a clear set of trade-offs when going with the cheapest option.
We’ve rounded up seven of the most popular lower-cost competitors to the Surface Go here that we’ve tested. None is automatically a better choice; it depends on your budget and how you mean to use your 2-in-1. But here’s a rundown of the key things to consider as you look at this field.