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Microsoft Surface Go 3 in review - The compact convertible now with Windows 11

Does the Core i3 still have enough steam? The developers at Microsoft apparently had their hands full with the new Surface Pro 8 and Studio, because the compact Surface Go 3 only gets a mini update with a different processor and the switch to Windows 11. We took a look at how this works in practice.
Andreas Osthoff, 👁 Andreas Osthoff, Brian Burriston (translated by DeepL / Ninh Duy), 🇩🇪 🇨🇳 ...

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Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Processor
Intel Core i3-10100Y 2 x 1.3 - 3.9 GHz, Amber Lake-Y
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, LPDDR3-1866, Dual-Channel, onboard
Display
10.50 inch 3:2, 1920 x 1280 pixel 220 PPI, 10-Point Capacitive, native pen support, NV105WAM-N31, IPS , Corning Gorilla Glass 3, glossy: yes, detachable screen, 60 Hz
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
SK hynix HFB1M8MQ331C0MR, 128 GB 
, 71 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), 1 DisplayPort, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm Stereo, Card Reader: microSD, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Light sensor, acceleration sensor, gyroscope
Networking
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5/ax = Wi-Fi 6), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.3 x 245 x 175 ( = 0.33 x 9.65 x 6.89 in)
Battery
28 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 11 Home
Camera
Primary Camera: 5 MPix
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24W PSU, 12 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
783 g ( = 27.62 oz / 1.73 pounds), Power Supply: 157 g ( = 5.54 oz / 0.35 pounds)
Price
810 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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Possible competitors in comparison

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
85.3 %
10/2021
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
i3-10100Y, UHD Graphics 615
783 g8.3 mm10.50"1920x1280
85.4 %
12/2020
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
m3-8100Y, UHD Graphics 615
790 g8.3 mm10.50"1920x1280
85.9 %
04/2021
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
SD 730G, Adreno 618
485 g5.8 mm11.50"2560x1600
90.7 %
11/2020
Apple iPad Air 2020
A14, A14 Bionic GPU
458 g6.1 mm10.90"2360x1640
88.4 %
11/2019
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
i5-1035G4, Iris Plus Graphics G4 (Ice Lake 48 EU)
1.1 kg8.5 mm12.30"2736x1824

Case, equipment and input devices

The case of the Surface Go has not been changed and still convinces with the high-quality workmanship. The magnesium casing is very sturdy and the various optional keyboard covers allow for a certain degree of customization. The red Alcantara cover of our review sample costs another 129 Euros (~$150). However, we still like the illuminated keyboard. Of course, the keys are relatively small due to the compact device, but the typing feel is crisp and precise.

Besides the USB-C connector, which can also be used for charging, Microsoft still relies on its own Surface Connector, which is often a bit annoying in practice due to its orientation (cable either sticks upwards or hangs around the keyboard). The WLAN performance is very good and there is still a microSD card reader.

In terms of webcams, the Surface Go 3 has clear advantages over most notebooks because the image quality of the two built-in sensors (5 MP and 8 MP) is simply visibly better. A new feature is the additional IR camera, which now also supports facial recognition with Windows Hello. An LTE module is also available for business customers.

Size comparison

292 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 1.1 kg2.35 lbs264.28 mm / 10.4 inch 171.4 mm / 6.75 inch 5.8 mm / 0.2283 inch 485 g1.069 lbs247.6 mm / 9.75 inch 178.5 mm / 7.03 inch 6.1 mm / 0.2402 inch 458 g1.01 lbs245 mm / 9.65 inch 175 mm / 6.89 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 783 g1.726 lbs245 mm / 9.65 inch 175 mm / 6.89 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 790 g1.742 lbs
SD Card Reader
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
78.6 MB/s ∼100% +4%
Average of class Convertible
  (10 - 201, n=62, last 2 years)
76.4 MB/s ∼97% +1%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
  (AV Pro V60)
75.6 MB/s ∼96%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
73 MB/s ∼93% -3%
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
24.4 MB/s ∼31% -68%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Average of class Convertible
  (25 - 224, n=56, last 2 years)
91.2 MB/s ∼100% +18%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
86.3 MB/s ∼95% +12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
85.07 MB/s ∼93% +10%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
  (AV Pro V60)
77.1 MB/s ∼85%
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Networking
iperf3 Client (transmit) 1 m 4M x10 Netgear AX12
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
1310 (1049min - 1520max) MBit/s ∼100%
Average Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
  (447 - 1645, n=124)
1099 MBit/s ∼84% -16%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
781 (691min - 918max) MBit/s ∼60% -40%
Apple iPad Air 2020
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
645 (569min - 750max) MBit/s ∼49% -51%
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
645 (630min - 659max) MBit/s ∼49% -51%
iperf3 Client (receive) 1 m 4M x10 Netgear AX12
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
1498 (1260min - 1694max) MBit/s ∼100% +9%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
1376 (1210min - 1538max) MBit/s ∼92%
Average Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
  (523 - 1684, n=125)
1186 MBit/s ∼79% -14%
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
555 (508min - 597max) MBit/s ∼37% -60%
Apple iPad Air 2020
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
541 (500min - 571max) MBit/s ∼36% -61%
0801602403204004805606407208008809601040112012001280136014401520Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) 1 m 4M x10 Netgear AX12; iperf 3.1.3: Ø1375 (1210-1538)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) 1 m 4M x10 Netgear AX12; iperf 3.1.3: Ø1309 (1049-1520)
ColorChecker
5.9 ∆E
10.2 ∆E
7.9 ∆E
9.8 ∆E
9.9 ∆E
9.9 ∆E
7.7 ∆E
7.8 ∆E
11 ∆E
9 ∆E
9.8 ∆E
7.8 ∆E
4.5 ∆E
7 ∆E
13.9 ∆E
4 ∆E
12.6 ∆E
14.6 ∆E
2.5 ∆E
6.6 ∆E
8 ∆E
7.3 ∆E
4.9 ∆E
3.7 ∆E
ColorChecker Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3: 8.18 ∆E min: 2.53 - max: 14.63 ∆E

Display - Surface Go continues with 3:2 touchscreen

Subpixel arrangement
Subpixel arrangement

Microsoft also leaves the display untouched and even installs the same panel (NV105WAM-N31) with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,280 pixels in 3:2 format. This results in very sharp pictures on the compact 10.5-inch touchscreen and the panel's overall picture impression is very good. Clouding is also not a big problem.

In terms of measurements, there are hardly any changes compared to the predecessor. The brightness of a bit more than 400 cd/m² is sufficient in many situations, but the small panel should be even brighter outdoors, since reflections are quickly visible.

The small sRGB color space is completely covered and the panel is already very well calibrated in its factory state. We can improve the values a bit with our own calibration, but that is not really necessary. Thus, pictures/videos can also be edited reasonably on the Surface Go 3. The only drawback is still the PWM flickering at a brightness of 94 percent or less. However, the frequency of 916 Hz is relatively high and should not actually lead to problems.

399
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
404
cd/m²
412
cd/m²
418
cd/m²
430
cd/m²
407
cd/m²
407
cd/m²
444
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
NV105WAM-N31
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 444 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 415.2 cd/m² Minimum: 5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 419 cd/m²
Contrast: 1493:1 (Black: 0.28 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.2 | 0.59-29.43 Ø5.4, calibrated: 1
ΔE Greyscale 1.8 | 0.64-98 Ø5.7
69.8% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
99.1% sRGB (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
69% Display P3 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
Gamma: 2.21
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
NV105WAM-N31, IPS , 1920x1280, 10.50
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
OLED, 2560x1600, 11.50
Apple iPad Air 2020
IPS, 2360x1640, 10.90
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
LG Philips LP123WQ112604, IPS, 2736x1824, 12.30
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
NV105WAM-N31, IPS, 1920x1280, 10.50
Display
-4%
0%
Display P3 Coverage
69
66.03
-4%
68.67
0%
sRGB Coverage
99.1
93.76
-5%
100
1%
AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
69.8
66.91
-4%
70.06
0%
Response Times
25%
-19%
710%
0%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
37.2 ?(18.4, 18.8)
4.4 ?(2, 2.4)
88%
46.8 ?(23.6, 23.2)
-26%
34.8 ?(16.8, 18)
6%
37.2 ?(18.4, 18.8)
-0%
Response Time Black / White *
22.8 ?(10.4, 12.4)
4 ?(2, 2)
82%
25.6 ?(12.4, 13.2)
-12%
26.4 ?(13.2, 13.2)
-16%
22.8 ?(10.4, 12.4)
-0%
PWM Frequency
961.5 ?(94)
60.24 ?(100)
-94%
21550 ?(24)
2141%
961.5 ?(94)
0%
Screen
-31%
-6%
-106%
18%
Brightness middle
418
372
-11%
509
22%
480.4
15%
404
-3%
Brightness
415
375
-10%
486
17%
485
17%
402
-3%
Brightness Distribution
90
95
6%
93
3%
91
1%
88
-2%
Black Level *
0.28
0.39
-39%
0.48
-71%
0.28
-0%
Contrast
1493
1305
-13%
1001
-33%
1443
-3%
Colorchecker dE 2000 *
1.2
1.8
-50%
1.3
-8%
5
-317%
0.7
42%
Colorchecker dE 2000 max. *
2.6
4.2
-62%
2.8
-8%
7.72
-197%
1.2
54%
Colorchecker dE 2000 calibrated *
1
2.44
-144%
0.7
30%
Greyscale dE 2000 *
1.8
2.8
-56%
2.2
-22%
5.9
-228%
1
44%
Gamma
2.21 100%
2.29 96%
2.21 100%
2.38 92%
2.15 102%
CCT
6225 104%
6718 97%
6833 95%
7805 83%
6485 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
99.3
60.3
64.5
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
93.2
99.7
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-3% / -12%
-13% / -9%
200% / 77%
6% / 11%

* ... smaller is better

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
22.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 10.4 ms rise
↘ 12.4 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 35 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (23.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.4 ms rise
↘ 18.8 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 39 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (37.5 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 961.5 Hz ≤ 94 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 961.5 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 94 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 961.5 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 20848 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation
CalMAN Saturation
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Saturation calibrated
CalMAN Saturation calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
In the sun
In the sun
In the sun
In the sun
Viewing angle stability
Viewing angle stability

Performance, emissions and battery life

Instead of the Core m3-8100Y, the Core i3-10100Y is now optionally installed. It is still a passively cooled processor with two cores and four threads, but it can at least deliver stable performance. All in all, the performance level is not particularly high and Apple's iPad Air, for example, offers much more processing power. An advantage over the old m3-8100Y in the Surface Go 2 does not exist either.

The new Windows 11 at least runs quite smoothly, but the Surface Go 3 is clearly only suitable for simple tasks and multi-tasking quickly pushes the hardware to its limits. Particularly when starting applications, there are always short waiting times. Windows 11 offers more possibilities than Android or iOS, but you can now also work quite productively with these tablets. By default, the Surface Go 3 comes with Windows 11 in S-Mode (only apps from the Microsoft Store can be installed), but you can easily deactivate it.

Video playback is no problem (even high-resolution videos), but the Surface Go 3 is not suitable for gaming. Only very simple titles from the Microsoft Store (card games, etc.) run reasonably.

The convertible is completely passively cooled and is thus completely silent. The speakers are decent, but do not get particularly loud. The Android or iOS competition also has advantages in terms of battery life. The Surface Go 3 only manages 7 hours in the Wi-Fi test (or 4:41 hours in full brightness).

Cinebench R15 Multi Endurance test

03570105140175210245280315350385420455490525560595630665Tooltip
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3 Intel Core i3-10100Y: Ø219 (217.41-220.31)
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y Intel Core m3-8100Y: Ø218 (213.96-247.22)
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4 Intel Core i5-1035G4: Ø518 (495.42-684.65)
Cinebench R23: CPU (Multi Core) | CPU (Single Core)
Cinebench R20: CPU (Multi Core) | CPU (Single Core)
Cinebench R15: CPU Multi 64Bit | CPU Single 64Bit
Blender 2.79: BMW27 CPU
7-Zip 18.03: 7z b 4 | 7z b 4 -mmt1
Geekbench 5.3: 64 Bit Multi-Core Score | 64 Bit Single-Core Score
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2: 4k Preset
LibreOffice : 20 Documents To PDF
R Benchmark 2.5: Overall mean
Cinebench R23 / CPU (Multi Core)
Average of class Convertible
  (709 - 12629, n=52, last 2 years)
4750 Points ∼100% +245%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
1375 Points ∼29%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
1375 Points ∼29% 0%
Cinebench R23 / CPU (Single Core)
Average of class Convertible
  (382 - 1529, n=51, last 2 years)
1226 Points ∼100% +56%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
788 Points ∼64%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
788 Points ∼64% 0%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Multi Core)
Average of class Convertible
  (316 - 4953, n=85, last 2 years)
1671 Points ∼100% +212%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
1410 Points ∼84% +163%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
536 Points ∼32%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
536 Points ∼32% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
527 Points ∼32% -2%
Cinebench R20 / CPU (Single Core)
Average of class Convertible
  (152 - 604, n=85, last 2 years)
449 Points ∼100% +48%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
441 Points ∼98% +46%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
303 Points ∼67%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
303 Points ∼67% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
298 Points ∼66% -2%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Multi 64Bit
Average of class Convertible
  (144 - 2083, n=94, last 2 years)
729 Points ∼100% +231%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
644 Points ∼88% +193%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
247 (213.96min - 218.42max) Points ∼34% +12%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
220 (217.41min - 220.31max) Points ∼30%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
220 Points ∼30% 0%
Cinebench R15 / CPU Single 64Bit
Average of class Convertible
  (66.3 - 243, n=90, last 2 years)
175 Points ∼100% +43%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
172 Points ∼98% +41%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
122 Points ∼70%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
122 Points ∼70% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
121 Points ∼69% -1%
Blender 2.79 / BMW27 CPU
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
1893 Seconds * ∼100% -4%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
1825 Seconds * ∼96%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
1825 Seconds * ∼96% -0%
Average of class Convertible
  (246 - 4249, n=80, last 2 years)
972 Seconds * ∼51% +47%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
900 Seconds * ∼48% +51%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4
Average of class Convertible
  (4498 - 57319, n=82, last 2 years)
20595 MIPS ∼100% +149%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
11030 MIPS ∼54% +34%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
8262 MIPS ∼40%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
8262 MIPS ∼40% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
7554 MIPS ∼37% -9%
7-Zip 18.03 / 7z b 4 -mmt1
Average of class Convertible
  (2125 - 5623, n=81, last 2 years)
4378 MIPS ∼100% +24%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
3535 MIPS ∼81%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
3535 MIPS ∼81% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
3282 MIPS ∼75% -7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
1307 MIPS ∼30% -63%
Geekbench 5.3 / 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Apple iPad Air 2020
Apple A14 Bionic
4334 Points ∼100% +129%
Average of class Convertible
  (707 - 8620, n=83, last 2 years)
4205 Points ∼97% +123%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
1889 Points ∼44%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
1889 Points ∼44% 0%
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
1764 Points ∼41% -7%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
1615 Points ∼37% -15%
Geekbench 5.3 / 64 Bit Single-Core Score
Apple iPad Air 2020
Apple A14 Bionic
1593 Points ∼100% +62%
Average of class Convertible
  (263 - 1566, n=83, last 2 years)
1188 Points ∼75% +20%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
986 Points ∼62%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
986 Points ∼62% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
882 Points ∼55% -11%
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G
523 Points ∼33% -47%
HWBOT x265 Benchmark v2.2 / 4k Preset
Average of class Convertible
  (0.71 - 15.2, n=79, last 2 years)
5.3 fps ∼100% +164%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i5-1035G4
5.095 fps ∼96% +153%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
2.01 fps ∼38%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
2.01 fps ∼38% 0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
1.96 fps ∼37% -2%
LibreOffice / 20 Documents To PDF
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
119 s * ∼100%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
119 s * ∼100% -0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
85.4 s * ∼72% +28%
Average of class Convertible
  (40.7 - 175, n=77, last 2 years)
67.4 s * ∼57% +43%
R Benchmark 2.5 / Overall mean
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel Core i3-10100Y
0.962 sec * ∼100%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y
 
0.962 sec * ∼100% -0%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel Core m3-8100Y
0.942 sec * ∼98% +2%
Average of class Convertible
  (0.504 - 2.12, n=78, last 2 years)
0.744 sec * ∼77% +23%

* ... smaller is better

PCMark 10 / Score
Average of class Convertible
  (1429 - 5971, n=83, last 2 years)
4303 Points ∼100% +70%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Iris Plus Graphics G4 (Ice Lake 48 EU), i5-1035G4, Toshiba BG4 KBG40ZPZ256G
4163 Points ∼97% +64%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
UHD Graphics 615, m3-8100Y, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
2876 Points ∼67% +13%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
UHD Graphics 615, i3-10100Y, SK hynix HFB1M8MQ331C0MR
2535 Points ∼59%
Average Intel Core i3-10100Y, Intel UHD Graphics 615
 
2535 Points ∼59% 0%
DPC Latencies / LatencyMon - interrupt to process latency (max), Web, Youtube, Prime95
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
UHD Graphics 615, i3-10100Y, SK hynix HFB1M8MQ331C0MR
3512.9 μs * ∼100%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
UHD Graphics 615, m3-8100Y, Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
1738.1 μs * ∼49% +51%

* ... smaller is better

Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
SK hynix HFB1M8MQ331C0MR
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Toshiba KBG30ZPZ128G
Microsoft Surface Go MHN-00003
64 GB eMMC Flash
Average SK hynix HFB1M8MQ331C0MR
 
Average of class Convertible
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
38%
-71%
0%
127%
Write 4K
90.79
100.6
11%
26.91
-70%
90.8
0%
133 ?(12.9 - 311, n=82, last 2 years)
46%
Read 4K
41.13
51.09
24%
19.72
-52%
41.1
0%
51.3 ?(10 - 191, n=82, last 2 years)
25%
Write Seq
801.15
126.2
1368 ?(121 - 4195, n=78, last 2 years)
Read Seq
1208.93
268
1552 ?(256 - 3234, n=78, last 2 years)
Write 4K Q32T1
199.37
270.76
36%
62.89
-68%
199
0%
382 ?(15.2 - 803, n=82, last 2 years)
92%
Read 4K Q32T1
251.61
307.24
22%
39.82
-84%
252
0%
396 ?(17.9 - 849, n=82, last 2 years)
57%
Write Seq Q32T1
372.9
853.4
129%
131.3
-65%
373
0%
1697 ?(109 - 4931, n=82, last 2 years)
355%
Read Seq Q32T1
1639
1776.2
8%
259.3
-84%
1639
0%
2486 ?(180 - 7103, n=82, last 2 years)
52%
Write 4K Q8T8
234.82
235
0%
706 ?(235 - 1498, n=10, last 2 years)
201%
Read 4K Q8T8
316.66
317
0%
916 ?(317 - 1531, n=10, last 2 years)
189%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Average of class Convertible
  (461 - 17421, n=87, last 2 years)
4475 Points ∼100% +244%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
Intel Iris Plus Graphics G4 (Ice Lake 48 EU), Intel Core i5-1035G4
3228 Points ∼72% +148%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
Intel UHD Graphics 615, Intel Core m3-8100Y
1378 Points ∼31% +6%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
Intel UHD Graphics 615, Intel Core i3-10100Y
1302 Points ∼29%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 615
  (821 - 1378, n=10)
1175 Points ∼26% -10%
low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 9.3 fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 57.2 25.9 12.9 11.6 fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 8.06 6.26 6.09 fps

Temperature

CPU & iGPU data stress test
CPU & iGPU data stress test
Max. Load
 42.9 °C
109 F
46.1 °C
115 F
43.4 °C
110 F
 
 42.1 °C
108 F
43.2 °C
110 F
41 °C
106 F
 
 32.8 °C
91 F
35.2 °C
95 F
33.7 °C
93 F
 
Maximum: 46.1 °C = 115 F
Average: 40 °C = 104 F
41.7 °C
107 F
42.7 °C
109 F
40.5 °C
105 F
38.1 °C
101 F
39.6 °C
103 F
38.1 °C
101 F
33.8 °C
93 F
34.2 °C
94 F
32 °C
90 F
Maximum: 42.7 °C = 109 F
Average: 37.9 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C = 99 F | Room Temperature 20.1 °C = 68 F | Fluke t3000FC (calibrated), Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 40 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 30.3 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Convertible.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46.1 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 35.3 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.8 to 55.7 °C for the class Convertible.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 42.7 °C / 109 F, compared to the average of 36.6 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.4 °C / 76 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35.2 °C / 95.4 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.5 °C / 83.3 F (-6.7 °C / -12.1 F).
Surface temperatures stress test (front)
Surface temperatures stress test (front)
Surface temperatures stress test (back with kickstand)
Surface temperatures stress test (back with kickstand)
Surface temperatures stress test (back)
Surface temperatures stress test (back)

Speaker

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.9362527.231.3312630.74024.931.65023.532.36323.528.38021.424.110018.632.312518.137.716016.741.52001949.925017.2533151457.240012.360.550011.46063013.261.58001164.2100010.763.8125010.56716001167.7200010.765.4250010.961.8315011.160.9400011.561.2500011.855.6630011.956.1800011.950.41000011.946.71250011.947.11600011.346SPL23.875N0.533.3median 11.9median 57.2Delta1.96.833.54034.927.624.624.724.727.130.938.923.626.917.723.216.538.414.147.212.659.112.75912.158.412.462.513.561.612.165.612.268.111.670.810.970.212.172.11275.112.373.812.67812.578.912.876.613.172.413.769.113.768.313.564.914.368.314.76324.886.30.664.2median 12.6median 68.30.86.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseMicrosoft Surface Go 3 Core i3Apple iPad Air 2020
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (75 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 6.5% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (4.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 31% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 62% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 21%, worst was 53%
Compared to all devices tested
» 27% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 65% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%

Apple iPad Air 2020 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (86.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.8% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.3% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (12.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 15% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 82% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 8% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 90% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%

Energy consumption

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.34 / 0.53 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 2.6 / 5.1 / 5.9 Watt
Load midlight 22.9 / 24.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Currently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here. All of our test methods can be found here.

Energy consumption Stress test

05101520Tooltip
: Ø22.7 (20.7-24.6)

Battery life

Battery Runtime - WiFi Websurfing
Apple iPad Air 2020
A14, A14 Bionic GPU, 28.6 Wh
702 min ∼100% +67%
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
SD 730G, Adreno 618,  Wh
624 min ∼89% +49%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Core i5-1035G4
i5-1035G4, Iris Plus Graphics G4 (Ice Lake 48 EU), 45 Wh
597 min ∼85% +42%
Average of class Convertible
  (248 - 1141, n=93, last 2 years)
574 min ∼82% +37%
Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3
i3-10100Y, UHD Graphics 615, 28 Wh
420 min ∼60%
Microsoft Surface Go 2, m3-8100Y
m3-8100Y, UHD Graphics 615, 27 Wh
407 min ∼58% -3%
Battery Runtime
WiFi Websurfing (Edge 94)
7h 00min
WiFi Websurfing max. Brightness (Edge 94)
4h 41min

Pros

+ sturdy housing
+ Display with very accurate color representation
+ Wi-Fi 6 & microSD
+ silent operation
+ optionally with LTE

Cons

- low power
- PWM flickering
- mediocre battery life
- only 1x USB-C

Verdict - The most compact version of Windows 11

In review: Microsoft Surface Go 3. Test device provided by Microsoft Germany.
In review: Microsoft Surface Go 3. Test device provided by Microsoft Germany.

The Surface Go 3 remains quite unrivaled, since there are hardly any Windows convertibles with such small displays. This device class is now dominated by Android and iOS tablets. Microsoft's small convertible is more versatile with the new Windows 11, but you should not expect too much because the overall performance is very low. The Surface Go 3 is sufficient for simple tasks like browsing the Internet, writing emails or watching videos, but that is also true for the Android or iOS tablets.

An upgrade from the Surface Go 2 is not worth it, because the new Core i3 processor does not offer any additional performance. This is due to the passive cooling, but the device is at least silent at all times. We also still like the compact keyboard.

Now with Windows 11, but otherwise no real innovations: The Surface Go 3 is only a mini update without performance advantages.

The new Windows 11 runs smoothly and all applications can be installed in normal mode (delivered in S-mode), but the total package is quite expensive at 800 Euros (~$928). For many users, current tablets from Lenovo, Samsung or Apple might be the better choice.

Price and availability

The Surface Go 3 can be configured at Microsoft and our test device costs €679 (+€129/~$788+~$150 for the keyboard). In online stores like Cyberport, only the slower models with the Pentium processor are currently available for €599 (~$695).

Microsoft Surface Go 3 Core i3 - 10/15/2021 v7
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
83 / 98 → 84%
Keyboard
80%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
52 / 75 → 69%
Weight
79 / 20-75 → 100%
Battery
74%
Display
89%
Games Performance
34 / 78 → 43%
Application Performance
75 / 85 → 88%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
70 / 91 → 77%
Camera
46 / 85 → 55%
Average
74%
85%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1349 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
Ninh Duy
Translator: Ninh Duy - Editorial Assistant - 216769 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2008
My main responsibility as an editorial assistant is maintaining the Library section, which aggregates reviews from other publications and channels. In addition, my daily breakfast is Notebookcheck's long list of new content, which I comb through to select the most interesting topics for translation from English to French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch."
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Microsoft Surface Go 3 in review - The compact convertible now with Windows 11
Andreas Osthoff, 2021-10-16 (Update: 2021-10-16)