Surface Go 3: Release date, specs, price, and everything you need to know

Surface Go 3: Release date, specs, price, and everything you need to know

Microsoft released its Surface Go 3 tablet in October 2021. Once again, it comes in with a 10.5 inch screen, and it’s the little sibling to the Surface Pro series. It’s also the entry-level point to the Surface lineup, starting at $399.99.

There’s not a whole lot that’s new this year, partly because the second-generation model saw some visual changes, such as a larger screen. The Surface Go 3 is mainly a spec bump.

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Specs

Surface Go 3 Specs

ProcessorIntel Pentium Gold 6500Y
Core i3-10100Y
GraphicsUHD Graphics 615
Body9.65” x 6.9” x 0.33” (245 mm x 175 mm x 8.3 mm)
Weight: 1.2lbs for Wi-Fi only model, 1.22lbs for 4G model
Display
  • Screen: 10.5” PixelSense Display
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1280 (220 PPI) resolution
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Contrast ratio: 1500:1
  • Touch: 10 point multi-touch
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Memory4GB or 8GB RAM
Storage
  • eMMC drive: 64GB, or
  • Solid-state drive (SSD): 128GB, 256GB for commercial channels
Ports
  • 1 x USB-C
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
  • Surface Type Cover Port
  • MicroSDXC Card Reader
  • Compatible with Surface Dial
Camera
  • 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
  • Dual Studio Mics
  • 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio
Wireless
  • WiFi: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
  • Bluetooth Wireless 5.0 technology
  • LTE Advanced: Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem

LTE bands:

  • Nano SIM Tray 4G LTE Advanced3 (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66) GPS/GLONASS: Standalone and assisted GNSS, accuracy up to 3 meters
Security
  • Firmware TPM
  • Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
Exterior
  • Casing: Magnesium
  • Color: Platinum
  • Physical buttons: Volume, Power

When is the Surface Go 3 release date?

The Microsoft Surface Go 3 was released on October 5th, 2021, as were the rest of the Windows products that were announced. It coincided with the launch of Windows 11. Also available now is the 4G LTE model, which wasn’t available at launch.

Surface Go 3 with red keyboard

Indeed, this launch has been all about hero hardware to show off the new OS. While the Surface Go 3 isn’t exactly a hero product, it shows there’s something for everyone.

What is the price of the Surface Go 3?

The Surface Go 3 starts at $399, just like its predecessor did. It goes up from there, and frankly, the $399 model isn’t the one you’ll want. That’s the one that’s got a Pentium Gold 6500Y, 4GB RAM, and 64GB eMMC storage.

Surface Go 3 with red keyboard

At the very least, you’ll want to take the next step up, which offers 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD for $150 more. Indeed, not only do you get double the RAM and storage, but you get faster storage. The next step up from there is the Core i3 model with the same RAM and storage, and that’s an additional $80 at $629. Finally, 4G LTE connectivity comes in at a $100 premium.

One thing I didn’t mention is there’s now a base model that comes with 4G LTE. It’s $100 more than the Wi-Fi-only base model.

What’s new in the Surface Go 3?

Newer processors

The new Surface Go 3 is all about a spec bump. Instead of a Pentium Gold 4425Y and an eighth-gen Core m3, the new model comes with a Pentium Gold 6500Y and a Core i3-10100Y. Although to be clear, the change from Core m3 to Core i3 is a rebrand; not an improvement.

Surface Go 3, face down

The Surface Go 3 did appear on Geekbench last month, and it shows the new CPUs should be a significant improvement. In fact, the Pentium Gold should be the bigger improvement, and the leaked benchmarks show a score of 3,197 for single-core and 5,643 for multi-core. We’ll have to wait and do our own testing though, of course.

Where can I buy the Surface Go 3?

Here in the U.S., you can buy the Surface Go 3 at the usual places, such as the Microsoft Store, Amazon, Best Buy, and more.

    Surface Go 3
    The Surface Go 3 refreshes its predecessor with new 10th-gen processors.

Surface Go 3 FAQ

Does the Surface Go 3 have Thunderbolt 4?

No. It took years for Microsoft to include Thunderbolt in any of its products, so you shouldn’t be surprised it hasn’t arrived in the entry-level tier. As was the case with previous generations of the product, it does have one USB Type-C port.

While Microsoft doesn’t say it in its spec sheets, the port is USB 3.2 Gen 2, just like the Surface Connect port. You’re probably not missing much by not having Thunderbolt, since you probably wouldn’t want to use dual 4K monitors or an external GPU with a machine like this anyway. You can still connect dual FHD displays if you really want to.

What regions is the Surface Go 3 available in?

Microsoft didn’t quite say which regions the Surface Go 3 will arrive in. What it said is it’s coming to “many markets” on September 22nd, so this should be a pretty global launch. The LTE model is coming to the U.S. and Canada in December, and other markets in early 2022.

Does the Surface Go 3 have 5G or 4G LTE?

Yes. Just like we saw with the Surface Go 2, the Go 3 comes with a 4G LTE option. It does come at a premium of $100 though, so for an entry-level device like this, you have to decide if it’s worth it.

It comes with a Snapdragon X16 modem, just like its predecessor, and supports the following bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66

Does the Surface Go 3 come with Windows 11?

Yes. The Surface Go 3 is a launch device for Windows 11. In fact, all of the newly announced Surface PCs come with Windows 11. You won’t get Android app support on day one, but you’ll get Teams Chat, the new look and feel, Snap Layouts, the new Microsoft Store, and much more.

Does the Surface Go 3 come with the pen and keyboard?

No. As usual, the pen and keyboard are sold separately. The Surface Go Type Cover is $129.99, while the Surface Pen will run you an additional $99.99. You’ll be able to find bundles at Best Buy, Costco, and the usual outlets.

Does the Surface Go 3 come with a charger?

Yes. The Surface Go 3 comes with a 24W charger that connects via the Surface Connect port. Naturally, if you want to charge via the USB Type-C port, you’ll have to bring your own charger. However, the wattage required for this device is so low you can really use most modern phone chargers.

What configurations is the Surface Go 3 available in?

The configuration options for the Surface Go 3 are similar to what they were with the Surface Go 2.

CPURAMStorageLTEOS
Pentium Gold 6500Y4GB64GB eMMCNoWindows 11 Home
Pentium Gold 6500Y4GB64GB eMMCYesWindows 11 Home
Pentium Gold 6500Y8GB128GB SSDNoWindows 11 Home
Core i3-10100Y8GB128GB SSDNoWindows 11 Home
Core i3-10100Y8GB128GB SSDYesWindows 11 Home

There are also business models of similar SKUs, and they cost a bit extra, but come with Windows 11 Pro.

What colors does the Surface Go 3 come in?

The Surface Go 3 comes in any color you want, as long as it’s Platinum. Indeed, unlike the Surface Pro tablets that have been shipping in both Platinum and Black for years, the Surface Go is still only the one color.

Of course, the way to make it more colorful is by accessorizing. The Surface Go Type Cover and the Surface Pen still come in a variety of colors.

Does the Surface Go 3 have a good webcam?

Yes. Microsoft is one of the few companies using 1080p webcams in its products (except the Surface Laptop) since 2014. The Surface Go 3 has a 5MP front camera and an 8MP rear camera, and in fact, as far as webcams go, the Surface go 3 might be the best at its price point.

Does the Surface Go 3 have Windows Hello?

Yes. The Surface Go 3 has an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition. There’s no fingerprint sensor.

Microsoft has been including IR cameras on every Surface device since the launch of Windows 10 when Windows Hello came out, with the exception of the Surface Laptop Go, which had a fingerprint sensor instead.

Is the Core m3 in the Surface Go 3 worth it?

Generally, yes, although both processors should be a solid improvement over their predecessors. Both the Pentium Gold 6500Y and the Core i3-10100Y are dual-core with four threads, and they both have a 5W TDP. The Core i3 has the higher clock speed at 1.3GHz instead of 1.1GHz, and has a higher graphics max frequency of 1GHz instead of 900MHz.

But really, I usually suggest staying away from Pentium Gold processors in general. You can kind of think of the Pentium Gold 6500Y as a Y-series Core i1, if the Core i3, i5, and i7 come ahead of that. Core i3 is tough to recommend to begin with, so a step below that is really hard to recommend.

If you do choose to stick with the Pentium Gold, I do recommend bumping the RAM up to 8GB.

Does the Surface Go 3 run Android apps?

Not at launch. Android app support is coming to Windows 11, but Insiders won’t get to test it out until later this year.

It’s going to be coming by way of the Windows Subsystem for Android. The apps will be distributed via the Amazon Appstore, which is a big deal. Windows users will finally get touch-centric apps for Kindle and Comixology, while the Amazon Appstore will get access to a potential billion+ users.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.