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Surface Go 4 vs Surface Pro 9: Which Surface tablet fits your lifestyle? – XDA Developers

The newest business-focused Surface takes on the king.
The Surface Pro 9 is the best tablet PC that Microsoft makes, with either a powerful Intel processor or a capable but battery-sipping Arm-based processor, both with 5G connectivity as an optional extra.
The Surface Go 4 is the latest in the Go line, with an improved processor, more memory, and faster storage performance. Unfortunately, it’s only available to buy for businesses, and it seems to have dropped the LTE option of its predecessor.
The Surface Go 4 is the latest affordable tablet computer from Microsoft — at least, it would be if it were available for consumers to buy. It won’t be gracing stores, but your company could buy them if you wanted to put in a purchase order for an affordable Windows tablet. It joins the line of Surface 2-in-1 devices, which is led by the Surface Pro 9. The flagship is still our Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods’ “everything device,” blending the best of Windows and tablet usage. So, in this showdown of two of the best Microsoft Surface devices, which 2-in-1 is worth your time?
The Surface Go 4 was announced on Sept. 21 during Microsoft's latest Surface event. The newest 2-in-1 laptop with a detachable keyboard will start from $579 for 64GB of storage, with higher prices for the 128GB and 256GB models. That's if you can get one at all because Microsoft is only selling this Surface to businesses when it releases on Oct. 3.
Microsoft's premium 2-in-1, the Surface Pro 9, has been out for almost a year. The Intel-based models start at $1,000 MSRP for a Core i5 with 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD, while the SQ3 5G version starts at $1,300 MSRP for 128GB of storage. All the major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg carry the device, or you can get it directly from Microsoft's own stores. The Surface Pro 9 is often discounted due to its age, with up to $400 off some models, making it a more affordable flagship device than it was at launch.
The Surface Go 4 keeps the design of its predecessor, which is fine because that’s the Surface look we love and expect. It’s made of magnesium alloy and comes in a Platinum colorway, and the pen still needs an AAA battery. The sturdy kickstand comes out to keep it balanced when used in laptop mode, the microSD card slot is still there, and the keyboard detaches for tablet mode. It also keeps the port selection, with one USB-C, Surface Connect port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Video call duty is handled by a Full HD webcam with Windows Hello support and a rear-facing 8MP 1080p camera.
The screen is unchanged from the predecessor, too, with a 10.5-inch 1920×1280 display that supports touch and pen input. Our testing of the Surface Go 3 showed it covers 100% of sRGB, 71% NTSC, 77% Adobe RGB, and 78% P3. That’s no feat for any display at this price point and makes the tablet feel much more premium. We tested brightness at 421.3 nits. Again, this is better than most displays at this price.
The Surface Pro 9 also uses the same design language, with a large kickstand that swings out for stability. It’s almost twice the weight at 1.95 pounds vs. the 1.15 pounds of the Surface Go 4, but it does have a 13-inch display instead of the 10.5-inch one in the cheaper tablet. It’s made from aluminum, with the SQ3 variant coming in Platinum, while the Intel versions come in Sapphire and Forest colors. The user-facing camera is 5MP, and the rear-facing camera is 10MP. You get more ports here, with two USB Type-C ports on the right side, which also support Thunderbolt 4 on the Intel variants.
The 13-inch display is gorgeous and smooth, with a 120Hz refresh rate set to the highest by default. Our testing showed it covers 100% of sRGB, 78% NTSC, 82% Adobe RGB, and 85% P3, which is pretty great for a laptop screen. It’s also bright, measured at over 447 nits. The display also has pen support, and the Slim Pen 2 is one of the better active styli with haptic feedback to simulate writing on paper.
Both devices have Surface style and displays that have bright, color-accurate panels, but the Surface Pro 9 wins overall.
The biggest hardware change in the Surface Go 4 is the new processor: an Intel N400 with four cores, four threads, and a maximum boost clock of 3.7GHz. This will feel snappier than the top-flight Core i3-10100Y in the Surface Go 3, which had two cores with a 3.9GHz boost clock. You also get 8GB of RAM in this refreshed model vs 4GB in the previous one, which will benefit Windows 11 greatly. And the storage has also changed, with the old eMMC storage staying in the past. The 64GB tier now uses UFS, which should be much faster. Microsoft hasn’t published battery capacity details yet but says the Surface Go 4 can last for up to 12.5 hours in normal use.
The Surface Pro 9 has either a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 in the Wi-Fi versions or an Arm-based Microsoft SQ3 processor in the 5G variant. It’s the latter version you want, as the Arm processor offers better battery. Our testing found it got between eight and 10.5 hours of battery life while keeping the screen at a 120Hz refresh rate, far more than the Intel versions could manage. Yes, it’s not as powerful as the Intel Core i7, but it doesn’t have to be, as the SQ3 is powerful enough for all the apps you’d want — except for Adobe Photoshop and Google Chrome, which both struggle on this processor. Still, the ability to side-load any Android app to fill in any software gaps is a game-changer and makes the Pro 9 much more than a laptop replacement; it’s an iPad replacement, too.
For most consumers, Microsoft has made choosing between these devices easy. The only one with a retail release is the Surface Pro 9, so that’s the one we have to go with. Even if that wasn’t the case, the Surface Pro 9 is more powerful, has a better screen, and has better connectivity options. It’s an overall better tablet, even at twice the price. Even those using enterprise accounts to order it should still opt for the Surface Pro 9, in the SQ3 Arm-based configuration, so you get 5G and insane battery life.
The Surface Pro 9 is a 2-in-1 tablet computer with a removable keyboard, a touchscreen, and pen support. It comes with either Intel Core processors or Microsoft’s own SQ3 Arm-based processor and has optional 5G for working from anywhere.
If you’re a business user who needs a low-cost 2-in-1, and the tablet form factor appeals more than the 360-hinge options, the Surface Go 4 is worth checking out. Microsoft gave it enough of an internal spec bump this generation to have a smoother user experience. It also doesn’t look budget, with the same Surface design that is used on the more premium devices.
The Surface Go 4 is the latest in the Go line, with an improved processor, more memory, and faster storage performance. Unfortunately, it’s only available to buy for businesses, and it seems to have dropped the LTE option of its predecessor.

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