Top positive review
I love this device! UPDATE: No problems being out of "S Mode".
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2018
I think the Surface Go is a fantastic device if you don't set your expectations unreasonably high. For reference, I got the 64GB base model, a black type cover, and a Surface pen.
After unboxing, setup takes slightly longer than "just a moment" as the device likes to say, but if you've already got a Windows 10 device, it's pretty quick and easy. Following the initial startup, the device will need to download a variety of updates, but within 2 hours or so mine was fully up to date after multiple installations, restarts, etc... standard computer update affairs.
I switched it out of "S mode" almost immediately, because I didn't want to be bootstrapped to the Microsoft store, and it's nice that they give you the option. It doesn't require any restart or anything, and allows you to install apps from anywhere.
Regarding performance, I have done email, lots of internet browsing and video watching, movies, drawing, and light photo editing and social networking. The device is not lightning fast and it doesn't need to be. It rarely lags more than a second or 2 to open programs but if you're used to a higher performing desktop or laptop then you will notice. The glossy screen is beautiful and photos and videos look great. There are front firing speakers that sound pretty decent but not much better than your average smartphone speakers, but this is understandable. The device makes zero noise as well, no fans or spinning disks are present here and it rarely gets hot to the touch.
Really any light duty thing you would do on a normal Windows 10 PC can be done here. And that's where this thing shines, it's versatility is just head and shoulders above laptops because of how wonderfully portable it is. It feels sturdy, good in the hand or in the lap, and the fully adjustable kickstand is magnificent. In my opinion, the add on keyboard is absolutely essential. It clips on quickly and easily with nice strong magnets. The keys are small and take some getting used to, but having a full keyboard with back-lighting in this form factor is amazing. They are far better than on screen typing. The trackpad is also wonderful, it looks silly large on there but that is a good thing. It's responsive and has a nice clicky feeling.
I don't think that the Surface Pen is nearly as essential, but it is fun and works excellent. I could see myself using it for casual note taking, there is virtually no noticeable lag.
The charger the device comes with has a proprietary port, but you can also charge it via USB-C, which is great if you have a phone with that port, because you only need one charger while you travel.
The only things worth complaining about on this device are made up for by its sturdy build and excellent functionality. It makes a fantastic bridge between the smartphone and PC, perfect for when a smartphone just isn't enough and a full size PC is too much. You don't even need to stow it during takeoff and landing on planes!!! So, set your expectations to a realistic level and the Surface Go, even the base model, will meet them.
As an added bonus personally, the Surface Go has helped me use my smartphone less, to the point that I removed most social media from my phone. When you don't have Facebook and Instagram in your pocket at all times, it is pretty amazing how quickly you realize how often you used to mindlessly scroll through your feeds. So you could say it has made me more mindful of my screen time and helped me leave both it and my phone in my pocket or out of reach more often, which we could all use a break from now and then.
One more thing... this one is just a tip. Don't buy office! This device has a small enough screen that it qualifies for the free version of MS Office Mobile. Search online for how to get them!
UPDATE 2/4/19: I've owned this for several months now and have had zero issues. Changing out of S mode and installing Chrome and other non-Windows store programs has been no problem, no noticeable impact to memory usage or performance. Battery life is still good, just a great little device to have.