Microsoft Surface GO and Fire HD 10 fit together in the same bag

Making room for both the Microsoft Surface GO and Amazon's Fire HD 10 has advantages for professional and personal use.

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I’m a huge Fire user, I have a fleet of the things and virtually every model they make.  The one I carry the most is the 10-inch Fire HD because it is best for videos, I don’t have to flip the pages as much when reading, and it does a better job, in my opinion, than the smaller devices with web pages particularly those with forms. The new Microsoft Surface GO is in the same size class and I’ve been messing with it a bit. It stands out as being even better with web pages, it runs full Office, and it has a far better keyboard solution but the apps for movies and books aren’t as good as the Fire’s.

Now my idea of a perfect product is one with twin personalities. When it is in work mode, it behaves like the Surface Go, but if you want to be entertained, it would switch to Fire mode for a full Amazon experience. You can’t get that, but when I carried both products together, I started to realize that having two products, each focused, wasn’t bad... it really wasn’t bad at all.

Let me explain.

Twin tablet carry

Here is the thing: carrying two laptops is just not viable because the added weight of the power supplies and PCs is too much. But tablets are far lighter. The Surface Go with the keyboard is 1.7 pounds; the Fire with cover is around 1.3 pounds for a total of 3 pounds which is in line with a reasonably light laptop. Battery life for both is in excess of 8 hours so, together, you get 16 hours of battery life. If you have a USB-C to Micro USB cable you only need the Surface charger (though for fast charging, the Fire charger is still best, and it’s also pretty tiny).

Price for the Surface GO with the recommended 128 GB of storage is $549 and you’ll want the $99 keyboard for a total of $648 in basic configuration, the Fire is a far more reasonable $149 ($189 for the recommended 64 GB configuration) and a good cover is $40. So that’s a total of around $840 for both products or the price of a mid-range notebook or a well configured iPad you get an optimized business/entertainment solution.

Now for this $840 you get something unique an air gapped separation between your work/school and personal life. Think about it, IT can typically look at everything you have running on your work laptop or tablet which will give them full access to the Surface but whatever you do on your Fire 10 stays on your Fire 10.

In addition, with both products, you make a clean pivot between work and play so you can configure the Fire to not bug you when you are watching a movie or reading or not, but notices that go to each device can be made to stay with each device if you so choose.

On a plane, the Surface Go is almost the perfect size for a tray table. There is far less possibility for the Surface Go kickstand to fall off the back of a plane table and embarrass you than with the larger Surface Pro.

Both products can be linked to One Drive and there is a version of Outlook on the Amazon store keeping both products synchronized as long as you are connected to a network (this is problematic on a plane where you either may not have Wi-Fi or where the Wi-Fi only allows one device to connect at a time). However, since what you do on both products is very different this really isn’t a big problem.

Finally, you have redundancy, in a pinch you can work on the Fire and you can read or watch movies on the Surface Go so if one breaks or runs out of battery, you can keep going and just synchronize up later. Oh, and another option is rather than use the Fire 10-inch to drop back to the $90 Fire 8-inch with similar performance but a smaller screen. You save around $100 (with cover) and you drop a pound of carry weight. Though I think the larger screen is worth the difference and two similar sized tablets are easier to hold and carry when stacked together.

Wrapping up

With something as small and light as the Surface Go, you have advantages you didn’t have with the larger Surface offerings. One is to reasonably carry two 10-inch tablets one for personal and one for professional use. The Fire 10 may be the ideal partner for the Surface Go, providing all of the entertainment while better preserving privacy, effectively doubling your battery life, and giving you redundancy.

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