Microsoft release Surface Laptop Go After three iterations of the success of the Surface laptop, it was released in October this year. Use the “Go” mark to indicate a smaller, cheaper Surface device, just like the ritual Surface Go that flows from the Surface Pro.
There is no doubt that the initial impression of the Surface Laptop Go is good. Open the box and you can see a pile of aluminum, a Microsoft logo with a mirror, and a cool small laptop. But an absolute winner needs more than just appearance.
When I turned on the laptop, the first impression continued. The two-key keyboard and shell attract your attention, while the delicate frame around the screen makes it feel solid but not too heavy, and the slight angle to the bottom of the machine makes it easy to pick up and carry.
The problem is that after the excellent open experience, the first impression of Surface Laptop Go began to fade away in a small but perceptible amount. Viewed in isolation, everyone feels it is a reasonable compromise, but in a round, they all add up to be considered carefully.
Turning on the laptop Go from standing is too much trouble. The case around the screen does not have a small cutout on the base of the laptop, but has a small protrusion of only a few millimeters. You can grab it with your fingers or thumb to help it open. It helps to maintain the clean lines and appearance of the notebook, but it does not win my favor from a practical point of view.
The resolution on the screen is relatively low 1536×1024 pixels. A 4K screen doesn’t make much sense on a 12.4-inch display, especially considering the useful 3:2 ratio of the screen (rather than the media-friendly 16:9), but the screen used here is a bit cramped.
It does have a touch screen, but it should be noted that it does not work with Microsoft’s Surface Pen. Considering the marketing effort to ensure that the Surface Pen is associated with the new Surface device, this is an inexplicable omission in terms of branding. It must be suspected that the technology that allows the accuracy of the Surface Pen has been cancelled to reduce construction costs.
My biggest problem is the keyboard. Using a laptop in any type of low-light environment will cause the white etching of the keys to disappear, while in a darker environment, the gray of the keys disappears. Great, you can touch everything you type; but the second time you need to look down, check punctuation or lose position, and then you come back to “make your best guess”.
Compare the keyboard of the Surface Laptop Go with my Apple wireless keyboard, the Apple keyboard has provided excellent service for years. Even with this picture, you can see the lower contrast of the Surface. Now, in a low-light environment (such as a lecture hall), it is depicted with eyes that do not have AI routines to process low-light images.
This is why a backlit keyboard is really a good idea.
The smaller function keys are almost unrecognizable unless you tilt the screen over them to cast some light on them-and ironically, using the screen light to lower the screen brightness doesn’t confuse me. The only keys that light up are the combined power button and the keys around the fingerprint sensor.
I’m trying to determine if the lack of backlighting is suitable for everyone, or for me. Given that the high-end model is priced at $899 in the United States, this is really a baffling miss.
One of the selling points of the Surface Laptop Go is the price point, which offers the Surface design and outstanding performance that Microsoft calls everyday laptops. The entry-level model at $549 certainly covers design sensitivities, but the specifications… are simply too dated.
If the Surface Laptop Go is a premium product, then why does the minimum specification option using eMMC only have 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage space? There is not even a decent speed SSD in the basic model, and I would love to see the performance of the entry-level model when it regularly loads Windows 10 and applications that everyone can install immediately.
My review unit is provided by Microsoft and is a high-end consumer model with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD storage. All models are equipped with Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor. The middle model with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage is priced at $699, while the price of my review model is $799.
(There is a model with 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, but this is limited to Microsoft’s business partners).
Although the Surface Laptop Go starts at $549, the lower models are difficult to sell with limited specifications. These specifications will allow you to be almost completely in a web browser that can run on the cloud. At this time, you’d better view a Chromebook with complete specifications.For me, the real starting price of the Laptop Go series is $699, which makes it compatible with Acer Aspire 6, Asus VivoBook 15 and
Any laptop has a compromise, and the Surface Laptop Go must make a lot of effort to reach this price point. It looks and feels like a Surface design; the choice of using a plastic base on the machine worked very well for me, especially because the keyboard chassis and top cover are still aluminum, which contributes to the design.
The keyboard feels good, and I feel comfortable in terms of buttons…but I still can’t overcome the lack of backlit buttons.
The performance-wise Laptop Go is sufficient for daily browsing and documentation tasks. It does have an i5 chip, but the Ice Lake chipset has been replaced, and you can’t really ask for any advanced graphics features with Intel’s UHD graphics-but this is not the purpose of the Surface Laptop Go.
The Surface Laptop Go has a natural competitor… Apple’s 12-inch MacBook. This is a difficult comparison because Apple cancelled the laptop in 2019, but the MacBook for the Go laptop revolves around the same discussion points. It is packaged in style and provides the same experience as the more expensive machines in the portfolio, but lacks touch capabilities and feels more expensive than it should be.
The difference is that MacBook has no other competition-due to macOS, the only hardware in the city is Apple’s hardware. The Surface Laptop Go is not that luxurious. Cheaper machines with the same specifications, and similarly priced machines with higher specifications. I think Microsoft has missed the target of the specification/price department. Where Microsoft really wins is the design and appearance of the Laptop Go.
If you want to rely heavily on the design of small portable laptops, then Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go is your best choice.
Disclaimer: Microsoft provided the Surface Laptop Go for review.