Surface Laptop Go is the newest member of the Surface family, which Microsoft is marketing as the lightest and most affordable laptop (starting at $549 in the Microsoft Store). The device is also the smallest laptop in the family featuring a 12.4-inches edge-to-edge touchscreen display with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
As for tech specs, you’ll find a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, which is similar to the one found on the Surface Laptop 3, but it’s clocked at a lower speed and graphics are not as powerful. You get options up to 16GB of memory and up to 256GB of storage. Also, the device is advertised with 13 hours of battery life with normal use, and there’s fast charging that should charge the battery about 80 percent in about an hour.
Microsoft has even managed to include a full-size keyboard with 1.3mm key travel for comfortable typing, and there’s a large precision trackpad. However, unlike the Laptop 3, the Laptop Go only comes with a metal finish, no alcantara.
Windows Hello Face isn’t a feature on the Surface Laptop Go, but some models ship with a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button for secure and fast authentication. In addition, the device sports a built-in 720p HD camera and Studio Mics and Omnisonic Speakers and Dolby Audio surround for sound. As for ports, you are getting USB-C and USB-A ports, audio jack, and the Surface connector.
Surface Laptop Go specs list
Here’s a closer look at the hardware specs for the Surface Laptop Go:
|Surface Laptop Go specs
|10.95” x 8.10” x 0.62” (278.18mm x 205.67mm x 15.69mm)
|2.45 lbs (1,110 g)
|Screen: 12.4” PixelSense™ Display
Resolution: 1536 x 1024 (148 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Touch: 10 point multi-touch
|10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 Processor
|Intel UHD Graphics
|4GB LPDDR4x RAM
8GB LPDDR4x RAM
|1 x USB-C
1 x USB-A
3.5 mm headphone jack
1 x Surface Connect port
|720p HD f2.0 camera (front-facing)
|Dual far-field Studio Mics
Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby Audio
|Windows 10 Home in S mode (consumer)
Windows 10 Pro (commercial)
|Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax compatible
Bluetooth Wireless 5.0 technology
Fingerprint reader power button
The 4GB of RAM model does not include this feature
|Ambient light sensor
|Up to 13 hours of typical device usage
Base: Polycarbonate composite resin system with glass fiber and 30% post-consumer recycled content
Colors: Ice Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum
|39W Power Supply
How does Surface Laptop Go compare to Laptop 3?
Although both devices share similar names, they’re not designed for the same tasks. The Surface Laptop 3 is more expensive and capable, while the Surface Laptop Go is a device designed for everyday tasks keeping design on a budget.
For instance, both laptops sport an Intel Core i5 processor, but the one in the Laptop 3 is faster and includes better graphics, and you have the option up to a Core i7 or AMD processor. Also, you can only get the Surface Laptop Go up to 256GB of internal storage, while the Laptop 3 goes up to 1TB SSD. Furthermore, the entry model of the Laptop Go comes with a 64GB eMMC drive, which is not as fast as other Solid-State Drives (SSDs) found in the more expensive 128GB and 256GB models.
Another thing that Microsoft has done to maintain the lower price point was reduce the overall footprint of the laptop and added a 12.4-inch display with a 1536 x 1024-pixel resolution, which is significantly lower than the 2256 x 1504 and 2496 x 1664-pixel resolutions found in the 13.5-inch and 15-inch of the Surface Laptop 3. However, a smaller display at a lower resolution should help with battery life, since the graphics card won’t have to drive as many pixels on the screen.
Also, the Surface Laptop Go comes preloaded with Windows 10 Home in S Mode, and the Surface Laptop 3 ships with the regular version of Windows 10 Home. The “S Mode” is a streamlined variant of the operating system aimed for security, performance, and limited to the apps from the Microsoft Store, but you can always switch to the regular mode or upgrade to the Pro edition of Windows 10.
Finally, while both devices offer secure authentication with Windows Hello, only select Laptop Go models have a fingerprint reader to set up the feature, while all models of the Laptop 3 include a Windows Hello Camera.
The bottom line is that it’s almost unfair to compare the two, because they’re devices targeted to different audiences. The Surface Laptop 3 is meant to be the premium device that can do pretty much anything, while the Surface Laptop Go is a cheaper alternative for everyday tasks (such as email, Office apps, web browsing, and video streaming) with a sleek design.
Which Surface Laptop Go model should you get?
If you’re thinking on getting a Surface Laptop Go, when the budget allows it, you should skip the eMMC drive and 4GB of memory model. Instead, you should pick the model that features 8GB of memory and the faster 128GB (or 256GB) of internal storage to get the most performance.
Hardware configuration available with the Laptop Go, include:
- Intel Core i5, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB eMMC for $549.99.
- Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD for $699.99.
- Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for $899.99.
Microsoft is also planning to make available other configurations at different price points for education and commercial customers.
The Surface Laptop Go has a streamlined design that comes in three durable and lightweight metal finishes, including Platinum, Ice Blue, and Sandstone. You can order it now at the Microsoft Store starting October 13, 2020.