Microsoft has released the much-anticipated sibling to the Surface Go with the announcement of the Surface Laptop Go (which is a bit of a mouthful) that starts at just £549 – for reference this is about half the price of the cost of its big brother, the Surface Laptop 3 which makes the Laptop Go could a seriously tempting device for anyone or any business that is bought into the Surface Brand but doesn’t need the size or power of the premium range.
The Laptop Go is to date, the most “affordable” laptop in Microsoft’s Surface line-up.
Is this like the Surface Go?
If you think of the Surface Go 2 as the “baby Surface Pro”, then the Laptop Go is a “baby Surface Laptop 3″ with a 12.4” screen. It is a smaller, lower-spec device than the Surface Laptop 3 for sure, but it also is quite an uplift from the internals of the Surface Go 2, launched back in March.
The good news is that unlike the Surface Go (which I am a huge fan of and reviewed here), Microsoft has been far more generous with the technical internals of the Laptop Go and hasn’t cut corners on the processor. The Laptop Go features 10th Gen Intel’s Core i5 processors (the Surface Go uses the M3), which provides plenty of performance to handle everyday tasks such as web browsing, watching videos and working on big doc, presentations and spreadsheets.
The Laptop Go is also surprisingly accessory-friendly, with both USB-C and USB-A connections, along with Microsoft’s standard Surface port.
Surface Laptop Go is also hot on security, with Firmware TPM and Fingerprint Power Button for password-free One Touch sign-in on all but the base model. Weirdly there is no Windows Hello camera, which I was surprised at given it’s been a key feature on every Surface model since the Pro 5 and is even in the most entry level Surface Go 2.
Designed for on the “Go”
Like the Surface Go, the small form factor of the Laptop Go means it is easy to pop into a bag or simply carry round and despite its weight (at just 1.1Kgs), it does look and feel (so they say) every bit like a Surface. Battery power is claimed to be around 13hrs and supports fast-charging – which can take you from zero to 80% charge in just an hour.
One thing which I had assumed would be an option, is lack of support for mobile data (LTE/4G) which I presumed would be there – it seems the LTE variant is still only available in the Surface Go and Surface Pro X range.
The Laptop Go comes in blue, platinum and sandstone colours.
Compromise or Upgrade?
To keep the price point of the cheapest Laptop Go cheap, there are some compromises in the £549 model.
- Graphics: Being a more “budget” Surface device, graphics power is one place where there is some compromise. The Laptop Go includes the more entry level ‘Intel UHD’ graphics chip, compared with the significantly more powerful ‘Intel Iris Plus’ which is included within the Surface Laptop 3.
- RAM – The entry level Surface Laptop Go comes with only 4GB RAM which is really the bear minimum anyone should have in a device these days! This is fine if you are mainly using web apps and only a few apps, but if you plan on doing lots of multi-tasking and don’t want to have to keep closing apps to free up memory, you’ll want to opt for the 8GB version,
- Storage – The entry level Laptop Go has just 64GB of the cheaper, more basic ‘eMMC’ storage which isn’t as fast as the solid-state drives (SSD) found in the higher specification models.
A small upgrade – makes all the difference
The shortcomings high-lighted above can be easily overcome by throwing a little more money at the Laptop Go.
If you go for the next model up in the range (which is an extra £149), you get
- A faster and larger (128GB) SSD
- 8GB of RAM.
If you want even more, you can change the config up to 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD, though personally at this level I’d be looking at “grownup” Surface!
When can I get one?
It’s available for pre-order now with delivery dates from 27th October 2020 in the UK