Microsoft’s latest PC, the Surface Laptop Go 2, is a laptop that highlights the difficult calculation for manufacturers between price and feature concessions needed to deliver a budget laptop in 2022. A different experience than the original 2020 Surface Laptop Go.
Compared to this first model, this one is a little more expensive, but it is also a little better. Maybe even more than a little, depending on the configuration. For the second version of the Surface Laptop Go, Microsoft had to circumvent the current economic problems by reevaluating the price level of its entry-level laptop. The base model of the Surface Laptop Go 2 is offered at 669 euros.
The original Surface Laptop Go tried to emulate the excellent design of the Surface Laptop, and strip it of some features for a more modest budget. It was a laptop with a 12.4-inch screen and a 10th generation Intel Core i5. The big problem was that the base model, despite its attractive price, came with an unattractive combination of 4GB of RAM and a measly 64GB of hard drive storage.
The new version 2.0 brings some changes, but maybe not enough. At least we now have 128 GB of minimum storage, but still the same 4 GB of RAM. The operating system is Windows 11, which replaces Windows 10 S, and the processor is upgraded from a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 to an 11th Gen Intel Core i5. For an entry-level laptop, that’s fine, but keep in mind that most new laptops already have 12th Gen Intel chips.
The screen size and resolution, weight, port selection, and overall design of the new Surface Laptop Go 2 are the same as the original version. That includes the modest 1536×1024 pixel resolution, but it’s also touchscreen, quite bright and clear for a laptop in this price bracket.
The webcam is still a lower-res 720p model, but Microsoft says software tweaks give it better color accuracy and noise reduction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many laptops finally adopted full HD webcams, with 1080p resolution.
Microsoft says the new version is more eco-friendly, with 30% recycled plastic. It also features a decent level of repairability, with the ability to swap out the SSD and battery, among other parts. On the other hand, it is not possible to change the RAM or the CPU.
- Screen: 12.4 inch touchscreen, 1536×1024 pixels
- Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-113G7
- Memory: 8GB DDR4 RAM 3.1GHz
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe graphics
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- WiFi 6: 802.11ax Bluetooth Wireless 5.1
- OS Microsoft Windows 11 Home
The lowest-end Surface Laptop Go 2 (like the original) only has 4GB of RAM, which is considered a problem. For both generations of this product, Microsoft sent us a model with 8 GB of RAM to test. Microsoft says 4GB is officially supported for Windows 11, but upgrading the RAM to 8GB will give you a much more satisfying experience. For 769 euros you can get the same Core i5, but with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. For 869 euros, it’s 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.
And once the 800 euro mark is exceeded, we are no longer in the category of entry-level laptops. We would rather be tempted to spend a little more and look for an offer on an HP Envy or a Dell XPS 13. Or, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 (the latest version), from 1129 euros. But note that the Surface Laptop 4 comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD. You do, however, get a more premium design with a bigger and better screen.
That’s a lot of comparisons to come to the conclusion that, as with the original, the 769 euro model is the best balance, even if it’s less well equipped in terms of storage. Buying a budget laptop is always trickier than buying a more expensive one, because you always have to make a compromise between the different features and the price.
Its appearance, the feeling of use and the performance are very similar to those of the original model. It still feels like a high-end PC, thanks to its aluminum shell, excellent keyboard and spacious 3:2 aspect ratio screen. It feels almost as sturdy as a MacBook Air, and the hinge – often a weak point on cheaper laptops – is stiff and spans nearly the full length of the screen.
Its small size, close enough to a 13-inch laptop, but smaller than a MacBook Air, makes it a good fit in on-the-go situations. The fingerprint reader in the power button is fast and responsive, but it’s not present in the cheapest configuration.
Running basic apps and web browsers are fine for day-to-day use, but we preferred using Microsoft’s Edge browser over Chrome, as it’s better optimized for low-powered Windows 11 systems.
In our performance tests, the 2022 version, with its 11th Gen Core i5, is indeed faster than the 10th Gen Core i5 in the 2020 version. reference. However, they’re nowhere near as beautiful and well-made as the Surface.
Even though other laptops offer better specs for the same price or less, the overall look of the Surface Laptop Go 2 matters a lot. This is a good laptop if you’re looking for a portable PC to use on the go, with a nice look and a great typing experience.
Cnet.com article adapted by CNET France