The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is an extremely well built, very nicely designed ‘budget’ laptop, where, unfortunately, buying the base model doesn’t make much sense.
Easily my favourite thing about the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is its build quality. Even for the base price of £549 you’re getting an extremely well built, very small, very light device that’s a joy to use and perfect to travel with. Every part of the Laptop Go just feels quality. The hinge feels so much better than other laptops in its price range, the trackpad and keyboard are well made and work just as well as any other laptop I’ve ever used, and having a touch screen at a ‘budget’ price is really nice.
Speaking of the keyboard, just looking at it I really wasn’t expecting much at all. To fit in the extremely small body, the keyboard looks like it’s been squashed and crammed into it, and at first glance it doesn’t look as if typing on it would be a nice experience. Thankfully, in practice it’s much better than expected, it’s tactile and the layout has clearly been extremely well thought out. After a short period of getting used to the more cramped layout, it was just as easy to type on as any other laptop.
As this is a Microsoft Surface product of course it follows their signature style, and honestly it looks great. You’ll be very hard-pressed to find a laptop that looks better than this at this price point. If you put it next to much more premium models like the Surface Laptop or Apple’s Macbooks it doesn’t at all look out of place. The premium materials like aluminium, really make this laptop look great. And the screen has small enough bezels to make it look even more modern than some of Microsoft’s other Surface products.
Speaking of the screen, it’s a little bit lower resolution than I’d like. It comes in at 1536 x 1024, which is slightly higher than 720p, but it’s not as high as the 1920 x 1080 that you can easily find on other laptops in this price range. It also doesn’t get quite as bright as I’d like it to. What is nice about the screen is the fact that it keeps the 3:2 aspect ratio that Surface products are now known for. This is great for productivity, especially in a device so small and light.
Powering that 3:2 screen on the device I was using was an Intel i5 and 8GB of RAM, which was more than enough to easily get through almost any simple task I threw at it. It’s a great little laptop for surfing the internet, writing documents, or video conferencing – which is becoming more and more important these days. It’s pretty much great for any office task, but if you try anything a little bit more intensive, this definitely isn’t the laptop for you. The problem here is that the model with all the bells and whistles isn’t the base model, so it’s difficult to still call it a budget device. On the lowest end, most budget device, you’re still getting that i5, but you’re also only getting 4GB of RAM, and most importantly, you’re just getting 64GB of very slow storage. Because of this, I don’t recommend anyone out there go for the base model of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go. I can very easily see this model struggling with tasks like browsing the internet and streaming video, as well as being extremely slow when trying to access the memory. It feels like Microsoft have put this base model there just so they can advertise the laptop as ‘starting at £549’, when in reality most people are going to want the middle spec version.
I found the battery life to be good, but not great, during my time with the device. During general use it took around 6 hours to drain fully, but thankfully the Surface Laptop Go has fast charging included, so getting the battery back up hardly takes any time at all.
The port selection isn’t great, but on a device this small and thin I can understand the reasons why. It has 1 x USB A, 1 x USB C, a headphone jack, and the Surface connector which is used for charging. If you go for the slightly more expensive model you also get a fingerprint sensor for logging into the laptop, which is really handy to have, especially as there’s no Windows Hello facial recognition. The webcam and mic quality are both good, and for video calls, you won’t be disappointed.
So all in all I do like the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go. It’s a really handy little laptop that’s great for office work, surfing the internet, and video conferencing. It could be a great device for work if you do a lot of video calling, or write a lot of emails on the go. And it would be a brilliant device for a student on a budget, especially as many classes are now online and done over video. While the touchscreen aspect is nice, the screen resolution and brightness are a bit of a letdown. And while saying this device starts at £549 is technically true, in practice it’s just not. That base model is so hamstrung by cost-cutting in terms of RAM and storage, that the Laptop Go essentially starts at £699 for the mid-spec model. At that price you’re competing with some very capable laptops, and your decision is made a little bit more difficult. But at the end of the day, the Surface Laptop Go is a well designed, well built, super small, super-light laptop, that you’ll be happy with – as long as you don’t go for the base model.