Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 review: Sleek and light, but battery life could be better

You can be forgiven for having a hard time keeping up with the various models in the Microsoft Surface lineup, but the Surface Laptop Go 2 stands out for being the smallest, lightest and most affordable laptop currently on offer.

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The 2022 release is not a major update, focusing on the new 11th Gen Core i5 processor and improved security features for business users. However, the lightweight and sleek design of the Surface Laptop Go 2 should appeal to those looking for an ultraportable for everyday use. The Surface Laptop Go 2 is also very versatile, offering both consumer and professional options aimed at users ranging from students on a budget to professionals.

Surface Go 2 design and features

Like its 2020 predecessor, the Surface Laptop Go 2 features a 12.4-inch touchscreen that helps keep the weight down to just 1.13kg, while its slim profile is just 15.7mm thin. It’s easy to take with one hand and slip into your backpack or briefcase when you’re ready to travel. Build quality is impeccable despite the competitive price. Available in multiple colors (Sage, Ice Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum), the Go 2’s aluminum chassis is strong enough to withstand multiple bumps while on the move.

The keyboard is surprisingly durable and comfortable. Microsoft claims it “offers 30% more key travel than the MacBook Air” and the keyboard is certainly very responsive when typing. However, it’s odd that the keyboard doesn’t have backlighting built into it for use in dark rooms or aircraft cabins.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 laptop: keyboard

The keyboard is comfortable for typing, but there is no backlight. Photo: Cliff Joseph

The small screen has its drawbacks as it only offers a resolution of 1536 by 1024 pixels (148dpi). Selecting an aspect ratio of 3:2 is a good choice as the screen is large enough to provide good visibility when reading or scrolling through documents or web pages. However, the screen quickly gets a little cluttered as soon as you have multiple overlapping windows or apps open at the same time. The screen is bright and colorful – in fact, sometimes too bright for my naked eye – and colors sometimes seem slightly oversaturated, especially in the red part of the spectrum.

Microsoft’s specs don’t mention screen brightness or color gamut support, but the company tells us it’s 330 nits and 100% sRGB. It’s clear that the Surface Laptop Go 2 isn’t designed for professional-level graphics, but its screen is great for browsing documents, browsing the web, or watching videos.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 Notebook: Profiles

The 15.7mm thick Surface Laptop Go 2 offers USB-C and USB-A ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Microsoft Surface Connect port. Images: Cliff Joseph

Surface Laptop Go 2 connections

The compact design of the Surface Laptop Go 2 means connectivity is somewhat limited. In terms of wireless connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, but physical connectors are limited to a single USB-C port and a USB-A port, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Microsoft Surface Connect port for charging and connectivity. Luckily, the USB-C port allowed me to connect my Go 2 laptop to an external 4K display – Microsoft’s website seems to imply that this requires the optional Surface Dock 2 ($260). However, business users who want to use the Go 2 laptop as part of their office setup may still need an optional docking station or hub to provide features such as Ethernet for an office network or additional USB ports.

And the only clear sign of savings with the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its 720p webcam, though Microsoft says there’s a new camera module offering improved brightness, contrast, and color balance. The image is certainly quite bright, even on an overcast British summer day, but it still has a slightly grainy quality. Business users looking for a high quality webcam for video calls and meetings may prefer to purchase a 1080p webcam along with their desktop hub.

Surface Laptop Go 2 pricing and options

As we mentioned, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is available in both consumer and professional editions, with the latter including Windows 11 Pro and offering Secured-Core PC security features, including a physical TPM 2.0 chip (instead of implementing the TPM in firmware, as is the case for the consumer model).

Business users also benefit from Microsoft’s “pre-exchange” guarantee, which allows them to request a device replacement before the failed Surface device is sent in for repair. We’ll focus on enterprise pricing here, but consumer prices are typically $100 lower for each individual configuration.

Surface Laptop Go 2 for Business starts at €769 for 2.4GHz quad-core Core i5-1135G7 (up to 4.2GHz Turbo Boost), memory, 4GB RAM, and SSD with a capacity of 128 GB. There is no fingerprint sensor on the base model, although all other configurations have the sensor built into the power button.

Our test unit had 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, bringing the price to €969; there’s also a $1,169 model with 16GB of RAM, which seems pretty expensive for a simple memory upgrade. There is no additional processor or other upgrade options, and all configurations are based on Iris Xe Core i5 integrated graphics.

Surface Go 2 laptop performance

You can’t accuse Microsoft of exaggerating the Surface Laptop Go 2’s performance, as its website simply states that it offers “the performance you need to run everyday apps.”

This is an accurate description of the performance of the 11th generation Core i5 processor, which scored 1345 (single-core) and 4140 (multi-core) in the Geekbench 5 processor test. In contrast, the current MacBook Air d Apple M1 processor scored 1730 and 7590, respectively.

Notebook Microsoft Surface Go 2: PC Mark 10

Photo: Cliff Joseph

This modest CPU performance is also reflected in PCMark 10’s application benchmarks, where a score of 4466 only lifted it out of the bottom third of the results table. To be fair, the Surface Laptop Go 2 will work seamlessly with standard productivity software like Microsoft Office, as well as web browsing, email, and video calls.

The integrated Iris Xe graphics card is arguably the best performer here with a PCMark 10 score of 7508 for photo editing, so the Surface Laptop Go 2 should be able to handle basic photo editing for presentation work if needed. It won’t be able to handle a lot of video editing or gaming, though, with a PCMark 10 video score of 4341, while its gaming score of 10,820 on the 3DMark Night Raid test puts it firmly at “under 20fps”.

The only real disappointment with the Surface Laptop Go 2 is battery life. Microsoft lists up to 13.5 hours of “typical device use,” but our test unit was only able to last half that time during our video streaming test, running for a modest six hours and forty minutes, even with the screen brightness reduced to 50%. . You might be able to stretch that out to a full eight-hour work day if you don’t use Wi-Fi all day, but that’s still far from the exceptional 17 hours that the MacBook Air M1 delivers.

Surface Laptop Go 2 Conclusions

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is a mixed bag. Based on performance and battery life alone, this is an entry-level laptop that is priced in the mid-range and memory upgrades are quite expensive.

The best selling point of the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its sleek, ultraportable design that is both sleek and durable and well-suited for hybrid and mobile work. If you value portability above all else, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is definitely enticing.

However, business users who need to do more than run Microsoft Office may prefer one of the more powerful models in the Surface lineup or one of its many ultraportable competitors.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 Notebook Features

  • Dimensions: 278.2 mm x 206.2 mm x 15.7 mm (10.95″ x 8.12″ x 0.62″)
  • Weight : 1.127 kg
  • Construction : aluminum (top), aluminum and polycarbonate composite resin with fiberglass and 30% recycled material (base)
  • Colors: sage, blue ice, sandstone, platinum
  • Operating system : Windows 11 Home (Consumer) – Windows 11 Pro or 10 Pro (Enterprise)
  • Screen : 12.4″ PixelSense, 1536 x 1024 (3:2, 148 ppi), 330 nits, 10-point multi-touch
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7 RAM 4 GB, 8 GB (LPDDR4x)
  • Storage : 128 GB, 256 GB (removable SSD) Graphics Intel Iris Xe graphics Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Bluetooth: 5.1
  • Connections: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio jack, Surface Connect
  • Camera: HD 720p f/2.0
  • Audio: dual far-field microphones, omnidirectional speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • Battery capacity: 41 Wh
  • Battery Life : up to 13.5 hours (typical use of the device)
  • Safety : TPM 2.0 (firmware for consumer model, hardware for business model) – Windows Hello sign-in – fingerprint power button (except 4GB/128GB configuration)
  • Guarantee: 1 year
  • In the box : Surface Laptop Go 2 39W Power Supply Quick Start Guide Safety & Warranty Documents
  • Price : from 669 euros (public) – from 769 euros (professional)

Alternatives to Consider

The Surface Laptop Go 2 is one of the thinnest and lightest Windows laptops on the market, but it has plenty of competition in the ultraportable category at various price points.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Apple MacBook Air

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

See the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 Ultraportable PC at Amazon

Microsoft Surface Go 2 Laptop – Best Prices:

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Source: “.com”

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