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Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

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Introducing the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 – a remarkable blend of style and affordability. In this article, we delve into the latest iteration of this portable powerhouse, which strikes a harmonious balance between Microsoft's Surface Go tablet and the conventional Surface Laptop. With a fresh design and enhanced features, the Surface Laptop Go 2 offers a competitive edge in the budget laptop market. Join us as we explore its design, performance, and the value it brings to users on a budget.








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The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 represents a moderate improvement over its predecessor, although substantial changes are minimal. The standout feature is the upgraded processor, supported by minor improvements to the webcam and a more sustainable design with replaceable parts.

However, the Surface Laptop Go 2 retains its position as an attractive budget notebook with a more premium build than many of its peers. Its competitive starting price and the availability of additional configurations make it an appealing choice for users on a budget. While it has a few shortcomings, these are to be expected in this price range. For those looking for an affordable yet stylish laptop, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is a compelling option and offers one of the best value propositions in its class.

Introducing the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: A Stylish and Affordable Compromise

Microsoft has once again refined its line of portable devices with the introduction of the Surface Laptop Go 2. This laptop is positioned as a middle-ground option between the small Surface Go 3 tablet and the more conventional Surface Laptop 4. With a starting price of $599.99 (or $799.99 as tested), the Surface Laptop Go 2 offers several enhancements over its predecessor, including a faster Intel 11th Generation processor and some component tweaks. What sets it apart from the competition is its 3:2 aspect ratio display, a rarity among budget laptops, making it an attractive option for those seeking both style and functionality.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

Microsoft has a diverse range of products, covering various price points and sizes within the Surface line. The Surface Laptop Go 2 is a perfect example of this versatility, combining elements from the smaller Surface Go detachable and the more traditional Surface Laptop. While it’s smaller than the latter, it’s designed for users who prioritize portability and on-the-go productivity.

The Surface Laptop Go 2 immediately catches the eye with its fresh sage green color. This pale, soothing shade of green not only adds a touch of style but also helps the laptop stand out from the crowd. In addition to sage green, there are three other color options: ice blue, sandstone, and platinum. The overall design, reminiscent of Apple’s aesthetic, positions the Surface Laptop Go 2 as a stylish alternative to the MacBook and iPad.

Premium Build and Portable Form

Measuring just 0.62 by 11 by 8.1 inches and weighing in at 2.48 pounds, the Surface Laptop Go 2 maintains the slim and portable profile of its predecessor. While it exudes a premium feel, it’s important to note that the laptop isn’t entirely constructed from metal. The lid features premium aluminum, providing a MacBook-like touch, while the base combines aluminum, polycarbonate composite resin, and glass fiber, with 30% of the materials being post-consumer recycled. This blend of materials ensures durability and environmental responsibility, a welcomed combination for eco-conscious consumers.

The 12.4-inch PixelSense display, unfortunately, remains unchanged, with a resolution of 1,536 by 1,024 pixels, falling short of the full HD standard. This resolution may not be a deal-breaker, but some users might find that text appears slightly blurry or grainy in comparison to higher-resolution displays common in most laptops.

The screen does, however, offer touch support and reaches a satisfactory level of brightness at its maximum setting. While color and display quality are decent on average, some users may notice that text in applications like Google Docs doesn’t appear as sharp as expected.

One notable omission is the lack of a backlit keyboard. Although it’s a budget laptop, many similarly priced Windows notebooks and Chromebooks offer backlit keyboards as a standard feature. This absence might be felt by users who find themselves working in dimly lit environments. Despite this, the Surface Laptop Go 2 provides an enjoyable typing experience, with keycaps that offer satisfying travel. The touchpad is generously sized and offers smooth navigation and clicking.

Fingerprints, Cameras, and Connectivity

One notable addition is a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button, facilitating quick and secure sign-ins using Windows Hello. The webcam, while lacking infrared face recognition, has been improved to enhance the video conferencing experience. Microsoft has upgraded the sensor and added dual-field microphones for better audio quality. Unfortunately, the webcam still offers a 720p resolution, which may leave some users wishing for a higher-quality camera.

In terms of connectivity, the Surface Laptop Go 2 includes a USB 3.2 Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and a headphone jack. The laptop is charged via the proprietary Surface Connector, which remains unchanged from the previous model. The absence of an HDMI port for connecting an external monitor may disappoint some users.

One noteworthy feature of the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its inclusion of replaceable parts. In line with sustainability efforts, this design allows users to partially rejuvenate the laptop, a valuable option for both consumers and office users. The solid-state drive is replaceable, and Microsoft provides a guide for SSD replacement. Additionally, users can replace the “C-Cover,” which includes the keyboard and touchpad, the “AB-Cover” housing the display, the battery, and the Surflink internal connector cable.

Furthermore, the Surface Laptop Go 2 stands out as the first secured-core Intel PC in Microsoft’s lineup to support Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0. This feature is likely to appeal to enterprise customers, and Microsoft has detailed its advantages for IT departments in a blog post.

Configuration Options

 Despite minor revisions, an updated processor, and the rising cost of PC components, Microsoft has kept the starting price of the Surface Laptop Go 2 closely aligned with that of its predecessor. The base model, now priced at $599.99, has seen a $50 increase but still remains well below the four-figure range. Here’s a breakdown of the different configurations available:

  • Base Model: Equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 4GB of memory, and a 128GB solid-state drive. It is available only in the platinum color.
  • Mid-Range Model: For an additional $100, users can upgrade to 8GB of memory and have the option to choose from the other available colors.
  • Higher-End Model: Priced at $799.99, this model doubles the SSD storage to 256GB.

It’s important to note that the Surface Laptop Go 2 does not offer configurations with a faster Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, or larger storage capacities like 512GB or 1TB. For users seeking more robust options, Microsoft directs them to consider the 13.5-inch or 15-inch Surface Laptop 4.

Performance Testing

 To assess the performance of the Surface Laptop Go 2, it was subjected to a series of benchmark tests. The results were compared to those of other budget laptops, some of which are priced lower than the Surface Laptop Go 2. These laptops included Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i 14, IdeaPad 3 14, and the Surface Go 3 detachable. Additionally, the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13 was included to provide a reference point for what a higher budget could offer.

  • Productivity Tests: The PCMark 10 benchmark, a standard for assessing real-world productivity and content creation workflows, measured the overall performance of the Surface Laptop Go 2. This included tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet work, web browsing, and videoconferencing. The Full System Drive test from PCMark 10 evaluated the laptop’s storage load time and throughput.
  • CPU Performance: Several CPU-focused benchmarks were used to evaluate the Surface Laptop Go 2’s suitability for processor-intensive tasks. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 and Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro were employed to measure the laptop’s performance when handling various applications and workloads. Additionally, HandBrake 1.4, an open-source video transcoder, was used to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution.
  • Content Creation Performance: The PugetBench for Photoshop, designed by workstation maker Puget Systems, assessed the Surface Laptop Go 2’s performance in content creation and multimedia applications. This benchmark included various Photoshop tasks, from basic image manipulation to GPU-accelerated functions.

In these tests, the Surface Laptop Go 2 demonstrated competitive performance, especially thanks to its updated CPU. It positioned itself well, falling somewhere in the middle of the comparison group but remaining close to the leading systems. This level of performance makes it more than capable for everyday tasks, even if it’s priced slightly higher than some of its competitors. Its superior build quality sets it apart as a budget-friendly laptop with a premium touch.

Graphics and Gaming Performance

The graphics capabilities of the Surface Laptop Go 2 were evaluated using several graphics benchmarks. These tests included two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid and Time Spy. Additionally, two offscreen tests from GFXBench 5.0 assessed OpenGL operations, examining the laptops’ integrated graphics capabilities.

It’s important to note that these laptops relied on their processors’ integrated graphics, lacking a dedicated GPU typically found in gaming laptops. As such, there is a natural limit to their graphics performance. The Surface Laptop Go 2 managed to outperform most of the comparison systems, with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13. Despite its performance, these laptops are not suitable for demanding games or professional graphics applications, making them more suitable for tasks like streaming media and casual or strategy gaming.

Battery Life and Display Quality

 Battery life and display quality are crucial aspects of a laptop’s performance and user experience. Battery life was assessed by playing a locally stored 720p video with the display brightness set to 50% and audio volume at 100% until the battery was depleted. The Surface Laptop Go 2 demonstrated respectable battery life, avoiding the common pitfall of too-short battery runtime seen in many budget laptops.

In terms of display quality, the Surface Laptop Go 2’s screen proved to be acceptable, with an average level of color coverage and one of the brightest displays at its maximum setting.


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