Microsoft has unveiled a new laptop that lives in the company’s Surface lineup as a sort of lower-end clamshell. Called the Surface Laptop go, it’s essentially a cheaper version of the popular Surface Laptop 2 which starts at $999. This new model costs just $549, although there are plenty of compromises present.
For one, the screen’s not as nice. Microsoft opted for a smaller 12.5-inch 1536×1024 display opposed to the Surface Laptop 2’s 13.5-inch 2256×1504 panel. Luckily, the Surface Laptop Go sticks with a 3:2 aspect ratio.
It’s also not as powerful. Each configuration of the Surface Laptop Go comes with a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 processor with no option for an i7. Admittedly, that’s plenty of power for average users, although I wouldn’t say the same about the base 4GB of RAM onboard the device. You’ll definitely wanna upgrade to 8GB if you plan on doing anything beyond mere web browsing in Google Chrome.
Storage is also a bit tricky with the machine since the base model ships with just 64GB of eMMC-based space. That’s ridiculous by today’s standards. Again, you’ll wanna upgrade to at least the 128GB tier for somewhat of a decent experience.
Since it’s a Surface, port selection is okay at best. The Surface Laptop Go comes with a single USB-C port, a single USB-A port, a Surface Connect charging port, and a headphone jack. You also get a fingerprint reader, but you have to buy one of the more expensive models to get it. Rounding things off, there’s Wi-Fi 6, a 720p webcam, and three color options: Sandstone, Platinum, and Blue.
I keep telling you to upgrade the Surface Laptop Go because the base model really isn’t enough for everyday users. One group of people that it will be good enough for, however, are students. The Surface Laptop Go is pretty obviously trying to target the Chromebook market that Google and its hardware partners have been dominating for so long. Introducing a sub-$400 Surface Go wasn’t enough, I suppose, so Microsoft felt compelled to introduce a $549 clamshell.
Whether that price point can convince schools to adopt the laptop in their classrooms remains to be seen. I’d argue no since there are plenty of fine options for $250 – $300, but at the very least if your kid needs a laptop for school, the Surface Laptop Go seems like a viable solution.
Microsoft will launch the Surface Laptop Go on October 13th. Preorders start today. The 4GB RAM/64GB storage model costs $549.99, the 8GB RAM/128GB storage model costs $699.99, and the 8GB RAM/256GB storage model costs $899.99.