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

You could be forgiven for struggling to keep up with the different models in Microsoft’s Surface lineup, but the Surface Laptop Go 2 stands out as the smallest, lightest and most affordable laptop on offer today.

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The 2022 edition is not a major update and focuses mainly on the new 11th generation 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 computer for general everyday use. The Surface Laptop Go 2 is also highly versatile, offering both consumer and professional variants aimed at users ranging from students on a budget to professionals on the go.

Surface Laptop Go 2 design and features

Like its 2020 predecessor, the Surface Laptop Go 2 opts for a 12.4-inch touchscreen that keeps the weight of the device down to just 1.13kg, while the slim profile is just 15.7mm thick. It’s easy to grab with one hand and slip into a backpack or briefcase when you’re ready to travel. The build quality is impeccable, despite the competitive price. Available in a variety of colors (Sage, Ice Blue, Sandstone, and Platinum), the Laptop Go 2’s aluminum body is tough enough to withstand a few knocks on the go.

The keyboard is surprisingly sturdy and comfortable. Microsoft claims that it offers “30% more keystroke than the MacBook Air”, and the keyboard is certainly very responsive when typing. That said, it’s odd that there’s no backlight built into the keyboard for use in dark rooms or airplane cabins.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: keyboard

The keyboard is comfortable to type, but there is no backlight. Photo: Cliff Joseph

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

Microsoft’s spec sheet doesn’t mention support for screen brightness or color gamut, but the company tells us it’s 330 nits and 100% sRGB. Obviously, the Surface Laptop Go 2 isn’t intended for professional-level graphics work, but the display works fine for viewing documents, web pages, or watching videos.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: Profiles

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

Surface Laptop Go 2 connections

The compact design of the Surface Laptop Go 2 means that connectivity is somewhat limited. On the wireless side, 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, plus a 3.5mm headphone jack and Microsoft Surface Connect port for charging. and connect. Fortunately, the USB-C port allowed me to connect the Laptop Go 2 to an external 4K display — Microsoft’s website seems to imply the need for the extra Surface Dock 2 ($260). Business users who want to use the Laptop Go 2 as part of their office setup may still need an additional dock or hub to provide features such as Ethernet for an office network or additional USB ports.

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


Surface Laptop Go 2 prices and options

As we mentioned, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is available in a consumer and pro edition, the latter including Windows 11 Pro and offers Secured-Core PC security features, including a physical TPM 2.0 chip (instead of an implementation of the TPM in the firmware as is the case for the consumer model).

Business users also take advantage of Microsoft’s “advance exchange” warranty, which allows them to request a replacement device before their defective Surface device is collected for repair. We’ll focus on business pricing here, but consumer prices are typically $100 lower for each individual configuration.

Surface Laptop Go 2 business pricing starts at $769 for a model with a Core i5-1135G7 quad-core 2.4GHz processor (up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost), plus memory, 4GB RAM and 128GB solid state storage capacity. The base model does not include a fingerprint sensor, although in all other configurations the sensor is integrated into the power button.

Our test unit had 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, bringing the price to €969; there’s also a $1169 model with 16GB of RAM, which seems a bit pricey for a simple memory upgrade. There’s no additional processor or other upgrade options, and all configurations rely on the Core i5’s integrated Iris Xe graphics.

Surface Laptop Go 2 performance

You can’t accuse Microsoft of exaggerating the performance of the Surface Laptop Go 2, as the website simply states that it “provides the performance needed to run everyday applications”.

That’s an accurate description of the performance delivered by the 11th-generation Core i5 processor, which scores 1345 (single core) and 4140 (multi core) in Geekbench’s 5 CPU benchmark. In contrast, the current MacBook Air d Apple M1 scores. processor 1730 and 7590 respectively.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: PC Mark 10

Photo: Cliff Joseph

This modest CPU performance is also reflected in the PCMark 10 application tests, with a score of 4466 taking it just out of the lower third of the results table. To be fair, the Surface Laptop Go 2 can handle basic productivity software like Microsoft Office, as well as web browsing, email, and video calling without a hitch.

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

The only real disappointment with the Surface Laptop Go 2 is the battery life. Microsoft cites up to 13.5 hours of “typical device use,” but our test unit only managed half of it during our video streaming test, at a modest six hours and forty minutes, even with the screen brightness reduced to 50%. You might be able to extend that to a full eight-hour workday if you don’t use Wi-Fi all day, but that’s still way behind the exceptional 17 hours offered by the MacBook Air M1. †

Conclusions about the Surface Laptop Go 2

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

The silver lining of the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its sleek, ultra-portable design, which is both sleek and sturdy, great for hybrid and mobile work. If you value portability above all else, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is certainly tempting.

Business users who need to do more than just use Microsoft Office may prefer one of the more powerful models in the Surface range, or one of its many ultraportable rivals.


Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 Features

  • Dimensions: 278.2mm x 206.2mm x 15.7mm (10.95in x 8.12in x 0.62in)
  • Weight : 1.127kg
  • Build : aluminum (top), aluminum and polycarbonate composite resin system with fiberglass and 30% post-consumer recycled material (base)
  • colors: sage, ice blue, sandstone, platinum
  • Operating system : Windows 11 Home (Consumer) – Windows 11 Pro or 10 Pro (Enterprise)
  • Screen : 12.4-inch PixelSense, 1536 x 1024 (3:2, 148ppi), 330 nits, 10-point multi-touch
  • Processor : Intel Core i5-1135G7 RAM 4GB, 8GB (LPDDR4x)
  • Storage : 128GB, 256GB (removable SSD) Graphic Intel Iris Xe graphics Wireless WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Bluetooth: 5.1
  • Connections: USB-C, USB-A, 3.5mm audio out, Surface Connect
  • Camera: HD 720p f/2.0
  • Sound: dual far-field microphones, omnidirectional speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
  • Battery capacity: 41Wh
  • Battery life : up to 13.5 hours (normal device usage)
  • Safety : TPM 2.0 (Consumer Firmware, Business Model Hardware) – Windows Hello login – Power button with fingerprint (except 4GB/128GB configuration)
  • Guarantee : 1 year
  • In the box : Surface Laptop Go 2, 39W power supply, quick start guide, safety and warranty documents
  • Price : from €669 (general) – from €769 (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 competitors in the ultraportable category, at different price points.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Apple MacBook Air

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

Check out the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 Ultraportable PC on Amazon

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 – Best Prices:

  • Baker

    769.00

  • fnac

    769.99

  • Darty

    769.99

  • Cdiscount Marketplace

    907.10

Source: “ZDNet.com”

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