Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
Enlarge / The Floor Laptop computer Go is made for individuals who desire a smaller and extra reasonably priced Floor PC.

Jeff Dunn

What’s the level of a Floor system? The most recent mannequin in Microsoft’s line of Home windows PCs, the Floor Laptop computer Go, forces patrons to confront why they need a Floor machine within the first place.

Very similar to the Floor Go sequence of two-in-one tablets, the Floor Laptop computer Go goals for the mainstream facet of the market, with a beginning value of $550. Nevertheless, it does so with a extra conventional clamshell design.

For that quantity, the Floor Laptop computer Go nonetheless gives most of Microsoft’s signatures: a horny design, excessive construct high quality, a cushty keyboard and trackpad, a show with a taller 3:2 side ratio, the proprietary Floor Join port, and so forth.

However with any financial savings comes compromise, and the Floor Laptop computer Go’s trade-offs will not be insignificant—particularly if you wish to purchase its most reasonably priced configuration.

The result’s a tool that’s not fairly the discount as Microsoft’s advertising may recommend however can nonetheless be an excellent worth for individuals who prioritize a premium design. We’ve spent many of the previous month testing it out, so let’s take a more in-depth look.

Desk of Contents

Specs

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go product image

Microsoft Floor Laptop computer Go

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There are three configurations accessible for the Floor Laptop computer Go, with a giant divide between the entry-level mannequin and the 2 higher-priced choices. All three fashions, nonetheless, are geared up with Intel’s Core i5-1035G1, a 15W processor with 4 cores and eight threads primarily based on Intel’s “Ice Lake” microarchitecture. It has a base clock pace of 1GHz, which is low however lessens energy consumption, and might enhance as much as 3.6GHz when required. Alongside the CPU is Intel’s built-in UHD Graphics G1.

This can be a 10th-generation Intel processor at a time when the chipmaker is simply introducing its 11th-gen platform, and there’s no AMD Ryzen possibility as we noticed with the 15-inch Floor Laptop computer 3. Nonetheless, it is a stable CPU for such a ultra-portable system, one that’s typically extra succesful than the Y-series chips discovered within the Floor Go 2. Having Ice Lake additionally means help for Wi-Fi 6 by way of Intel’s AX201 module. That’s good for the Floor Laptop computer Go’s long-term viability, as is the pocket book’s Bluetooth 5.0 help.

Additionally the identical with every mannequin is the 12.4-inch contact show. Like different Floor laptops, this panel has a 3:2 side ratio, which makes it bodily taller than typical 16:9 pocket book shows. This makes it simpler to suit extra of a webpage or Phrase doc on the display screen directly, although you lose some width for putting a number of home windows facet by facet.

Specs at a look: Microsoft Floor Laptop computer Go
Display 1536×1024 at 12.4 inches, 3:2 side ratio, 10-point multi-touch
OS Home windows 10 House in S mode
CPU 1GHz 4-core/8-thread Intel Core i5-1035G1 (3.6GHz Turbo) with 6MB cache
RAM 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4x
GPU Intel UHD Graphics G1
HDD 64GB eMMC
128GB SSD or 256GB NVMe SSD
Networking Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-A, USB Sort-C, Floor Join, 3.5mm headphone
Measurement 10.95×8.10×0.62 inches (278.18×205.67×15.69mm)
Weight 2.45 lbs (1.11kg)
Guarantee 1-year restricted {hardware} guarantee
Worth as reviewed $899.99
Different perks 720p front-facing digital camera, twin far-field stereo mics, omnisonic audio system with Dolby Atmos

Of word is the show’s 1536×1024 decision, which equates to a pixel density of 148 pixels per inch (PPI). That’s a step under the sharpness of the Floor Laptop computer 3’s 200 PPI show and a smidge behind what you’d get from a standard 13.3-inch 1080p panel. The drop-off just isn’t huge in apply, however textual content isn’t fairly as crisp because it may very well be. On the plus facet, that is nonetheless a 10-point contact show, which isn’t a given for a mid-priced Home windows laptop computer. Above the show is a 720p webcam with an f/2.0 aperture.

The place issues actually get bushy is Microsoft’s storage and reminiscence choices. The bottom configuration solely affords 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, which is a tricky promote even at $550. In an October briefing, a Microsoft consultant stated this mannequin is aimed toward customers who largely work with Internet- and cloud-based functions. Studying between the traces, this model makes extra sense when considered as a Chromebook different.

We’ve got not examined the entry-level configuration, so we are able to’t give a definitive judgment on how nicely it performs in apply. However our expertise with similar-powered Home windows machines would strongly recommend a middling expertise even when we did follow light-weight duties. I’d go as far as to say eMMC is indefensible in any PC round this value; there are smartphones with quicker UFS storage that may be discovered for much less. That there’s solely 64GB of area makes it worse.

The higher two configurations are extra interesting. For $700, you step as much as 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and a “actual” 128GB NVMe stable state drive. For $900, you get a 256GB SSD. This was the mannequin used for our evaluation.

Between the 2, the center configuration ought to be the most effective worth. You’ve gotten to have the ability to get by with 128GB of area—we actually want every mannequin had extra room by default—however the $900 mannequin is costly sufficient to warrant comparability to extra absolutely featured notebooks like Dell’s XPS 13 or Microsoft’s personal Floor Laptop computer 3. For many of the informal customers Microsoft needs to draw, the $700 mannequin hits the candy spot: it’s not hamstrung by eMMC or 4GB of RAM however nonetheless prices lower than most premium Ultrabooks.

Design

Probably the most interesting bits of the Floor Laptop computer Go are its appear and feel. It’s unusually svelte and well-built for a laptop computer in its value vary. Just like the Floor Laptop computer 3, it has a sublime, uncomplicated design, with curved, flowing edges and few visible frills exterior of a chrome Microsoft emblem on the middle of the lid.

The lid and the deck surrounding the keyboard and trackpad are fabricated from an aluminum that’s clean and funky to the contact. Nothing about it creaks or flexes when pressed. The chassis is nearly solely sealed, save for a skinny grille for airflow that’s recessed under the show hinge. The lid can simply be opened with one finger, which is nice. The underside cowl, in the meantime, is fabricated from a polycarbonate resin that isn’t fairly as premium however nonetheless has a mushy really feel that doesn’t come off as low cost.

The entire bundle actually suits into the ultraportable class: it measures lower than 11 inches extensive, simply over 0.6 inches skinny, and a pair of.45 kilos in complete. This supreme portability could be extra of a promoting level in a world that wasn’t constrained by a world pandemic, however the Floor Laptop computer Go gained’t be a burden to lug round in any setting.

Microsoft sells the Floor Laptop computer Go in three finishes: Ice Blue, Platinum, and Sandstone. I’ve loved the gray-blue shade of my Ice Blue loaner unit, however every mannequin advantages from having the colours of the keyboard and trackpad frivolously distinction with the darker end of the deck. To my eyes at the very least, it creates a extra considerate and coherent design than merely plopping black or grey keys on no matter end you choose at checkout.

Keyboard, trackpad, and audio system

Microsoft has constantly geared up its Floor PCs with wonderful keyboards, and, from a typing-quality standpoint, it has continued the pattern right here. The Floor Laptop computer Go doesn’t have the luxurious journey of the bigger Floor E book 3—it’s 1.3mm right here, versus 1.55mm on the E book 3—however the chiclet-style keys are splendidly bouncy and responsive, particularly in comparison with different notebooks this skinny. Don’t anticipate any butterfly-MacBook-style issues over tactility right here. Every key has an acceptable quantity of area between them, too, so I had few points with unintended button presses.

Likewise, the trackpad yields few complaints from a responsiveness standpoint. It’s beneficiant however not outsized, with correct and predictable monitoring aided by Microsoft’s Home windows Precision drivers. It does nicely with palm rejection, and I had no issues performing multi-finger gestures. It has a big clickable floor, and whereas it may stand to be a little much less stiff to my fingers, it has a typically sturdy really feel.

The touchpad and keyboard do endure from just a few apparent cost-cutting measures, although. The previous is fabricated from mylar as an alternative of glass, so whereas it’s nonetheless clean, it presents only a bit extra friction to your swipes. The latter’s problem is tougher to swallow: it’s not backlit. Loads of folks might be able to look previous this given the remainder of the keyboard’s high quality, however it might be an comprehensible dealbreaker for night time owls or hunt-and-peck sorts.

Beneath the keyboard are the Floor Laptop computer Go’s “omnisonic” audio system. They’re high quality relative to their inherent spatial limitations—they don’t destroy all audio at average volumes, however they’re more likely to distort at 100-percent quantity, they usually don’t produce a lot in the way in which of bass. You’ll have a greater time simply utilizing headphones everytime you wish to take heed to one thing extra difficult than a podcast.

Webcam

One other price-related sacrifice is the webcam. It renders colours with affordable accuracy, however it may possibly nonetheless get grainy, and as famous above, it’s restricted to a 720p decision. A sharper 1080p cam could be extra helpful in our courageous, new Zoom world.

There’s additionally no strategy to check in to the Floor Laptop computer Undergo Home windows Howdy facial recognition. There is a fast and constant fingerprint sensor baked into the facility button on the top-right nook of the keyboard—however solely within the $700 or $900 configurations. These tradeoffs aren’t egregious given Microsoft’s value targets, however they’re extra motive to keep away from the entry-level mannequin.

Show

It’s the same “sure, however” story with the 12.4-inch 3:2 show. As beforehand talked about, it’s not fairly as sharp as a real 1080p panel. You can see a slight drop-off in sharpness once you scroll by textual content facet by facet with a sharper show. However the distinction is minute sufficient in apply that I can’t see most customers having critical complaints. That stated, it’s extra motive to keep away from the highest-end mannequin, since sharper panels are a given on most laptops within the $900 vary. At $700, although, it’s high quality.

Extra essential is that, exterior of the decision, the show’s high quality is nice. Microsoft color-calibrates its Floor panels to sRGB, and we measured the show as overlaying round 77 % of the DCI-P3 shade gamut. The outcomes are pleasantly correct and comparatively vivid colours, particularly when in comparison with different laptops on this value vary.

We measured the show’s most brightness, in the meantime, at practically 330 nits. That’s not the very best we’ve seen, but it surely’s nonetheless above common and usable open air. At its lowest brightness, the panel drops all the way in which all the way down to 2 nits, which is low sufficient to make use of at night time with out severely disturbing anybody who could also be sleeping round you. The show can make the most of an auto-brightness sensor as nicely.

Contact controls on the show will not be as fast as they’d be on a panel with the next refresh price, however they’re loads responsive. At this value, merely having a 10-point contact panel in any respect is a plus. Equally, the bezels surrounding the show aren’t as razor-thin as these of Dell’s XPS 13, however they’re slim sufficient to lend the design a higher-end look that belies the Floor Laptop computer Go’s approachable value.

Ports

The Floor Laptop computer Go’s port choice is similar throughout its three configurations. Every mannequin comes with each a USB-A port and a USB Sort-C port, a pairing that ought to cowl most peripherals you could have gathered through the years. Past that, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack and Microsoft’s proprietary Floor Join port. The latter handles charging and helps sure Microsoft-made docks and equipment. You can even cost by the USB-C port.

As with each different Floor pocket book, there’s no Thunderbolt 3 right here, however that’s to be anticipated given the category of system and the laptop computer’s cheaper price. In all, the minimal port choice isn’t significantly objectionable, however chances are you’ll want a USB-C hub to have all of your bases coated.

General, the aesthetic and construct high quality of the Floor Laptop computer Go wouldn’t really feel terribly misplaced on a $1,000 laptop computer. It’s a pleasant piece of {hardware}, and that’s the most effective factor it has going for it.

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