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Surface Laptop Go, analysis: An off-road laptop with which you will look great this Christmas

The Surface Laptop Go has been, without a doubt, one of Microsoft’s big surprises. With this laptop, the Redmond giant opted for a very interesting approach: creating a lightweight device that would maintain the values ​​of the Surface series but, at the same time, be affordable, safe, reliable and powerful. Its price was already interesting at its launch, and now that it is temporarily lowered (until January 6) by the Microsoft Christmas sales campaign , it is even more attractive.

With all those keys, Microsoft’s goal with the Surface Laptop Go was clear. The Redmond giant wanted to democratize the Surface series and bring it to a greater number of consumers. You already know how important price is for many users when buying new equipment, and how it can end up acting as an insurmountable barrier in certain situations.

Surface Laptop Go

The Surface Laptop Go made pricing no longer an issue as it was in a very busy and popular price range, and best of all, it did without giving up anything that characterizes the Surface series. Even in its base configuration, the Surface Laptop Go has good enough specifications to ensure a good user experience in most cases, something that we already mentioned at the time when its official presentation took place, and in its most advanced configuration it is capable of very good performance.

Surface Laptop Go

Those were the conclusions we could draw from looking at its specifications on paper, but what user experience is the Surface Laptop Go capable of offering? Today, thanks to Microsoft Spain, which has lent us a unit for analysis, I can answer that question. As always, I invite you to make yourself comfortable, since there are many things to read, but I already tell you that, for value for money, the Surface Laptop Go is an excellent option to give away, or to give yourself, in this christmas.

Surface Laptop Go: First contact

Surface Laptop Go

The Surface Laptop Go is an ultralight laptop that features a neat design and is targeted, as we anticipated, to the budget mid-range market. It is a device designed for the average consumer who has a tight budget , but wants to enjoy the unique advantages offered by Microsoft’s Surface series: build quality, reliability, mobility, autonomy , power, sustainability and support.

I have to admit that I was very surprised by its build quality and how light it is. The Surface Laptop Go has a base price of 629 euros , although it is temporarily available for 614 euros, a very inexpensive figure that makes it, as we have already said, an affordable device. We might think that, to achieve such a reasonable price, Microsoft has made sacrifices in the build quality of the Surface Laptop Go, but nothing is further from the truth, since the equipment is finished in aluminum (the base is made of plastic), a Premium material that is noticeable to the touch from the first moment, and that makes it one of the best-finished ultraportables in its price range.

Surface Laptop Go

The robustness of the Surface Laptop Go is a clear example of the good work Microsoft has done with this computer, and its minimalist design with slightly rounded hues makes it a discreet and elegant ultraportable that fits with any style, and that always looks good. The Microsoft logo, located on the back, gives it a touch of distinction that attracts a lot of attention.

There is no doubt that the Surface Laptop Go is a well-designed and well-built device, but as we said at the beginning it is also very light, so much so that, in fact, we can consider it as one of the lightest ultraportables out there, since only weighs 1.1 kilograms. This means that we can transport it with total comfort. We can also move it with one hand with little effort, even with the screen open. This, coupled with its compact size (278.18mm × 205.67mm × 15.69mm) allows it to offer outstanding mobility.

Surface Laptop Go

Mobility represents, today more than ever, a fundamental value, and the Surface Laptop Go has managed to make it yours effortlessly. Think, for example, how comfortable it will be to take the Surface Laptop Go to school or work , or how comfortable you will be in bed or on the sofa with this ultraportable placed on your lap , while you enjoy your series or your favorite movie. The Surface Laptop Go can always go with you without burdening you, thanks to its fantastic mobility.

Surface Laptop Go

At the hardware level, the Surface Laptop Go that we have tested is configured with a Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, a low-power chip that falls within the Ice Lake series of Intel , and that it is manufactured in a 10 nm + process. It uses the Sunny Cove architecture , which means that it offers a higher IPC than the Comet Lake-U series, and has a four-core, eight-wire configuration at 1 GHz-3.6 GHz, normal mode and Turbo. Its GPU is an integrated Intel UHD solution, based on the Gen11 architecture, which has 32 execution units capable of operating at 1.1 GHz maximum frequency. It supports DirectX 12 at its 12_1 level.

This processor is a guarantee, since thanks to its high IPC it guarantees a good user experience with any current application, and its ability to work with eight threads simultaneously will allow us to enjoy good performance even under intensive multitasking, and with applications or tools that require a high degree of parallelization. On the other hand, its integrated GPU has more than enough power to play multimedia content in high resolution and can even move some games.

Surface Laptop Go

The model we have tested is equipped with 8 GB of LPDDR4X memory , more than enough capacity to face multitasking scenarios and to ensure, in addition, a long useful life. Remember that, to move Windows 10, it is recommended to have 4 GB of RAM, while with Windows 11 it is recommended to have at least 8 GB of RAM. The Surface Laptop Go we tested meets those recommended requirements without a problem, and is accompanied by a 256GB PCIE SSD, which means we won’t easily run out of space.

Taking a look at the screen, we find a PixelSense panel of 12.4 inches of touch type, with a resolution of 1,536 x 1,024 pixels and a 3: 2 aspect ratio. This format is, as our regular readers will know, ideal for work, but it is also very well suited to the reproduction of multimedia content, and to web browsing. In the upper frame of the screen we have an HD camera, accompanied by two far-field microphones with studio quality. This means that the Surface Laptop Go comes with everything we need to make video calls.

Surface Laptop Go

The wireless connectivity options that the Surface Laptop Go brings scratch at a great level, as it has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 . With regard to wired connections, this computer has a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect port. The default operating system is Windows 10 S, but we can update it to Windows 11 without problem. The version we received was already updated to Windows 11, so I used that operating system for the analysis.

As usual with the Surface series, Microsoft has done an excellent job with the keyboard on the Surface Laptop Go . It is something that can be seen with the naked eye in details such as the size of the keys, the slightly concave termination (curved inward) of each key and in the space between them. The touch pad is not far behind since, as we can see in the images that we attach in the analysis, it is quite large in size, and is located in a central position, just below the keyboard.

Surface Laptop Go

Surface Laptop Go: A perfect team for your day-to-day adventures

As soon as we turn on the Surface Laptop Go, we find a high quality screen that stands out for its viewing angles, perfect at 178 degrees, its good color reproduction (95% of the sRGB space) and its sharpness. Its size is 12.4 inches, but thanks to the 3: 2 format it offers more vertical space, which considerably improves the user experience , especially when we have to write texts, or when we are browsing Internet.

I had my doubts, really. A 12.4-inch panel seems, a priori, a too fair size if we are going to work for several hours, but Microsoft has solved this problem perfectly thanks to the quality of the PixelSense panel, and the use of the 3: 2 format. As we anticipated, this format gives us more vertical space, and this is noticeable. In my case, who spend a lot of time writing texts in a single window or application, this format has made a huge difference.

Surface Laptop Go

The image quality offered by the Surface Laptop Go is clearly above what we normally find in equipment in the same price range, and this gives it a great value. We must not forget that, in addition, said screen is tactile, and that we can, therefore, interact with it directly using our fingers. In certain situations, this is very useful, as it allows us to streamline certain tasks and simplify certain actions.

The Surface Laptop Go has one of the best displays in its class and price range, but what about the performance? The model we have tested comes with an Intel Core i5-1035G1, a low-power processor that stands out for offering good performance per watt consumed. It is no coincidence that Microsoft has chosen that processor to power the Surface Laptop Go, since with it it has managed to achieve an almost perfect balance in terms of performance, mobility and autonomy.

Surface Laptop Go

To understand what we have just said, we have to dig a little deeper on the technical level. The Intel Core i5-1035G1 is a chip that has a TDP of only 15 watts , which means that it has a very low consumption and that it has a very cool operation. This has very positive consequences, since it implies that Microsoft has not had to mount a bulky and noisy cooling system, and that battery consumption is fine-tuned to achieve high autonomy.

On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the Intel Core i5-1035G1 uses a turbo mode that scales according to the workload , which allows to manage consumption more efficiently and adapt it in real time in each situation. Thus, if we execute a task that only requires parallelization in two threads, the processor will prioritize the working frequency to achieve good performance, while if we open an application that must be parallelized in eight threads, it will distribute it among all its cores and fine-tune the frequency of work down to maintain optimal consumption and temperatures.

Surface Laptop Go

As we anticipated, the Intel Core i5-1035G1 offers very good performance in both single and multi-threaded. His results in Cinebench R23 confirm this, since in this test he has obtained a score of 785 points in single-thread and 2,539 points in multi-thread . Its integrated GPU supports the latest technologies on the market, and offers a good value in relation to power-consumption. It cannot handle demanding games, but it will allow us to enjoy a rich multimedia experience, and more modest games , like the popular League of Legends, for example.

Surface Laptop Go

From the first click we find an agile response, and total fluidity , on the part of the Surface Laptop Go. This encourages us to continue using it, to ask for a little more every time, and thanks to its SSD and its 8 GB of RAM memory, the computer does not drown at any time. We can have several tabs open in Chrome, our favorite music playing in the background and a text editor in the foreground, and everything goes smoothly.

Surface Laptop Go

The startup and shutdown times are also very fast, thanks to the built-in SSD, and the keyboard experience is much better than we could expect on a 12.4-inch computer . This is possible thanks to what I told you in our first contact: the size of the keys, the distance between them and that slight concavity, three keys to which we must add a stroke per keystroke of 1.3 mm. The process of adaptation to the keyboard that I had to face was minimal, and that in my day to day I use a mechanical one.

The front camera offers good image quality, and performs well in video calls . The studio quality microphones are a notch above that, and the sound system with two Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio has totally exceeded my expectations , as it achieves a very good quality for such a compact equipment and lightweight. It is important to remember that the camera does not support Windows Hello, but this is not a major problem, as the model we tested includes a fingerprint reader built into the power key.

Surface Laptop Go

When we work at full load, the Surface Laptop Go is able to respond without problem, and its cooling system is so well planned that it is able to keep temperatures under control at all times, and with a very low noise level . This is important, since it implies that we can use it without problems in numerous spaces without disturbing anyone (libraries, work spaces or even on the sofa with our partner asleep).

In terms of autonomy, I have registered a maximum value of 11 hours and 15 minutes in the dedicated PCMark 10 test. Not bad at all, but c on a real test using the best value I got was about ten hours , adjusting screen brightness and prioritizing autonomy over performance. It is a positive result, since it means that we can complete a full day of study, or work, without having to use the charger.

Surface Laptop Go

As we said at the beginning of the article, the Surface Laptop Go that I received was already updated to Windows 11. I just had to follow a simple configuration process and voila, in a matter of minutes I had it ready to start using it. I remind you that, throughout its useful life, this equipment will receive firmware updates and will have full support from Microsoft , which will translate into constant improvements in terms of security, stability and performance.

Final notes: Design, performance and mobility in perfect harmony

Surface Laptop Go

Balancing power, design and mobility in an ultraportable is difficult, but doing it in a 12.4-inch computer while maintaining a premium finish, and a contained price, is a very big challenge that is only available to a few. Microsoft has shown, with the Surface Laptop Go, that this challenge was not too great.

With the Surface Laptop Go, Microsoft has created a small ultraportable with an almost perfect balance , both in terms of power and mobility as well as autonomy and price, and on top of that, it has turned it into a environmentally conscious model, since its energy efficiency is very high, – it complies with the requirements of the ENERGY STAR specification in its version 8.0 – and its packaging contains 40% recycled materials, and is recyclable in a 94% of its weight.

Personally, what I like most about the Surface Laptop Go is not just that balance that I just referred to, but the fact that it offers such a good experience that, most of the time that I have dedicated to him in this analysis, has made me forget that I was using a 12.4-inch computer. The 3: 2 aspect ratio, the quality of its screen and the comfort offered by its keyboard are undoubtedly the main “culprits”.

Surface Laptop Go is a device that offers all the good of a small and compact ultraportable, but does not force us to give up anything. No matter what we want to do with it, or where we want to do it , we will always enjoy a good level of performance, we can use it for hours without the battery being a problem, and we will have everything we need to deal with guarantees any task.

Personally, it is very clear to me, the Surface Laptop Go is one of the best compact ultraportables that I have been able to test so far, and it is also one of the most attractive in price-performance ratio , on all now that it is available, temporarily, with a 15% discount (the analyzed model goes from costing 999 euros to 829 euros ). This promotion is part of Microsoft’s Christmas sales campaign, and will only be active until January 6, so keep that in mind.

Final assessment ABSTRACT

Balancing power, design and mobility in an ultraportable is difficult, but doing it in a 12.4-inch computer while maintaining a premium finish, and a contained price, is a very big challenge that is only available to a few. Microsoft has shown, with the Surface Laptop Go, that this challenge was not too big for it. Surface Laptop Go is a team that offers all the good of a compact and small ultraportable, but that does not force us to give up anything. No matter what we want to do with it, or where we want to do it, we will always enjoy a good level of performance, we can use it for hours without the battery being a problem, and we will have everything we need to face any task with guarantees.

Design and build quality 9.5

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