Surface Laptop Go 2 Review: Microsoft’s Flawed Diamond – Forbes

Surface Laptop Go 2 Review: Microsoft’s Flawed Diamond – Forbes

Surface Laptop Go 2 Review: Microsoft’s Flawed Diamond – Forbes 0 0 Alan Dickson

The Surface Laptop Go 2 is Microsoft’s play towards the mid-range consumer laptop market. While there is an enterprise-focused version that maxes out the specifications, the target market will be looking for a competitively priced laptop with stylish looks and enough power for general day-to-day use.
I’ve spent time with the Laptop Go 2 to find out if this is more than a specs bump over the original Surface Laptop Go.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
At first glance, there’s not much difference between the Surface Laptop Go 2 and its predecessor; the external dimensions and design are an utter match. Given the push into enterprise spaces, this allows previously purchased peripherals to continue to be used – something that will appeal to the finance departments, but does limit the Laptop Go 2 team as to what it can add.
That means the external ports are as limited as previously; Microsoft’s Surface Connect port is joined by a USB-A and a USB-C port, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack. Display-wise the Laptop Go 2 also retains the 1536×1024 resolution display. It keeps the 3:2 aspect ratio that feels more suited to editing and working on, rather than the more popular 16:9 ratio screens suited for gaming and media consumption. The resolution though is low, less than HD, and while this touchscreen display gets the job done, it does feel like a part of the package that needs a bit more attention the next time around.
From a brand-building point of view, that the digitiser doesn’t register the Surface Pen still feels a curious choice. However, in practice, I never felt that I was missing out – the Surface Pen is better suited to tablets and laptops with more focus on creativity higher up the portfolio.
Thankfully, inside has seen a specs refresh. The Laptop Go 2 picks up Intel’s 11th generation chipset along with the latest Iris Xe graphics included, and this is common across all SKUs; your choices are just in storage and memory… specifically 128 GB or 256 GB, with either 4 GB, 8 GB, or 16 GB of RAM, although the top-end combo of 16/256 is only available to enterprise customers.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
The Surface Laptop Go 2 remains just as light in the hand as previous models. It’s not quite in the same lag as your average Android tablet or iPad, but it feels effortless to carry. The new color shades add to the styling, which certainly leans more towards the cute side of things than the more angular business muscle of the Surface Laptop Studio.
The weight is helped by the plastic base on the machine, the light texture takes away the potential to feel cheap to the touch, and there is a solidity to the construction. As with the original model, the design team have left a small millimetre overhang of the top case rather than a cutout in the chassis to get some purchase to open the laptop. One-handed opening needs a surface with decent levels of friction.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
A sedate refresh over the previous Laptop Go means that many of the issues that could be spotted in the older model remain. The relatively low resolution of the display I’ve already mentioned. Another is the keyboard. The Surface Laptop Go 2 does not come with a backlit keyboard – you will be reliant on having enough ambient lighting to pick out the keys. With three different colors available, that’s three different key cap colours on offer, albeit all with white text. The new Sage color (reviewed here) offers the best contrast of the three colours available.
Given how much I like the physicality of the keys and the positive feedback their movement offers, this omission haunts my thoughts towards the Laptop Go 2.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
Pricing on the consumer versions of the laptop starts at $599 for the 4GB RAM 128 GB SSD storage, which of course comes with a caveat on the 4 GB of RAM offering little headroom for apps to work with. Realistically the 8GB/128GB model at $599 is a comfortable place to start, and you can double the storage for $100 to get an 8/256 model.
The original Surface Laptop Go felt like a laptop that had too many small compromises to get to a sub $600 price, and these compromises become more apparent as you moved up the portfolio where the competition from the likes of Acer and Asus offered better choices in specifications and design materials.
Two years later, Microsoft has updated the performance specs on the Surface Laptop Go 2, certainly keeping up the pace of performance with the competition (and perhaps pushing forward a little more than the original Laptop Go compared to the competition). But the compromises made in 2020 are still part of the core design of the Surface Laptop Go 2, which means that the beautiful but flawed Laptop Go has been brought up to the specs of the 2022 laptop market while still offering the same beautiful but flawed vision.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
Smitten is a good word to use with the Surface Laptop Go 2. There’s something about a design that looks like a bundle of safe corporate choices that just works on the outside of the machine.
Yet I keep coming back to two key issues with the Laptop Go 2. First of all, if you go for a model with 8GB of RAM, the price point is about $50 higher compared to similar specced laptops from competitors. The second is the lack of a backlit keyboard. I could live with the former, but if I’m looking for a single laptop to go walkabout with, the latter is a personal deal-breaker… your mileage may vary.
Frankly, there’s an almost Apple-like deal going on here. It feels like the Surface Laptop Go 2 is asking you to pay a bit more for looks while sacrificing some specifications. I love that the Windows PC market is diverse enough to be able to offer many different laptops so you can find your own answer.
The Laptop Go 2 is not the answer for me, but it’s clear to see why it may be the answer for many others.
Disclaimer: Microsoft UK provided a Surface Laptop Go 2 for review purposes.

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