Microsoft’s Surface devices aren’t the most accessible out there. But with the Surface Laptop Go 2, Microsoft is changing things up a bit. “A little” is the right expression here.
What does a manufacturer as well known as Microsoft and its Surface range do in the world of high-end laptops when it comes to attracting new consumers? Simple: create a slightly more accessible device, to try to facilitate the arrival of new buyers without affecting its brand image too much.
The “Go” range is exactly that, and the Surface Laptop Go 2 is its latest representative. But without the magic of the 2-in-1 format, does brand appeal still work?
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Technical sheet
|Model||Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2|
1536 x 1024 pixels
|Graphics chip (GPU)||
Intel Iris Xe
4 GB, 8 GB
128 GB, 256 GB
Wi-Fi 6 (ax)
|Operating system (OS)||
Microsoft Windows 11, Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
n / A
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Design
Oh yes: it is a Surface product. This is particularly noticeable on the front chassis, which takes on the simplistic elegance of the range with its brushed aluminum shell and the square mirrored Microsoft logo. The device itself has nice rounded corners, but its edges are still very marked and can be a bit sharp. The underside of the Laptop Go 2 is however not of the same material. We find here a good quality plastic and two large rubber pads which avoid the slightest slip.
The distinctive mark of this Surface Laptop Go 2, like the first model, is its format. At 12.4 inches diagonally, it fits like a kind of cute little companion that can quickly slip into a bag. And this without being too afraid of damaging the product, whose construction is terribly solid. No flexibility can be observed either at the level of the screen or the keyboard.
Keyboard and touchpad
It is perhaps on this point that the Surface Laptop Go 2 made a strange choice. The keys themselves are very comfortable; we feel that Microsoft is keen to maintain its brand image on this point, with very plump keys that are wide enough and spaced out to be a pleasure to use. The same goes for the touchpad, smaller than average because of the format of the phone, but terribly pleasant under the finger.
No, it’s in the positioning of the keys that the Laptop Go 2 is amazing. They are in fact much more staggered from row to row than on most configurations, which requires significant adaptation time. To put it bluntly: I currently have the computer positioned slightly obliquely on my lap to regain my usual typing speed.
Note that the Surface Laptop Go 2 does not have an infrared camera, but uses a fingerprint reader integrated directly into the ignition button. It is the latter that is used for Windows Hello.
Again, we find the brands of Surface devices. But not necessarily in a good way. On the Laptop Go 2, you only have the right to three connectors, located on the left: a USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 2, a USB Type-A USB 3.2 and a combo jack. On the right, we have the Surface connector used for charging as well as for connecting an extension dock created by the manufacturer, but which is not supplied. For most people, this will remain the magnetic charging port.
It’s light. Very light. But at the same time, this limitation is excused a little more on such a compact format. Still, over the years and the progression of USB-C, one can’t help but wonder if this proprietary Surface connector still has any value; seeing 2 additional USB-Cs or an SD card reader would have been more than appreciated.
webcam and audio
Hello the 720p webcam! If you like noise and artifacts, you will be served. Otherwise, we must admit that you will not be the most visible companion of your videoconference, but no one will make you notice you unkindly.
On the sound side, the Surface Laptop Go 2 speaker placed below the keyboard develops a rather surprising volume. A nice surprise which is however tainted by the quality of the sound itself. You will have to like the treble, since it is about the only spectrum that is somewhat respected. The mediums are compressed, when the bass is non-existent. We’re hitting the limits of physics for the latter, but the former could have been better.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Screen
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 benefits from a 12.4-inch IPS LCD panel with Microsoft’s signature ratio, 3:2. This panel supports a definition of 1536 x 1024 pixels, a maximum refresh rate of 60 FPS and is tactile. The computer is not convertible, which is almost a pity.
Under our probe and thanks to the DisplayCal software, we observe a maximum brightness of 374 cd/m² for a contrast ratio of 1088:1, which is quite good. The panel covers 96% of the sRGB space, 66.2% of Adobe RGB and 68% of the DCI P3 space. The average color temperature is 6254K, relatively close to the video standard although a bit warmer.
The slab is however not the best calibrated. We find an average Delta E00 of 2.91, it is just below the difference of 3 that we expect. The Surface range is used to offering excellent screens in all respects, with a much more precise calibration, but this is an avenue on which Microsoft has chosen to save some money. Understand: it’s not a bad slab, far from it, but rather banal on this price.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Software
Buying a Microsoft computer should provide some of the least patched Windows in the world, right? On the software side, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is only distinguished by two applications. The first, soberly named “Surface”, allows you to take a tour of the device and its characteristics.
The second, “Diagnostic Toolkit”, allows you to perform some tests to ensure that the hardware of the computer is working properly. A basic, but useful utility. Still, out of these two experiences, which are not very significant, Windows 11 expresses itself freely here. And without pre-installed bloatware.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Performance
In our test configuration, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is powered by an Intel Core i5-1135G7. It is an 11th generation SoC from Intel, with 4 cores for 8 threads that can turbo up to 4.2 GHz. It is associated here with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and a 256 GB SSD in PCIe Gen 3. Note that on this generation, Microsoft has finally withdrawn the option of 64 GB of eMMC memory, far from sufficient for modern use. .
Performance and Cooling
I’m going to need your attention on this part. We are well aware of the capacities of the Intel Core i5-1135G7, which is generally around 5000 in multi core and 1300 in single core on Cinebench R23 as an example. However, after multiple tests, I could not get better from this machine than 3717 points in multi core and 1170 points in single core. For the curious, we also have a score of 4411 points on PCMark 10, again below expectations.
My first tests, which put the computer as low as 2200 in multi core, were carried out during the heat wave. This explains it in a Parisian apartment without air conditioning, of course. But I took advantage of the cool morning the next day to carry out multiple tests, without ever managing to reach at least 4000, which would have been more acceptable. With an interesting new observation: physically, the Surface Laptop Go 2 has never exceeded 45°C on the chassis, which is also entitled to its own internal probe.
This is therefore a behavior desired by the manufacturer. It just seems that the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is absolutely trying to maintain an ultra-comfortable 45°C chassis temperature, without ever sounding its fans. Performance is sacrificed for the sake of user comfort. An astonishing bias, but not meaningless. Especially since despite all this, the computer remains fluid at all times and never suffers from the slightest slowdown.
Also, if you are looking for the machine with the most powerful Core i5-1135G7, avoid the Surface Laptop Go 2. But if you are looking for a machine that will never heat your crotch and make the slightest noise, this laptop is perfectly optimized for it. The SSD meanwhile performs exactly as expected from a PCIe Gen 3.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Autonomy
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 has a battery of only 41Wh, which can be recharged by the supplied proprietary charger or by the USB-C port thanks to the Power Delivery standard. The computer charges at 39W in both cases.
On autonomy, we are still quite far from reaching the 13 hours announced by Microsoft. In my purely office use, with the screen brightness set to half, I was able to comfortably use the computer for 9/10 hours on a single charge. Sufficient for a full day, of course, but following a diet that is potentially a bit strict for those who like to navigate from gourmet application to gourmet application.
Considering the small format of the device, it is still very significant. The promise of a small computer that can be thrown in a bag and used all day is fulfilled.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2Price and availability
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is available at a starting price of 669 euros for 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, but ignores the fingerprint reader. The next configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, which includes the fingerprint reader, is available for 769 euros.