Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review - is it worth buying?

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review - is it worth buying?
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review - is it worth buying?


The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is an affordable mid-range laptop with a stylish design, premium build quality and an excellent display. This lightweight laptop is available in a range of colour options and is well suited to price conscious shoppers looking for a laptop to run light computing tasks. The Surface Laptop Go will appeal to students, office workers and home users who want a sturdy, compact laptop for everyday use.

Product features

You’ll find a number of models in the Surface Laptop Go range. The entry level version comes with a 10th Gen Core i5 processor, 4Gb of RAM and 64Gb of flash storage which is fine for super lightweight use such as basic web browsing and social media. For better performance, we’d recommend picking the next model up which comes with 8Gb of RAM and 128Gb of SSD storage. You can also select a Go model with 256Gb of SSD storage built-in.

All models feature a 12.4 inch touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio which is taller and narrower than the more common 16:9 which means you can fit more detail to fit onto the screen. Handy when working with documents or spreadsheets. Resolution is just under full HD (1,536 x 1,024) but you won’t really notice this due to the screen’s dimensions, good colour range coverage and excellent brightness levels.

A front-facing, widescreen 720p HD camera is built into the top narrow bezel which is ok but not as good as 1080p versions found on other Surface laptop models. The speakers are situated under the keyboard and pump out clear sound at decent volume levels albeit a bit tinny which you tend to find with most laptops.

The keyboard is comfortable to use and there’s a fingerprint reader built into the power button for one touch sign in (not included on the entry level model though). The keys aren’t backlit though which may be an issue if you work in low lighting locations. The integrated touchpad is generously sized with good accuracy and responsiveness.

There’s a good selection of ports for external connections including both a USB-A and USB-C port plus a proprietary Surface Connect port which powers the laptop and can also be used to connect a Microsoft docking station. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 offer wireless connectivity.  


Pros & cons



A choice of colours

Premium build quality

Stylish, compact design

Bright, colourful display

Comfortable keyboard & touchpad

Fingerprint reader



Entry level model lacks oomph

No HD display

No backlit keyboard

No facial recognition

No 1080p camera

Maximum of 256Gb local storage

Average battery life


Key specifications

Processor: 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 processor

Operating System: Windows 10 Home in S mode

Display: 12.4” PixelSense™ touchscreen display with a 1536 x 1024 resolution
Memory: 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4x RAM

Storage: eMMC: 64GB ; SSD: 128GB, 256GB

Battery Life: Up to 13 hours of typical device usage

Camera: 720p HD f2.0 camera (front-facing)

Audio: DDual far-field Studio Mics. Omnisonic Speakers with Dolby® Audio™

Wireless: Wi-Fi 6; Bluetooth 5

Weight: From 1.11Kg

Dimensions: 27.8 cm x 20.57 cm x 1.57 cm ( w x d x h)

Warranty: 1 year limited hardware warranty


Ports & slots

  • 1 x USB-C 
  • 1 x USB-A
  • Headphone/microphone combo jack
  • 1 x Surface Connect port

Customer feedback

Customers have commented favourably on the Go’s solid build quality and appealing design. Many people rate the laptop as easy to set up and use with the keyboard often singled out as excellent.

Other characteristics that consistently come up in reviews include the laptop’s portability with lots of customers happy with its compact and lightweight chassis. 

Criticisms include the lack of a full HD screen which some people have said makes some images appear grainy. Other niggles often mentioned are the non-HD webcam, average battery life and the absence of a backlit keyboard.

Unique selling points

The Surface Laptop Go’s stylish, premium design and choice of colours elevate it above comparably priced laptops which have similar specifications. The keyboard stands out from those found on other laptops in this category. It’s made from aluminium rather than the more typical plastic and has a comfortable premium feel which users who do a lot of typing will appreciate.

The laptop has 300 nits of brightness and 102.6% sRGB coverage which means that despite a sub HD resolution, it produces vivid images, even in bright settings.  It’s got a good selection of ports for a laptop with such a small size. You’ll find both a USB-A and USB-C port which allows you to connect the vast majority of peripherals that are currently available.

A lot of laptops ship with a load of preinstalled software trials most of which are typically not wanted and just bloat the system with unnecessary files. Other than Windows 10, the Surface Laptop Go just comes with a trial for Microsoft 365 so that’s another plus point.


Alternative products to consider

There are a number of comparable laptops you can consider as alternatives that offer similar specs for a similar budget. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is a 14” convertible mainstream laptop with decent specs at an affordable price. Like the Surface Go, it has a touchscreen display but is more flexible since the screen can be rotated 360 degrees. It has a more powerful processor and bigger screen than the Go but is heavier and doesn’t have a USB-C port.

If your budget stretches a little higher, midrange ultraportables like the Surface Laptop 3 or entry level MacBook Air are also worth a look. The Surface Laptop 3 has similar design and build quality to the Surface Go and is also available in a choice of colours. It has a superior battery to the Go and there’s a choice of models with more powerful processors in the Laptop 3 range. Unlike the Go, there’s no fingerprint reader but the Laptop 3 webcam does support facial recognition - a feature that the Go lacks. The MacBook Air (2020 version) is a streamlined, lightweight laptop that comes in a choice of colours and has excellent battery life. It has a superb display but no touchscreen, fewer ports and is pricier than the Go.

Changes from the previous model

The Surface Laptop Go is a new introduction to Microsoft’s Surface product family. The Go aims to attract budget and mid-range shoppers who are looking for a well designed, sturdy and capable laptop for everyday use without breaking the bank. Not to be confused with the Surface Go which is Microsoft’s 2-in-1 range of products, Surface Laptop Go laptops are bigger and have more computing power. The next step up in Microsoft’s product catalogue is the Surface Laptop 3 which is a bigger, more powerful but also more expensive laptop.


If you want a compact laptop that blends performance, build quality and affordability, the Surface Laptop Go ticks all these boxes and looks good as well. If you do processor intensive work like serious photo or video editing or need a laptop with a big screen, we’d recommend looking at alternatives. If you want a lightweight device you can rely on every day for routine office work or education, the Surface Go could be a great fit.

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