Surface Laptop Go review roundup: Here's what everyone's saying about Microsoft's budget play

Surface Laptop Go Hero3 Logo
Surface Laptop Go Hero3 Logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft debuted the new Surface Laptop Go in early October, showing off what, for all intents and purposes, is just a smaller, more affordable Surface Laptop. While that doesn't necessarily make for the most exciting first impression, the value proposition makes it a compelling laptop to consider. But how do those expectations hold up?

Now that the Surface Laptop Go is actually available, reviews are starting to roll in, giving us a closer look at how this tiny Surface performs. We've rounded up some snippets from reviews around the web to get a broad view of what tech reviewers have to say about Microsoft's latest tiny Surface. If you haven't had a chance to read the thousands of words written about the Surface Laptop Go so far, here's a quick look at the top-line impressions.

Mark Hachman, writing for PCWorld:

Microsoft touts the Surface Laptop Go as the "everyday, everywhere" laptop, implying that you would be better off buying the Laptop Go than a Chromebook. I still believe that Microsoft has it in them to develop the "everyday, everywhere, everyone" laptop. With the Surface Laptop Go, Microsoft is headed in the right direction.

Ed Bott, writing for ZDNet:

The danger of making anything smaller and cheaper is that you run the risk of making it too small and too cheap. After spending a week with the Surface Laptop Go, I can report that it avoids both traps, although I hesitate to recommend the underpowered entry-level configuration.

Rich Woods, writing for Neowin:

The Surface Laptop Go is a really nice little laptop, little being part of the value proposition. It's not just lightweight, but it's compact. I kind of love it. I called it my 'couch PC' earlier, and that's actually significant to me. I review PCs by using them to work. If I grab a laptop to use on the couch, that's all up to what I prefer in the moment.

Dan Ackerman, writing for CNET:

So, should you buy one? I like the Surface Laptop Go, but it's not for everyone ... If you're going for 60% style, 40% specs, and can swing $700, I'd say that specific version is the one to consider and makes for a great budget-ish laptop with sharp style.

Owen Williams, writes on his Medium blog:

Not only was I surprised by how much I like the Surface Laptop Go, it's become my go-to computer around the house. Not every task needs a 15-inch powerhouse; sometimes you just want to quickly edit some photos or bang out some email on the couch, and the Laptop Go hits all those right notes, at the right price.

Monica Chen, writing for The Verge:

It's understandable to cut corners for a good price. Some (like the lack of facial recognition) are understandable at $900. But this laptop doesn't fit into today's market. It's too expensive to compete in the budget space, and it makes too many compromises to rise to the top of the midrange. When it goes on sale, maybe take another look.

Surface Laptop Go Hero

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Bill Thomas, writing for TechRadar:

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go is without a doubt the standout in the entire Surface lineup, thanks to the ultra-approachable price, excellent build quality and gorgeous display. This laptop will redefine what budget laptops should look like.

Arif Bacchus, writing for Digital Trends:

Starting at $550, the Surface Laptop Go is an excellent Surface take on the Chromebook. But for a Surface device, there is a lot of cuts for the price, including the display resolution, and lack of backlighting on the keyboard. Under the hood, though, the Surface Laptop Go packs a lot of value and power with its quad-core 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor.

Chris Davies, writing for Slashgear:

It feels like I've spent half the year fielding the "what laptop should I buy for my kids?" question, and the rest of the time answering "what laptop should I buy for myself?" There's undoubtedly an audience out there for a notebook that's priced aggressively but still delivers style and performance, and which has the familiarity of Windows 10.On that front, the Surface Laptop Go rises somewhat to the challenge, but it's not a clean sweep. Had the $550 model come with even just 128GB of SSD rather than underwhelming eMMC storage, it would've been much more convincing.

Devindra Hardawar, writing for Engadget:

It won't take you long to understand what compromises Microsoft made to create such an affordable machine. Its screen is surprisingly low-res, it maxes out at 8GB of RAM (for consumers), and its case is mostly made of plastic. At the same time, I realize that for some users — kids, and anyone else with basic needs — those flaws won't really matter.

The general feeling from the myriad reviews out there is that the middle-spec Surface Laptop Go is the sweet spot. The entry-level model may be cheap, but it's lacking a lot when it comes to RAM and storage. Meanwhile, going for the top-end model ventures way too close to laptops that are closer to the premium side of things.

If you're in the market for a budget-friendly Surface, the Surface Laptop Go is available now starting at $550.

Surface Laptop Go

Surface Laptop Go

Looking for something with the same design as the Surface Laptop but easier on the wallet? Look no further with the Surface Laptop Go with its 12.45-inch display, Intel Core i5 processor, aluminum and polycarbonate exterior, Omnisonic speakers, and Windows Hello-enabled fingerprint reader. The $700 model is the one to get.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl