Tighter Budget

Surface Laptop Go

Unbeatable Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13

The new Surface Laptop Go features the trademark great Surface design and build at a lower price. But that lower price doesn't come without compromise, though it is a killer feature over even the cheapest XPS 13.

From $549 at Microsoft

Pros

  • 12-inch touch display
  • Premium design and construction
  • Multiple colors available
  • 10th Gen Intel processor
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Low-resolution display
  • No backlit keyboard
  • Only one CPU option

The XPS 13 is generally the best Ultrabook you can buy and became the class leader for a reason. It's more expensive but packs more inside while maintaining a form factor on par with that of the Surface Laptop Go.

From $1,000 at Dell

Pros

  • Range of 11th Gen Intel processors
  • Gorgeous design
  • Stunning displays with minimal bezels
  • Excellent keyboard
  • High-resolution display option

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Limited port selection

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Ordinarily, Surface products would compete directly with the Dell XPS 13, but the Surface Laptop Go is a little different. It's a budget device that starts at almost half the price of the XPS 13, and that lower entry point isn't without compromise. The XPS 13 remains the best Ultrabook you can buy, and even though both of these are extremely compact computers, they're really for different people.

Surface Laptop Go vs. Dell XPS 13 tech specs

Surface Laptop Go Dell XPS 13
CPU Intel Core i5-1035G1 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4
11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7
RAM 4GB, 8GB, 16GB 8GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
Storage 64GB eMMC
128GB or 256GB SSD
256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
Display 12.45-inch
1536x1024 touchscreen
13.3 inches UltraSharp 4K (3840x2400)
FHD+ (1920 x 1200) non-touch display
Graphics Intel® UHD Graphics Intel UHD 620
Security Windows Hello fingerprint Windows Hello
Pen Support No No
Ports 1x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, Surface Connect 2x Thunderbolt 4 with PowerShare
Headset jack
OS Windows 10 Home in S mode Windows 10 Home

Which should you buy?

The specs list doesn't tell the whole story, but it does paint a picture of why the Dell is twice the price of the most affordable Surface Laptop Go. Dell is using the latest 11th Gen Intel processors, PCIe SSDs, and Thunderbolt 4 while also having higher resolution displays at every price point.

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The Surface Laptop Go only has a single CPU option. Still, it's commendable that Microsoft has gone for something capable rather than relying on a Core m or even Pentium in this budget notebook. But it could also be partly responsible for other corners having been cut, like a pretty low-resolution display and only eMMC storage and no Windows Hello at all on the entry model.

The Surface Laptop Go is an Ultrabook for mid-range money

And since both are extremely compact laptops, the biggest factor in the decision-making process should be price. If you were leaning towards an XPS 13 anyway and the price tag isn't an issue, then it's still going to be the laptop to get. It's more powerful, has a larger, better-looking display, more up to date connectivity in the form of USB-C and Thunderbolt 4, and it's still small enough to toss in any bag and travel light.

By contrast, the Surface Laptop Go is for the folks who would love something like an XPS 13 but want something much more affordable. By all accounts, it's an Ultrabook, and it looks just as classy as the other Surface products. It's far from perfect and has many compromises, but it's also an awful lot cheaper than the XPS 13. So the compromises might well be worth it to you. So long as you're not looking for something to handle more intensive workloads.

Budget laptop

Surface Laptop Go

A baby Surface Laptop.

Featuring the same great design as the Surface Laptop 3 but in a smaller chassis and at half the price, the Laptop Go is a solid choice for those looking to get an Ultrabook but for much less money.

Unbeatable Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13

An incredible Ultrabook for everyone

The latest update to the ever-popular XPS 13 adds Intel's 11th Gen processors, pairing great hardware and design with portability and solid battery life. It's much more expensive, but it's also much more laptop in so many areas

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