Surface Laptop Go vs. Surface Go 2: Which is a better buy?
The new Surface Laptop Go features the same great design as the Surface Laptop 3 but in a smaller chassis and at half the price.
- Larger 12.45-inch display
- Premium aluminum chassis
- Multiple colors available
- Full-blown Intel Core i5 processor
- Low-resolution display
- No Windows Hello facial recognition
- No backlit keyboard
Surface Go 2 has the same great magnesium design as the Surface Pro 7 but in a much smaller chassis, with a crisp 10.5-inch display with pen support.
- High-resolution display
- Premium magnesium chassis
- Windows Hello facial recognition
- Backlit Type Cover accessories
- Low-end processor
- Type Cover sold separately
- Mediocre battery life
Surface Laptop Go vs Surface Go 2: tech specs
Comparing the specs side by side, Surface Laptop Go and Surface Go 2 are two very different yet somewhat similar devices.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Surface Laptop Go||Surface Go 2|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1035G1||Intel Pentium GOLD 4425Y|
Intel Core m3-8100Y
|RAM||4GB, 8GB, 16GB||4GB, 8GB#|
128GB or 256GB SSD
128GB or 256GB SSD
|Display||12.45-inch 1536x1024 touchscreen||10.5-inch 1920x1200 touchscreen|
|Graphics||Intel® UHD Graphics||Intel® UHD Graphics 615|
|Security||Windows Hello fingerprint||Windows Hello facial recognition|
|Ports||1x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, Surface Connect||1x USB-C, Surface Connect, microSD|
|Dimensions||278.18 mm x 205.67 mm x 15.69 mm (10.95" x 8.10" x 0.62")||245 mm x 175 mm x 8.3 mm (9.65" x 6.9" x 0.33")|
|OS||Windows 10 Home in S mode||Windows 10 Home in S mode|
|Colors||Platinum, Sandstone, Ice Blue||Platinum|
Beautiful design on a budget
Both the Surface Laptop Go and Surface Go 2 deliver premium hardware design on a budget. Surface Laptop Go features a combination of aluminum and polycarbonate, which feels excellent to hold and is very durable. Surface Go 2 features Microsoft's tried and true magnesium alloy, which is sturdy and premium. Both devices are fantastic from a design perspective.
Surface Laptop Go features a larger display with very thin bezels, at the cost of display clarify and Windows Hello facial recognition. Surface Go 2 has a smaller display, but a much higher resolution one, meaning text and images are crisper, and it retains Windows Hello facial recognition as the bezels aren't as slim.
Laptop vs tablet
Depending on your needs, you might prefer a laptop over a tablet, or vice-versa. Surface Laptop Go is a straight-up laptop, with no quirks and design tricks up its sleeve. It comes with a built-in keyboard and trackpad, both of which are excellent, just like any other laptop. Surface Go 2, on the other hand, is a tablet that can turn into a laptop, meaning you'll need to buy separately sold Type Cover if you want to take advantage of that.
The Surface Laptop Go's keyboard is relatively full-sized, compared to the much smaller and more cramped Surface Go 2's keyboard. But, the keyboard on the Surface Laptop Go isn't backlit, which means you won't be able to see the keys in the dark. Surface Go 2's Type Cover accessory does have a backlight, meaning it lights up at night when you need to type.
Power or portability?
An easy way to choose between Surface Laptop Go, and Surface Go 2 is whether or not you need more power or more portability. If you need more power, the Surface Laptop Go is the one for you, as it features a much more powerful Intel Core i5 processor to boot. The Surface Go 2 starts with an Intel Pentium GOLD processor, which is a low-end chip. You can upgrade it to an Intel Core m3, but that still isn't as powerful as the Intel Core i5 in the Surface Laptop Go.
Both devices can be specced out with the same RAM and storage options, so there's no real comparison to be made there. If you're looking for something more portable, the Surface Go 2 is your best choice as it's smaller and lighter than the Surface Laptop Go. Paired with a Type Cover, the Surface Go 2 becomes a mighty little laptop when you need it.
Both the Surface Laptop Go and Surface Go 2 are devices that bring premium design to a lower cost, but to achieve that, both make compromises in different ways. The Surface Laptop Go makes these compromises in material, display resolution, and Windows Hello capabilities. For example, Windows Hello is not available on the $549 Surface Laptop Go but is available in the form of a fingerprint reader on models that cost $699 or more.
The Surface Go 2 features a smaller 10.5-inch display and a lower-end Intel Pentium GOLD 4425Y processor in the $399 model. That said, it doesn't cut corners in build quality or Windows Hello support, featuring the full Windows Hello facial recognition on all models, including the $399 model.
If you prefer the traditional clamshell design
A traditional laptop for less.
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 great choice for students in need of a stylish PC with a full-size keyboard and trackpad.
If you want a versatile, mini 2-in-1 PC
The cheapest Surface yet.
Sporting the same great magnesium design as the Surface Pro 7 but in a much smaller chassis, a crisp 10.5-inch display, and optional Type Cover accessories, the Surface Go 2 is a mighty mini-PC when upgraded.
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Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.