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Surface Laptop Go vs Surface Laptop 3: Which should you buy?

Surface Laptop Go Vs Surface Laptop Bezels
Surface Laptop Go Vs Surface Laptop Bezels (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Surface Laptop Go vs Surface Laptop 3: tech specs

Comparing the specs side by side, Surface Laptop Go and Surface Laptop 3 are two very similar yet somewhat different devices.

Surface Laptop GoSurface Laptop 3
CPUIntel Core i5-1035G1Intel 10th Gen i5 or i7
AMD Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 custom CPU
RAM4GB, 8GB, 16GB8GB, 16GB 32GB
Storage64GB eMMC
128GB or 256GB SSD
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
Display12.45-inch 1536x1024 touchscreen13.5-inch 2256x1504 touchscreen
15-inch 2496x1664 touchscreen
GraphicsIntel® UHD GraphicsIntel Iris
AMD Vega 9
AMD Vega 11
SecurityWindows Hello fingerprintWindows Hello facial recognition
Pen SupportNoYes
Ports1x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack, Surface Connect1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, Surface Connect
Dimensions278.18 mm x 205.67 mm x 15.69 mm (10.95" x 8.10" x 0.62")13.5-inch: 12.1" x 8.8" x .57" (308 mm x 223 mm x 14.5 mm)
15-inch: 13.4" x 9.6" x .57" (339.5 mm x 244 mm x 14.69 mm)
OSWindows 10 Home in S modeWindows 10 Home
ColorsPlatinum, Sandstone, Ice BluePlatinum, Sandstone, Black, Cobalt Blue

Beautiful designs all round

Both the Surface Laptop Go and Surface Laptop 3 deliver premium hardware design, but the Surface Laptop Go makes compromises in specific areas to keep costs low. The Surface Laptop 3 features an all-aluminum build, from top to bottom. But the Surface Laptop Go only features aluminum on the lid and keyboard deck. The underside of the laptop is made from polycarbonate plastic. It's a nice plastic, but still plastic.

Surface Laptop Go still feels incredibly premium, especially for the price. Both laptops feature very similar designs, and the Surface Laptop Go comes out ahead in the bezels department. Surface Laptop Go features the thinnest bezels on a Surface, much thinner than those on the Surface Laptop 3, but at the cost of Windows Hello facial recognition.

Power or portability?

An easy way to choose between Surface Laptop Go, and Surface Laptop 3 is whether you need more power or more portability. If you need more power, the Surface Laptop 3 is the one for you, as it features a much more powerful Intel Core i7 or AMR Ryzen 7 processor to boot. The Surface Laptop Go is limited to an Intel Core i5 processor, which is a low-end chip. There are no upgrade options, either.

Not only that, but the Surface Laptop 3 has a more powerful GPU if you opt for the 15-inch variant with an AMD processor, featuring either Vega 9 and Vega 11 graphics. Of course, this does mean sacrificing portability. If you're looking for the best laptop experience in the smallest package, and power isn't much of a concern to you, then the Surface Laptop Go is a much better choice.

If you prefer small and portable

If you need more power and a larger display

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.