Better known in the tablet department, Microsoft’s Surface range has also made a name for itself in traditional laptop PCs with its Surface Laptop and more recently its Surface Laptop Go, a small 12.4-inch touchscreen ultrabook for students, which its second edition this year. Let’s see in detail what this Surface Laptop Go 2 has in store for us, a privileged contender for the start of the school year, which is arriving in an already well-saturated market.
Design that lives up to the Surface reputation
Microsoft has accustomed us to a certain standing in the aesthetics and design of its products. With the Surface Laptop Go 2, we had to make small concessions to reduce costs, but it doesn’t show at all at first glance. It seems solid in handdense, and its Platinum design, an aluminum gray with bronze highlights, looks great. Its small size is 2 cm more compact than an Envy 13 and weighs 1.3 kg on the scale. Suffice to say that he will know how to be forgotten in a school bag.
Note the thinness of the metal on the upper part while the base is made of a composite polymer made from recycled materials. There is absolutely nothing to complain about the quality of finishes, really impeccable, nor on the overall design which plays the card of minimalism. No doubt, we have a Surface product in our hands.
And that inevitably goes with a frugal connectivity. We are used to Microsoft, which continues to rely on its proprietary port Surface Connect (no no it’s not a memory card reader). This allows you to charge the PC via the 38W charger (91 x 51 x 22 mm) and to add a surface dock (expensive but practical). Note that the Laptop Go 2 does not support Thunderbolt. On the other side on its left edge, the Laptop Go 2 can count on one USB 3.2 Type-A port, one USB 3.2 Type-C Gen2 port which supports power and video stream as well as a headphone jack. That’s all.
Even more than the exterior style, the Surface leg is found especially at the level of the screen which opts for the aspect ratio 3:2, of which we are still a fan. The glass slab is surrounded by a slightly thick frame (8 mm) but equal on the three sides. It’s more flattering. On the definition side, we remain on the same as on the first generation Go HD+ (1536 × 1024 px). It’s not the best defined at this level but the shiny glass gives this impression of sharpness to the eye which saves it a little.
On the contrary, the 365 nit brightness will not be able to counter the reflections when the PC is used in a very bright room. The rate of contrast (1125:1) is established in the average, just like the colorimetry with only 85% of sRGB space. THE white point (6000K) and deltaE (2.3) fare better. On the webcam side, we are on a standard 720p device which does its job, nothing more.
The good general impression remains with the grip of the keyboard whose soft, well-damped and precise strike (1.3 mm stroke) has nothing to envy to the best ultrabooks in the genre. We stay on one of the best Windows keyboards even if the absence of backlight weighs down the feeling a little. A fingerprint reader Windows Hello compatible takes place in the On button. It’s practical but we would have preferred that the camera take care of it via facial recognition. The touchpad demonstrates a great responsiveness even if we have already seen larger (100×66 mm).
Let’s finish the tour of the box with a point on the speakers. The sound seems to come out of the keyboard and sounds surprisingly good for a PC of this format. The sound is powerful and well balanced. Only bass is lacking, a common complaint with the majority of laptops though.
Under the hood, too much discretion
Let’s come to the capacities of this Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2, which, let’s remember, must in particular be able to follow a student during his day of class without weakening. In this perspective, theautonomy don’t make sparks with 7:30 a.m. on battery in current use (internet browsing via Wi-Fi). It’s about average but we expected better given the relatively low-power processor inside the PC.
It is a low-power Core i5 Quad Core, the Core i5-1135G7 of 11th generation, supported on our model in test of 8GB LPPDR4x RAM and a 256 GB SSD. A configuration that leaves us with a bitter taste after our test phases.
It’s not so much the fact that we are dealing with 11th generation Intel while the 12th generation has been formalized for a few months that worries us. But rather the bias taken by Microsoft to limit the TDP (thermal envelope) of the processor at 15W while its competitors now climb to 28W for the majority. The performance suffers and it is not negligible depending on the uses. It is possible to set to “high performance” via the Windows power options to see better results but this does not fill the gap: we go from 2m05 to 1m50 on a Handbrake conversion for example.
Of course, the Surface Laptop Go 2 remains perfectly functional for all office and multimedia tasks with a little occasional video/photo editing, but it’s not the best placed in the matter compared to its little comrades.
Advantage, as the processor is not pushed to the limit, the Surface Laptop Go 2 remains silent with 42dBA loudest and a muffled breath, rather discreet. Your auditorium neighbor shouldn’t look askance at you. In the same way, CPU maxes out at 75°C at the max on average, therefore without impact.
Our opinion on the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2: a little too expensive?
Overall, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go 2 won us over. Its sober and well finished lines, its very comfortable 3:2 format touch screen, its precise and soft keyboard or its efficient speakers are all elements that allow it to win points against many ultrabooks in its category.
On the other hand, there are points that tarnish the picture: minimalist connectivity, display without much brilliance and processor reluctant to break speed records. We may seem nitpicking but these few negative points could have been avoided if the configuration/price ratio was a little better balanced. Indeed, the tested Surface Laptop Go 2 (Core i5, 8 GB, 256 GB) is sold at 800 euros at Microsoft (September 2022). A price for which it seems legitimate to count on 512 GB of SSD minimum.
Still, the Surface Laptop Go 2 can find favor with your eyes because of the touchscreen and its overall quality, up to the Microsoft charter. On good terms.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 scores 3.5/5
Compare the different available configurations of the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 Features
|Screen||12.4” HD+ 3:2 Pixel Sense LED 365 nits (1536×1024, glossy)|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-1135G7 Tiger Lake (2.4 GHz, 4 cores, TDP 15W)|
|Installed RAM (max)||8GB LPDDR4x 3200Mhz|
|Graphic card||Intel Iris Xe integrated into the processor|
|Storage||256 GB M.2 SSD (NVMe PCIe)|
|connectors||1 USB 3.2 + 1 USB 3.2 Type-C (Gen2, video + charging), Surface Connect|
|Network||Wi-Fi ax (2×2, Wi-Fi 6 AX201), Bluetooth 5.1|
|Windows Hello||Yes, fingerprint reader|
|Audio system||2 speakers (2 x 2W), Omnisonic with Dolby Audio Premium|
|Operating system||Windows 11 64 bit|
|Announced autonomy / Battery||8 hours / Li-Ion 41Whr|
|Weight / Dimensions (mm)||1.13kg / 278.2x206x15.7|